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Hailstones fill a U.S. Marine cot after a storm at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan's Helmand province. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Gluten Free Diet

Jan 12, 2014

If you answered mostly Ds, you might benefit from going gluten-free.

The people who should be on a gluten-free diet are those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance. But for whatever reason, the diet has become popular as a weight-loss plan, which is confusing for both people who suffer from the disease, and those who treat them. "These are not really low calorie products," says Jacalyn See, a registered dietitian who works with celiac patients at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. "The [substitution] products often have more calories, and lack nutrients like B vitamins, iron and fiber."

People with celiac disease develop an immune reaction when they eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This damages the inner lining of the small intestine, causing diarrhea and bloating. If not treated, and patients simply avoid eating the irritating foods, they can develop deficiencies in key nutrients that compromise the brain to the nervous system and bone. While not all cases are severe, the reactions are enough to make dietary restrictions important.

If you think you have a gluten allergy, you should contact your doctor so you can be tested and diagnosed properly. Unless you have an allergy to glutens, there is really no reason to go gluten-free . Some people use it as an excuse to stay away from many breads, but end up substituting higher calorie foods instead.

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