You may have noticed that in recent years the grocery store shelves have contained more and more products being advertised as gluten free. If you don't have any dietary restrictions, you may not even know what gluten is. However, you should be familiar with gluten and gluten free diets, especially if you work with catering companies in Toronto, because an increasing number of people are being put on this type of diet for medical reasons. Let this article serve as your introduction.

The first question you'll need answered is: what is gluten? Gluten is a protein found naturally in all forms of wheat. Gluten is also extracted from wheat and used in other types of products as an additive to improve the taste or thicken a mixture. When used as an additive in food from fitness clubs in Toronto, it can often go undetected unless allergy sufferers learn to recognize its other names in product packages, which include dextrose and glucose syrup.

Therefore anyone who is on a gluten free diet has a long list of foods he or she is unable to eat. Anything containing wheat can cause a reaction, and a surprising amount of foods contain wheat or gluten by products. When staying at a Niagara Falls hotel, for example, people on gluten free diets would have to avoid bread, beer, flour, barley, bran, cereal, cookies, couscous, graham, malt, matzo, pasta, rye, teriyaki sauce, some non-dairy creamers, syrups, spirits, and sausages, which can contain wheat filler.

Because there is a possibility of allergic reaction if a person on a gluten free diet encounters these foods, even cross contamination from earlier food product launches or contaminated utensils is to be avoided. Foods such as rice, ground almonds, corn, corn meal, arrowroot, beans, buckwheat, cheeses, chickpeas, cocoa, coconut, vegetables, fruit, potatoes, and soy are safe for people on these diets and are often uses to substitute for wheat flour in commonly prepared dishes.

So what might cause a person to be on a gluten free diet? The most dire situation you might encounter is a wheat allergy which is severe enough to cause an anaphylactic reaction, but this is rare. The most common reason for a gluten free diet is Celiac disease, which is similar to lactose intolerance in that the person's system is unable to tolerate or break down wheat gluten. Gluten free diets are also theorized to be useful in Autism treatment and prevention.

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