Wheat, barley, rye and foods made using these grains contain the protein called gluten.
If a person suffering from celiac disease, a disorder of the digestive system, consumes food which contains gluten, the small intestine gets damaged by his body as a reaction towards the gluten. The damage causes the inability of the body to use the nutrients in the food. Often, the symptoms of pain in the abdomen happen.
Celiac disease occurs among approximately one percent of the country’s population. It is common among type 1 diabetics with approximately ten percent of type 1 suffering from it.
Avoiding every food which contains gluten is the only successful way to make sure celiac does not do more damage to your body. So, having a gluten-free diet will assist in making you feel better and avoid your body being permanently damaged.
Besides those people who have celiac disease, many also have gluten intolerance. People with gluten intolerance get uneasy symptoms too whenever the consume foods which have gluten. However, they do not suffer from celiac and there is no small intestinal damage. To find relief from the symptoms, they have to stop eating foods containing gluten. There is need for more research on gluten intolerance.
For a diabetic who already has to watch out for high glycemic index food, not eating foods containing gluten too can reduce the list of suitable foods. But then, lots of people can do it, so why not you?
What Foods Have Gluten?
Wheat,barley, rye and the products of these grains contain gluten.
Doing without wheat is the most difficult as a lot of flours as well as ingredients are made from wheat. They are:
- Wheat Bran
- Wheat Germ
- Graham Flour
- Durum Wheat
- White Flour
From wheat, the following foods are made:
- Flour Tortillas
Although this list may look long, they come gluten-free too. You may just have to search for the gluten-free versions of the food.
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Do you know that the following foods contain gluten too?
- Pasta mixes and rice
- Soy sauce
- Self-basting turkey
- Salad dressings
- Most candy and chips
- Lunch hot-dogs and meats
- Imitation fish
- Fried foods
- Croutons and breadcrumbs
- Broth in soups as well as bouillon cubes
Remember to read the labels carefully for additives and ingredients containing gluten.
Some other points:
- Remember that ingredients used can be changed often, so read the labels carefully before buying. Many ingredients and additives are wheat, rye or barley-based.
- When a food claims to be wheat-free, rye or barley can still be in it. So wheat-free may not be gluten-free.
- Should there be any doubt as to a product being gluten-free, you can find out directly from the manufacturer.
What about Oats?
Previously, persons on a gluten-free diet are told to not take oats and oat products. This advice was given because of the fear of cross contamination as the place many oat companies use to process the wheat and the oat products is the same.
Because of the disagreement on whether those on a gluten-free diet ought to avoid oats, oats was not used. However, a recent study concludes that small quantities of oats which have not been contaminated are normally alright to eat. From oats we can get fiber and some necessary nutrients.
If you wish to eat oats, consume only those labeled “gluten-free” besides informing your doctor about it. And, do not eat too much dry oats; half a cup is your limit each day.
What Gluten-Free Food For Me?
There can be a limit to your choice of food when on a gluten-free diet but there are still plenty of vegetables, fruits, low-fat milk products with no additives containing gluten, nuts, eggs, beans, and lean meat, fish, and poultry.
Below are some carbohydrate foods and whole grains which are gluten-free that you can eat.
- Rice with wild or brown rice preferred
- Potatoes, with sweet potatoes preferred
- Corn (get corn tortillas with no additives)
- Beans (kidney, soy, black, pinto, navy etc.)
- Baked products, which are gluten-free, made with rice, corn, nut, soy, teff or/and potato flour
Keep Counting Carbs
When diabetics are following a gluten-free diet, they still need to be careful with their carbohydrate intake and carry on with their insulin as well as other medications. They must continue diabetes diet. However, they have to replace all those foods with healthy gluten to gluten-free alternatives.
Are you aware that certain gluten-free foods from a store can contain a different quantity of carbohydrates when compared to the usual foods. For instance, gluten-free bread can contain more carbohydrate than the usual whole-meal bread. Therefore, it is necessary to find out from the label the serving size and the quantity of carbohydrate per serving.
Ideas for a Gluten-Free Meal
It is possible for your meals to be delicious and balanced although you are gluten-free. The following meals are examples you can use for the whole day.
- Peanut butter on a slice of gluten-free bread and a handful of fresh berries.
- An omelet, using only egg-white, with onions, peppers, sauteed mushrooms and low-fat cheese filling.
- Use gluten-free yogurt and low-fat milk to make fruit smoothies.
- Fresh fruit and low-fat milk with gluten-free cereal.
*Coffee containing low-fat milk and artificial sweetener can be added to any of the above.*
- Whole-meal bread which is gluten-free or gluten-free crackers spread with tuna salad with some light mayonnaise.
- Grilled chicken mixed in a salad dressing which is gluten-free, carrots, tomatoes and spinach salad.
- Corn tortilla with cheese and chicken quesadilla with a pinto or black beans side dish.
- A granola bar which is gluten-free and yogurt parfait which is made using fresh berries and low-fat vanilla yogurt.
- Tofu and sauteed vegetables with rice noodles.
- Wild rice with grilled salmon fillet together with a side dish of salad topped with gluten-free dressing.
- Steamed broccoli, corn on the cob and baked chicken breast.
- Tacos from pure corn tortillas which is filled with low-fat cheese, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black beans and lean ground beef.
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Some ideas for gluten-free snacks and sides
- Steamed seasoned vegetables.
- One slice of gluten-free whole-meal toast spread with hummus.
- Fresh vegetables which can be celery sticks, broccoli florets, carrot sticks, or cherry tomatoes with some gluten-free dips.
- Hard-boiled egg.
- Peanut butter spread on gluten-free rice crackers.
- About a quarter cup of nut and fruit trail mix.
- Fresh fruit which can be a small piece of clementine, banana, apple, pear, or half a grapefruit.
For gluten-free diabetics, eating out is difficult. You can try to get a restaurant which prepares gluten-free diets. There are restaurants with a menu for gluten-free dishes. If you go to their websites, they may even have ingredient lists.
It is always better to plan earlier if you have to attend a function or eat where someone is providing the food. You can call to find out whether the foods are gluten-free. As a last resort, pack sufficient food with the right amount of carbohydrates to help you have enough energy for the day.