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Eating Gluten-Free

Little River County, Ark. –

What is gluten? Why are people avoiding it? Gluten is the protein found in grains such as wheat, barely, and rye. The protein helps to form the consistency that we are used to with our bread.  Some people follow a gluten free diet by choice.  People with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance must follow a gluten free diet all of their lives per their doctor’s order. If someone has celiac disease and they consume gluten it can be harmful to their health. About one percent of the US population has celiac disease. An estimated five to ten percent of the population has gluten intolerance.

Gluten is found in any food that contains wheat, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), barley and rye. People who do not have celiac disease but choose to cut out foods with gluten from their diet may feel better because they will have cut out many refined foods such as desserts and processed foods that contain gluten.  You can read on the food label to determine if a food has gluten in it. If you need a gluten free diet, look for the gluten-free label on the food products you purchase.

There are many naturally gluten-free foods. Some of these foods that naturally do not contain gluten include nuts, oils, and rice. You can choose brown rice or quinoa to get a serving of whole grains that will also be gluten free.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free foods. Beans, fresh meats, and fresh eggs are naturally gluten-free as well.

Processed foods may contain gluten or may come into contact with gluten while being made. Many foods such as candy, gravy, rice mixes, sauces, and soups that are sold in stores may contain gluten. You have to read every food label to find out if the product contains gluten.

Many stores will carry gluten-free options if you just talk with the manager. If you go out to eat, talk with the server at the restaurant to let them know you need gluten-free menu options. Lots of restaurants now have gluten-free options.

Call the Little River County Extension office at (870) 898-7224 or email for gluten-free recipes and more information on eating gluten-free.  There are handouts on gluten available in the extension office at any time. Always feel free to stop by our office at 1411 N Constitution Ave in Ashdown to receive more information. The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas Research and Extension. The Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.
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By Celeste Scarborough, MS, RD, LD
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Celeste Scarborough, MS, RD, LD
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
1411 N Constitution Ave Ashdown AR 71822
(870) 898-7224

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.