For those readers who are new to the gluten-free diet, here are five gluten free facts you should know, plus a little bonus information about me.
Food That Tastes Great
Gluten-free food can taste great. No, it doesn’t all taste great, but not all gluten-containing food tastes great either. Okay, maybe there’s a higher percentage of gluten-free food that doesn’t taste good, but that’s changing. There are a lot more delicious options than there used to be.
My motto is that gluten-free can and should be delicious. I never apologize for serving gluten-free food, because the food I serve is enjoyed by all. In fact, we had a young couple here for dinner the other night, and after dinner the young man said, “Eating here always makes me want to be gluten free.”
Not a Weight Loss Diet
The gluten-free diet is not a weight loss diet. Because the word “diet” can be used to refer to a particular way of eating in general and a way of eating in order to lose weight, it can get confusing. It doesn’t help that celebrities say they are going gluten free to lose weight.
Replacing regular breads, pastas, and desserts with gluten-free versions will not help you lose weight. You will likely gain weight because the substitutes are often higher in calories. However, if you go gluten-free by cutting out those foods and not replacing them with a substitute, then you will likely lose weight because you will be cutting carbs and calories.
Free of Wheat, Rye and Barley
Gluten-free food is free of wheat, rye, and barley. For now that’s the official definition used by doctors. There is some evidence that other grains also cause problems.
There is also the fact that gluten is a general term applied to mean the specific proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found in other foods, but not those particular proteins.
Treatment for Celiac Disease
The gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease which causes a person’s body to attack the lining of the small intestine when they ingest gluten.
There are no drugs to treat celiac disease, but it is completely treatable by eliminating gluten.
Foods that are labeled “gluten free” can actually contain gluten. First, there is currently no gluten-free food labeling law in the United States. Hopefully that will change soon.
Second, even when a law is in effect, it will not require that gluten-free foods contain zero amount of gluten. Because of manufacturing and transportation, it is almost impossible to create processed foods with absolutely no gluten.
In most of the world, less than 20 parts per million of gluten is considered gluten-free and safe for celiacs. Some celiacs and people with gluten sensitivity react to foods that allow that level of gluten.
I Hate Gluten
Here are a few bonus facts for you. I was diagnosed with celiac disease and have been gluten free for over 12 years. My oldest son is also gluten-free. He clearly cannot tolerate gluten, but tested negative for celiac disease.
I hate gluten. It is poison to my body. It makes me sick. It messes with my mind. And it only take a little bit—a crumb, or even less.
If you are looking for information about the gluten-free diet, How to Be Gluten Free (affiliate link) is a very practical guide to getting started. It covers 10 steps to help you become happily gluten free. Learn more about How to Be Gluten Free