We are in a time of heightened gluten awareness. Grocery stores and restaurants now offer gluten free options, but does gluten-free mean healthier? Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley and rice. It’s common in breads, pasta and cereal. People with celiac disease have an immune reaction that is triggered by gluten. It’s estimated that about 1% of the population suffers from celiac disease, so why does the Consumer Reports National Research Center reveal that 63% of Americans believe a gluten-free diet could improve their mental or physical health?
The downsides of gluten-free diets are:
- While gluten provides no essential nutrients, gluten-free foods are commonly less fortified with folic acid, iron and other nutrients than regular, gluten containing foods.
- Gluten-free substitute foods tend to have more sugar and fat.
- Gluten-free foods can be more expensive than their conventional version.
People with celiac disease, wheat allergy or those who feel unwell when they consume gluten should avoid it. If you can eat gluten without trouble, there is no compelling evidence that a gluten-free diet will improve health.
Natural gluten- free foods include:
Fruits & vegetables, meat & poultry, fish and seafood, dairy, beans, legumes and nuts.
For a list of grains and other starch-containing foods that are naturally gluten-free visit https://bit.ly/2G6q8HE