Gluten-Free – The facts!
We have all heard of gluten-free diets but did you know 7% of Brits are gluten-free because of allergies or intolerances, compared with 8% who avoid gluten purely for health reasons!
Coeliac, wheat allergy, gluten intolerance – what’s the difference?
- Coeliac disease is a serious illness in which the body’s immune system attacks itself when gluten is eaten. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means that the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food. Coeliac disease is not a food allergy or intolerance, it is an autoimmune disease.
- Wheat allergy is a reaction to proteins found in wheat, triggered by the immune system and usually occurs within seconds or minutes of eating.
- Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity is when symptoms similar to coeliac disease are experienced, but there are no associated antibodies and no damage to the lining of the gut.
Gluten in food
Common Foods That Contain Gluten include Pasta, Noodles, Bread and Pastries, Cereal & Granola and things like stuffing as well as some sauces.
This is by no means an extensive list but is where gluten is commonly found.
Now we know the basics, let’s look at what other, more surprising products contain gluten.
- Some alcohol
- Some instant coffee granules
- Soy sauce
- Some chewing gum
When looking into food swaps try some of these…
Cereal – Try gluten-free oats or cereal alternatives.
Crisps – although not all contain gluten, try rice cakes or prawn crackers as a safe alternative.
Beer-check the labels, but you can buy gluten-free beer as an alternative. If not stick with wine!
** We recommend checking the labels on everything to ensure **
When preparing gluten-free foods, it is important to avoid cross-contact. Cross-contact occurs when foods or ingredients come into contact with gluten, generally through shared utensils or a shared cooking/storage environment. In order for food to be safe for someone with celiac disease, it must not come into contact with food containing gluten.
Places where cross-contact can occur:
Toasters used for both gluten-free and regular bread
Deep fried foods cooked in oil shared with breaded products
Shared containers including improperly washed containers
Condiments such as butter, peanut butter, jam, mustard, and mayonnaise can become contaminated when utensils used on gluten-containing food are double-dipped.
Wheat flour can stay airborne for many hours in a bakery (or at home) and contaminate exposed preparation surfaces and utensils or uncovered gluten-free products.