What Does Gluten Free Actually Mean?
"Gluten-free" means that a food product does not contain gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and sometimes in other grains as well.
For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can lead to a range of adverse health effects, including digestive issues, fatigue, headaches, and even damage to the lining of the small intestine.
Therefore, gluten-free products have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way for people to avoid gluten and its associated health risks. It's worth noting that many foods are naturally gluten-free, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products. However, other products, such as bread, pasta, and baked goods, often contain gluten and require specific gluten-free ingredients or manufacturing processes to be made without it.
There are many types of food that are naturally gluten-free, including:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meats and fish (fresh, frozen, or canned without added ingredients)
- Legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas)
- Nuts and seeds
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Gluten-free grains (rice, corn, quinoa, millet, sorghum, oats (if labeled gluten-free))
- Gluten-free flours (almond flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour, etc.)
- Gluten-free starches (potato starch, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, etc.)
- Gluten-free bread, pasta, and baked goods made with gluten-free flours and starches.
It's important to note that while many foods are naturally gluten-free, cross-contamination can occur during food processing or preparation, so it's always important to read labels carefully and choose certified gluten-free products when necessary. Additionally, some products may contain hidden sources of gluten, such as soy sauce, malt vinegar, or some types of flavorings, so it's important to be aware of these potential sources of gluten as well.
At The Diabetes Kitchen we have a range of gluten-free meals and snacks - you can see them here.