What is gluten?
Gluten refers to proteins naturally found in wheat, barley, and rye and in oats that are processed with wheat. By definition gluten is a substance in wheat and flour that holds dough together.
What is meant by gluten-free?
The FDA allows for products with 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to be labeled “gluten-free”. Some foods that are naturally gluten-free can also carry the gluten-free label. All FDA regulated foods, dietary supplements, and imported food products must comply with the FDA standards in order to use the gluten-free label. Some items which are not covered are meat, poultry, unshelled eggs, distilled spirits and wines that contain 7% or more alcohol by volume and malted beverages made with malted barley or hops.
Who eats a gluten-free diet?
Some people have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or have gluten sensitivity. Since there is no cure for this disease or sensitivity the only way to care for the ailment is by following a gluten-free diet. Someone following a gluten-free diet needs to not only be aware of foods containing gluten but also medications and other products that are ingested.
What is Celiac Disease?
“Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a genetically linked autoimmune disorder that can affect both children and adults. In people with celiac disease, eating certain types of grain-based products, sets off an immune mediated response that causes measurable damage to the small intestine. This, in turn, interferes with the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients in food, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications. The offending amino acid sequences are collectively called “gluten” and are found in wheat, barley, rye, and to a lesser extent, oats* (WBRO). Related proteins are found in triticale, spelt, and Kamut®.” (http://www.csaceliacs.org/celiac_disease_defined.jsp)
What is gluten sensitive?
People who have gluten sensitivity can experience a variety or symptoms that are alleviated once a gluten-free diet is introduced.
“People with gluten sensitivity can experience symptoms such as “foggy mind”, depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, and chronic fatigue when they have gluten in their diet, but other symptoms are also possible. While these are common symptoms of celiac disease, these individuals do not test positive for celiac disease or for a wheat allergy.” (http://celiac.org/celiac-disease/non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity/#kowQMCc6lAhU4wo9.99)
Where can I get more information?
There are several credible websites that provide more information: