What is Gluten?

Overview

Gluten is a protein found in mainly in wheat. This protein helps create elasticity in bread products. In people with Celiac, the body is unable to recognize the protein, and gluten triggers the body to attacks itself in defense. Celiacs can evade gluten to help eliminate symptoms.

Identifying Gluten

In the United States, gluten IS found in the following ingredients: wheat, barely, rye, malt, malt powder, and brewers yeast. Contrary to popular belief, however, both maltodextrin and caramel coloring ARE gluten-free. The easiest way to see if a product is gluten-free is by reading the nutrition information label. If the ingredient list does NOT list any of the six gluten-containing ingredients, it is a gluten-free product. However, that does not mean it is Celiac safe. Apps like The Gluten Free Scanner or statements listed on the product can help you decide if the product has been made in a safe enough environment for a Celiac to eat.

contains


Wheat is one of the top eight allergens, therefore product manufactures must state when a product contains wheat. This can be found in the “Contains Statement,” typically below the ingredients list in bold font. If a product lists wheat in the “Contains Statement,” it is not safe for Celiacs to eat.


 

 

may contain


Some products have a “May Contain Statement.” Products do not have to display this warning, but these statements are definitely helpful to Celiacs and can help you make a more educated decision when shopping. Although it depends on your level of sensitivity, these foods are typically not safe for Celiacs to eat.


 

 

Processes


Another statement you may find on products is the facility statement. Unlike the “May Contain” statement, these foods are generally safe for Celiacs to eat, depending on your level of sensitivity. For more information, call the manufacturer of the product for details regarding food preparation.


 

 

gf

 


The safest foods for Celiacs to eat are products that are labeled gluten-free. There are various certification companies that each have their own logo, but as long as a package says “Gluten Free” or contains some form of a gluten free logo, it has passed certification and is safe to eat.


 

Gluten in Non-Edible items

Food is not the only place gluten can be found. Gluten is in various skin care products, hair products, and other items. Generally, as long as you don’t directly consume a gluten-product, you will not cause damage to yourself. However, everyone’s level of sensitivity is different, so be sure to consult a doctor or dietitian about what is best for you. For some Celiacs, using lotions, gels, or makeup that contain gluten can cause harm, but for others, it may not cause an issue.

However, all Celiacs need to make sure their medication is free from gluten. This proves to be tricky, especially in the U.S., where manufactures do not have to state if there is gluten in their medication. A good way to make sure that your medication is safe is by calling the manufacture directly and asking. However, this means each time your medication changes manufacture, you must call again to check. Another good resource to check your medication is GlutenFreeDrugs.com, but it is probably best to call your manufacture for certification.

It is important to remember that having a higher gluten tolerance than other Celiacs does NOT mean you can cheat on your diet. Being able to use a gluten-free beauty product without any damage is very different than eating a food containing gluten, which will undoubtably do harm.

For more information about gluten, please visit The Celiac Disease Foundation’s Website or Orbera