What is Gluten?
Gluten is a sticky protein that is found in certain grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut. Since it is so sticky, it act like glue to bind ingredients together. Gluten holds together flour which makes bread. Gluten stops sauces, gravies, and soups from curdling and gives a smooth texture to cheese spread and dips, dressings, margarines, sweets, canned meats, mustard, and almost all packaged and processed foods. It has therefore been in the interest of the manufacturers to use it extensively in the interest of the growers to increase the gluten content of grains.
What is gluten intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is when we experience symptoms after eating gluten-containing foods such as wheat. As our diet depends mainly on wheat and wheat by-products, we are seeing a higher incidence of intolerance to the wheat protein gluten. What we know from recent research is that there is a spectrum of disorders associated with gluten- from an inability to digest it to a full diagnosis of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease associated with gluten intolerance. It occurs genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy on up.
Issues associated with gluten intolerance and celiac disease include:
Irritable bowl syndrome
Constipation and/or diarrhea
Nause and vomiting
Constantly getting sick
Other food reactions
Bone and musculoskeletal pain
Although some people don't have any symptoms, they can still have a diagnosis of celiac disease. For celiacs, gluten represents a particular problem as it damages the internal lining of their digestive tracts. For those with simple gluten intolerance, there couls also be damage, but not as severe.