Gluten remains a hot topic in the field of diet and nutrition. Many folks have heard stories of individuals giving up gluten and following eating plans like Paleo in order to lose weight.
Many of them are successful and that’s great if that’s the lifestyle or eating you have chosen for yourself.
Or many you have been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity or intolerance such as Celiac, well then, your body made that choice for you and giving up gluten has become a path you have had to follow.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
And if forsaking gluten for whatever reason is your path…
Your first question and immediate point of research must inevitably what foods are high in gluten and therefore must be avoided or substituted?
Gluten is protein found mainly in grain based products. There are the obvious players: wheat, wheat germ, some oats, rye, barley, spelt, bulgur, couscous, farina, semolina and the foods that are produced from these grains such as: flours, breads, pastas, crackers, packaged foods and cereals.
So when you are looking to avoid foods that are high in gluten, eliminating these grains and food choices from your diet would be the first place to start.
Gluten is not only found in the more obvious places.
Gluten derived food ingredients can be lurking in mainstream foods such as ice cream, sauces, snack bars, dressings, commercial fried foods, candy, soups, stews, deli and processed meats and non-dairy creamers to name a few.
Vegetarian favorites such as seitan, veggie burgers and wheat grass often contain gluten. As does some adult beverages such as vodka (unless derived from potatoes) beer, wine coolers and mixers.
However, thanks to gluten’s widespread usage it is not necessarily as easy as that. There are very many gluten derived food ingredients that need to be accounted for.
Most common are maltodextrin, malt flavoring/extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch and caramel color.
If you are diagnosed with Celiac or gluten intolerance, it would be in your best interest to get a complete list of ingredients so you are completely aware.
Although most manufactures will label their products “gluten-free” nowadays, I’ve even seen dark chocolate bars, which never had gluten in them anyway, labeled gluten free. It is obviously a selling point!
As you can see, cutting out gluten isn’t as cut and dry as just giving up wheat. Going out to dinner and ordering the Chicken Masala is not necessarily putting you in the clear. If that chicken was drenched in flour it is absolutely not a truly a gluten free choice.
Opting for the Shrimp Tempura at your favorite Japanese eaterie might also find you consuming a gluten coating. Picking up ice cream for dessert, there could be gluten in there too!
Therefore if you are truly giving up gluten, you need to be a savvy shopper and pay attention to labels to avoid foods high in gluten.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the menu at restaurants. If food choices aren’t already identified as gluten free ask the important questions.