Many people find themselves allergic or intolerant to gluten which can result in a wide variety of symptoms that present in the body. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains. A gluten-free diet involves avoiding foods that contain gluten.
People can have a sensitivity to gluten or they can have an autoimmune condition called Coeliac disease that leads to permanent intestinal intolerance to gluten. People with just a sensitivity often find that if they remove gluten from their diet for a certain amount of time their body will learn to tolerate it again in small amounts.
The symptoms of gluten intolerance can present very differently in different people. Commonly we see digestive upsets such as bloating, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhoea or constipation, fatigue, fuzzy thinking, muscle aches, mood and behavioural problems or skin rashes. Those with auto-immune conditions have shown great improvements when removing gluten from their diet.
- Wheat (all varieties including spelt, durum, kamut, burghul, couscous),
- Oats (oats usually have gluten do to cross contamination, you can get gluten free oats)
- Derivatives of these products e.g. malt
When eating a gluten-free diet it is essential to read the ingredient label of all processed foods that are consumed as gluten-containing ingredients are commonly used in these products. The Australian Foods Standards require that ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains must always be declared on food labels. The Australian Foods Standards Code requires that:
- Food labelled as ‘gluten free’ must not contain any detectable gluten and no oats or malt
- Food labelled as ‘low gluten’ must contain
- less than 0.02% gluten
- The gluten content must be added to the nutrition information panel of a food labelled gluten free or low gluten.
Today, health food stores and supermarkets are carrying a wide range of gluten-free products, including gluten-free bread, pasta, noodles, cakes, sweets and biscuits to make the gluten-free diet less restrictive.
Other helpful hints in avoiding gluten include
- Avoid cross contamination in the kitchen by developing gluten-free kitchen habits, storage plans and cooking methods.
- Gluten free breads are always better toasted and should be stored in the fridge or freezer.
- When eating out don’t be hesitant to question staff regarding ingredients used, and to be safe avoid foods with sauces, crumbing and gravy.
- It is easy to fall into the trap of only eating corn and white rice based products. Explore and include in your diet a variety of wholegrains to ensure that you are getting optimum nutrition.
- Be prepared; carry gluten free snacks with you.
For gluten-free shopping go to www.glutenfreefavourites.com.au
For gluten-free recipes go to www.glutenfreerecipes.com
This table can be used as a guideline on eating a gluten-free diet, however, all food ingredient labels should be read, especially if the food is processed.
|Foods to Avoid||Foods to Include|
|Flours||Wheat flour, wheaten cornflour, bakers flour, spelt flour, rye flour, custard powder made from wheat, oat flour, barley meal, gluten flour.||Rice flour, pure cornflour (maize flour), cornmeal, soy flour, potato flour, arrowroot, buckwheat, sago, sorghum, millet, tapioca, besan flour, lentil flour, amaranth, lupin, baby rice cereal Best choice – go for wholemeal/grain versions|
|Bread||All bread including rye, and commercial soya bread, flatbread, pumpernickel, sourdough bread, biscuits, buns, pastries, muffins, crumpets, pikelets, croissants, breadcrumbs||Rice cakes, corn cakes, gluten-free bread, biscuits, rolls, cakes, pastries and desserts from allowed flour and cake mixes. Cornmeal, polenta.|
|Cereals||Breakfast cereals containing wheat, oats, semolina, barley, rye, malt, malt extract, wheat germ, wheat bran, oat bran, bulgur||Rice and corn breakfast cereals (check for malt and malt extract). Homemade muesli using allowed ingredients such as puffed buckwheat, millet and amaranth. Best choice – go for wholemeal/grain versions|
|Pasta||Spaghetti, noodles, pasta, instant pasta meals (unless labelled gluten-free), couscous, gnocchi,||Rice, tapioca, buckwheat, gluten-free pasta, rice vermicelli, rice noodles. Best choice – go for wholemeal/grain versions|
|Fruit||Commercial thickened fruit pie filling, fritters, choc coated sultanas and nuts.||Fresh, frozen, canned, preserved, stewed or dried fruit, fruit juices|
|Vegetables||Canned or frozen vegetables in sauce, commercially prepared vegetable and potato salads, commercial hot chips/wedges||Fresh, frozen, dehydrated, or canned vegetables without sauces, vegetable juices|
|Meat, Fish, Poultry||Foods prepared or thickened with flour, battered or crumbed, sausages, processed meats and fish, meat pies, frozen dinners, corned beef||Fresh, smoked, corned, frozen without sauces, crumbs or batters. Canned meat or fish without sauce or cereal. Ham off the bone, bacon, gluten-free sausages|
|Dairy Products||Malted milk, ice cream with cone or crumbs||Block or processed cheese, cream or cottage cheese, UHT, evaporated, powdered, condensed milk, buttermilk, yoghurt, dairy desserts, plain of flavoured ice cream, fresh or canned cream.|
|Legumes, nuts||Textured vegetable protein products, gluten steaks, some baked beans||Dried, canned or fresh beans, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, gluten-free canned baked beans|
|Takeaway food||Hamburgers, pizza, souvlaki, sausages, battered food (e.g. fried fish), crumbed food (e.g. crumbed chicken), stuffed roast chickens||Steamed rice, grilled fish (check no flour), chicken (no stuffing), steak, steamed vegetables, baked potato, some chips|
|Snacks||Packet savoury snacks, many sweets and filled chocolates, licorice, many frozen desserts, flavoured potato crisps and corn chips*||Plain chocolate, popcorn, jelly, meringue, plain potato crisps, plain corn chips, rice crackers, most yoghurts|
|Beverages||Cereal-based coffee substitutes, cereal-based cocoa beverages e.g. Milo, Ovaltine, Aktavite, soy milk, barley waters, milk flavourings*, beer, ale, stout, lager, alcoholic soft drinks containing malt vinegar||Water, tea, coffee, cocoa, milk, cordials, soft drinks, soda water, mineral water, fruit and vegetable juices, wine (including sparkling and fortified wines), most spirits and liqueurs, cider|
|Miscellaneous||Malt vinegar, soy sauce containing wheat, baking powders containing wheat flour, mixed seasonings, beef, vegetable and yeast extracts (e.g. Vegemite®, Marmite®, Promite®), many sauces, pickles, relish chutney, salad dressing, stock cubes*, chicken salt.||Tomato sauce, most vinegar, honey, jam, peanut butter, salad dressings not thickened, gelatine, gluten-free baking powder, gluten-free custard powder, gluten-free soy sauce, sugar, golden syrup, Mighty Mite®, Vege Spread®, Aussie Mite®, some stock cubes, gravies, sauces and condiments*.|