If you are one of the many people who follow a gluten-free diet, you have probably already learned how prevalent this plant storage protein is found in the American diet.
A gluten-free diet eliminates foods made from wheat, barley, or rye. Some of these foods, like whole-wheat bread or turkey barley soup, are easy to identify.
Other gluten-laden products, such as root beer or blue cheese, are a bit more difficult. Many seasonings, including tomato sauce, gluten products can be used as a stabilizer, flavoring, or thickener.
ConAgra Foods, the company that makes Hunt’s tomato sauce, is one of many manufacturers that produce gluten-free varieties of tomato sauce.
If you have celiac disease, your body sets off an autoimmune response when you ingest even a small amount of gluten. While the response is designed to destroy the foreign protein found in gluten, it also damages the villi, the tiny finger-like projections inside your small intestine.
Over time, the injured villi lose their ability to absorb nutrients from food, and they become malnourished. Some parents and caregivers believe that a gluten-free diet helps reduce symptoms of autism and that these symptoms worsen after ingestion of gluten. While many brands of ketchup are gluten-free, some organic varieties contain gluten.
The Gluten-Free Varieties
On May 17, 2010, ConAgra announced that all Hunt ketchup is made with only 5 main ingredients: tomatoes, sugar, distilled vinegar, salt, and other seasonings. There are no artificial ingredients or preservatives in any of the hunting tomato sauce varieties.
According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, tomatoes, sugar, salt, and distilled vinegar are safe, gluten-free options if you have celiac disease. Gluten-free flavors of Hunt’s ketchup should not make autism symptoms worse.
Many people mistakenly believe that the distilled vinegar in Hunt’s tomato sauce and other foods contains gluten, as it is often made from gluten-containing grains.
However, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center says that gluten proteins are distilled out during the manufacturing process, so the end product is gluten-free.
Once you’ve purchased a gluten-free variety of tomato sauce from Hunt, store it in a separate part of your refrigerator from condiments and foods that contain gluten to avoid cross-contamination.
Think carefully about the foods you are serving with the tomato sauce. For example, wheat bread and rolls contain a significant amount of gluten, as do many hot dogs and sausages.
Other seasonings, like mustard or marinades, can be made from wheat or other grains that contain gluten.