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Gluten-free talk from a dietitian

Posted by Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerly’s Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Every day I talk to customers in our stores who are looking for gluten-free foods. Their interest may be because they have celiac disease, a wheat/gluten allergy or they suspect they have gluten sensitivity. Below are some helpful facts and tips for living with gluten sensitivity or allergies.

Gluten Facts

  • Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Most breads, pastas, breakfast cereals, crackers and cookies have gluten.
  • There are hidden sources of gluten in soups, sauces gravies and more that make label reading a necessity.
  • Foods that are labeled “gluten-free” can be used safely in your diet.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, plain meat, poultry, fish, eggs and many dairy products are naturally gluten-free.

Celiac Disease Facts

  • Celiac disease is a common genetic disorder that affects more than 2 million people in the U.S. or about 1 in 133 people.
  • Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease where the body responds to gluten by damaging the lining of the small intestine. This damage greatly diminishes the absorption of nutrients.
  • The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet.

With more people being diagnosed with celiac disease and increased awareness, the demand for gluten-free foods is skyrocketing. Sales of these products reached $1.6 billion in 2008 and are expected to reach $2.6 billion this year, with a projection to exceed $5 billion by 2015. This is a serious indication that living gluten-free is more than a passing fad.

Before you start a gluten-free diet, you should see your doctor to be tested for celiac disease. Following the diet and then being tested later may give you inaccurate results.

Do you need some help with your gluten-free diet? Please join me Saturday, April 28 at Byerly’s Edina for a gluten-free store tour at 11 – 12 p.m. or 2 – 3 p.m. We will walk the store together, read labels looking for hidden sources of gluten and discover some new foods to try. You’ll have a chance to ask questions and we’ll taste a few of my favorite gluten-free products. Sign up by calling Byerly’s Edina at 952-831-3601.

Tags: gluten-freegluten

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