The “Modern” U.S. Gluten-Free Diet

The “Modern” U.S. Gluten-Free Diet

In Honor of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Gluten Free Watchdog is writing a series of articles (the goal is one per day during the month of May) related to the gluten-free diet–currently the ONLY treatment for celiac disease.  

Post (#12)…

The gluten-free diet has evolved since it’s early beginnings and now excludes barley (and occasionally oats) in addition to wheat and rye…

Grains excluded from a gluten-free diet:

  • Wheat
    • All grain varieties, including spelt
    • Most forms of wheat
      • Wheat flour
      • Wheat starch (unless labeled gluten-free)
      • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Rye
  • Barley
    • Most forms of barley
      • Malt
      • Malt extract
      • Malt syrup
  • Cross-bred varieties of wheat, barley, and rye
    • Triticale
  • Oats NOT labeled gluten-free

ALL OTHER GRAINS AND PSEUDO-CEREALS CAN BE INCLUDED IN A GLUTEN-FREE DIET PROVIDED THEY ARE NOT CONTAMINATED WITH WHEAT, BARLEY, OR RYE

Grain taxonomy helps explain why…

That wheat, rye, and barley are the grains found to be harmful to folks with celiac disease makes sense if you are familiar with grain taxonomy. These grains all belong to the same tribe (Hordeae) under the same subfamily (Festucoideae) of the grass (Gramineae) family. Other grains belong to either different tribes or a different subfamily.

The pseudo-cereals (only grasses are considered cereals) buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa belong to a different subclass of plants. They are dicots while cereal grains are monocots. These pseudo-cereals are far more closely related to spinach and rhubarb than they are to wheat, barley, and rye.

Note: A huge thank you to Donald Kasarda, PhD who allowed me to combine his taxonomic charts for use in the above publication (see photo). Dr. Kasarda is retired from the USDA but he did so much to further our understanding of grains that can and can not be included in gluten-free diets and why. His taxonomic charts are easy-to-understand visual aids. Dr. Kasarda is one of my heroes.

Tomorrow’s post: What exactly is gluten?

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