Gluten Free

What is gluten? Who needs to eat gluten free? Is gluten free a fad diet? Is the gluten free diet a healthy diet? Celiac Support Group responds here…

What is gluten?

Gluten is a hard-to-digest, water-insoluble, seed-storage protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is impossible for anyone to digest completely. Many of the fractions of protein from these grains (gluten peptides) are toxic to some people, even in very small amounts.

Who needs to eat gluten free?

Despite the media hype about the gluten free diet being a fad diet, eating gluten free is a medical necessity for many people – and doctors prescribe it for that reason. According to The Oslo definitions for coeliac disease and related terms, this gluten free medical prescription applies to everyone with a gluten-related disorder. The gluten-related disorders are:

Celiac Disease,
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity,
Dermatitis Herpetiformis, and
Gluten Ataxia.

Another term, “refractory celiac disease,” refers to a rare condition that affects a small percentage of those diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Okay, so the gluten free diet isn’t a fad for some. But is the gluten free diet a healthy diet?

A healthy diet provides sufficient nutrients and appropriate amounts of energy (calories), water, fiber, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, etc.

Only three grains are eliminated on a gluten-free diet.

An individual's gluten free diet can be as healthy—or as unhealthy—as a gluten-containing diet that includes those grains. Dietitians and Nutritionists can help individuals determine how their food plans measure up.

For more information about gluten-related disorders, see Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, Dermatitis Herpetiformis, Gluten Ataxia.

Very Important note from Celiac Support Group to anyone who thinks they might have a problem with gluten: Do not go gluten free before being tested for celiac disease! Otherwise, the diagnostic tests for celiac disease may be falsely negative, and to know for sure will require a patient to eat a bunch of gluten again before retesting (doctors’ timetables may differ).

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