What Can You Not Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet?
Some individuals end up pursuing a gluten-free diet due to health concerns. Several severe conditions impact your body’s ability to process gluten, leading to gluten intolerance. Consuming gluten – or products containing it – may lead to pain, discomfort, and other symptoms if you have a gluten sensitivity.
Considering the severity of gluten sensitivity, many people ask: What can you not eat on a gluten-free diet? Our team at Wholistically Healthy helps you review foods to avoid if you have a gluten intolerance. We also offer specially designed gluten-free meal kits.
You can find out more about our gluten-free options when you contact us at 0450 344 607.
Understand the Definition of Gluten
Individuals on a gluten-free diet need to avoid eating anything that contains gluten. Therefore, the experts recommend learning about gluten to help you avoid including this substance in your meals or snacks.
Scientists classify gluten as a specific protein family. Generally, we find this protein in grains, such as rye, wheat, spelt, and barley. Gluten proteins have a property that resembles glue. When you knead dough containing gluten, it forms a sticky network that:
- Allows bread to rise
- Makes the bread chewy
- Gives bread its signature texture
Many breads, kinds of pasta, and pastries contain gluten. In fact, for many years, you found it in most baked products.
Foods to Avoid with Gluten Intolerance
We’ve discussed the basics of gluten. So, what can you not eat on a gluten-free diet? Many products contain gluten by default, including:
Any wheat-based bread product contains gluten. This category includes whole-wheat bread and traditional white bread. While white bread appears very different in appearance, it still contains wheat proteins and gluten. You may want to avoid wheat-based:
- Loaves of bread
Any form of bread that contains wheat may aggravate a gluten-sensitive condition.
Many baked goods contain gluten because they generally feature wheat flour. Make sure you check the ingredient list on items such as:
- Pizza crust
Even bread crumbs often contain wheat flour, which would expose you to gluten. However, you may find gluten-free options for some of these products, swapping wheat flour for other ingredients.
Pasta and Cereals
As with baked goods, many boxed cereals and pastas contain wheat flour. Therefore, you may get exposed to gluten if you eat spaghetti, macaroni, lasagna, and other forms of pasta. Some vegetable-based pastas do not contain gluten. Check the ingredients before you complete your purchase to make sure.
Many people do not consider condiments when thinking about gluten. However, many of these substances contain wheat by-products. For example, salad dressings, soy sauce, and many marinades typically contain gluten, and even broth often comes with some amount of gluten.
Perhaps you’ve heard someone describe beer as liquid bread? If so, you should know they’re not far from the truth. Beer – and many flavoured alcoholic beverages – generally contains gluten.
Many processed foods and snack products contain gluten. You can perhaps guess that you’d find gluten in things like pretzels or crackers. However, this protein also appears in many candy bars, chips, nuts, and popcorn. If you feel unsure whether or not a product contains gluten, make sure you check the ingredient list for any mentions of wheat flour.
Gluten Contamination Considerations
Let’s say that you’ve found several products you want to buy, and none of them say they contain wheat flour or wheat-related products. However, the product says it was made in a facility that processes other foods containing gluten.
In this situation, you may want to avoid the product. Dust containing gluten may contaminate products made in the same environment, aggravating your gluten sensitivity. Some people have varying degrees of sensitivity to this protein.
Foods You Can Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet
We understand that the list of foods to avoid on a gluten-free diet may feel intimidating. However, you have many dietary options if you need to avoid eating gluten.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables do not contain gluten. Therefore, you can safely snack on fresh and frozen veggies and fruits while avoiding concerns about upsetting your digestive system.
Fish, Meat, and Eggs
Gluten does not naturally occur in animal products. So, you can purchase a steak, chicken breast, or a filet of your favourite fish without worrying about gluten exposure. However, keep in mind that you may find gluten in:
- Any breaded or battered meat product
Keep these factors in mind while shopping to protect your physical well-being.
Many essential dairy products contain no gluten. You can often safely drink milk, eat plain yogurt, or snack on freshly sliced cheese. However, some products – including ice cream – add other ingredients that contain gluten.
Gluten-Free Grains and Flours
Some people worry they will not be able to eat baked goods anymore if they react to eating gluten. Fortunately, you have many substitutes available if you need to avoid gluten. Several grains and starches provide you with healthy options, including:
Manufacturers can turn many starches into flour, allowing you to purchase products like coconut flour, almond flour, chickpea flour, corn flour, and tapioca flour. Using these substitutes, you may buy or make your own baked goods.
Additional Gluten-Free Foods
In addition to the above options, you can eat:
These options give you the chance to supplement your diet. Many beverages also do not contain gluten, except beer. In addition, sodas, juices, and teas often have no gluten, giving you many options for drinks.
Additionally, you may find specific gluten-free products offered in the store. Manufacturers replace wheat-based ingredients in these products to make them safe for consumption if you have an adverse gluten reaction.
