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Am I Gluten Intolerant?

Am I Gluten Intolerant?

Some people suffer from a digestive disorder known as celiac disease which is characterized by intolerance to gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, rye, and barley, thus rendering them harmful to the intestines for people who have this problem.

The disease typically appears during childhood when an infant starts to eat cereals, and the poor absorption of nutrients causes diarrhea. It can also appear during middle age and may start after intestinal surgery, as a result of stress, pregnancy, or a viral infection.

Because of the poor absorption of nutrients that the disease causes, it can cause short stature, vomiting, and stomach aches in children.  Fractures, weakness, and exhaustion are more frequently symptoms suffered by adults.

Recent studies have shown that if the disease is not diagnosed quickly, or if proper treatment is not administered, then more harm can be done to the intestines. Once gluten intolerance has been diagnosed, the person has to follow a "gluten-free" diet because so far there are no medicines that can cure the disease.

What is a gluten-free diet?

The key to choosing gluten-free foods is to meticulously read food labels. Although it's mainly found in cereals, there exist many other products whose ingredients are derivatives of cereals. Just because a person eats one of these foods without experiencing symptoms doesn't mean that the intestines go unharmed.  Symptoms may take hours or weeks to appear.

It's important that people be well-informed when it comes to eating habits. Below we provide a list of products that contain gluten.

The goal of the diet is to achieve proper eating habits while eliminating gluten from foods.

Food and serving sizes

Permissible foods

Foods to Avoid

Milk 2 cups or more

Whole, evaporated, condensed, and skim milk, whipped cream, sour cream, and all kinds of yogurt

Malted milk, commercialized drinks with chocolate, non-dairy creams

Cheeses (can substitute meat or milk)

Aged cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss or Gruyere) cream cheese, tofu, and fresh cheese

Cheeses with oat starch

Meats, poultry, fish 2 or more servings

All types

Meats that contain flour made from cereal such as some sausages, pates, and hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Eggs

Eggs in sauces made with ingredients that contain gluten

Vegetables 2 or more servings

All fresh vegetables

Canned or commercially prepared vegetables, vegetable purees

Fruit 2 or more servings

All fruits

Thickened fruit and some pie fillings

Bread 3 or more servings

Special bread with gluten-free grains

Breads made from wheat flour, rye, oats, barley, bran

Cereals 1 or more servings

Corn, rice, and special cereals

All kinds that contain wheat, oats, barley, bran, graham, wheat germ, malt, millet, amaranth (pigweed), Bulgarian cereal, buckwheat flour, Bulgur, wheat pasta

Crackers and sandwiches

Rice cakes, pure corn tortillas, popcorn, some sweetened cookies

All those containing oats, wheat, rye, barley

Flour and thickening agents

Cornmeal, soy flour, potato flour, rice flour, rice bran

All flour made from wheat, barley, rye, oats, semolina, or couscous, wheat starch, soy sauce fermented with wheat flour, cornstarch

Fats and oils used for cooking

All fats and oils

Some salad dressings

 

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