Have You Ever Wondered 107

... if a wheat allergy is the same as gluten intolerance (celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy)? No, they're two different conditions: different physiological responses, treated in different ways. With a wheat allergy, wheat products and foods made with wheat products must be avoided. If you're allergic to wheat, you can consume wheat substitutes, including oats, rye, and barley. See "Gluten Intolerance: Often a Lifelong Condition" in this chapter for ways to cope.

ferent flavor and texture to baked foods, using these flours takes practice and experimentation.

  • Keep up-to-date with food products so you can choose gluten-free foods. Contact food manufacturers for their current ingredient lists. As you know, recipes for prepared foods change. You'll find the company name, address, and perhaps a toll-free consumer information service number on the food label.
  • Eating away from home? Pack gluten-free foods. Read restaurant menus carefully, and ask questions. If you're a guest in someone's home, tell him or her about your special food needs ahead, and offer to bring food. For more tips on ordering from a menu, see "Restaurant Eater's Tip List" in chapter 14.
  • Find local and national support groups to share information and recipes with others with the same condition. Many support groups publish lists of acceptable food products by brand name. That makes shopping and following a gluten-free diet easier. A registered dietitian can help you find a support group.

consistency you expect. Without them our food supply likely would be far more limited. See "Additives: Safe at the Plate " in chapter 9 for more on food additives.

Except on rare occasions, we consume many food additives without side effects. For those who do experience adverse reactions, the response is commonly an intolerance—not a true allergy—to the additive.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food additives; food intolerances and allergies are considered in the approval process. Certain food additives—preservatives, colors, and flavors— are linked more commonly to food sensitivities than others. How strong is the link? Read on.

For the Sulfite-Sensitive

Have you ever wondered why dried apricots and dehydrated potatoes list "sulfites" on the ingredient list of a food label? Sulfites help prevent certain foods from browning, such as light-colored fruits, dried fruits, and vegetables. In beer, wine, and other fermented foods, sulfites slow the growth of bacteria.

The term "sulfites" is a catchall, referring to a variety of additives commonly used in food. Usually they have "sulf" in their names. Sulfites may be listed on food labels as sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfite, sodium or potassium bisulfite, sodium or potassium metabisulfite sulfurous acid, and sodium dithionite.

Sulfites, as part of a varied diet, pose no risk of side effects for most of us. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that one out of 100 people is sensitive to sulfites. Asthmatics more often react to sulfites, and the reaction may be severe.

For those who are sulfite-sensitive, reactions may

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