Could My GI Problems be Caused by Gluten?

If you suffer from gas, bloating, changes in bowel movement, weight loss, feeling very tired, and even feel weak, more often than not; then you may have an allergy to gluten or be plagued by a disease called celiac disease. Gluten is a specific type of protein, but one you won’t find in meats or eggs. This type of protein is found in wheat, rye, barley, and malt. So to avoid these uncomfortable, painful, and possibly embarrassing problems, you would need to avoid these grains. And practicing a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging, to say the least.

Quite possibly the hardest thing about following a gluten-free diet is giving up bread and anything essentially related to it. This includes white, wheat, marble, and rye. You must also sacrifice pasta, bagels, most cereals, muffins, croissants, hamburger buns, scones, and even pizza, since the crust is made of dough. But don’t despair, many food manufacturers are making gluten-free products just for you. They are using corn, rice or potato flour instead of wheat. These alternatives substitute perfectly, just make sure you check for “100% gluten-free” on the label. Bakeries can also make your favorite sweet treat gluten-free, just ask!

Without scrutinizing food labels very carefully, you can miss hidden sources of gluten, and cause a GI flair-up without even knowing it. Some ingredient red flags are: wheat, wheat gluten, wheat flour, wheat starch, barley, rye; and the not so obvious ones, malt (which is made from barley), and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (it often contains wheat).

Some not so obvious culprits are:

Breaded chicken nuggets and fish sticks
Cakes, pies, cookies

Some gluten-free foods:

Rice cakes, corn chips, popcorn
Gum drops, marshmallows, plain hard candy

In conclusion, you must be diligent about reading food labels and being able to pick out the gluten offenders. Get familiar with the gluten-free foods at your local supermarket, bakery, and specialty stores. Keep your GI tract healthy and comfortable, while still enjoying great foods and beverages.

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