In the last several years, an increasing amount of attention has been paid to gluten sensitivities and their associated health problems. However, while this has led to a greater availability of gluten-free foods and better labeling practices, things can still be very difficult for people from problems with gluten. In order to stay in good health and prevent the unpleasant symptoms of gluten exposure, it’s essential to take all measures necessary to keep it out of your diet. It’s hard enough for them to give up their old favorite foods and to lose the ability to dine out, but there are other obstacles that can make avoiding the substance tedious if you don’t know what to look for. Here are some of the things you can do to successfully maintain a gluten-free diet.

Research Ingredients

Although they’ve improved over the years, labeling laws in this country still have a long way to go. Currently, there is no legislation mandating that manufacturers have to reveal the components of secondary ingredients. A good example of this is brown rice syrup, which is widely used in gluten-free foods and beverages as a sweetener. Even if the product itself was not made with gluten, the brown rice syrup it contains most likely was. Many companies that produce this sweetener do so using barley, which also contains gluten. This example highlights the importance of thoroughly researching everything you buy.

Deceptive Marketing

As many people know, the world of marketing is often dishonest and unethical. Unfortunately, this also extends to the marketing of many gluten-free products. It’s common for things like cookies, cakes, crackers and flours to say ‘gluten-free’ on the label, but shockingly, that doesn’t mean much. A careful look at the back of the package will reveal that they were actually manufactured in a facility or on equipment that has been used to process wheat. Obviously, these foods aren’t safe for people who suffer from real problems with gluten. More often than not, they’re meant for people who are gluten-free because it’s the newest trendy diet fad.

Restaurants

It can feel very socially isolating to give up dining out with family and friends, but that’s the price of sound health for someone who can’t tolerate gluten. Some people with these problems still try, making numerous very specific demands to the restaurant staff in hopes that their meal won’t make them sick. However, this is an exercise in futility. Even if the cook avoids putting wheat directly into your food, the risk of cross-contamination is extremely high. For your sake, as well as that of the poor kitchen workers, it’s better to avoid trying to eat out.