There are a lot of foods that people are consuming that are potentially causing allergies. Some of the allergic reactions are small and some are potentially deadly. As society progress’ we are becoming more educated about what we are consuming and how it is affecting our bodies. Gluten intolerance and allergies are becoming more noticeable because the news has become more informative. Gluten is a special type of protein that is found in rye, wheat, and barley. Since most of our cereals are composed of these types of grain, most of our cereals contain gluten. There are some types of grain that do not have gluten. These would include; wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds.
Gluten can be removed from wheat flower, this would produce wheat starch. Unfortunately, all of the gluten in wheat flour cannot be removed. According to the FDA, if a certain amount of the gluten is removed, the food product can be labeled “gluten-free”. The gluten is what helps make bread elastic, making the consistency ‘chewy’. Gluten also helps bread keep the gases that are released during the fermentation of the dough. This is what helps bread rise before it is baked. Gluten also helps bread keep its shape.
There is a disease by the name of Ceoliac; this is when someone is intolerant of gluten. Coeliac disease is genetic, meaning that it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered, or it can become active for the first time, after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress. This is unfortunate because you are not able to really know ‘exactly’ when you are being affected by the disease. Coeliac is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have coeliac disease cannot tolerate gluten. Gluten is found mainly in foods, but can also be found in items like medicines, vitamins, and lips balms. When people with coeliac consume products with gluten their immune system responds by damaging villi (the tiny fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine). Villi allow nutrients from food to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine into the blood stream. Without healthy villi, a person can become malnourished, no matter how much food they consume. If the nutrients from food cannot be transferred into the blood stream then this is how you can become malnourished.
Coeliac can affect all ages and appear with somewhat strange symptoms. The symptoms of Coeliac and gluten allergy differ on the severity and also can differ from one person to another. The most severe symptoms would include; hives, swelling, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, and asthma. Other less severe symptoms would include; diarrhea, weight loss, bloating, constipation, and offensive stools. In children the symptoms are a little bit different. For children they experience; abdominal distension, impaired growth, abnormal stools, irritability, poor muscle tone, malabsorption, poor appetite, migraine headaches and wasting of muscle.
When it comes to children and their diet, it can be quite difficult because they are exposed to different foods at school and amongst their peers. Adults have more self-discipline and are able to keep track of their diets. Children might consume foods in the cafeteria or share foods with friends that might contain gluten (if they are allergic). If you notice any of these symptoms you might want to consult your physician and try to eliminate gluten from your diet to see if that is the issue. Gluten would definitely be in some types of alcohol because some alcohol has wheat and barley.
I have been to several health fairs and have had the chance to try several gluten free foods and they actually taste good! You would assume that since the food is missing something crucial as wheat or barley then it just wouldn’t be the same. The consistency of bread is not exactly the same, but companies who make gluten free foods have done a good job to ensure that their food items still taste great.