Food News: Gluten-Free

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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:

PROS:

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.

CONS:

The expense - gluten-free foods are double to triple the cost.

Many gluten-free products are still high in sodium, sugar and fat

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