We all know white bread is out… but these other foods? Who knew?
First: What is gluten?
In the last 10 years, “gluten” has become a buzzword—and a bit of a dietary demon. For most people, gluten, a protein found in many types of grains, is totally harmless. But for others foods with gluten can cause a number of problems ranging from abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and bloating, to anxiety, and fatigue. “Gluten is a challenge to our guts because it can be hard to digest,” says Beth Trimark-Connor, Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coach at GO Training in Portland, Oregon. “In people with celiac disease, gluten damages cells in the intestine and provokes an attack response from the immune system. When the immune response doesn’t stop attacking the gluten, it may also turn on the body itself.” Some people without celiac or a gluten intolerance or sensitivity claim to experience benefits from going gluten free, including decreased brain fog, more energy, and less joint inflammation, Trimark-Connor adds. If you’re considering side-stepping gluten in your diet, you probably know to avoid wheat. But there are many other foods with gluten out there that you might not even realize. Read on for the surprising list. These are the most common celiac disease symptoms.
While most people equate gluten with wheat, wheat is just one grain that contains gluten. So, if you see packaging that says “wheat-free,” it doesn’t necessarily means it’s also gluten-free. You’ll want to avoid rye bread and rye crackers to avoid falling into this gluten trap, and reach for a gluten-free loaf or rice-based cracker instead. What about whiskey, which is made from rye? The verdict is mixed, but many celiac disease associations say whiskey is OK to drink, due to the distilling process. However, some people do report having a reaction to rye whiskey, so proceed with caution.
Along with rye and wheat, barley is one of the most common grains or foods with gluten. That means that pearled barley—often found in soups like beef and barley—is a no-no. It also means that malt products are off-limits, including malt candy and malted milk. Instead of barley-based soups, opt for one with rice instead. And the great news? Chocolate is totally safe (unless it contains malt balls)! Here are other gluten-free recipes to add to your collection.
It’s a sad but true fact that most beers are not gluten-free. Beer is often derived from malted barley or malted wheat, both of which contain gluten. However, with rising demand for gluten-free everything, there’s a growing number of gluten-free beers coming to store shelves. These beers are usually made from corn or rice, and are generally safe for gluten-sensitive folks to drink. Don’t fall for these dangerous myths about food allergies.