Nick came home super early from poker last night (he lost, big time) and therefore I was unable to watch The Biggest Loser. Stay tuned for a full review soon, but if you want one now, check out Angie’s Blog, she is an RD and did a review very similar to mine.

Wheat Free Vs. Gluten-free

I get this question a lot; “What’s the difference between gluten-free and wheat-free?”

Here is the definition of gluten, from Wikipedia:
Gluten is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. These exist, conjoined with starch, in the endosperms of some grass-related grains, notably wheat, rye, and barley. Gliadin and glutenin comprise about 80% of the protein contained in wheat seed. Being insoluble in water, they can be purified by washing away the associated starch.

If food is “gluten-free”, it doesn’t contain wheat, barley, or rye (and sometimes oats) but if a food is “wheat-free” it could still contain gluten from of rye, oats, or barley. People with Celiac Disease stay away from wheat because it contains gluten, which is a protein. I need to stay away from wheat because of its high fructose content. Fructose is not a protein, it’s a monosaccharide (sugar). I have no problems with gluten (well, I still need to be tested) therefore I can consume barley, oats, and rye. When I consume foods that are high in fructose, it will bypass my small intestine and get fermented by bacteria in my large intestine. This fermentation causes gas and bloating (no fun).

A lesson in molecular biology: Sugar, or sucrose, is a disaccharide that is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. I can eat sucrose because of the equal amount of glucose aids in the absorption of an equal amount of fructose. When one molecule of glucose gets absorbed, it can take along with it one molecule of fructose. Therefore there is no problem. High-fructose corn syrup (which I normally don’t try to avoid, as it’s not any worse for you than regular sugar. Everything in moderation, right?!) has a bit more fructose (~55%), therefore I will may absorb it because of the lack of enough glucose to help absorb the extra fructose (~45% glucose).

Celiac disease is actually an auto-immune disease, unlike fructose intolerance. When someone with Celiac disease consumes gluten their body will react by increasing the inflammation in their small intestine (as a way to “fight the offender”). The villi in the small intestine, which normally aids in the absorption of nutrients, will shorten or flatten, thus will be unable to aid in the absorption of nutrients. Learn more about Celiac Disease here.

Another reader showed me this website, with fructose-friendly recipes. I will be using this site in the future. Check it out if you’re interested.

Coming Up

Tomorrow I will post my Biggest Loser Review, then on Friday my friend from high school (who currently lives in New York City) will be posting her recipe for tempeh meatloaf!

Our business has a great blog on which I recently started posting. Click here to view the post about the “fiber” found in your yogurt and sweeteners. Click here for my most recent post about sugar, and the latest recommendations.

Thanks for reading, and have a great evening/day!