What is all the hype of following a Gluten-Free Diet?

A gluten-free diet is used for treatment for individuals diagnosed with celiac disease. This illness is an intolerance of gluten that causes inflammation in the small intestine. Not everyone should be on a gluten-free diet.

Have you noticed more gluten-free options in your grocery store? Maybe you have a friend, neighbor or relative who has stopped consuming gluten and has lost significant weight or feels much healthier. Are you thinking about trying a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet is not for everyone. It is beneficial for individuals who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. According to the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, celiac disease affects an estimated one percent of Americans and the condition is genetic. Some symptoms of celiac disease, which can be similar to irritable bowel syndrome, include: gas, diarrhea, stomach pain, fatigue, joint pain, weight loss or gain, an itchy skin rash called dermatitis, and many other symptoms. According to the Gluten Intolerance Group, gluten intolerance is the most undiagnosed disorder in the United States. If you have symptoms related to celiac disease please meet with your doctor and registered dietitian for more information.

Celiac disease can be tolerated and managed with a gluten-free diet. Many foods such as fruit, vegetables, poultry, beef, fish and eggs are gluten-free naturally and many new products are being developed every day. Foods that contain gluten are often processed and have ingredients that contain wheat, rye and barley. Other examples of foods that contain gluten are candy, gravy, French fries, hot dogs, lunch meat, sauces, medicines, soups, soy sauce, snack foods such as pretzels, tortilla chips and more.

If you simply want to lose or maintain your weight then stock-up on vegetables and fruit and eat a variety of foods from the MyPlate food groups. For more information on nutrition education for a healthy weight visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/msue/health_and_nutrition or call your local MSU Extension office.

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