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Gluten Free

Statistically speaking, gluten intolerances are on the rise. Though gluten free ranges are wider and considerably tastier than they once were, gluten free produce at Wholefoody can offer the added benefits of being organic, wholefood produce much of the time. Meaning it’s easier than ever to eat a healthy, balanced diet while avoiding gluten.

What do we mean by “gluten free” produce?

When we talk about gluten free products, there are actually a couple of definitions. To keep it simple, we’ve broken it down into three categories:

  1. Naturally Gluten Free refers to produce that is entirely natural and contains no gluten. Self-explanatory, right?
    Naturally gluten free products include things like apples or chickpeas. However, to avoid gluten altogether and to avoid cross contamination with other products, you should always clean these kinds of foods, especially for those with a severe intolerance to gluten or coeliacs.

  2. No Gluten Containing Ingredients, abbreviated to NGCI, means a product that does not contain any ingredients that have gluten in. It also means that the product was produced under strict procedures to reduce cross-contamination.
    However, some ingredients are difficult (if not impossible) to clean, such as flour. Depending on how severe your intolerance to gluten is, you may want to give these products a miss and opt for…

  3. Gluten Free. Which is pretty much exactly as described. When a product has a gluten free certification it means that it contains less than 20 parts gluten per million parts. Sometimes you’ll see this written as <20PPM. These products are suitable for even the most severe gluten intolerances, and for coeliacs, too.

At Wholefoody, if you see a product labelled with any of the above-mentioned three labels, you can be confident we’ve checked it out. However, occasionally a manufacturer will change their recipe, so it’s always helpful to double check the packaging on the product.

If you buy a product from Wholefoody that turns out to be incorrectly labelled, please get in touch and we’ll sort it for you.

What is gluten intolerance?

So there you have it, those are the types of labels we use on products for those with gluten intolerances, or coeliacs. But gluten intolerances can be hard to pin down and diagnose, so here’s a little summary of exactly what it is.

A gluten sensitivity or intolerance can range from incredibly mild, to severe. And as you can imagine, it also encompasses the entire range between the two. Gluten sensitivities are also undergoing research to determine whether it’s linked to certain psychological and neurological conditions, but we’ll not get into that here.

Taking it right back to basics, “gluten” comes from the Latin, and (you’ve guessed it), means “glue”. It’s not actually glue, but it’s the name we used for the protein we find in products like wheat, rye and barley. It’s also commonly used as a food additive, and even in some cosmetics and toiletries (though we wouldn’t recommend anyone try eating those).

Gluten isn’t exclusive to grains though, it’s also present in lots of everyday foods. Ice cream? Contains gluten. Baked beans? Yup. Beer? Unfortunately, yes.

We often mention gluten intolerance or sensitivity in the same sentence as coeliac disease. That’s because they’re similar, but not the same. However, they’re both improved by removing gluten from your diet.

Coeliac disease is much like a gluten sensitivity, but is also an auto-immune disease. When coeliacs eat gluten, the body’s immune system attacks itself, causing damage to the small intestine. The result of this is the body struggles to properly absorb nutrients, leading to weight loss, diarrhoea and eventually serious malnutrition.

This can be helped by avoiding products that contain gluten, though some coeliacs also find they struggle with foods that contain avenin, like oats. Avenin is similar to gluten, and sometimes found in small amounts in cereals.

Is “wheat free” the same as “gluten free”?

Though gluten is found in wheat, a product labelled as “wheat free” isn’t the same as “gluten free”. Products without wheat may still contain other grains such as rye or barley, which means they’re unsuitable for people with gluten intolerances of coeliac disease.

Similarly, gluten free products may contain other proteins found in wheat, such as albumins, globulins and starch granules. This means that a product labelled as gluten free might not be suitable for someone with a wheat allergy. Swings and roundabouts.

A wheat allergy or intolerance can often be difficult to identify, as many of us eat so many products that contain wheat or wheat products that we adapt to cope with the discomfort they can cause. Wheat is a cheap and cheerful bulking agent, which means it’s present in all sorts of foods you wouldn’t think contained wheat. However, if you experience mild symptoms, you might find that cutting out wheat and wheat products helps.

Are wheat and gluten intolerances related to lactose intolerance?

While we’re discussing intolerances, we may as well cover lactose intolerance too, as they are sometimes linked.

Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar found in milk and dairy products; it can cause similar symptoms to wheat and gluten intolerance, such as stomach pains, a sick or bloated feeling, and diarrhoea.

Milk from most animals contains lactose, such as cows, goats, sheep and even humans! Which means that none of these are suitable for those with lactose intolerance. In fact, the only real treatment for such an intolerance is to avoid dairy products.

At Wholefoody, we offer a wide range of alternatives to milk and dairy products, made using nuts, soya, oats, rice quinoa and more. Many of these alternatives also contain added calcium, to make up for the calcium lost by avoiding dairy.

Many people with a gluten sensitivity find that they also struggle with lactose intolerance, however, the links are unclear. Most of the time, cutting out gluten helps the gut to heal, and therefore the lactose intolerance is often only temporary.

Gluten Free Products from Wholefoody

Gluten free products from Wholefoody are always clearly labelled and easy to identify. We offer a wide range of foods for those with gluten intolerances, sensitivities, and coeliacs; many of which can be bought in bulk. However, we recommend trying a small amount of a new product first.