Nutrition Wellness 

Ask The NutritionisT...

Published Aug 5, 2016  in The Mission Record.

Q: I do not have celiac disease. Is there any benefit to eating gluten free?

A: Gluten-free eating is becoming more popular nowadays, with the increasing amount of people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Also there is a much larger selection of foods available for people with these two conditions in the grocery store and health foods stores. The choice to eat gluten-free for people who are gluten sensitive has to do with digestion: some people do not readily digest gluten grains. This indigestion causes undesirable side-effect, affects the intestinal lining, interferes with calcium absorption and causes the loss of other essential nutrients. Some people, in order to be truly healthy must choose this way of eating for their lifetime. Parents, relatives, and friends can do more than previously realized, by being supportive of this choice.

For people who are not gluten sensitive the issue is one of variety. Gluten free grains offer variety for people who like to rotate their grains so as to prevent allergies. Try a few gluten free grains plain without added ingredients to get a feel for their flavors and textures. You can also offer gluten-free variety by cooking with rice and corn pastas, for example. Grains such as brown and white rice, corn, quinoa, amaranth, teff (an African grain), buckwheat (a relative of rhubarb), wild rice, and millet are all innately gluten free. Oats contain a different form of gluten, and some people with gluten sensitivity can still eat oats. Make sure to read the list of ingredients on any gluten-free product as it may still contain sugar, eggs, refined oils, and refined flours. Watch out for gluten-free products that are not made with whole grain flours and are not sugar-free. Also look for hidden sources of gluten, such as sauces and soups, with flours as thickener. Spelt, barley, kamut, and whole wheat all contain gluten, although traditionally healthy fare. This is one of the most difficult diets for people to follow, but if you choose to embark upon this lifestyle, don't despair; the benefits for digestion and absorption, reduction of digestive toxins, prevention of allergies, and ongoing detoxification are great.

Ask the nutritionist by sending your questions to through the end of the month. Emily is the nutritionist at the P U L S E Nutrition Clinic in Mission, B.C.

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