Jargon buster

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You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that there’s a whole new language to learn when it comes to living a gluten free life. Here, we’ve listed some of the most common words and phrases associated with this lifestyle.

  • 14 allergens: According to the Food Standards Agency, the following 14 allergens are required, by British law, to be declared as allergens by food businesses. Theses allergens are: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as wheat, barley and oats) crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters) eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters) mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites and tree nuts
  • Adrenaline Auto-Injector: Commonly referred to as an EpiPen (which is the name of one brand of adrenaline auto-injector) this is a piece of equipment which is prescribed to people with potentially serious allergies, to be always carried. They are injected into the thigh soon as a serious reaction is suspected to stop the reaction becoming life threatening.
  • Allergen: An allergen is any substance that can cause an allergic reaction. There are 14 major allergens: celery, cereals containing gluten (such as wheat, barley and oats), crustaceans (such as prawns, crabs and lobsters), eggs, fish, lupin, milk, molluscs (such as mussels and oysters), mustard, peanuts, sesame, soybeans, sulphur dioxide and sulphites. However, people can be allergic to other substances outside of this list
  • Antihistamine: Antihistamines are medicines used to relieve the symptoms of allergies and reactions to insect bites and stings. Some can be purchased in pharmacies or supermarkets, but others are only available on prescription
  • Autoimmune: Coeliac disease is a type of autoimmune disease. It’s the term used when the body recognises its own tissue as an invader and attacks it. Other autoimmune conditions include multiple sclerosis (MS) and psoriasis
  • Anaphylaxis: The most severe type of allergic reaction, which can result in life threatening symptoms
  • Atopic dermatitis: Commonly known as eczema, it’s an inflammation of the skin
  • Coeliac disease: An autoimmune disease, whereby the body attacks the small intestine (gut) when gluten is eaten or applied topically with cosmetics. The villi (growths on the intestine which help it to digest food) are flattened, hindering the absorption of vital nutrients. The only treatment is a lifelong, strict gluten free diet
  • Contact dermatitis: An inflammation of the skin usually caused by contact with chemicals found in cosmetics, perfume, clothing and some plants
  • Cross contamination: When a food that was not made with gluten becomes contaminated with gluten, because of the way it was handled during preparation. This can be in a factory environment, in a restaurant, or at home
  • Gluten: Gluten is a sticky protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s the “glue” that helps baked goods stick together, pizza dough stretch, and bread rise. It can also be found in other products as an additive for texture
  • Gluten free: This is the term for foods which contain 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten. This has been accepted as a safe level of gluten to be consumed by people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance
  • Gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance: It’s not coeliac disease, but it can be just as detrimental to wellbeing. People living with gluten sensitivity suffer symptoms when eating gluten such as digestive issues, joint pain, skin conditions, low mood, fatigue and more. Gluten sensitivity may affect 5 – 10% of the population
  • Lupin: Lupin is a legume belonging to the same family as peanuts. Lupin beans are eaten whole and also used to make ingredients such as lupin flour, which are often used in baked goods, including gluten free products
  • Paleo: There are different versions of the paleo diet, but the general idea is that if your ancestors wouldn’t recognise it as a food, it doesn’t belong on your plate. This typically involves avoiding gluten, grains, beans and most processed foods and sugars
  • Sulphites: Sulphites are found naturally in some foods. They’re also used as preservatives in the production of some food and drinks to maintain colour or shelf life.