Debunking Three Myths About Going Gluten-Free

Take a trip to the grocery store and walk down the aisles where bread, pasta, rice and cereals are sold. Then take a closer look at the food labels on those packages, and there's a good chance you'll find some labeled gluten-free.

If you have a diagnosed allergy to gluten (also known as celiac disease), you know how important it is to avoid foods that contain this group of proteins. For some, a sensitivity to gluten can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. But for others with a major allergy to gluten, exposure to it through food can lead to very serious health problems.

Do you have celiac disease? A simple blood test administered by your doctor is the best way to find out. If it comes back negative, you may have a sensitivity to gluten. Either way, it means you need to be vigilant about following a gluten-free diet.

If you don't know if you're allergic to gluten, you may have a lot of questions about what going gluten-free is all about. Let's debunk three common myths about going gluten-free.

Myth #1 Gluten-free means no grains

If you do have a gluten allergy or sensitivity, you might think it's the end of eating grains of any kind. Gluten is typically found in breads, pasta, rice, and cereal. But that's only because the majority of these foods are made with barley, wheat and rye. Fortunately, there are other types of grains that don't contain gluten like amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, wild rice, and others, according to the Whole Grains Council.

Myth #2 Everyone has some sensitivity to gluten

Studies suggest that an estimated 1 in 133 people or more in the United States have a gluten allergy or sensitivity to gluten, according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. While some people may respond to gluten differently, there isn't any kind of Gluten spectrum to measure sensitivity. Some people have no problem eating foods with gluten. Some people are born with an allergy to gluten. And others develop an allergy or sensitivity to gluten over time.

Myth #3 Going gluten-free will improve your health

If you have a gluten allergy (celiac disease) or sensitivity to gluten, avoiding foods with this group of proteins is imperative to your overall health and quality of life. But there is not large body of evidence or clinical research that shows going gluten-free will improve your overall health. For example, eating plans like the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet both include foods that contain gluten, and have proven to provide important health benefits for people who eat this way.

Need to follow a gluten-free diet? Or want to cut out gluten and see how your gut responds? Many foods contain gluten, and some that don't are made in manufacturing facilities where gluten is present, which can be enough to trigger a problem. Going-gluten free requires a major shift in eating habits for most people. And it's why we created 14 different gluten-free meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Enjoy.