Food Intolerances: Gluten
14September/2012

Food Intolerances: Gluten

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Living with food intolerances can be difficult at the best of times and even harder when trying to slim down or prepare for competitions. Often, people are even dealing with more than one type of food intolerance. It is not uncommon to be intolerant to both lactose and gluten simultaneously.

Food intolerance 101

Food intolerance means a person has difficulty digesting certain characteristics of food like natural sugars or proteins. Symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, loose stools and constipation are all associated with intolerance. It is not life-threatening but can be quite debilitating through pain and social embarrassment. Symptoms are individualised and can vary in intensity during different life cycles. 




Food intolerances can range in sensitivity levels from person to person. One person with lactose intolerance may have no side-effects consuming ½ cup of milk whereas another person with lactose intolerance may be violently ill consuming the same amount.  
It is also important to note that sensitivity thresholds may be reached by accumulating intake throughout the day. A person with gluten intolerance may eat a muesli bar containing small amounts of gluten for morning tea, use a dressing on salad at lunch which also contains gluten and follow dinner with a small biscuit. The accumulation may cause problems that night or even the following day.

It’s not the same as an allergy…
Food intolerance is vastly different to a food allergy. Food intolerances are often diagnosed by a dietician through a process of removing suspected problematic foods and systematically re- introducing them back into the diet. Blood and breath-testing procedures are still not considered diagnostic tools when it comes to food intolerance.  
Food allergies may lead to anaphylactic shock, deficiencies, rashes and hives. Reactions can be life-threatening and often painful. Food allergies cause an immune response in the body which causes the body to attack itself, causing structural damage or inflammation.

It’s not the same as Celiac disease…
Gluten intolerance is not Celiac disease either. They are two different conditions. Celiac disease is a genetic auto-immune disease. A person with gluten intolerance will be able to consume very small amounts of gluten and can follow a low-gluten diet. A person with Celiac disease must consume a completely gluten-free diet. This includes avoiding residual gluten found on utensils, plates or machinery that contained food with gluten. If you have Celiac disease it is necessary to seek help from a dietician to follow an appropriate diet.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in common grains such as barley, bran, wheat, rye, spelt and triticale.  When following a low-gluten diet it is necessary to remove the main sources of gluten. Products such as pasta, couscous, noodles, bread, cakes, biscuits pastries are commonly made from wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Other products such as soy sauce, marinades and malt vinegar may also contain minor sources of gluten which may be tolerated in a low-gluten diet. Please note: if you have Celiac disease these products will cause extremely harmful effects and need to be removed from the diet completely. 

How do you go low?

Making clever substitutions for your main carbohydrate sources can be fairly easy, particularly as there is such a large variety of gluten-free products on the market. Grains such as arrowroot, buckwheat, corn, lupin, millet, polenta, rice, sago, sorghum, soy and tapioca are all gluten free. In addition to this, oats are suitable on a low-gluten diet as they only contain residual amounts of gluten due to milling processes.

The hardest part of following a low-gluten diet is knowing how to cook with gluten-free grains.  Textures, taste and usability of flours are different. Vegetables and fruit are gluten-free so simply swapping wheat pasta for a potato at meals is a fairly simple task.

Simple Substitutions

 PRODUCT  GLUTEN GRAIN  GLUTEN FREE ALTERNATIVE COMMON GLUTEN FREE BRANDS AND PRODUCT
Cakes / Biscuits Wheat flour Almond meal or rice flour or polenta - Freedom Foods Muesli Breakfast Bars
- Butterfingers Short Bread Biscuits
- Freedom Food Crunchy Coconut Biscuits
- Leda Chocolate Rum Balls
- Rowie’s Choc Cake
- Eskal Wafers
- Melinda’s Natural Crackers
- Melinda’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie
- Melinda’s Sundried Tomato & Spinach Muffins
- Melinda’s Risotto Cakes
- Macro Cup Cake Mix
- Macro Banana Bread Mix
- Macro Chocolate Mud Cake
Breakfast Cereal Wheat Corn, rice - Freedom Muesli
- Lowan Rice Porridge
Bread Wheat or rye flour Rice flour or buckwheat - Orgran All Purpose Flour
- Macro Pizza Dough Mix
- Easy Bakers Laucke Flour
Pasta / Noodles Wheat flour pasta Rice flour gluten free pasta, potato gnocchi  - Fantastic Noodles
- Bon Appetite Gluten-Free Pasta
Snacks Wheat Potato, legumes, nuts - Fava Nuts Roasted Broad Beans
- Freelicious Nibblers Pizza
- Orgran Crispbread Corn
- Macro Organic Corn Chips
- Ajitas Vege Chips
- Leda Museli Bar
Spreads Wheat thickeners Any natural nut product with no additives - Macro Natural Cashew Spread


Note: gluten-free diets should not contain oats ** Pre-made salad dressing often contains gluten. Make sure you check your labels, or make your own.


Be vigilant in checking nutrient panels for grains that contain gluten - particularly in mixed foods like baked products and packaged meals. Widen the variety in your low-gluten diet by making simple swaps with grains you haven’t tried before. This will help keep your meal plan interesting and easy.

Gabrielle is a qualified dietician, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and personal trainer with eight years experience in the fitness industry. Gabrielle established her business, Changing Shape, to fill the gap between diet and exercise therapy and to meet the growing concern regarding obesity and lifestyle related diseases.

Gabrielle run’s her own nutrition clinics, helping men and women all over Sydney reach their weight loss and health goals. Gabrielle has worked with clients of all ages, many suffering from a variety of health conditions and disabilities.

You can learn about Gabrielle and her team on her web site www.changingshape.net.au


Source Url: http://www.oxygenmag.com.au/Nutrition/tabid/620/entryid/702/Food-Intolerances-Gluten-by-Gabrielle-Maston.aspx
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