Is Pita Bread Low in Gluten?

pitta bread
Three pieces of pita bread (Image: motorolka/iStock/Getty Images)

Pita bread is flat, round bread that originated in Greece, and is commonly found in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean kitchens. Traditionally, the pita bread is made with wheat flour and yeast. Wheat flour is a major source of gluten, so most traditional pita bread made from wheat flour is not low in gluten.

Gluten

While you may have heard the term gluten, and think that it's something you need to eat less of, gluten is not bad for you unless you suffer from celiac disease, in which case you should avoid it all together. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, namely wheat, rye and barley. Any foods made with these grains, like pita bread, crackers or pasta, also contain gluten. In addition, as a tiny protein, any foods that come in contact with these grains or grain products may also contain gluten.

Avoiding Gluten

While diets like the Paleo diet recommend you eliminate gluten from your diet to aid in weight loss, the only reason you need to avoid gluten is if you have a medical condition called celiac disease. When someone with celiac disease eats a food containing gluten -- even a tiny amount -- her immune system reacts by attacking the digestive system, destroying the tiny villi needed for nutrient absorption, which can lead to malabsorption and malnutrition. Treatment for celiac disease requires that you follow a gluten-free diet.

Low Gluten Foods

It is recommended that people with celiac disease avoid all foods with gluten. Even small amounts of gluten from cross--contamination can cause damage to your small intestines. So if you were able to make a low gluten pita bread, it would not be appropriate for someone with this disorder. Either a food item contains gluten or it does not. Traditional pita bread made with wheat flour contains gluten.

Gluten-Free Pita

If you need to follow a gluten--free diet, you can include gluten--free pita on your diet. You may be able to find gluten-free pita bread at your local health food store or specialty bakery. In 2006 the Food and Drug Administration passed a law requiring food labels to clearly label a food item if it is gluten--free, which can help you identify gluten--free pita bread. You can also make your own gluten--free pita using gluten--free flours such as rice flour, tapioca flour and sorghum.

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