I posted this hilarious video to my Facebook page last month from the Jimmy Kimmel show where they asked some people in LA, who follow a gluten free diet, if they knew what gluten was and none of them had a clue! It’s pretty amusing (and embarrassing).
A lot of people follow a gluten free diet for medical purposes, some self-diagnose and others just want to experiment, but what ever the case it’s good to learn more facts about your diet restrictions.
Don’t let the staff of Jimmy Kimmel catch you in the streets unprepared to answer the basics of gluten free living like these folks – make sure to read this quiz!
Pop quiz! True or False
1. Gluten is a starch that causes us to bloat and gain weight.
False. Gluten is a protein. The term encompasses two primary families of proteins, the gliadins and the glutenins. It’s responsible for the elastic texture of dough. It’s not necessary for the everyone to eliminate it, although it does trigger an immune response in some people resulting in a bloating.
2. Gluten is only found in wheat products.
False. Wheat is the principal source of gluten in the diet, but not the only (this includes all types of wheat like faro, bugler, semolina, spelt). Gluten is also found in rye, barely and triticale. The confusing thing is that wheat can be found in several unsuspecting products such as soy sauce, frozen foods, beer, etc. so you need to check all labels.
3. You should use separate utensils for cooking gluten free foods to avoid cross-contamination.
True. Say you flip a hamburger bun with a spatula and then go and flip a burger with the same spatula, your burger is no longer gluten free and the slightest cross contamination can bother those who medically cannot ingest gluten.
4. Eating gluten free is more expensive.
True and False. Processed gluten free foods are definitely more expensive like breads, tortillas, bagels, and crackers, but you can substitute plenty of other naturally gluten-free carbohydrates that are inexpensive such as rice, beans, quinoa and potatoes.
5. You can not eat tortillas on a gluten free diet.
False. Corn tortillas are gluten free and you can find gluten-free flour tortillas that are made from different gluten free flours such as rice flour, sorghum flour, corn flour, etc.
6. Wine is gluten free.
True and False. There are instances in which gluten can be introduced to wine 1) a gluten-containing paste is used to seal the oak barrels, however I have read that wax has really taken over on this practice or 2) a gluten containing protein can be used to fine (or clarify) the wine. From what I’ve read, those practices are pretty rare in US made wines, but is a more common practice in Europe. Both of those practices result in very low levels but still something to consider for those with Celiac disease. Most beers on the other hand do contain gluten, therefore you want to look for gluten-free beer if following a strict gluten free diet.
7. If I am on a gluten free diet I can’t eat things like pancakes, muffins or other baked goods.
False. You can’t eat those things if they are made with regular all-purpose or whole wheat flour, however there are tons of recipes for baked goods using gluten free flours such as almond, coconut, rice or oat flour (an many more- for a guide to gluten free flours go HERE).
8. A gluten free diet help you lose weight.
True and False. Those with medical conditions that eliminate gluten from their diet and focus on eating healthy, naturally gluten-free foods, little processed foods, might experience weight loss for a variety of reasons- a decrease in the hormone that stimulates appetite, cutting back on food intake overall, cutting back on processed foods. etc. Ditching gluten doesn’t guarantee you’ll be at a healthy weight though. Some people that don’t consume the protein are still obese. Many packaged gluten-free foods have just as many calories, added sugars and fat as their gluten-containing counterparts. Take a look at your eating habits as a whole before assuming that cutting out gluten will make you lose weight.
9. You should see results (as in decrease in symptoms) of following a gluten free diet after one week.
False. It varies from person to person. Some people feel better after a few days, but for some people symptoms can take up to several weeks to disappear and some symptoms like a rash could take even longer to clear.
10. You can trust the food labels to determine if a product is gluten free.
False. The aren’t going to list the word “gluten” in the ingredient list which is why you need to familiarize yourself with all the forms of gluten, especially wheat. For example, you pick a package of frozen dumplings and wheat isn’t listed but semolina is listed. Does it contain gluten? The answer is yes! Also, labels can legally label something as gluten-free even if it has a very small amount of gluten so if you are very sensitive, depending on your disease condition, you might have a reaction. Plus manufactures can change their products at any time without warning so always read those labels in detail.
11. A tiny bit of gluten probably won’t hurt people with Celiac Disease.
False. Some studies report as little as 1/8 teaspoon of flour can prevent healing and exacerbate symptoms. In order for the inflammation in the small intestine to heal, people with Celiac disease need to avoid gluten permanently.
There you have it, lots of info about gluten so you can be knowledgeable for when an unsuspecting reporter comes at you!
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.