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What Does Gluten-Free Mean?

May 20th, 2012

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley,malts, triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), and rye. Foods that typically contain gluten include bread, pasta, crackers, cereal,candies, brown-colored soda, beer, and gravy. Manufacturers now produce gluten-free products labeled “gluten-free” indicating products do not include ingredients containing gluten.

Examples of gluten-free foods: rice, corn, potato, soy, buckwheat, most dairy products, eggs, meats, beans, fish, fruits, and vegetables.

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Gluten-Free Diets

Approximately one percent of Americans have Celiac Disease and are prescribed a gluten-free diet. When people with this disease eat gluten, they are likely to become ill, have stomach pain and diarrhea, because their small intestines become inflamed and damaged. After multiple exposures to gluten, the intestines lose their ability to absorb essential nutrients.

Some people may experience weight loss when they initially begin this diet, partially due to the limited number of gluten-free products. There is recent interest in using a gluten-free diet for weight loss, though gluten-free diets are not recommended as a long-term solution. There is no evidence showing that a gluten-free diet will lead to weight loss. Gluten-free products contain a similar number of calories and may have increased sugar and fat to make them palatable.

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