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Going gluten free

Posted on January 11, 2020

Have you ever wondered if the gluten in your diet is making you bloated, congested, and sluggish? For many of my patients it is a cause of all of the above and then some. Mostly digestive issues. After going gluten free many of them resolve numerous symptoms that have bothering them for years.

If you are considering it, read the following taken from www.glnc.org.au. This is taken from an Australian site, but the info pertains to us here in the US as well.

Gluten in Grains:

Gluten comes from the Latin word for ‘glue’ which gives dough the elastic property that holds gas when it rises. Bubbles of carbon dioxide are released from fermenting yeast, which become trapped by the visco-elastic protein, ensuring a light honeycombed texture for the dough. The elastic nature of gluten also holds particles of the dough together, preventing crumbling during rolling and shaping. Hence, gluten plays a vital role in the production of leavened baked goods.

Gluten is the name given to the protein found in some, but not all, grains:

Grains containing gluten – wheat (including wheat varieties like spelt, kamut, farro and durum, plus products like bulgar and semolina), barley, rye, triticale and oats*
Gluten free grains – corn, millet, rice, sorghum.
Gluten free pseudo-cereals – amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa.

  • Oats and Coeliac Disease

“One in five people with Coeliac Disease react to oats. Coeliac Australia recommends oats are not eaten by people with Coeliac Disease unless they have had a biopsy test conducted to ensure they do not react to oats.” Sourced from Coeliac Australia.

Gluten is the name given to the protein in wheat , rye, barley and oats that affect people with coeliac disease. It is a composite name and so gluten represents:

Gliadin in Wheat
Hordein in Barley
Secalin in Rye
Avenin in Oats
The current tests for gluten can measure gliadin, hordein, and secalin but not avenin as it is a slightly different protein. Accordingly it is prohibited under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to use oats in foods labelled or advertised as gluten free. When people discuss gluten free oats (and laboratories advise that oats are gluten free) what should be said is that they are free from wheat (and rye, barley) gliadin i.e. there is no measurable contamination.

Avenin is an essential part of oats (as gliadin is with wheat). Oats will never be gluten (i.e. avenin) free [even if they are described as gluten (i.e. gliadin) free]. As mentioned in The Australian Coeliac magazine on several occasions, Dr Robert Anderson has found that approximately 1:5 people with coeliac disease react to pure uncontaminated oats i.e. they react to oat avenin.

Since we cannot determine who the 1:5 is and we know that damage can occur in the absence of symptoms, Dr Anderson’s advice (and Coeliac Australia’s) is that oats should not be consumed without a biopsy prior to and during consumption.