Gluten-Free Diet Goes Mainstream – What This Means for Celiac Disease Patients

For anyone with a serious health condition that requires a certain type of diet, it is nice when mainstream dieters take on the same diet, simply because manufacturers of foods tend to supply whatever has demand. As the cases of diabetes has grown in America, so have the number of food items that contain little or no sugar or carbs. Similarly, as the number of cases of diagnosed Celiac disease has grown, so has the number of people taking on a gluten-free diet that do not have an intolerance for gluten. The more people that are on a gluten free diet, the more companies create and offer products that fit these needs. However, there is a downside when this happens. Read on to learn how gluten free diets entering the mainstream weight loss scene can have a negative effect on those that truly need it.
The Real Reason for a Gluten Free Diet
When a person has Celiac disease, it means that their intestines are damaged by foods containing gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye). Their bodies will react to gluten as if it were toxic, causing damage to the lining of the small intestine. This ultimately results in a lack of absorption of nutrients in other foods, and can lead to malnutrition among other negative effects. According to recent information, it is believed that 1 in 133 Americans suffers from Celiac disease, with even more suffering from some other form of gluten intolerance. To combat Celiac disease, the goal is to prevent the damage from occurring to the small intestine by removing or limiting gluten in the diet.
The Gluten Free Bandwagon
As happens with many popular diets that started with a disease, people not suffering from Celiac disease will see weight loss or other benefits in those on a gluten free diet, and then decide to try it for themselves. In the recent case of Miley Cyrus, she was accused of having bulemia or anorexia due to sudden and rapid weight loss, which she combated by saying she had to be on a gluten-free diet due to food allergies. However, she took it a step further by tweeting that everyone should try a gluten free diet for at least a week. Although health experts advise against going on such a strict diet when health does not demand it, people still tend to follow any diet they believe has had success. And Miley is just one of many celebrities that have touted the benefits of a gluten-free diet.
The Damage Caused by a Diet Going Mainstream
Ten, or even five, years ago, there were very little options available to those on a gluten-free diet due to Celiac disease or other health reasons. But one in 133 is a fairly large number, and food manufacturers want to make as much money as possible – so the more people needing gluten-free foods, the more gluten-free foods became available. However, the problem lies in that many of the products available are manufactured and marketed to those on a gluten-free diet for weight loss, not those on a gluten-free diet due to a medical condition. For example, Domino’s Pizza recently started offering a pizza with a “gluten-free crust.” A dream come true for those with Celiac disease, right? Wrong. Just like so many others, the pizza is really marketed toward those who are cutting gluten out of their diet by choice, and their website specifically states “Domino’s® pizza made with a Gluten Free Crust is prepared in a common kitchen with the risk of gluten exposure. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness supports the availability of Domino’s® Gluten Free Crust but CANNOT recommend the pizza for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment in consuming this pizza.”
What This Means for Celiac Disease Sufferers
It is important to remember that, although there are more gluten-free foods available on the market to choose from, those with medical conditions related to gluten should still read all labels and nutritional information on any food before they buy it. The name “gluten-free” as a title should not be enough to garner your trust – instead, be safe and know what you are actually eating before you eat it.   
Thanks for reading our article! If you are on a gluten-free diet, you can easily stock up on a variety of food options at our store. Linda’s Diet Delites offers an entire gluten-free section, and all of our foods that are listed as gluten-free are manufactured with Celiac disease in mind. Read our informational labels and find exactly what you need, all in one place!

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