What does gluten-free mean? This is a common question for anyone with food allergies, dietary restrictions, or an interest in organic eating. As certified functional nutritionists and the founders of Organic'ly, we're very passionate about this topic.
What Does it Mean to be Gluten-Free?
Gluten can have a significant effect on autoimmune disease and other health issues, and it hits close to home for us (Jen has Hashimoto's).
The gluten protein is actually considered a lectin. Lectins are part of a plant's chemical defense mechanism. Plants produce lectins to trigger an adverse reaction, which is why gluten can cause issues like inflammation throughout the body.
Wheat, rye, and barley all contain gluten proteins. So if you need to go gluten-free, those are the grains that you'd eliminate from your diet.
This is a concern because many are sensitive to gluten-containing foods. And some have a more severe gluten intolerance. People with celiac disease, for example, have to avoid gluten at all costs because their bodies cannot process gluten.
Why Removing Gluten From Your Diet is Trending
Celiac disease only affects about 1% of the population, but approximately 13% of the population has a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which can cause health issues like:
- Digestive problems
But the pendulum has swung the other way, and now everybody seems to be gluten-free, even when they may not need to be. It's really just those that have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, but sometimes people can't pinpoint what exactly is causing gut distress or other symptoms.
What Should Shoppers Look For in Gluten-Free Products?
Read the packaging and labels! That's the most important thing to make sure you know what you're getting. Most gluten-free food products nowadays will say "gluten-free" right on the front of the packaging However, if you see an ingredient like wheat listed without a "gluten-free" label somewhere on the packaging, you can be sure that food contains gluten.
Looking for an all-organic, gluten-free baking mix you can trust? Click here to see our products.