Summer is officially here and BBQ season is in full swing, but you will want to make sure that your family, friends, and loved ones who may have issues with gluten are taken into consideration during all of the cookout fun.
Bethany Thayer, a registered dietitian from Henry Ford Health Systems, joined us in our studio to discuss how to keep everyone happy and healthy.
So first off, what is gluten?
"Gluten is the name given to proteins that are found in wheat, barley and rye," explained Thayer. There are some people, about 1 in 100, who have Celiac Disease which causes them to have a very negative reaction to even the smallest amount of gluten. It is an autoimmune disorder that can potentially be life threatening. Others may have a gluten sensitivity, which means they experience some negative effects when they consume gluten as well.
So now that we know what gluten is and why some people need to avoid it, where can you find it in your classic BBQ? According to Thayer, gluten is frequently found in the BBQ sauce itself.
"When you think of gluten, think of glue, and so you'll find things like maltodextrin, and some malt barley flour, some things that will hold it together," said Thayer.
So she recommends you make your own BBQ sauce to keep everyone safe. She warns that some premixed spices contains gluten, so create your own spice blend to season your sauce. Soy sauce and malt vinegar can also have gluten in them, so make sure to read the labels carefully.
In terms of other BBQ items to watch out for, hot dogs frequently have gluten in them, and some premade burgers can contain gluten as well. Thayer says maltodextrins are found in a lot of foods so make sure to read the food labels.
Fruits and vegetables are generally great gluten-free options to include with any BBQ.