Good news for those who suffer from celiac disease or a severe gluten intolerance; today, the Food and Drug Administration released new guidelines manufacturers must follow in order to label their foods gluten-free.
Under the new guidelines, foods labeled "gluten-free," "free of gluten," "without gluten," or "no gluten" must be made without wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains; if these grains are an ingredient, the food must be processed to remove gluten until the protein measures in at fewer than 20 parts per million. Manufacturers have a year to make sure their foods comply with the new rules.
For the one in 133 Americans who suffer from the autoimmune disorder celiac disease, a severe gluten intolerance that can lead to abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and digestive tract cancers, the new labeling may give them lifesaving peace of mind when reaching for the plethora of gluten-free products that are available — the FDA says that as many as five percent of food products currently labeled gluten-free may actually contain gluten. However, if you don't have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, keep in mind that you may be wasting your money if you're seeking out those gluten-free-labeled bagels and pizzas.
Keep reading to find out who should splurge on gluten-free foods and who should save their dough.
Going gluten-free has become trendy for many reasons, two of the biggest beliefs being it can help you lose weight and that it's generally healthier, which unfortunately isn't always true. While ditching gluten-containing foods can reduce your caloric intake, replacing these items with their gluten-free substitutes simply replaces the same amount of carbs and calories. Add to that, many gluten-free products are processed and full of fats and sugar. The bottom line is that if you don't need to eat a gluten-free diet because of an allergy, skip it and save your money. Most gluten-free products are expensive and just not worth it.
It's a bit trickier for those who omit gluten because they may have a sensitivity. The problem is there is no fail-safe way to test for the sensitivity outside of a "research setting." A recent study, however, showed that going gluten-free, even when you don't have celiac disease, may be beneficial. If you've been to the doctor and ruled out celiac, but still suffer from fatigue, bloating, and other stomach issues, go gluten-free for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. If symptoms improve, reintroduce gluten back into your diet, if symptoms return, chances are you have a sensitivity. While definitely not the most scientific test, it may help those tummy issues once and for all.