What does a gluten-free diet mean?
In recent years, more and more gluten-free choices are in grocery stores, farmer markets, and restaurants. Gluten-free products are marketed to people who wish to exclude the protein gluten from their diet, which is found in many grains.
Examples of grains that include gluten are:
This gluten-free diet is essential for a person with celiac disease. Celiac disease is a condition when the small intestine is inflamed due to the consumption of gluten. Removing gluten from their diet helps to reduce their signs and symptoms of the disease. Only about 1% of Americans have this disease; and yet the market for gluten-free products is rapidly increasing. Many experts believe that people perceive this gluten-free diet healthier compared to a diet including gluten. Others believe that people are self-diagnosing celiac disease. The only way to know if you have celiac disease is to contact your doctor and get tested.
What is the risk of a gluten-free diet?
According to WebMD, if people are not careful consuming a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Whole grain foods in well-balanced diet may lower the risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some cancers. Therefore unless diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there is no reason to remove gluten from your diet.
Again, if you believe you may have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, contact your doctor.
If you are following the gluten-free diet, it’s a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian.
Celiac Disease Foundation. (2013). Gluten-Free Diet. Retrieved from http://www.celiac.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=138&Itemid=239
Mayo Clinic. (2011, December 20). Gluten-free Diet: What’s allowed, what’s not. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gluten-free-diet/my01140
WebMD. (2011, March 2). The Truth About Gluten. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/truth-about-gluten?page=1