Gluten Intolerance

What exactly is sub-clinical gluten intolerance?  Sub-clinical gluten intolerance refers to exposure to the gliadin molecule and to a specific inflammatory reaction taking place in the smallintestineof afflictedindividuals. In fact, gliadin intolerance would be a more scientifically accurate term than gluten intolerance to refer to this condition. Gliadin is a polypeptide, a long chain of amino acids, which is present in the gluten protein portion of certain grains and also in soybeans.

Some of these grains have lower concentrations of both gluten and gliadin than wheat does, but any food containing this specific gliadin, even from a lower concentration food source, is not well-tolerated by people with sub-clinical gluten intolerance.  This dietary restriction eliminates bread, pasta, bagels, and cereals.

Safe Glutens

Rice, corn, buckwheat, and millet have glutens, but the glutens in these foods do not contain the gliadin molecule that can provoke the inflammatory reaction, therefore they are usually safe.  Other safe grains include quinoa and amaranth. In some cases people are allergic to rice, corn, buckwheat or millet, independent of the reaction to gluten/gliadin. Reading labels can be very misleading; don’t trust them.  Some companies list their products as gluten free, without understanding the scientific basis of the problem with gliadin.  This subject is confusing and there is much misinformation about gluten and gliadin. To clarify, gliadin, the molecule that causes the problem, is present in some, but not all gluten containing foods. People with this  problem must avoid glutens from the grains of wheat, rye, barley, kamut, spelt, teff  and couscous.

Physiological effects of sub-clinical Gluten Intolerance

In those with sub-clinical gluten intolerance gliadin causes a mucotoxic inflammatory reaction as it comes into contact with the wall of the small intestine. This reaction usually goes unnoticed at first.  In fact, this low-grade inflammation may go undetected for years or even decades before it results in the expression of symptoms.  The ultimate effect of this hidden wear and tear is the slow destruction of the healthy mucosa, or lining tissue of the small intestine.  In some cases there may be symptoms in childhood such as allergies, asthma, reoccurring infections, a constant upset stomach, or milk intolerance.  Often these symptoms fade in the early adult years only for the problem to reappear when a person is between 30 and 60 years of age.

The following grains and starches contain gluten

  • Wheat
  • What Germ
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous

The following foods often contain gluten

  • Graham flour
  • Kamut Matzo
  • Semolina
  • Spelt
  • Triticale
  • Farina
  • malt/malt flavoring
  • soups
  • commercial bullion and broths
  • cold cuts
  • French Fries (dusted w/flour before freezing)
  • processed cheese (Velveeta)
  • mayonnaise
  • sausage
  • non-dairy creamer
  • fried vegetables/tempura
  • gravy
  • marinades
  • canned baked beans
  • cereals
  • commercially prepared chocolate milk
  • breaded foods
  • fruit fillings and puddings
  • hot dogs
  • ice cream
  • root beer
  • energy bars
  • ketchup
  • malt vinegar
  • soy sauce and teriyaki sauce
  • salad dressings
  • imitation crab meat, bacon
  • egg substitute
  • tabbouleh
  • trail mix
  • syrups
  • instant hot drinks
  • flavored coffees
  • vodka
  • wine coolers
  • meatballs
  • veggie burgers
  • roasted nuts
  • beer
  • oats (unless certified G/F)
  • oat bran (unless certified G/F)
  • blue cheese

Common food ingredients that contain gluten

  • Dextrin
  • Fermented grain extract
  • Hydrolysate
  • Hydrolyzed malt extract
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Maltodextrin
  • Tocopherol/Vitamin E
  • Yeast extract
  • Natural flavoring
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Modified food starch
  • Hydrolyzed sot protein
  • Carmel color (usually made from Barley)