After being confined to health-food stores for years, gluten-free foods have become the latest food fad. Gluten-free products are starting to line the shelves at grocery stores, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to the health benefits of a gluten-free diet.

 

People with celiac disease can’t tolerate gluten, not even small amounts. Just 50 milligrams of the protein—about the amount in one small crouton—is enough to cause trouble. In people with celiac disease, gluten in the bloodstream triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to other problems like osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures.

 

But lately it’s become hip to go gluten-free. People have been switching to gluten-free diets to lose weight, boost energy, treat autism, or generally feel healthier.

 

But there are many health benefits. If you choose to start a gluten-free diet, you are actually eliminating a variety of foods from your diet that are unhealthy. Fried foods would be off limits, because of the breading, and desserts high in sugar and fat would be removed from your diet completely. On a gluten-free diet, you would likely eat more fruits and vegetables, just because they are several food sources that are non-starchy, and almost completely gluten-free.

 

By eating only gluten-free foods, you will also be eliminating unhealthy oils from your diet, as well as unhealthy carbohydrates found in bread products like doughnuts and pastries.

 

Many of the gluten-free foods available are healthy for you, and can also help you lose weight with the right combinations and proportions of other foods. Just keep portion size in mind, and be sure to choose gluten-free starches such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Just make sure you do research and know the facts before you start any new diet.

 

Thinking of going gluten-free? Here is what you need to know.

 

For more info, visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gluten-free-diet/my01140

 

Or for a list of restaurants with gluten-free options in your area, visit:

http://www.urbanspoon.com/t/17/1/Denver/Gluten-Free-Friendly-restaurants