The word "gluten" has become one of the most popular buzz-words in the world of diet and nutrition, yet many of us are only vaguely aware of what it is. Simply put, gluten is a protein found in the endosperm of cereal grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. "Gluten" comes from the Latin word for glue, because it acts as an adhesive to help "bind" things together. Gluten is what makes bread spongy, pizza dough stretchy, and sauces and soups thicker.
Although the terms "wheat" and "gluten" are often confused and used interchangeably, they are both two different things. And while all wheat contains gluten, not all gluten comes from wheat. Because gluten is in all wheat products, anyone with digestive problems related to gluten should also avoid wheat products.
Identifying a Gluten Issue
If you have a gluten intolerance, or suffer from celiac disease, going gluten-fee is not a choice but rather a necessity. If you already have a healthy diet and are suffering from health issues, it may be that one of the foods types you are eating is the culprit. Gluten and dairy are common offenders to pay attention to.
What is an Elimination Diet
It can be difficult to identify whether or not your body reacts negatively to gluten. If you feel you are having health symptoms that may or may not be associated with a gluten sensitivity, aside from testing to rule out celiac disease, the only way to determine if gluten is the culprit is to go on an elimination diet.
Don't simply cut out gluten because it is becoming a "dietary fashion," or assume it must be bad because someone tells you so. Gluten is not bad. Grains containing gluten have been an important part of traditional diets for centuries, with none of the disease epidemics we are seeing today.
Why the Sudden Gluten Epidemic?
Up until recently, the term gluten was one of relative obscurity. Yet now, we have millions of people suffering from a gluten intolerance, with even more showing symptoms of a gluten sensitivity.
More On Gluten & Gluten-Free
Gluten Intolerance vs. Sensitivity
Adjusting to Gluten Free