Sorting Out Fact From Fiction: The Gluten-Free Diet Craze

Gluten free diets have become the latest weight loss “fad”. I think one of the reasons this trendy way of eating has evolved is that rather than working on incorporating balance and moderation into meals and snacks, it can be easier to cut something out altogether – whether that’s wheat, dairy or something else. What people may not know who are following a gluten-free diet for weight control, is that many times when gluten is removed from processed foods, sugar, fat and butter are often added to improve the taste.

wheat For most of us, there really is no medical reason to eliminate gluten. In fact, many gluten-containing foods can be very nourishing (ex: whole grain bread and barley). As this article summarizes, there really are only three true reasons to avoid gluten (and I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that none of them are weight loss related):

  1. An autoimmune condition like celiac disease in which the presence of gluten actually alters the intestine and causes malabsorption and other GI issues like pain and diarrhea. This diagnosis can be made by a biopsy and blood test.
  2. An allergy, which would have symptoms that might appear similar to any other allergy – hives, sneezing, etc. This can’t be tested easily, but is evaluated similar to other allergies based on visible symptoms.
  3. An intolerance/sensitivity which may have symptoms like abdominal bloating, but can’t be accurately tested for.

I recently did a series of videos with the #OWNshow and @OWNTV which covered a number of gluten-related topics, including an overview of what gluten is, if going gluten-free makes sense for weight loss, identifying hidden sources of gluten in some foods, and uncovering some sneaky truths about some gluten-free products that are on the market today. Watch each video below: Can You Lose Weight By Going Gluten-Free?  Weight Loss Gluten Free

The Sneaky Truth of Some Gluten-Free Products  Sneaky Truth Gluten Free Products Could You Be Eating Gluten and Not Know It?  Hidden Gluten The Gluten Guide: What is Gluten Really? Gluten Guide  What do you think about the gluten-free diet trend? To join the conversation about going gluten-free, leave a comment below, use the hashtag #OWNSHOW on twitter, or check out the OWN TV Facebook page.

Washington Post Interview: The Truth About Gluten-Free, Paleo, and other Diet Books

washington-post-logo3

I was happy to be one of a few experts quoted in the Washington Post article The Truth about Gluten-Free, Paleo, and other Diet Books which discusses some of the flaws with today’s “quick fix” restriction diets.

Keep Calm and No DietI don’t believe in diets. They just don’t work.  Diets are not only often ineffective, but they can also be unsafe (particularly ones that involve food restriction and/or fasting).  You don’t need to stop eating food to be healthy.  A well-balanced meal plan and mindful eating are much more practical solutions to weight-loss and lifestyle improvement.

If one diet worked, we would need only one!  However, dieting is a multi-billion dollar industry. Talk about selling “snake oil.” Everyone has an agenda and if what is being promised sounds “too good to be true,” it is.

Check out some of my favorite comments from the article’s other experts:

“Diets are, almost by definition, things you get on and get off.  It really needs to be about your whole dietary pattern. If you wouldn’t put your 4-year-old child or your 80-year-old parent on this diet with you, it’s a gimmicky short-term fix and not a way of eating better for a lifetime.”

—Dr. David Katz  http://www.davidkatzmd.com/

“Any diet that excludes one or more entire categories of foods is difficult for many people to follow.  For some people, it’s easier to exclude whole categories — wheat, meat, dairy, carbohydrates, et cetera — than to just eat less and eat better. But the more food categories excluded, the more people are likely to give up on the diet.”

— Dr. Marion Nestle http://www.foodpolitics.com/

To read the full article, visit The Washington Post

10 Things You Can Give Up in 2013

With the new year rapidly approaching, I wanted to compile a list of my top 10 things that I think you should give up in 2013. Take a look and see how many you can cross off your list next year!

1. Guilt

I’ve blogged about food guilt in the past, and still feel that this is something worth mentioning as we move into 2013. Many times the guilt associated with food comes from the food policing that I mention below. It creates a cycle of restriction/avoidance of food, overeating, guilt, and restriction again. The only way to break the cycle is to give yourself permission to enjoy foods you love without guilt or shame.

2. Food Policing

Setting rules around food by labeling them as “good” or “bad”, and avoiding foods you love isn’t going to help you in the long-term. The reality is that when you eat foods that you like, you increase your levels of satisfaction and are less likely to overeat them. We’ve all experienced it at one point or another, even as a child — the more someone tells you that you can’t have something, the more you want it! Unless you can do something for the rest of your life, there’s really no point in giving something up for a brief period. Any outcomes that you do see will just go away once you stop holding yourself back. Instead the focus should be on incorporating all foods in moderation and balance and enjoying the foods you eat.

