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Every now and then there are diets that spike a trend and we all feel like we need to join!  Some of the diets are “fad” type diets while others are truly good diets to follow.  In this post we will talk about the gluten free diet, a diet that’s probably here to stay!

It seems everywhere you look you see food packages labeled “gluten free”. Not truly knowing what it meant, I was admittedly one of those who fell victim of purchasing more products labeled “gluten free” since I figured it would be healthier.  Sometimes it IS healthier, sometimes it is not.

Let’s first talk about what gluten is and why you might consider being gluten free. Gluten is a protein that’s found in a lot of types of food.  More specifically it’s found in breads, wheat, rye and barley.  People with a disease called Celiac disease actually have an allergy to gluten and therefore have to eat “gluten free”.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where, if those with the allergy eat gluten, their body will start killing off their small intestine lining (this is where you absorb most of your nutrients).  Because of this, people with Celiac disease who eat gluten free tend to be malnourished and have other complicating issues so it is very important this group with the disease do eat only gluten free.

If you want to avoid gluten but do not have Celiac disease, that’s OK but be careful!  One aspect to watch out for is that SO many things have become “gluten free” and while they do not in fact contain gluten, they often contain other ingredients to compensate for the lack of gluten such as butter, oil, sugar and other preservatives. Be a conscious consumer and read the ingredients.

The best rule of thumb in eating gluten free is to eat lots of real foods such a fruits, vegetables, beans, etc. Try to avoid anything processed and when possible, try to cook your meals at home where you know what you are putting in to things. Also, check labels for “gluten free” and in the allergy information, if it says “wheat”, steer clear.

If you have any questions about eating gluten free or how to maintain a healthy diet, please contact our offices.  We are happy to talk with you about this!

At Carlos and Parnell, M.D., P.A. our professional and caring staff makes the difference with patient care. – See more at: http://carlosparnellmd.com/thermometers-and-babies/#sthash.MFvVROkI.dpuf

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