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What is a gluten-free diet?

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Quick Answer

A gluten-free diet is an eating plan that cuts out all food types that contain the protein gluten. Among the food types that contains the protein gluten are rye, wheat, barley and triticale. The diet is primarily designed for people suffering from celiac disease who have an unusual sensitivity to gluten protein.

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What is a gluten-free diet?
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Full Answer

For those who are diagnosed with celiac disease, the only viable treatment for the disease would be to a lifelong regimen of a gluten-free diet. While cutting out barley, rye, wheat and tripicale from one's diet may not seem much, doing so actually eliminates a host of common foods including cakes and pastries, cereals, French fries, gravies, sauces, basted poultry, soups, pastas, most breads, cookies, candies, soups and even beer.

While some may bemoan the seeming restrictiveness of the diet, a celiac is still allowed to eat such foods as unmarinated and unbattered meat, poultry and fish; most dairy products, unprocessed beans, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. Certain types of grain are also allowed in the diet, such as rice, quinoa, soy, sorghum, corn and cornmeal, flax and buckwheat.

The term "gluten-free" is actually term used to indicate minimal levels of gluten in certain food, rather than the complete absence of it. In some cases, natural gluten-free food may be contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process. The United States Food and Drug Administration requires that food products should have gluten content of no more than 20 parts per million for it to be considered and labeled gluten-free.

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