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Gluten-Free Diet

FDA Introduces New Gluten-Free Guidelines — Should They Matter to You?

Good news for those who suffer from celiac disease or a severe gluten intolerance; today, the Food and Drug Administration released new guidelines manufacturers must follow in order to label their foods gluten-free.

Under the new guidelines, foods labeled "gluten-free," "free of gluten," "without gluten," or "no gluten" must be made without wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains; if these grains are an ingredient, the food must be processed to remove gluten until the protein measures in at fewer than 20 parts per million. Manufacturers have a year to make sure their foods comply with the new rules.

For the one in 133 Americans who suffer from the autoimmune disorder celiac disease, a severe gluten intolerance that can lead to abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and digestive tract cancers, the new labeling may give them lifesaving peace of mind when reaching for the plethora of gluten-free products that are available — the FDA says that as many as five percent of food products currently labeled gluten-free may actually contain gluten. However, if you don't have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, keep in mind that you may be wasting your money if you're seeking out those gluten-free-labeled bagels and pizzas.


Keep reading to find out who should splurge on gluten-free foods and who should save their dough.

Going gluten-free has become trendy for many reasons, two of the biggest beliefs being it can help you lose weight and that it's generally healthier, which unfortunately isn't always true. While ditching gluten-containing foods can reduce your caloric intake, replacing these items with their gluten-free substitutes simply replaces the same amount of carbs and calories. Add to that, many gluten-free products are processed and full of fats and sugar. The bottom line is that if you don't need to eat a gluten-free diet because of an allergy, skip it and save your money. Most gluten-free products are expensive and just not worth it.

It's a bit trickier for those who omit gluten because they may have a sensitivity. The problem is there is no fail-safe way to test for the sensitivity outside of a "research setting." A recent study, however, showed that going gluten-free, even when you don't have celiac disease, may be beneficial. If you've been to the doctor and ruled out celiac, but still suffer from fatigue, bloating, and other stomach issues, go gluten-free for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. If symptoms improve, reintroduce gluten back into your diet, if symptoms return, chances are you have a sensitivity. While definitely not the most scientific test, it may help those tummy issues once and for all.

Richard14763806 Richard14763806 4 years
As an MD who got headaches from too much pasta and pastry, I found there's life after gluten. It shouldn't be news that poorly managed Celiac patients are at risk for lymphoma. When we eat something we are allergic to and get bad symptoms, doctors prescribe immune-suppressants to reduce our symptoms, but in suppressing our immune system, it does not detect cancer-type cells like lymphoma. Steroids cause many other problems too--diabetes, high blood pressure, ulcers, obesity, osteoporosis. Wouldn't it really be better to eat a gluten-free diet and skip all the drugs?
ha2207 ha2207 5 years
Being on a gluten-free diet (when you don't have a gluten intolerance) has nothing to do with buying gluten-free products. That would be like saying that being on Weight Watchers is all about buying the Weight Watchers cookies and crackers. The point is that a gluten-free diet eliminates gluten and makes you focus on what's left - namely fruits, vegetables, protein and lower-GI whole grains. Buying a bunch of packaged food isn't good for you period, regardless of what "diet" you follow.
hayok hayok 5 years
Celiac disease, while similar to an allergy, is not actually an allergy. Talking about gluten free being a trend kind of takes away from the progress/knowledge/awareness of Celiac disease and what people suffering from it might have to deal with. I definitely think that people working to find substitutes for gluten containing foods, celiac diagnosis or not, are not really making any "diet" changes. Sometimes, though, evaluating everything you put in your mouth by cutting gluten can lead to increased fruits and veggies, lean meats, grains like quinoa, etc. therefore causing increased health and potential weight loss. It's all about finding some balance and not placing the blame for unhealthy habits on something like gluten.
Aida-M Aida-M 5 years
This is what gets me: Dieters forgo common sense and look for loopholes in diets. A gluten free diet DOES eliminate food prevalent in a typical Western diet with high glycemic index rankings... but if dieters try, they certainly CAN make a gluten free diet unhealthy. They CAN find deserts, sugar, and garbage that is gluten free... and on top of it, pay extra money. But what's the point? It's about finding a lifestyle... not converting a principle that may facilitate a healthy lifestyle into something indulgent and damaging. Instead of going gluten free, then a dieter is better off eating low glycemic foods, with little splurges every week or so.
testadura67 testadura67 5 years
For a lot of people, it's not the gluten, it's the junk food. Try switching for the dollar loaf of white bread to a multi grain or whole grain bread. Skip the pre-packaged cookies and bake your own so you can control what goes into it. I think that's what the main difference is for people without a gluten sensitivity when they cut out gluten. It forces them to take control of what they're putting into their bodies. Cutting gluten out completely changed my life, but I had one friend ask for advice on going gluten free to help clear up her skin. I just... wanted... to SHAKE her. You can easily clean up your diet and your lifestyle without going through the stress and expense of avoiding gluten entirely.
amber512 amber512 5 years
Well yeah, don't switch from real food to gluten-free processed junk food!
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