What Cereal Grains Contain Gluten?
Grains that contain gluten include wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a hybrid of wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale) Gluten also shows up in many whole grain foods related to wheat, including bulgur, farro, kamut and spelt.
What Grains Don't Contain Gluten?
- Job's Tears (or Hato Mugi)
- Montina (Indian rice grass)
- Wild Rice
- Oats * see below
What Foods/Drinks Contain Gluten?
Well a lot really. Any food that contains flour from the above grains contains gluten. Breads, biscuits, cakes, donuts, rolls, bagels, muffins, scones and other pastries, pasta and pizza, beer.
What Other Foods/Drinks/Products May Contain Gluten?
The list is quite long unfortunately. You may find gluten in canned soups, sausages, soy sauce, ice cream, spice mixes, dressings, frozen meals, potato chips, fried food, lollies (candies), stock (broth) and stock cubes (bouillon cubes), potato chips, other seasoned snack foods. lunch meats, hot dogs, medicines, toothpaste...Have a read of my article: Potential Non Food Sources of Gluten for more info.
What Are Some Terms for Ingredients that Do Contain Gluten?:
- Wheat protein/hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Wheat starch/hydrolyzed wheat starch
- Wheat flour/bread flour/bleached flour
- Wheat or barley grass
- Wheat germ oil or extract
What are Some Terms for Ingredients That May contain Gluten:
- Vegetable protein/hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Modified starch/modified food starch
- Natural flavor/natural flavoring
- Artificial flavor/artificial flavoring
What is Cross Contamination:
Cross contamination is when a gluten-free food comes into contact with gluten. Gluten is pervasive in and can show up anywhere in our food supply chain, so you're going to have to be duly diligent. Ask questions, quiz the manufacturer of a product if you're unsure, grill the staff at the restaurant, pay attention at the grocery store, consult your host at social gatherings.
Are Oats Gluten Free?
Yes, pure oats are gluten free. Problems can occur if oats are produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye and usually they are. Manufacturers in most countries now have to label foods that contain any gluten. Oats that from sources that guarantee a lack of contamination by wheat, rye or barley are considered safe.
Are Rice and Corn Gluten Free?
Yes rice and corn don't contain gluten! However, some people have chemical sensitivities to the proteins in them. Like oats though there is still the cross contamination issue.
What is Coeliac Disease?
It is a life long autoimmune disease caused by an intolerance to gluten, and causes damages to the lining of the small intestine. Once diagnosed the person will have to keep a gluten free diet for life. The body basically says nope, get that offensive stuff out of me, and starts to attack itself. The body is intolerance to the gliaden part of gluten found in wheat, rye and barley.
What are the Possible Symptoms:
- gastrointestinal symptoms e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain,
- fatigue, weakness and lethargy
- iron deficiency anaemia and/or other vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- failure to thrive or delayed puberty in children
- weight loss (although some people may gain weight)
- bone and joint pains
- recurrent mouth ulcers and/or swelling of mouth or tongue
- altered mental alertness and irritability
- skin rashes such as dermatitis herpetiformis
- easy bruising of the skin
How do I Get Tested?
If you suspect you have coeliac disease go and see your doctor. It's important to not remove gluten from the diet until a medical diagnosis is given. Initially, a simple blood test will look for elevated antibodies indicating coeliac disease. It's also possible for the blood test to come back negative and you may still have the disease.
If you have a positive result or your doctor strongly suspects Coeliacs disease, even though you may have had a negative test result. He/she should send you to an gastroenterologist for a biopsy of the small intestine. The gastroenterologist will after examination of the biopsies be able to tell you whether you have Coeliacs Disease or not. In some countries, children who show high antibody tests, may not need to undertake a biopsy, rather a genetic test that can confirm the diagnosis.
If you've removed gluten from your diet and wish to be tested, you'll have to consume gluten for approx. 6 weeks for reliable test results. Your doctor will guide you on the protocol.
If you are medically diagnosed you'll then have to embark on a life long gluten free diet journey.
I am Only Sensitive or Intolerant to Gluten. How is That Different to Coeliac Disease?
Peoples sensitivities to gluten range from mild to severe. The only way to know, medically is to be screened for Coeliac Disease and a biopsy performed. In persons who are sensitive or intolerant similar symptoms occur to that of a person who has Coelic disease, but there is no damage to the lining of the intestines and antibodies (your bodies signal and fight response to a offending food) aren't responding like those of a person with Coeliac disease. Usually, the person's symptoms diminish after starting a gluten-free diet and return if gluten is consumed. The only treatment is to follow a gluten free diet.
What is Dermatitis Herpetiformis?
Dermatitis herpetiformis is also known as DH and Duhring’s disease. It's a skin manifestation of Coeliac disease. They extremely itchy bumps and blisters, which arise most often found on the scalp, shoulders, buttocks, elbows and knees.
A skin biopsy and blood test are undertaken to confirm diagnosis. Some individuals may also need to undergo a small intestine biopsy. You may be prescribed an antibiotic to treat your condition. A gluten free lifestyle is the best long term treatment.
What Happens Next?
You will have to remove all gluten from your diet. Your doctor may send you to a nutritionist to assist with identifying safe foods to consume. You might also like to contact support groups or your countries coeliac organisations. There's a list here: Gluten Free Resources. It's also good to see your doctor every so often so he can assist in monitoring you.
Get in contact if:
Do you need a product or service researched but don't have the time?
Would you like assistance with what products to look for at the shops?
Would you like assistance with meal ideas?
Would you like some 1 on 1 support via email or telephone (Australian callers only)?
*Note some reasonable fees may apply to this service.
Disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional and any information should only be used to assist in the research of your condition. Please consult a doctor for medical advice.