According to Packaged Facts, gluten-free sales reached more than $2.6 billion by the end of 2010 and are now expected to exceed more than $5 billion by 2015. Celiac disease is an auto-immune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with ab- sorption of nutrients from food.
• One in 133 Americans has celiac disease. An estimated 3 million Americans across all races, ages and genders suffer from celiac.
• 95% of celiacs are undiag- nosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. (Source: Fasano A, et al. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163:286-292.)
• 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed. (Source: Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, The Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center)
• Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
• There are NO pharmaceutical cures for celiac disease.
• A 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac today.
Many people adopt a gluten-free diet because it is a trend in stores now. Here are the pros and cons:
This can be a way to try new grains. Amaranth, corn, rice, and quinoa are all gluten-free. Make them whole grain and low in fat and sodium and you have a winner.
Giving up gluten and wheat might mean giving up a lot of refined wheat choices that are everywhere, like croissants, cookies and white bread.
Remember that MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines call for most adults to get between 5 and 7 ounces of grains per day, with half of those being whole.
The expense - gluten-free foods are double to triple the cost.
Many gluten-free products are still high in sodium, sugar and fat
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.