Gluten is becoming an ever-increasing concern in the Western diet. The volume of people with wheat allergies or sensitivities across the spectrum is on the rise; it’s estimated that the general risk of developing celiac disease in the U.S. is 1:100. (1)
Given the gastronomic climate, cooks are always on the lookout for gluten-free alternatives.
A cookie is arguably the perfect sweet treat. Taste and texture make or break the success of this little hand-held dessert and wheat flour’s texture in baking is hard to beat. We’ve done some research for you to find recipes for gluten free cookies that will deliver all the satisfaction of a regular cookie using without using wheat.
Gluten and Celiac’s Disease
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the breakdown of gluten in the small intestine. The body perceives gluten as an invader and the immune system attacks to prevent its absorption into the body. This is a serious chronic condition.
Undiagnosed, repeated exposure to gluten and the subsequent immune response can lead to other autoimmune conditions, neurological disorders, osteoporosis, infertility, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer. (2) Celiac’s disease has over three hundred known that manifest themselves differently on an individual basis. Because of this, celiac disease is often difficult to diagnose. (3, 4)
The most common symptoms include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Bloating or gas
- Delayed growth in children
- Discolored teeth
- Oral, gastric, or intestinal ulcers
- Headaches or migraines
- Itchy skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Joint pain
- Irregular menses
- Stomach pain
- Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stools that float
- Weakened bones
- Red, smooth, shiny tongue
Celiac’s Disease vs. Wheat Allergy
Allergy to wheat is more common than celiac disease. It’s in the top eight food allergens in the U.S.
Food allergies, in general, are increasing worldwide.
In the U.S. alone, the number of food allergies increased by fifty percent between 1997 and 2011. In Europe, the number of anaphylactic food allergy episodes has increased sevenfold in the last decade. (5)
Allergy may be to any of many proteins found in wheat, including gluten. People who are allergic to wheat may, therefore, be able to tolerate other grains that contain gluten like rye and barley. (6) Symptoms of wheat allergy can appear immediately or up to two hours after eating wheat.
Typical allergic responses include:
- eye irritation
- difficulty breathing
- hives and rash
- irritation of the mouth and throat
- nasal congestion
- nausea and vomiting
Like any allergy, symptoms can be mild to life-threatening. And, like any other allergy, repeated exposure to the allergen (wheat) can lead to much more serious autoimmune conditions.