There is a high likelihood that you know someone who “eats gluten free”, or is at least considering it. The popularity of gluten free products and diets sans gluten has skyrocketed over the past several years, begging the question: Should everyone be eating gluten free?
Gluten is a protein naturally found in some grains, particularly wheat, barley and rye. For years, bakers have relied on this naturally-occurring protein to achieve a soft, fluffy texture in breads and baked goods. For most people, gluten has no known negative health effects and is part of nutritious foods, particularly whole grains which provide healthy nutrients like fiber, B vitamins and minerals. However, it is estimated that 1% of the American population has an autoimmune condition called celiac disease. When a person with celiac disease eats a food containing gluten, his or her own body will attack itself, causing inflammation and damage. Currently, the only available treatment option for celiac disease is to follow a strict, lifelong gluten free diet. Some people without celiac disease may also choose to eat gluten free for other personal or health-related reasons, like gluten intolerance and digestive troubles. It is often more difficult to meet nutrient requirements on a gluten free diet, therefore, eliminating gluten is not generally recommended unless warranted by a medical diagnosis, like celiac disease or gluten intolerance. If a gluten free diet is required, our dietitian team recommends filling your plate with a variety of naturally nutritious and gluten free foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, poultry, seafood, eggs and dairy. New to a gluten free diet? Or have a nutrition question? Check out our gluten free resources and recipes, or ask our dietitians a question!
Emily Schwartz is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the state of Wisconsin.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research constantly evolves. You should not rely on any information gathered here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals. Information may not be reproduced without permission from Festival Foods. We strongly encourage guests to review the ingredient lists of suggested products before purchasing to ensure they meet individual dietary needs. All products not available at all Festival locations.