Danielle Prestejohn, NASM CPT, MS Nutrition, is a devoted CrossFitter, Group Fitness Instructor, and Health Coach. Residing in Boston, MA she is the blogger behind CleanFoodCreativeFitness.com and has a passion for all things nutrition and fitness. She hopes to share this passion and enthusiasm for health with all those in the Diet.com community!

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Danielle Prestejohn

by Danielle Prestejohn, Fitness and Nutrition Expert
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We are beginning to hear more and more about Celiac disease. Gluten free products are now easily becoming available at any grocery store. But does gluten free mean Paleo? Is gluten free healthier? What exactly does it mean to be diagnosed with Celiac disease?

These are all questions I have been forced to figure out over the past year after being diagnosed with Celiac disease.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac is an autoimmune disorder, it is not contagious and it does not go away. The disorder causes the body to become unable to process gluten, the more it is consumed, the more detrimental it is to the body of a Celiac individual. Gluten is a gut irritant and can cause numerous problems to those with Celiac.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is often termed as wheat but it is not only wheat. Gluten is also found in barely and rye in addition to all wheat products. It can often be hidden in labels under other terms; an example of this is brown rice syrup. While brown rice does not contain gluten, brown rice syrup does! Simply because a label states that it does not contain wheat products, doesn’t mean it is gluten free.

Are Gluten Free Foods Paleo?

Not quite, while all Paleo foods are naturally gluten free, many gluten free foods are not Paleo. There are many grains that are naturally gluten free including rice, millet, quinoa, etc that are not Paleo. Take caution with gluten free foods, it’s easy to label them as healthy when they aren’t: a cookie is still a cookie, gluten free or not. Also many gluten free foods lack the vitamins and minerals found in whole grain foods. The best choice is always sticking to more fruits and vegetables and less grains overall, whether or not they are gluten free.

Some tips for those with Celiac:

One of the things that I was completely unaware of until being diagnosed with Celiac was the amount of ...    Continue

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@ 2:43pm ET on September 20, 2012
Your article and list contain out-dated and incorrect information. Caramel color _may_ be made from barley (not barely) malt, but in fact is currently derived from corn. You do not have to use gluten-free topicals such as make-up, shampoo, soap, etc., since gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. Even lipstick--the magazine Gluten-Free Living recently took a long hard look at lipsticks, and concluded that the amount of gluten in those few that may contain a gluten ingredient is so low as to be unmeasurable. Artificial flavorings do not contain gluten. Sodas do not contain gluten. Due to labeling requirements for meat, if there is a gluten ingredient it will be clearly labeled (meat is covered by the USDA regulations, rather than the FDA). There are very few (as in, perhaps 10) medications that contain gluten. Check out Steve Plogsted's list at http://www.glutenfreedrugs.com/ for details.

I urge you to spend more time reading reputable magazines (Gluten-Free Living is tops here), group web sites (celiac.com, the sites of all the gf support organizations--while recognizing that CSA is overly strict in many their suggestions), and individual web sites (Connie Sarros and other major cookbook authors).

As to people going on a gf diet who have neither celiac nor non-celiac gluten-sensitive enteropathy--it depends. It seems to help some people with other autoimmune conditions. It is not a diet for the general population, as it can be difficult to get proper nutrition on it without careful planning. I truly dislike the fact that it's become a fad diet.

@ 2:58pm ET on September 20, 2012
Hi Jaellison! I did research before writing this article. Nowhere in here did I say that soda contains gluten. Overall my reason for writing this was to note to those with Celiac that there are precautionary measures to take! It is always better to double check than not! What if you were taking of the the 10 medications containing gluten and did not know it?! What if you wear lipstick often and those trace amounts of gluten you are consuming add up?! I never said that caramel color can come from barely so not quite sure where you got that from...I knew beforehand it came from barley and while caramel color in the US is made from corn it can be made from gluten containing products in other countries so it is still something to be aware of. I myself read gluten free living as well as consult forums frequently! I completely agree with you that it should not become a fad diet and to be honest some of those gluten free packaged products available scare me because of how processed they are! The point of this article is to check and double check labels for gluten if you are celiac, to show that it might not be listed as gluten directly on the label, and explain to always check with the manufacturer if question still arises!

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