Gluten is a protein found in wheat and the following foods: barley, bulgur, cereal binding, couscous, durum, einkorn, emmer,
farro, graham flour, kamut, malt, malt extract, malt flavoring,
malt syrup, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat, wheat bran,
wheat germ, and wheat starch. It is known to cause inflammation in the intestines of people with celiac disease. People
with celiac disease need to be on a gluten-free diet; for this
group, eating foods with gluten damages the lining of the
A little background: In healthy people, the inside of the
small intestine is lined with finger-like projections called
villi. The main function of these villi is to increase the
surface area of the small intestine so that the body can
better absorb the nutrients in food.
When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body
mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. This damages the villi, causing nutrients to pass
directly through the digestive tract and be excreted with
the body’s waste, often causing this person to suffer from
So who needs to go gluten free? This is a major argument in
today’s society. Some say that no one should eat wheat. There
is research that claims that humans do not fully digest wheat
and that the undigested portions ferment and create gas in our systems. Many claim that wheat is considered a pro-inflammatory agent.
When consumed, it is quickly converted into sugar, causing a rise in the
body’s insulin levels, which leads to inflammation at the cellular level. Wheat
is also believed to cause leaky gut syndrome, where toxins, undigested food, and
waste leak from your gut into your blood stream. Another consideration is that refined
wheat, which is what many of us tend to eat, has little to no nutritional value, anyway,
because processing has stripped it of most of its nutrients.
We hear about it all the time.
Even Trader Joe's now marks
their foods as GF. Find out who
should and shouldn't be eating
gluten and why.
BY CARRIE GABRIEL, MS, RD