Of all the food trends of the decade, gluten sensitivity is one of the most controversial and misunderstood. Read on to get the facts about gluten sensitivity and how US Connect can meet these and other dietary needs.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a naturally-occurring protein in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. It is what gives bread its chewy texture.
Why Do Some People Have Issues with Gluten?
People with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, experience a severe disruption of the digestive process of the small intestine when they consume even a small amount of gluten. For celiac patients, gluten not only causes extreme gastric distress but can also lead to long-term damage of the intestine. Celiac disease is serious, but still relatively rare; only one percent of Americans has it (about three million people). Far more common—although studies have yet to show how common—is gluten sensitivity. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes a stress response, resulting in gastric distress. Many people with gluten sensitivity are self-diagnosed, and researchers have yet to prove the existence of the sensitivity. The diagnosis is often given as part of a process of elimination when all other possibilities have been ruled out. Nonetheless, many people report feeling better after eliminating gluten, so gluten-free diets have exploded in popularity.
What Does the Law Say?
In August of 2014, the FDA started requiring that foods which carry the “Gluten-Free” (GF) label adhere to a standard of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This helps people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity manage their diets with confidence.
How Does US Connect Help?
US Connect vending machines and Bistro To Go! kiosks offer a wide variety of fresh and packaged foods, many of which are gluten free. Note that while reducing gluten does not necessarily reduce carbohydrates (white rice, for instance, is gluten-free), many gluten-free options are also healthier for everyone, not just people following a gluten-free diet.