EXTENSION CONNECTION: Information on gluten-free foods

Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 04:03 PM.

Have you noticed food labels in our grocery stores over the last 10 years? They have changed significantly and sometimes read like a science textbook with nutrition jargon.

One of the newer things seen on foods is "gluten free." Many people are promoting these foods as a healthful way to eat.

So what is the big deal about gluten?

Dr. Amy Simonne and others at the University of Florida have developed a three-part series about gluten that provides straightforward, research-based facts.

As additional research is conducted, some of us may need a broader understanding of the issues surrounding these topics. We want to be wise consumers and avoid sway from marketing strategies.

So what is gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins, gliadins and glutenins found primarily in wheat, rye or barley. It can trigger digestive, immune or autoimmune system difficulties for people with identified food allergies, food intolerances or food sensitivities. Before looking specifically at gluten, it is important to understand the differences between a food allergy, food intolerance and food sensitivity.

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