3. Comparing yourself to others

Walking through the grocery store checkout line you can be bombarded with images of models and celebrities who look “perfect”. What you don’t see behind the image is the team of stylists, hair and make-up artists, trainers and airbrushing that made that image appear flawless. Those images are not realistic or achievable for most people, and comparing yourself to those unrealistic images of perfection will only bring you down. Instead, learn to embrace your uniqueness and beauty and let go of those attachments you have about what you “should” look like. What’s important are the habits and choices you make every day — not how you compare to anyone else.

4. Buying in to Food “Myths”

If you read something about avoiding food that should be good for you, listen to your “gut” and ignore the hype. Food myths are a dime a dozen.

One of my favorite examples of this is eggs – a natural, whole food. Many people avoid whole eggs because they think “egg whites only” is better. It’s actually not true. There are good nutrients in the yolks. The yolks are packed with choline, vitamin D and vitamin A. People think eating whole eggs raises their cholesterol, but actually new research suggests that consuming whole eggs, instead of just the whites, may have a positive impact on blood lipids in people with metabolic syndrome.  So next time you’re whipping up an omelet, don’t toss those yolks!

5. Weighing yourself frequently

weight_loss_scaleInstead of setting a goal weight for 2013 — set a goal for healthy habits you want to incorporate into your life that can last you forever. There are plenty of thin people who have unhealthy habits, and there are plenty of larger frame people who have very healthy habits.

I encourage you to look at the research and mission for “Health at Every Size”.

Basic Principles of Health At Every Size®

1. Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes.

2. Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include
physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects.

3. Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes.

4. Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger,
satiety, appetite, and pleasure.

5. Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather
than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.

You have to understand exactly what the scale is measuring – the force of gravity pushing on your body and your body pushing back against gravity. But too many people let the scale judge their self worth. Your scale weight doesn’t determine your health, it’s the choices you make and the behaviors you display that determine your health.

I think being aware of your weight is a good thing. Know your trend and compare only to YOUR trend. But you can weigh yourself monthly and have enough data points. Use it as one of factors in looking at your health trend, not THE factor. If you want to look at numbers – count all the positive self-care habits you have been doing. Count the number of days you get good sleep, count the times you DON’T soothe away bad feelings or stress by eating emotionally. Count your time working out, steps, miles, or improvements in strength. The list goes on… By taking your focus off the scale and onto your daily habits you can make much more meaningful and lasting positive changes in your life.

6. Counting calories

One thing you should not count is calories. It is so obsessive and honestly a colossal waste of time. First off, you can eat 1200 calories of complete crap and that’s not good for you. The quality of your food matters too. Second, it’s probably not realistic that a person will continue to count calories for the rest of their life. So why not make it easier on yourself and instead make a balanced plate your goal. I think this is a nice way to provide “broad strokes” to your nutrition and food choices. This is the ideal. Not every meal will look like this. Consider it’s like hitting a “bullseye” or getting a “hole in one”. Look at your plate. 1/4 of your plate should be lean protein (animal or plant based), 1/4 starch (either starchy veggies like potatoes or beans or whole grain foods) and 1/2 your plate colorful, delicious fruits and veggies. Don’t forget to include a source of heart healthy fat with each meal like low fat dairy, nuts, olive oil or avocado.

If you are going to a meal out and you know they post the calorie information, I personally think it is OK to look, but look beyond calories. I have seen salads marketed as healthy with tons of sodium and saturated fat and I’ve seen where the lean sirloin and asparagus was way lower in calories and saturated fat than a fish dish with risotto. So it is OK to look, but don’t just think “low calories” is best. It is not. When I go out, I try to think of the balanced plate and get close or at least think “half plate healthy” so if I want mac-n-cheese, go for it… but can I balance it out with a salad starter instead of jalapeno poppers? That kind of thing. Make choices.

7. Body bashing

It seems like people are often so much harder on themselves than they are on other people. Would you ever tell your niece or daughter or friend that they should criticize their own body? Of course not, but it seems all to common for people to make negative comments about their own bodies. See if you can give yourself 1 compliment each day — it could be anything — that you did a good job packing the kids lunches today, that your new sweater really highlights your eyes, anything! If you do catch yourself body bashing, then immediately interject with something positive so the negative thoughts can be chased away.

