With a dramatic increase in the diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten intolerance in recent years, mainstream grocery stores, restaurant chains and bakeries are introducing more and more gluten-free products.
Following a gluten-free diet requires you to become educated on all the hidden sources of gluten, as well as educating loved ones. To avoid all gluten, you must read labels carefully (and regularly, because manufacturers can change ingredients without notice). You need to avoid not only wheat but its derivatives: durum, graham, kamut, semolina and spelt. The same goes with barley derivatives: malt flavoring and malt vinegar, as well as rye, MSG and soy sauce. Remember, just because a food is labeled wheat-free doesn’t mean it’s gluten-free.
Some manufacturers add sugar, saturated fats and preservatives to their gluten-free offerings to make them taste better, but they also add calories. Just because a diet is gluten-free it does not mean it’s calorie-free. You still need to apply the principles of a balanced diet.
On the other hand, says Jerry Bagel, M.D., director of the Psoriasis Treatment Center of Central New Jersey in East Windsor and a member of the National Psoriasis Foundation medical board, if someone’s skin improves as a result of a gluten-free diet, it’s likely the patient’s digestive system is improving as well, and absorbing more nutrients.
Gluten-free diets allow you to still eat all fresh fruits and vegetables, which should be part of your healthy diet. Beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork and dairy products are also naturally gluten-free. Again, just be sure to watch for additives.