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Ask The Nutritonist

Ask the Nutritionist

Sandra asks:  My son’s IgG test shows that he has a gluten sensitivity. What foods should he avoid, and what are some ingredients we should look for when checking food labels?

Answer: Your son’s IgG test shows that his body is reacting to gluten which is a protein molecule found in wheat, rye and barley. Other grains have “glutens” as well, but they are usually not as troublesome. It is recommended that people with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten (non-celiac gluten sensitivity) adopt a gluten-free diet.

The FDA requires labeling of true “allergens” (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans), but not for gluten. So, buyers need to beware when shopping for gluten-free items. Since many people are intolerant to gluten, or feel better when reducing their consumption, we increasingly see gluten-free labeling on many products. However, it is not mandatory to do so by law.

Here are some things to avoid when shopping for gluten-free foods (unless the product specifically says gluten-free)

  • wheat
  • rye
  • barley
  • triticale
  • kamut
  • couscous
  • many breads, wraps, tortillas
  • cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes
  • pastas, gnocchi, noodles
  • snack and energy bars, some candy
  • drink mixes, certain chocolate milk
  • many meat substitutes
  • processed lunch meats and some cheeses
  • canned soup and soup mixes
  • puddings and instant dessert mixes
  • some ice cream
  • many breakfast cereals
  • french fries, other fried foods
  • many condiments like soy sauce, bbq sauce, salad dressings, spice blends, gravy mixes, malt vinegar

Luckily, today there are many good-tasting gluten-free products on the market, so it’s not that hard to go gluten-free anymore. You just have to be a good label reader! To help you when you are out shopping or dining, there are some handy gluten-free apps for your phone that help you identify gluten-free foods if the label doesn’t say so. They are available for iOS and Android.

The best gluten-free foods are the ones that don’t even need an ingredient label, like fresh meats and fish, fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes, nuts and seeds. Make sure to make these a part of your son’s healthy gluten-free diet as well.

If you want more information, check out the following resources:

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