Reasons to Choose a Gluten-Free Diet
What can you not eat on a gluten-free diet? The list generally involves any product that contains wheat products. In many cases, people wonder why they should consider a diet free of gluten.
Generally, people select a gluten-free diet to address one of the following medical conditions.
Around 1% of the people in the world experience celiac disease. This autoimmune disorder causes your immune system to see gluten proteins as a threat to your health and well-being. Your body then attacks these proteins, causing damage to parts of your digestive system in the process.
The autoimmune response caused by celiac disease often causes:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Digestive issues
Patients who experience celiac disease may experience symptoms including:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Weight loss
- Depression and exhaustion
Doctors often look for these symptoms when attempting to diagnose celiac disease. However, some patients do not present with all the above signs of the disorder, making it more challenging to diagnose correctly.
Some patients have an allergy to wheat. This allergy may result in a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including stomach upset and pain. Identifying an allergy through testing helps these patients select foods to avoid.
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Do you feel uncomfortable after eating gluten products, even though you don’t have celiac disease or a wheat allergy? If so, you may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Some medical professionals believe that up to 13% of people in the world experience gluten sensitivity.
Patients who believe they have gluten sensitivity often experience symptoms like:
- Stomach pain
However, you should know that some medical professionals remain unconvinced that gluten sensitivity exists. Many believe that other irritants lead to the symptoms, not gluten. We recommend speaking with a doctor if you have an adverse reaction to products containing gluten.
Even without a medical diagnosis, you may decide to switch to a gluten-free diet if it helps you feel better. Avoiding foods that trigger gastro-intestinal distress allows you to improve your quality of life, regardless of any medical condition.
Benefits of Going Gluten-Free
Many people who deal with celiac disease or a wheat allergy see immediate health improvements if they go gluten-free. Cutting out gluten helps relieve stomach upset for many patients, and removing wheat protein often reduces:
Stomach pain often drops for these patients after they remove gluten from their diet. Removing gluten may also help reduce chronic inflammation in people with gluten sensitivity. Looking for gluten-free options also helps patients:
Boost Their Energy
Celiac disease often makes people feel sluggish or exhausted. Sometimes, these symptoms come from the nutritional deficiencies associated with the disorder. Cutting gluten out helps patients better absorb other nutrients, boosting their energy and helping them feel less fatigue.
Many patients report weight loss after starting a gluten-free diet. However, medical professionals treat weight loss as a side-effect of changing diets. A lot of junk food contains gluten, so cutting gluten out of your diet prevents you from eating these foods and encourages you to replace them with vegetables and fruit.
Making healthy dietary choices helps patients lose weight. However, you should know that many gluten-free baked goods actually contain more sugar than the same products with gluten. Therefore, indulging in these products may have the opposite effect.
Possible Side-Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet
Ready to consider switching to gluten-free foods? We recommend considering possible drawbacks to a gluten-free diet before you make your final decision.
Patients with celiac disease often develop nutritional deficiencies, as their body’s autoimmune response makes it difficult for them to absorb nutrients such as:
- Vitamin B12
However, simply switching to a gluten-free diet does not directly address these deficiencies. Many people select “gluten free” processed foods when making the switch, but these foods often do not contain the vitamins and minerals they need to feel their best.
Instead of selecting processed foods, patients who turn to fresh fruits and veggies often meet their nutritional needs. Patients can also address this situation by taking some supplements to get the nutrients required by their bodies.
Many people who switch to a gluten-free diet complain of issues with constipation. Often, this occurs because a gluten-free diet requires you to avoid a lot of familiar fibre sources. What can you not eat on a gluten-free diet? Often, foods like bran and bread.
Individuals who want to go gluten-free can proactively address this issue to keep their digestive system functioning at peak efficiency. Consider adding fresh fruits and vegetables with high concentrations of fibre to your diet.
Dieticians often recommend eating berries, broccoli, and lentils when you go gluten-free. These vegetables, and many others, help you keep your fibre levels high. Some people also consider gluten-free bread, but it often has low levels of fibre.
Finally, many people discover that eating gluten-free increases their weekly costs for groceries. Gluten-free products may cost more than twice as much as “standard” options when it comes time to make a grocery list.
Why do gluten-free foods cost more? In general, it takes more work for manufacturers to produce gluten-free goods. In many cases, manufacturers have to take special steps to avoid contaminating food with gluten, further raising their expenses.
However, you have the option to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, which cost the same regardless of if you have a gluten-free diet.
Additionally, some people find it challenging to locate gluten-free foods if they go out to restaurants or parties. Friends and family members may not understand how to prepare gluten-free food, leaving individuals with gluten sensitivity with few options in these situations.
Let Us Support Your Gluten-Free Diet
Going gluten-free may help you feel better if you have celiac disease or a wheat allergy. Our team at Wholistically Healthy provides you with options to eat the diet that works best for you. So, what can you not eat on a gluten-free diet? In general, you can’t eat products that contain wheat flour.
We offer you options without any trace of gluten. Please find out more about our food delivery service by contacting us at 0450 344 607.