8. Going gluten-free for weight loss

This seemed to be a trend that exploded in 2012 so I felt I needed to include it here. The reality is that some people really do need to avoid gluten due to having celiac disease or an allergy to it, people with GI issues that have a problem digesting gluten and people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. These people truly feel better and their medical symptoms disappear when they eliminate gluten from their diet. People that do experience weight loss as a result of going gluten-free likely did so because this meant they replaced processed foods with more whole foods.

9. “Eating like our ancestors”

The paleo diet does encourage eating more wholesome foods and lots of veggies — which I completely support. The part of paleo that I have a problem with is that certain whole foods like potatoes and beans are not allowed. While we all know that diets don’t work, anything that eliminates whole food groups is certainly not the best thing to follow. I’m sure if our ancestors were around today, they would love these foods and would think us crazy for attempting to avoid something so nourishing.

pure-maple-syrup10. “Sweet is bad”

Fruits have natural sweetness but they also have vitamins, minerals and fiber that our bodies need. When used in small amounts other natural sweeteners like pure maple syrup or and honey can add a touch of sweetness to nutritious foods like oatmeal, salad dressings and smoothies. If adding a touch of natural sweetener to an already wholesome, healthy food will get a person to eat it (when they wouldn’t otherwise), then I say go for it! Maple squares can be a great sweet treat and are made with wholesome ingredients like oats, sunflower seeds and almonds.

What other things do you want to give up this year to improve your health and wellness?

2012 #FNCE Celiac Disease Session Recap and G-Free Pavillion

I had a lot of fun walking through the gluten free section at the expo at #FNCE and saw a lot of great g-free products – some old and some I hadn’t seen before. Then later, I got to sit in on a really interesting session called “Celiac Disease: It’s Not Just the Digestive Tract” with Alessio Fasano, MD and Carren Sellers, MMSc, RD, LD, CDE.

By now, most people have at least heard of Celiac Disease, or might even know of someone who has it. It’s become much more commonly diagnosed over the years, mostly due to new diagnostic developments.

I wrote a session summary below and included links to some of the exhibit hall gluten-free products.

My key “take-aways” from the session were that people with Celiac need to be very careful with cross-contamination issues. There is no mandatory labeling for gluten-free so there is a chance products marketed as “gluten free” have traces and can cause a reaction.

Although this was not brought up in the session, I am aware of the gluten-free certification organization — “Products carrying the GF logo represents unmatched reliability and for meeting strict gluten-free standards. GFCO is the leading gluten-free certification program in the world.” You can look for the seal below on products to know they are truly gluten-free.

The other key “take away” was that people could have Celiac disease without GI symptoms that most people expect to feel. For example, iron deficiency anemia or fatigue could be the only symptom. If you aren’t sure you should definitely see a Registered Dietitian who specializes in digestive health.

If you are in the D.C. area, you may want to take a look at my digestive health services. If not, email me anyway and I can help you find a good RD in your area.

Here’s the detailed summary.

What is Celiac?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center the prevalence in the US is 1 in 133; an estimated 97% of those people living with it are undiagnosed.

What are the Symptoms?

If a person with celiac disease eats foods with those ingredients they might experience GI issues like chronic diarrhea. But one thing the panelists discussed was that many people don’t, and that makes nailing down a diagnosis potentially very difficult. Many people don’t experience any physical symptoms, but instead feel fatigue, and also very commonly anemia. It’s also found to be a co morbidity of Hashimoto Thyroiditis, another autoimmune disorder. Many times family history can also be a factor.

Gluten in Hiding

Many times foods that wouldn’t normally contain gluten can become cross contaminated through processing. Always read labels because many times you’ll see it will say somewhere on the label that it’s processed in a facility that also produces wheat. Labeling requirements are still being sorted out, but some products do carry a seal of approval. Here a few other hidden gluten sources mentioned in the session:

  • Coffee flavorings
  • Lipstick – the long-lasting kinds
  • Imitation seafood – the real stuff is g-free, but not the fake stuff
  • Fries – if they’re fried in the same oil as anything battered
  • Any contaminated cooking surface
  • Oats can potentially be if they’re produced in a plant that also processes wheat products
  • “flavorings”, “seasonings” and “smoke flavoring” all can contain barley
  • Basically, “when in doubt, leave it out”!

I’m Celiac – Now What?

