What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It is also present in the ancient forms of wheat, known as kamut and spelt.

This protein is responsible for the elasticity of dough that helps baked goods bind together.

What is Gluten Free Foods?

Foods that do not contain gluten include corn, potatoes, rice, tapioca, amaranth, arrowroot, millet, *oats, quinoa, nuts, and legumes.

*Oats are grown in fields on a rotational basis with wheat, thus giving them a risk for cross contamination. 

What about Soy?

Pure soybeans do not have gluten in them, since the gluten protein responsible for reactions in celiac disease and gluten sensitivity only occurs in the grains wheat, barley and rye.

But unfortunately, that’s not the end of the story for soy and gluten.  Soybeans commonly are grown in rotation with wheat crops. That means the farmers use the same fields to grow soy and wheat, along with the same combines to harvest them, the same storage facilities to keep them and the same trucks to transport them to market. As a result, soy can be subject to gluten cross-contamination — in some cases, lots of gluten cross-contamination. For example, a 2010 study by celiac dietitian Tricia Thompson on gluten in so-called ‘gluten-free’ grains found that soy was one of the worst offenders — in fact, one sample of soy flour contained a whopping 2,925 parts per million of gluten (for comparison, less than 20 parts per million generally is considered “gluten-free,” although many people react to even less gluten than that).  http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/Gluten-Free-Grains/f/Is-Soy-Gluten-Free.htm

Most Soy Sauce is a no go. But, you’d be surprised to learn that a number of naturally brewed soy sauces are technically gluten-free.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce  is gluten free.  http://www.soya.be/reports/gluten-free-soy-sauce.pdf

Grains and Your Health

Regular exercise and eating a nutritious diet that includes whole grains can help you maintain a healthy weight. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends grain products as one of the four pillars to maintaining a healthy diet. Here are some facts and tips to help you incorporate whole grains into your diet.

  • Whole grains include wheat, barley, rye, triticale, oats, buckwheat, coloured rice (black, brown and red), wild rice, corn, quinoa, millet, sorghum, amaranth, einkorn, spelt, kamut and teff.
  • Whole grains can be eaten whole, cracked, split or ground. They can be milled into flour and used to make breads, cereals, pasta and other foods.
  • Consumers should look for the first  ingredient on the food’s label to contain the words “whole grain whole wheat flour,” whole grain,” “whole rye,” “whole oats,” “whole barley,” or      “oatmeal” to ensure that the item mainly consists of whole grains. http://www.healthygrains.ca/whole-grains-101/

According to Health Canada, approximately one percent of the population has celiac disease, a digestive disorder caused by an auto immune reaction to gluten. Official numbers are not available, but it is estimated that 90 per cent of those with celiac disease are still undiagnosed. Many are misdiagnosed with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia or allergies. The Canadian Celiac Health Survey of 2,681 biopsy-proven adults with celiac disease found the average delay in diagnosis was 11 years. Emerging research has revealed that some individuals have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Many symptoms are similar to celiac disease. Common symptoms of those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity include abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhoea or constipation, headaches and tingling in the extremities. The only treatment for celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a gluten-free diet. Health Canada and the Professional Advisory Board of the Canadian Celiac Association urge people not to start a gluten-free diet before undergoing testing, because omitting gluten from the diet can prevent a correct diagnosis.