Gluten Free Diets

Chances are good you know someone who is going "gluten free," a lifestyle that is essential for those with celiac disease. But is it for everyone? Giant Eagle® explains this diet, popularized by weight-loss gurus and celebrities as a treatment for a wide variety of ailments.
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It is estimated that one of every 130 people are at risk for celiac disease.

Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in certain grains -- primarily wheat, rye, and barley. For people with celiac disease, contact with gluten triggers an immune reaction in the small intestine that limits absorption of nutrients. It is estimated that one of every 130 people are at risk for celiac disease.  Left untreated, celiac can lead to intestinal cancers and other complications; removing gluten from a patient’s diet can eliminate all symptoms in as little as one week. Gluten free eating is also being evaluated for its potential benefits for autistic children and people with other autoimmune diseases.

How does it work?

  • Eliminate all foods and ingredients made from wheat, rye or barley. You can identify obvious ingredients but there are others to avoid, including malt and malt coloring (made from barley), spelt, durum, semolina and bulgur (types of wheat), and traditional matzo meal. Even modified food starches, flavorings and thickeners can contain gluten.
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Processing and preparing foods must be in a gluten free environment. It has been estimated that less than 1/5000th of a teaspoon of gluten can trigger a reaction. For example, although oats and corn are gluten free, they cannot be ground on equipment that has been used for gluten containing ingredients. Use separate mixers, baking pans and whisks for gluten free cooking, and keep dedicated utensils (like knives or toasters) as well!

Things to consider

  • Gluten free is not fat free. Snack foods marketed as “gluten free” often contain additional fat and sugar to improve consistency and flavor.
  • Gluten free is not necessarily healthier. Replacing whole grain and vitamin-enriched foods with gluten free snacks can lead to deficiencies in fiber, B vitamins, calcium, iron and other nutrients.

Read the labels

Any of the following words on a food label may mean that a grain containing gluten has been used.

  • Stabilizer
  • Starch
  • Flavoring
  • Emulsifier
  • Hydrolyzed
  • Plant Protein

It's important to have your diet monitored by a medical doctor. Talk to the registered dietitians at Giant Eagle for guidance on menu-planning and tips on how to convert your favorite recipes.

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Brought to you by the Registered Dietitians at Giant Eagle and Market District®

Important Physician Advice Disclaimer: The content provided by Giant Eagle®, including but not limited to, website, recipe and health information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician for professional guidance before changing or undertaking a new diet program. Advance consultation with your physician is particularly important if you are under the age of 18, pregnant, nursing or have health problems.