Questions and Answers on GLUTEN
(Part 1)

What is Gluten?

Gluten is what gives flour its doughy elastic consistency and what makes it chewy, which is why over the centuries, gluten-containing grains have come to be used so extensively in breads and other baked goods. It is made up of a group of several subfractions or families of proteins contained in certain grains, the commonest one being wheat. The 2 most studied subfractions are gliadins and glutenins. Different grain species, subspecies, and varieties contain varying proportions of glutenins and gliadins, with wheat containing the most. Gliadin is found in all gluten grains except oats.

Where do you find Gluten?

The commonest gluten grains are wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, kamut, couscous, triticale, bulgur and semolina but there are others too, including, durum, seitan, faro, emmer, graham, malt and einkorn.
But it is hidden in so many things especially processed foods often used as additives or to bulk up foods. Some hidden sources include soup mixes, sauces, soy sauce, candies, salad dressings, frozen meatballs, cold cuts, low and no fat foods to name just a few.

They often appear labeled as “modified food starch.” Malts Starches Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) Texturized vegetable protein (TVP) Natural flavoring. Unfortunately, gluten is a staple of the American diet.

For a complete list of foods that contain gluten, check out has a long list of label ingredients that typically contain hidden gluten.

Unfortunately, food manufacturers are not required by law to identify all possible sources of gluten on their product labels, so reading the label may not be enough.

Some medications, herbal supplements, and vitamins may contain gluten as a binding agent. And even lipstick, stamps and envelopes you have to lick, and Play-Doh often contain some too.

Non gluten grains include buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, rice and millet.

Why do you recommend removing Gluten from one’s diet so often?

This is true, I often do. The 2 diets I use frequently in my practice, the Be Well Cleanse diet and the Be Well Daily Living Eating Plan have gluten removed. This is because gluten grains have specific proteins, the most studied being “gliadin” which causes our immune system to react in such a way that it is responding to a foreign body. In my experience most people have a problem digesting gluten grains. It is not well understood although well described. In many people the body responds differently to gluten grains to the way it responds to nourishing foods. It can cause celiac disease, which is one end of the spectrum, but in the majority of patients who are intolerant to these grains, they have a non celiac gluten sensitivity which causes an immune reaction which can lead to a slow wearing down of one’s system. The reaction to gluten grains creates inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. The majority of people who have a gluten sensitivity, suffer chronically from a vague unwellness, which Dr’s don’t diagnose. It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases” and to correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause–which is often gluten sensitivity. For anyone has any chronic illness, I always remove gluten from the diet initially.

There are so many people who are suffering from gluten intolerance and are not aware of it…it is estimated that 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t know it. Their symptoms typically aren’t specific, and are often not even related to the GI tract, so they rarely think it could be gluten triggering it. And finally, there is a large group of people who have a “latent” form of gluten sensitivity, where their immune systems develop a response to gluten when triggered by certain conditions. The bottom line is celiac disease and gluten sensitivity masquerade as many other diseases with different names.

What’s the difference between Celiac disease and Gluten sensitivity?

With gluten intolerance, as with most illnesses, there is a continuum of disease, from mild gluten sensitivity to full-blown celiac disease. That means that celiac disease is just one subset of gluten intolerance.

Gluten sensitivity is much more common than full blown celiac disease. It is believed that celiac occurs in about 1% of Americans, whereas gluten sensitivity or where some immune reaction occurs to gluten occurs in at least 1 in 3 Americans. This is why so many people who are chronically ill or who have undiagnosed problems or just have a vague feeling of unwellness do so well when they stop gluten. Gluten sensitivity does not show up on blood tests for celiac, but it can still produce many symptoms.

It is not unusual for people to develop gluten sensitivity and even celiac disease later in life, It’s unclear why this happens.

Why is Gluten sensitivity so common?

Many people eat grains daily because they are so abundant and cheap, especially wheat. The commonest gluten grain that people have a problem with is wheat. This is because modern wheat is very different from the wheat our ancestors ate. American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. The proportion of gluten protein in wheat has increased enormously as a result of hybridization too. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has “infected” nearly all wheat strains in America. Until the 19th century, wheat was also usually mixed with other grains, beans and nuts; pure wheat flour has been milled into refined white flour only during the last 200 years.

A study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period.

  • This is one great discussion regarding gluten intolerance. I knew I had gluten intolerance just until I had some couple of symptoms showing on my body. I really had a hard time coping with this problem. Looking for gluten-free food is also a pain in the head!

  • cleangirl

    I find that gluten free foods are now appearing on the store shelves…I just hope they continue to keep their integrity, as many food crazes are used as a way to get consumers to buy, such as fat free, low salt, etc. It seems that most of the gf food companies are genuinely interested in health and welfare of the people and the planet.

    Having said that, I do think we have a long road ahead of us in continuing to change the food industry.

  • Victoriacorkhill

    Is there any thing you can do when you are gluten free and accidentally eat some thing with gluten and have a severe reaction. 

  • gluten


    Site!  I had a terrible time trying to
    diagnose what was wrong with me. 
    Terrible cramps and pains from eating just one little bite of gluten.  Once I found all the hidden traces of gluten
    in my diet things changed dramatically for the better!  I’ve found some very weird foods along the
    way that contain gluten like vinegar and medicine?  It wasn’t easy but it was fun trying out all
    the new ingredients with new gluten free recipes.

  • Ed

    QUESTION…..What if I dip a spoon that is glutent


    into a glutend free dish of food. Will that be enougth to

    contaminate to food?

  • the hollow leg

    I have a severe gluten allergy. I have found that when I take glutenease before eating or even after I begin to show symptoms I do feel a little better. This may be a good thing for you to try. I know results will vary per individual. Wishing you the best of luck! for your gluten-free lifestyle.

  • gluten migraines

    Went on a no-sugar, no-flour diet to lose weight. I lost 15 pounds, but with an added bonus. After suffering migraines since a child, I am now migraine free. We now believe that wheat gluten was the problem all along. I recently used a McCormick stew seasoning mix which clearly indicated wheat gluten in the ingredients, but because it also said no MSG or artificial flavorings I decided to try it. The migraines came back immediately, and slowly disappeared after a couple days after eating the stew. I am now convinced that gluten is and always has been the reason for my migraines, which were getting worse as I aged.

  • John3:16

    What a positive attitude you have towards the whole thing!

  • Anonymous

    I found it amazing that I can’t eat wheat processed in America yet I bought some cookies that were made in Holland and they didn’t bother me the least bit! My doctor says it’s got to do with the way America processes their wheat.

  • peccary

    Would having a wheat dinner roll placed on the same plate as a gluten free salad cause a problem? The roll did sit on the edge of some of the lettuce in the salad.