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Learn More About Gluten-free Diets in November

Brittany Twiss, Program Assistant – NDSU Extension Service

November is National Gluten-free Diet Awareness Month.

Gluten-free diets are not the “fad” diet some people make them out to be; they are necessary for many people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance or sensitivity.

For people diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten causes inflammation in the small intestine. Eliminating gluten in the diets of those with the disease or those with gluten sensitivity results in a significant reduction in uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms.

A gluten-free diet eliminates the protein “gluten,” which is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Unless labeled “gluten-free” or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grains, those with celiac disease or who are gluten intolerant need to avoid the following:

  • Beer
  • Breads and pastas
  • Cakes, pies and cookies
  • Cereals
  • Gravies and sauces, including soy sauce
  • Imitation meat or seafood
  • Processed luncheon meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Seasoned rice mixes and snack foods (potato/tortilla chips)
  • Soup and soup bases

Be careful of the potential risks of a gluten-free diet. Health experts generally recommend people do not follow this diet unless necessary for digestive health. Cutting out gluten increases the risk of not getting enough vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate.

People following a gluten-free diet also may not get enough fiber or be able to take advantage of other benefits of whole grains. Those benefits include reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. Plus, gluten may boost the body’s immune function.

 

Sources:

www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gluten-free-diet/art-20048530

https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/02/23/how-a-gluten-free-diet-can-be-harmful/

 

 

For information about wheat allergies, see www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/all-about-food-allergens-wheat/fn1829.pdf

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