Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including spelt, semolina and durum), rye, barley and triticale (a hybrid). In the case of wheat, gliadin has been isolated as the toxic fraction. It is gluten in the flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevent crumbling. This feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods. You would be surprised to find just how much gluten is used in food production – it is found in almost every processed food on the market such as soups, baking powder, molasses, frozen prepared foods, energy and breakfast bars, desserts, condiments such as BBQ sauce and ketchup, crackers and cookies, to name just a few.

 


It is important to remember that "wheat-free" does not necessarily mean "gluten-free" as the food may contain rye, barley, spelt and kamut.

 

Why cut down on gluten?
Gluten can be one of the hardest things for your body to digest. Many choose to cut down on the amount of gluten in their diet for general health reasons.

 

Why go gluten-free? 

For individuals who live with celiac disease and other digestive problems including irritable bowel, crohn’s disease and colitis; gluten acts like a sharp rake, clawing and damaging the stomach, bowel and intestines as the body tries to digest it. The effects are debilitating both physically and emotionally.

 

A huge part of following a gluten-free lifestyle is learning what you can and cannot eat.  The Canadian Celiac Association has great information at www.celiac.ca on:

 
  • The Gluten-Free Diet
  • Foods Allowed
  • Foods to Question
  • Foods to Avoid
  • Position statement on pure and uncontaminated oats
 

Learning to read labels carefully, asking lots of questions and checking manufacturer websites are essential to ensuring you have a safe source.

 

For more information from Health Canada on reading labels, food allergies and intolerances, food allergy alerts and to subscribe to the food allergies e-notice subscription: www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

Once you enter the Health Canada site, select Food and Nutrition and then choose Food Allergy and Intolerances in the features section.

 

If you have celiac disease or a serious gluten intolerance be careful with cross-contamination.

Cross-contamination is the transfer of a food allergen to a product that does not normally have that ingredient in it.  It can happen through shared production and packaging equipment, bulk display of food products and bins and during food preperation at home or in restaurants through equipment, and utensils.

 

For more information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on food allergies and food recalls: www.inspection.gc.ca

 

Once you enter the CFIA site, select Food and then scroll down to Fact Sheets on Food Allergies and Food Recalls.

 
 
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