The good news is, it’s completely treatable. The bad news is that you will need to avoid gluten for the rest of your life, which most likely means a big change to your eating habits.

Walking through the FNCE exhibit hall I found a lot of great products that can be a part of a well balanced gluten free diet. Here are some of the ones I really liked:

  • Gluten Free Living Magazine – great articles, tips, recipes and resources for people living with celiac.
  • Bob’s Red Mill has a over 70 products that are gluten free including baking mixes and flours
  • Pamela’s – she’s been making g-free foods since 1988 including a line of baking mixes
  • Udi’s has a really tasty line of g-free breads, tortillas and other baked goods
  • San-J – gluten free soy and tamari sauces that taste delicious
  • Dried cranberries – I was really excited to hear they’re coming out with 50% lower sugar versions next year!
  • Lundberg Rice – they offer a number of rice snack chips for those crunchy cravings as well as pastas, rices, couscous and, of course rice.
  • Sorghum flour – a whole grain alternative to wheat flour that’s great for baking. I tried cookies baked with it and they were amazing

Other Helpful Resources

Here are a few resources I found in the expo that I thought might be useful for folks

  • www.celiacdisease.net – if you’re newly diagnosed you might qualify for a free Gluten Free Care Package
  • www.gluten.net – find local gluten intolerance support groups and educational materials
  • Jump Start Your Gluten-Free Diet: Living with Celiac/Coeliac Disease & Gluten Intolerance – download the free e-book put out by the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
  • Shelly Case has a great resource guide
  • Rachel Begun, The Gluten-Free RD
  • InspiredRD blog has great recipes

Does someone you know have Celiac disease and need more information on how to cope?

Let’s Talk Live! Gluten Free, Vegetarian & Heart Health On the Go

Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to appear on Let’s Talk Live!, a DC-based morning talk show, to share some thoughts about dealing with food allergies in the home and when on the go.

For this appearance, I focused on gluten free, vegetarian, and heart healthy diets. Check out the video below to see the segment!

For this segment, I featured four different brands that have a variety of great gluten free, heart healthy, and/or vegetarian options that are easy and delicious for busy families.

1) Garden Lites

All the products from Garden Lites have less than 200 calories and provide 2 servings of vegetables. My favorite is the pizza – it’s gluten free, vegetarian, and the crust is made with cauliflower and brown rice! Delicious. These would be great for an afternoon or after school snack, or for lunch with a side of salad and/or some fruit and yogurt.

2) Pirate’s Booty

These chips are gluten free (corn-based), baked, and not fried – they have half the calories of potato chips and 130 calories for one serving. They have a great crunch, too!

3) Georgia Pecans

Pecans are a great gluten free heart healthy choice as a snack – about a handful is a good portion size. They are also are high in antioxidants and a good source of protein!

In addition to snacking on them raw, you can also try crushing the nuts and using them as a crust on baked fish. It’s a great alternative for those who like the crunchy crust that a breaded fish has but can’t tolerate gluten!

4) Qdoba Mexican Grill

If you’re on the go and you need something vegetarian or gluten free, Qdoba can be a great choice and I love that everything is made fresh right in front of you so you can customize your meal. They also have a menu builder online that shares all the nutrition and allergen information of their ingredients so you are prepared before you arrive. My favorite is their “craft 2″ menu – you can pick two options and together they have less than 600 calories total.

Just a note: gluten free diets are certainly a hot topic right now and I wanted to add that they are not recommended for weight control, but for those who have a real gluten allergy (Celiac’s disease) or intolerance. If you think you might have a gluten allergy or intolerance, check with your doctor or healthcare provider on the next steps – they will be able to test you to confirm it.

What are your favorite tips for eating gluten free, vegetarian, and/or heart healthy on the go?

Disclaimer: I was compensated for my participation in this media segment, but not for the blog post. 

It’s a Disease Not a Diet: Gluten Free Diets

By: Carlene Helble

It seems like the latest fad diet, is one associated with a serious disease. Going gluten free has become the latest ‘weight loss’ plan among many, but dropping pounds doesn’t come with dropping gluten.

Rebecca was recently interviewed by Fox 5 on Gluten Free dieting as a way to lose weight, made popular with “The G-Free Diet”  book written by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. See the video on Rebecca had to say on this myth.

Celiac Disease & Why the Gluten-Free Diet is No Joke

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking with Shelley Case, RD, a dietitian from Canada who is an expert in Celiac disease and Gluten-free eating. I became interested in this subject due to the popularity of Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s book, The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, and the way it had taken over the public by storm. In the hospital where I work, I noticed an increasing amount of people interested in Gluten-free options, and not because they had Celiac disease or a wheat intolerance.

