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Going Gluten-Free?

Going Gluten-Free?

Gluten is a specific type of protein, but found in plant sources rather than animal products. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley, so going gluten-free means giving up these grains. A gluten-free diet is essential for people with gluten allergies or celiac disease, a condition which causes intestinal damage when gluten is eaten.

People on a gluten-free diet need to really learn the key words on labels since many ingredients aren’t that obvious. Of course you’d steer away from ingredients like wheat, wheat gluten, barley, or rye. But some foods have not-so-obvious gluten.

Two terms to watch for are malt (which is made from barley) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (it often contains wheat). Oats may offer an alternative for those eating gluten-free, for some they may  increase symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Here are some basic alternatives to help you avoid gluten:

Bread: Many food producers now make a variety of gluten-free products, including an assortment of breads. These are often made with rice or potato flour instead of wheat. Just check the label to make sure it says “100% gluten-free.”

Cereal: Most conventional breakfast cereals are another no-no for people on a gluten-free diet. Cream of Wheat? Obviously not, but also any cereal containing wheat, barley, rye, or malt. Select corn and rice-based cereals, but be sure to read labels carefully and look out for malt.

Pasta: There are many types of gluten-free pasta on the market now, look for pastas made from rice, corn and potato blends.

Crackers: Swap traditional crackers for rice crackers, rice cakes and corn chips. Popcorn can also fix crunchy/salty cravings.

Cocktails: Beer isn’t beer without barley malt–if you have drink from time to time, instead opt for wine or drinks made with alcohol.

Read more: Allergies, Eating for Health, Food, Health, ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


+ add your own
1:53PM PDT on Sep 15, 2015

Thank you Melissa.

6:47AM PDT on May 1, 2013


10:30AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Thanks for the tips!

9:33AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

noted with thanks

12:32PM PST on Feb 3, 2013

Go info however I don't really like the pasta made from rice they have a corn one that is better and doesn't melt when cooked.

1:18AM PST on Feb 3, 2013

very interesting article

12:14AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Thank you :)

11:07AM PST on Nov 15, 2012


6:54PM PST on Nov 8, 2012


9:37AM PST on Nov 7, 2012

good to know

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