If your doctor has diagnosed celiac disease, going gluten free is important. It’s not an easy diet to follow and isn’t necessary unless you are gluten intolerant.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Foods that contain these grains or ingredients from these grains (like malt from barley) must be avoided completely. Even a trace of a grain from a toaster or knife can be an issue, so handling of food must be carefully monitored to prevent cross-contamination.
Nutrients found in these grains have to be replaced in other ways. Rice, quinoa, millet and oats (processed in a gluten free environment) are used in gluten free foods.
A gluten free diets means a lot of label reading, checking ingredients and looking for safe breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and even beer, to name a few. Gluten gives structure to baked foods. If you go gluten free, you’ll need to find new recipes and special ingredients if you bake goods at home.
The bottom line: You should not “try” a gluten free diet. Check with your doctor first. There’s a blood test for celiac disease that won’t be accurate if you’re on the diet beforehand. And, if your doctor advises it, see a registered dietitian for help choosing and preparing foods that meet your needs.