I began to wonder why so many people were opting out of eating Gluten. I came to the conclusion that many people equated Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s physique with her Gluten-free diet. What people need to realize is that she suffers from a specific disease in which she cannot digest Gluten. The Gluten-free diet is not recommended for individuals that do not have Celiac disease or a similar intolerance to Gluten. Gluten-free eating can lead to nutritional deficencies, weight gain, more expensive groceries, and disordered eating habits.

source: WatchingTheView.com

Celiac disease is a serious disease that has many different consequences and varied symptoms that are hard to diagnose and treat. The majority of individuals have iron-deficiency anemia (approximately 66%), which is a non-GI symptom for a GI-specific disease. Sufferers of Celiac disease face certain issues that disappear once Gluten is removed from the diet. However, without the removal of Gluten, Celiac disease can cause many problems. Gluten is seen by the body as a foreign substance that the body attacks via antibodies. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease and the antibodies attack the body, specifically the villi on the surface of the small intestine. This leads to problems with nutrient absorption and can also lead to intestinal lymphoma.

There is also non-Celiac Gluten intolerance and wheat intolerance – two disorders that are not Celiac disease and do not have the same long-term consequences. Individuals may feel better once they removed Gluten or wheat products from their diet. However, anyone who believes they may have Celiac disease should speak with their doctor about being tested for this disease before starting a Gluten-free diet. This is because once the Gluten is removed from the diet, the body stops making antibodies. The antibodies are used to determine through a blood test or gastric biopsy whether the individual has Celiac disease.

The bottom line is that Celiac disease is a major disorder that specifically responds to the Gluten-free diet. Those without this disease should not attempt to eat a Gluten-free diet, no matter which celebrities are endorsing it. It is also wise to do more research into a diet book and understand its message before diving headfirst into its recommendations; Hasselbeck’s book is for fellow sufferers of Celiac disease – not for every woman in America who wants to look like her.

Interview with Shelley Case, RD: Celiac and Gluten-Free Diet

I recently had the opportunity to speak with North America’s Gluten-Free Nutrition Expert,  Shelley Case, RD who is a dietitian in Canada  specializing in Celiac disease and Gluten-free eating. She is also the author of The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. I had the pleasure of interviewing her about the Gluten-free “trend” and what it means for individuals who mistake Gluten-free eating as an effective weight-loss diet.

source: sgvceliac.org

  • Can you give a brief explanation for our readers of what gluten is and how it affects those with Celiac disease?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body recognizes gluten as a toxic substance and reacts by developing antibodies when gluten is consumed. The body attacks the lining of the GI tract and destroys the villi, which are responsible for absorption of iron, calcium, Vitamin D and other nutrients. Over time, more and more damage will occur, and gluten can also damage other organs in the body besides the GI tract.

  • What percentage of people currently have Celiac disease?

Currently 1 in 100 people have Celiac, but it is estimated that only 5-10% are officially diagnosed at this time. Many individuals are misdiagnosed with other conditions such as acid reflux, ulcers, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis. The current delay in diagnosis is approximately 12 years, according to research from 2007 in Digestive Diseases. Research by Peter Green from New York indicated that the delay is more than 10 years in the U.S. Doctors are not picking up this rare disease. Celiac is a multi-system autoimmune disease that affects other organs and is hard to treat. The most common non-GI symptom that presented in 66% of Celiac patients is iron-deficiency anemia. It is hard to treat and diagnose because it looks like other diseases.

  • Can you differentiate between Celiac disease and wheat intolerance?

There are 3 different conditions that must be differentiated. There is Celiac disease, non-Celiac gluten sensitivity (with similar symptoms but patients do not develop seizures, infertility, or intestinal lymphoma), and then wheat allergy. Gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies are not auto-immune and do not damage the villi in the small intestine. Patients should be thoroughly tested for Celiac if they present with conditions such as anemia, bone issues, thyroid and liver dysfunction, and arthritis.

  • What implications or affects are there for individuals who eat a gluten-free diet? Is there a risk of nutritional deficiencies or disordered eating with this diet?

