Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by maddy from leroy , MI. maddy Wonders, “What is gluten? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, maddy!

Do you have food allergies? If not, chances are you have a friend or classmate who does. Food allergies are very common today.

You’ve probably seen a number of foods that are made for people with certain food allergies. Have you ever noticed a food package with the words “gluten free” on it? If so, you may have wondered what that means.

Gluten is a special type of protein. It’s in common types of grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley. This means that gluten can be found in many different types of foods made with grains. This includes breads, pizza crusts, and breakfast cereals.

Most people eat gluten all the time with no problems. Some people, though, can’t eat it because it causes a bad reaction in their bodies. This condition is called celiac disease, and up to one percent of the population has it.

If people with celiac disease eat gluten, it causes their bodies’ immune systems to react. Normally, the immune system protects the body from illness. In cases of celiac disease, though, it goes after the part of the digestive system that processes nutrients from food. This can make it hard for people with the condition to stay healthy.

Do you have celiac disease? Do you know someone who does? If so, you know the way to treat it is simple: Don’t eat gluten! It’s really not as easy as it sounds, though. This protein is a part of many foods. With careful planning and help from a doctor, it’s possible to stay away from gluten. This gives your digestive system time to heal.

Even after the digestive system heals, gluten will always cause problems for people with celiac disease. If they start eating it again, they’ll experience symptoms like stomach pains and diarrhea again. Staying away from gluten for good is the only way to stay well.

It can be a challenge, especially for children, to remember all the foods that contain gluten. Some, like bread, are easy to remember. But many foods can be tricky. Battered foods, like fried chicken and some French fries, contain gluten. Pasta made from wheat can also include this ingredient.

To stay away from gluten, you have to be on the lookout for it all the time. If you’re not sure whether a food contains it, check the packaging for ingredients. You can also ask a restaurant to provide information about the dishes they serve. With practice, you’ll be able to steer clear of this protein easier.

Plus, many stores and restaurants now offer gluten-free versions of many of these foods. If you like to cook, you can also make just about any meal without gluten. Just check the labels on ingredients before you start cooking.

One other thing you’ll have to keep an eye out for: gluten contamination. People with celiac disease often need their own kitchen equipment and condiments. For example, someone might toast a piece of wheat bread. Crumbs from the bread could get in the toaster or in the butter dish. These tiny bits can contaminate otherwise gluten-free foods and cause problems for people with celiac disease.

The next time you visit a grocery store, look for labels that say “gluten free.” How many gluten-free options can you find? What about foods that do contain the protein? Could you avoid it if you needed to?

Standards: NGSS.LS1.C, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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