A gluten free life

gluten foodsThis weekend we attended the Gluten free Expo in Melbourne. How fantastic to see so many products now available gluten free.

Why would you be gluten free?

Here’s what we learnt at the GF Expo – there can be a range of reasons. Firstly you may have Coeliac Disease, where the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats), which can cause small bowel damage and inflammatory responses throughout the body. A tiny bit of gluten can do your body a lot of damage with cross contamination being a major problem when you are gluten free.

Or you may be gluten free because you have a sensitivity to gluten. This may cause a number of different symptoms leaving the gluten sensitive sufferer unwell.

Why do foods contain gluten?

Because it is great for sticking things together! Gluten creates structure for baked goods, it is sticky, strong and stretchy.

Some foods, such as bread, need more than others. Gluten is regularly used in processed foods as a thickener and starch.

When you are gluten free, reading and understanding the ingredients on packaging is vital.

At the GF Expo we talked to one lady recently diagnosed with Coeliac disease who had been unwell during the week because she had eaten a muesli bar labelled ‘wheat free’. She only realised after eating the bar and becoming ill that ‘wheat free’ does not mean gluten free.

BUT there is another reason you may be on a gluten free diet – because you have been diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption.

What is Fructose Malabsorption?

It’s when your body is not able to process fructose and also ‘fructans’. Fructans are chains of fructose found in a number of foods including wheat, rye and barley, thus following a gluten free diet.

The fructose goes directly to your large colon where there’s lots of bacteria waiting to have a sugar feast causing sufferers to exhibit similar symptoms to irritable bowel syndrome. It is estimated that 30% of the adult population has Fructose Malabsorption.

If you have been diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption you will probably have an individual diet tailored to your level of sensitivity to a range of foods. At The Sugar Breakup we have lots of gluten free recipes using our dextrose so those with Fructose Malabsorption can still enjoy delicious goodies.

We kept an eye out for fructose free foods at the GF Expo.

Sadly many foods were loaded up with sugar to enhance their taste and shelf life. But there were some glimmers of hope out there.

Fingers crossed that one day there will be as many products available fructose free as there are gluten free.

Note: The above is provided for information purposes only. Please consult your GP if you think you have Coeliacs disease, gluten sensitivity or Fructose Malabsorption.

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