Gluten intolerance is sensitivity to the protein gluten, which is commonly found in many types of grains (specifically wheat, barley, oats (?) and rye). The intolerance is a genetic condition that affects approximately one in every 150 Americans.
Gluten intolerance occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly identifies the protein gluten as foreign. This leads to and immune response, inflammation and damage in the lower digestive tract.
Damage to the small intestine can occur when a person with gluten intolerance consumes even a small amount of gluten. This damage can result in a number of symptoms, including abdominal pain and diarrhea. The damage can also weaken the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food or the gut lining can become, "leaky", a condition known as Leaky Gut Syndrome.
In my experience, gluten intolerance can be a "silent" problem. Patients will not know that gluten is affecting them in a deleterious way because they do not have digestive complaints. However, gluten is strongly linked to immune system imbalances and Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, an auto-immune thyroid disorder, which is now the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States.
Foods to avoid:
Meat products - prepared with breadcrumbs or batter, sausages and other processed meats or thickened soups, meat pies and frozen meals.
Cereal and baking products – wheat, semolina, couscous, wheat bran, barley, oats, porridge, breakfast cereals containing wheat, rye, oats or barley, corn or rice cereals containing malt extract, some icing sugar mixtures and baking powder.
Pasta and noodles – spaghetti, pasta, lasagna, gnocchi, soba noodles and two-minute noodles.
Bread, cakes and biscuits – all bread, cakes and biscuits prepared with flours from a gluten source.
Condiments – malt vinegar, many mustards, relishes, pickles, salad dressings, sauces, gravy and yeast extracts.