ask the nutritionist: should I go gluten-free?

Gluten-Free. These two words are all around us yet so many of us have no idea what it means, where it is found and why we should or shouldn’t avoid it. Gluten-Free foods are showing up in grocery stores, restaurants and even ball-parks.

Gluten-Free Stand at Coors Field

Let’s start with the basics:

  • Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. (Oats do not have any gluten in them but are often cross contaminated with wheat so are not always safe unless they are certified gluten-free.)

(source)

  • People who have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease  cannot digest gluten which causes many digestive ailments and can even dmage the villi of the intestines after time.
  • There is no “cure” or pill for Celiac Disease – a gluten-free diet for life is the only current course of healing. Unfortunately many people with Celiac Disease are undiagnosed although 1 out of 100 are affected.
  • How do you know if you have a gluten intolerance? You need to have your blood tested by your Doctor. Symptoms can be found here.
  • Is gluten bad for us? No, if you do not have an intolerance or Celiac Disease, gluten does not cause your body any harm.
  • Are gluten-free foods healthy? There are some great gluten-free products that utlize whole-grains like quinoa, teff, amaranth, millet, etc. – there are also a lot of products that are full of refined gluten-free flours and sugars – so gluten-free on the label doesn’t always equal healthy.
  • So I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance, now what? The resources that are now available are abundant – my favorite is the “Gluten-Free Diet A Comprehensive Resource Guide” by Shelley Case. This book has great information on Celiac Disease, recipes and recommended gluten-free products – considered the Gluten-Free Bible!
  • There are also many online resources: Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten Intolerance GroupCeliac Sprue Association that are very informative and a great starting point for more information.

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions about gluten and gluten intolerance’s – let me know if you have any others!

Have you tried or do you eat any gluten-free foods?

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14 Comments

Filed under ask the nutritionist, focus on, gluten-free, protein, Uncategorized

14 responses to “ask the nutritionist: should I go gluten-free?

  1. thehealthyjunky

    Great post!
    If I had to, I could do gluten free, as I adore a few gluten free products, but gosh since I don’t need to, I will just indulge in my breads and other carb foods I love!
    However, some gluten free products are better than the non-gluten free items.

  2. I can tolerate gluten just fine, but there is a wonderful bakery here in Columbus, OH called Pattycake who sometimes make gluten free (and vegan!) baked goods. I’ve tried some of their muffins and cupcakes.. the texture is a bit off, but still tasty!

  3. I do like a lot of gluten-free foods like quinoa… but I don’t purposely buy “gluten-free” products like cookies, crackers, etc…

    I don’t know if I could exclusively go GF. I love too many bread products 🙂

  4. Great post explaining gluten and intolerance. I was tested for it a few years ago, and SOOO glad I didn’t have it. I love my carbs to much.

  5. I haven’t tried any gluten free foods that I know of. But, I have seen many options for gluten free foods poping up in restaurants and grocery stores around the city.

    Is this something doctors check for whenever they take your blood or do you need to request that they look for it?

  6. Great Post! Very informative. Does eating Gluten free help with bloating? I don’t have Gluten intolerance but am curious?!

  7. actorsdiet

    i’m not gluten-free but i’ve gotten to try a bunch of great gf products and am impressed.

  8. Kate

    thanks for the info. it seems like gluten free is the new buzz. you definately clarified some questions i had. i think larabars are my favorite gluten free food! i had no idea what gluten was until i saw it on their package 🙂

  9. Thanks for all the gluten free infos – I have been trying to eat a little bit less gluten during the week and have found I am less bloated than usual (maybe bc I usually eat a ton of bread!) I love buying other grains just for fun, but don’t really buy other gluten free foods.

  10. These are some great resources! Thanks so much for sharing! I think some people cut out gluten when they don’t need to, and others need to and they don’t! Hopefully your tips will help them sort it out, see their doctor if they need to, and just live healthy 🙂

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