Tip of the Week
You’ve probably heard a lot about gluten. Maybe a friend has gone gluten-free or a family member has been diagnosed with celiac disease or been advised to avoid gluten. So what exactly is gluten? Is it something you should give up, too?
Gluten is a protein that is most commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. It comes in several forms, like flour, and exists in many foods, including pizza, pasta, breads and baked goods. For those who have sensitivity to gluten, it can be hard to avoid.
How do you know if you should avoid gluten? If you don’t have gluten sensitivity, it isn’t necessary to remove gluten from your diet. Keep in mind a gluten-free diet is not a weight-loss diet. But if you experience symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, digestive issues or Keratosis Pilaris (better known as “chicken skin” on the back of your arms) after eating certain foods, you may have sensitivity to gluten and could potentially benefit from reducing or removing it from your diet. You should first consult a doctor or registered dietitian before making any changes to your diet.
However you eat - gluten free or not - a healthy diet starts by considering quantity, quality, nutritional balance (carbohydrates, protein and fat) and variety, with the goal of making sure your body gets all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs.
For those who are avoiding gluten, the good news is that with the rise in people avoiding gluten, availability of gluten-free products has also increased, making it easier to avoid gluten.
However, many food companies are adding ingredients or adjusting the formulation to make the gluten-free food offerings taste more appealing and losing important nutrients along the way, so it is important to look at the types of gluten-free foods you are eating.
Number to Know
18 million: An estimated 18 million people (or 6 percent of the population) may suffer from gluten intolerance. The severity of a person’s gluten sensitivity is measured by the Sensitive Enteropathy scale and can range from slight allergic reactions to more serious conditions, like Celiac disease, that require a person to eliminate gluten completely.
— Center for Celiac Research
Which items below may contain gluten?
A. hot dogs
B. soy sauce
D. all of the above
Answer at bottom of rail.
Wise to the Word
Gluten: A protein found in wheat, rye, barley and in some cases oats, gluten can be found in breads, pastas or as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizer or thickening agent in products like ketchup and ice cream.
The Dish On...
“The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook,” by the editors at America’s Test Kitchens
Successful gluten free recipes require more than just new ingredients. You need new techniques and that’s where our test kitchen team can help. We tried thousands of recipes (most were pretty awful) before we figured out the secrets to making favorite foods without gluten. In this landmark book, we tell what works (and why) so you can successfully prepare lasagna, fried chicken, and fresh pasta in your kitchen. And we have reinvented the rules of baking to produce amazing cookies, cakes, breads, biscuits and more.
Food Quiz answer
D: All may contain gluten
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Tip of the Week