There are many challenges with the Gluten-free diet. Many products on the market are not enriched with iron and Vitamin B. They are made with white rice flour or tapioca flour, which are low in nutrients. There are many fiber issues and deficiencies in trace minerals on the Gluten-free diet as well. Those on a Gluten-free diet should look for enriched products as well as using nutrient-rich sources of gluten-free grains, such as amaranth, sorgoum, flax, quinoa, and brown rice. Also be conscious of fiber intake, getting Gluten-free whole grains, flax, and iron-rich foods. It can be difficult for vegetarians on a Gluten-free diet because of the lack of iron.

  • What tips can you give to individuals who want to begin a gluten-free diet?

First of all, the diet is very overwhelming. You should shop the perimeter of the grocery stores and work your way into the middle aisles wisely. Read all labels and work with a Registered Dietitian. Gluten-free products are approximately 2-3 times more expensive, which can be very frustrating for Celiac patients.

  • Do you have any thoughts or concerns about individuals without Celiac disease who adopt the Gluten-free diet? Can it be helpful or detrimental for weight loss?

Many who start a Gluten-free diet will gain weight. Once you remove the Gluten from your diet your body is able to absorb nutrients and gain weight again. Gluten-free items also have twice the amount of carbohydrates from added sugars as well as extra fat. Many of the Gluten-free products you see are items like cookies, brownies, and desserts that are already high in fat and sugar, and which Celiac patients used to avoid because they contained Gluten. Eating these again, with additional fats and sugars than their Gluten-containing counterparts, can easily contribute to weight gain.

  • Have you noticed an increase in consumer interest in using Gluten-free eating as a way of dieting or restricting calories? In your professional opinion, does a Gluten-free diet guarantee weight loss? Why or why not?

Due to Elizabeth Hasselback’s book and celebrity endorsement, it seems to be the latest trend. But many gluten-free products are high in fat and sugar, and unless you have Celiac disease this is definitely not an ideal way to reduce calories or weight. A lot more people are interested in Gluten-free dieting, either from the publicity from this book or because they have noticed that they feel better when they remove Gluten from their diet.

The problem is that if a potential Celiac patient was to get on the Gluten-free diet before being tested and diagnosed, the test will not return positive. Once you remove Gluten from the diet, the body does not attack itself they way it does when Gluten and the antibodies produced from Gluten consumption are present. Blood tests to test for Celiac disease are 90% accurate, and only if the person is consuming Gluten, because the antibodies will be in the blood. A gastric biopsy is 100% accurate but more invasive.

Those who suspect they may have Celiac disease or an intolerance should first be tested to be sure. And those interested in Gluten-free diets for weight loss should be careful about what they are consuming. Because of celebrity endorsement, the diet has become more popular, but it is not recommended for weight loss or people who do not have Gluten sensitivity of Celiac disease.

Is Gluten-Free the New “Fat Free”?

Hordes of new gluten-free are falling onto store shelves faster than my IRA. The gluten free market is expected to grow by $1 billion over the next three years – from $1.6 to $2.6 billion by 2012).

Now, this is a welcome change for anyone with celiac’s or a gluten allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance. It certainly gives them more choices and makes it easier to manage their disease. Trust me, any person with celiac’s will testify you don’t want an “episode”.

Two million people have celiac’s – about 1 in 133 – so it is considered common. More people are being diagnosed with the disease.

I don’t question if there is a need for more products. I’m just raising the question with all these new products coming to market catching consumers’ attention, will people just choose to go gluten-free as a “fad diet” way to try to lose weight.

I wrote on this awhile back, but it seems the market is growing and worth resurfacing some thoughtful dialogue.

I’d love to hear thoughts on this…

Gluten Free Fad Diet?

I sort of agree with this article that questions if “gluten free” is becoming a fad diet for some people. I have certainly seen more gluten free products marketed and on store shelves. I think this is a positive movement for those who have celiac’s or a gluten allergy. I have heard from health professionals and people with celiac’s disease that it has been so difficult to find alternative products, but that is definitely changing.

But… Could the availability of more products make it easier for consumers to go gluten free even if there is not a medical reason? I think so. A friend of mine had a few days of “bad gas” and decided to go gluten free. She felt better, but now she is afraid to go back to eating wheat again. I encouraged her to see a doctor because there is no reason to restrict your diet to gluten free unless it is medically necessary. Who knows… maybe she just had bad gas?

I am curious to find out if people are doing gluten free for other health concerns, e.g. autism, migranes, weight loss… anything. Let me know and please share a link to any research or information you have that discusses benefits.

Here’s a gluten free guide from Epicurious: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23745224/

Cheers,

Rebecca

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