Gluten free products have been gaining popularity in recent years. Many grocery stores and health food stores carry gluten free products. They are intended for people who cannot tolerate gluten or feel healthier without it.Background
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, oats and barley. For some individuals, eating gluten causes disturbances in the intestines. In someone suffering from celiac disease, for example, eating gluten damages the intestines. In severe cases, there is bleeding in the small intestine, leading to iron deficiency.
It is more and more common for people who do not have celiac disease to also avoid gluten. Some people find that avoiding gluten leads to improved digestion and removal of symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, weight gain and even fatigue.Gluten Free Products
If you choose to cut gluten from your diet, you have a wide range of choices for replacements. Commonly used options are made from rice, corn, potatoes and cassava-derived tapioca. Less well known ingredients include millet, quinoa, taro and amaranth. Vegetables such as sweet potato and yam are also used as replacements for gluten. To add dietary fiber and protein, beans and nut flours are also used in some gluten free products.
If you need to go completely gluten free, be sure to check the ingredients on a large variety of foods and products. For example, ketchup and ice cream may contain gluten. Some medications and vitamins may contain gluten. Lip moisturizing products may also contain gluten.
Look for gluten free products when shopping for bread, cereals, pasta and both sweet and salty snacks. Corn tortillas, potato bread and brown rice pasta are just a few examples of gluten free foods. For snacks, always look for the gluten free label on the packaging. When you look at the ingredients you will often see that they are made with rice, corn or tapioca. An example of a gluten free meal would be brown rice pasta with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. For snacks, gluten free crackers, cookies and tortilla chips are popular options.Availability
Gluten free products are available more and more, particularly in health food stores. If you do not live near large health food stores that offer a variety of gluten free foods, you can order some products online. You will want to take into consideration the shipping time to ensure that the food is delivered fresh. Many snacks and pastas, for example, are fine in warm temperatures. However, some gluten free breads need refrigeration to avoid getting moldy. Be sure when you buy such products at a health food store that they have been properly refrigerated.Conclusion
Gluten free products are more in demand and being used more widely. Some people are finding that their symptoms of bloating, fatigue and excessive weight gain are linked to the impact of gluten. The simplest way to determine if this is the case for you is to try eating gluten free products for a week or two to see if you experience any relief or positive changes.