Gluten is extracted from flour by kneading the flour, agglomerating the gluten into an elastic network, a dough, and then washing out the starch. Gluten free diets are diets that exclude the protein gluten. Gluten can be found in many common foods such as bread, cereal, pasta and even beer (Kam, 2011). Gluten free diets can treat celiac disease, digestion issues, and help those with gluten intolerances. People who do not need to go on gluten free diets should not try to go gluten free- it is not an easy diet to follow and if a person’s body does not have problems processing gluten, research has yet to show any reason why a body would benefit from eliminating gluten from it’s diet.
Celiac disease, the most common reason for a person to need a gluten free diet, “is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten” (Mayo Clinic, 2011). If people with celiac disease accidentally ingest gluten their body has a terrible reaction to it and damages the inner surface of the small intestine. This is why it is so crucial for patients with celiac disease to follow a gluten free diet.
Gluten-free diets can include beans, eggs, meat, and fresh produce, as well as non-processed wheat that have not been mixed with gluten during the manufacturing process. This includes buckwheat, flax, quinoa, rice, soy and more. Prohibited foods include barley, rye and wheat. Other wheat products to avoid if attempting a gluten-free diet include bulgar, furina, spelt, and many beers, breads, cereals and pastas.
Patients following gluten free diets should look carefully for gluten free labels on their groceries before purchasing them if they are unsure about the ingredients. Typically, products free from gluten are marked clearly on the label so that consumers can know what they are buying before purchasing a particular ingredient.