Managing a successful gluten-free diet can be quite tricky, so this week we've called upon Shelley Case, a registered dietitian and gluten-free diet expert! Shelley is a leading international nutrition expert and is a member of the Medical Advisory Boards of the Celiac Disease Foundation and Gluten Intolerance Group in the United States and the Professional Advisory Board of the Canadian Celiac Association, so read carefully and you're sure to learn a lot!
Enjoy this wonderful insight and if you think of more questions, submit them anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org. All of the questions you see answered below were submitted by readers just like you!
Question 1: I have heard that whole grains are important in the diet. What are they and how can I incorporate more into my gluten-free diet?
Answer from Shelley: Eating a wide variety of foods, including whole grains is the key to a healthy diet. This is especially important for those on a gluten-free diet because many gluten-free products are made from refined flours and starches and are not usually enriched with vitamins and minerals. As a result these products are often lower in iron, B vitamins, fiber and protein.
A grain is “whole” when it is consumed in a form that includes the bran (outer layer and primary source of fiber), germ (the part that sprouts into a new plant), and endosperm (the bulk of the seed).Gluten-free whole grains include brown rice, black rice, red rice, corn (including cornmeal and popcorn), Montina™ (Indiana ricegrass), millet, oats (pure, uncontaminated), sorghum, teff, and wild rice - as well as the pseudo-grains of amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa.People who regularly eat whole grains have a lower risk of obesity, lower cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. The USDA and the Whole Grains Council (see http://www.wholegrainscouncil.com/whole-grain-stamp) recommend 3 to 5 servings of whole grains per day. Look for the yellow Whole Grain Stamp: Eating three whole grain food products labeled “100% Whole Grain” – or six products bearing ANY Whole Grain Stamp meets the 3 to 5 servings per day requirement.
For more information about gluten-free whole grains including tips, recipes and nutrition see: http://www.glutenfreediet.ca/img/WholeGrains.pdf
Question 2: I know that gluten-containing breads, pastas, cereals and other products made from wheat, rye and barley are often enriched. Are there any gluten-free products that are enriched?
Answer from Shelley: Labeling regulations in the US and Canada do allow for the enrichment of gluten-free products. Here are some examples of companies who enrich their gluten-free products with vitamins and minerals. This list was excerpted from my book Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide (see www.glutenfreediet.ca)
- Deboles- Multi Grain Pasta, Rice Plus Golden Flax Pasta
- Ener-G Foods- All breads (except yeast free), buns, rolls, pizza shells, brown English muffins, crackers, melba toast, bread crumbs, croutons, brownies, doughnut holes, plain doughnuts, pound cake.
- Enjoy Life Foods – Bagels, granola cereals, snack bars
- Food Tek- All mixes except icings.
- Gluten-Free Creations Bakery – All breads, bagels, pizza crusts, muffins, bread crumbs, graham cracker crumbs, cakes, cookies, brownies and mixes.
- Glutino – Original corn breads, Premium (corn breads, bagels, pizza crusts)
- Kinnikinnick – All breads (including yeast-free), bagels, buns, English muffins, pizza crusts, bread crumbs and tapioca rice bread mix.
- Pastato – Fortified potato pasta.
Answer from Shelley: In addition to choosing different gluten-free whole grains, as well as enriched gluten-free products whenever possible, remember to include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, low fat milk products, lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs and meat alternatives such as legumes, nuts and seeds; as well as small amounts of heart healthy fats and oils such as olive and canola oils. Limit your intake of gluten-free cookies, cakes and other high fat/high sugar items.
It is also highly recommended to consult with a dietitian with expertise in the gluten-free diet to do a nutritional assessment and review your food intake to ensure your diet is nutritious and whether you need any specific supplements.
Question 4: I am very busy and do not have time to get to local celiac support group meetings. What are the best web resources for information about safely managing a gluten-free diet?
Answer from Shelley: There is an enormous amount of information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet on the web. However, just because it’s on the web does not make it accurate or reliable. I constantly come across conflicting and inaccurate information on the web, as well as in print materials. That is one of the reasons why I have extensively researched and written four editions of my book Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. I regularly add new information in the book and on my website at www.glutenfreediet.ca. My mission has been to provide evidence-based, scientific and practical information about the disease and diet for consumers, health professionals, the food industry and media. There are many articles and links from reputable sources listed on my site at http://www.glutenfreediet.ca/resources.php Some of these sites include the National Institutes of Health Celiac Awareness Campaign at http://www.celiac.nih.gov as well as links to the celiac centers across the US at http://www.glutenfreediet.ca/centers.php
Another helpful resource is at the American Celiac Disease Alliance site at http://americanceliac.org/
Although you cannot attend celiac support group meetings it is a great idea to join a national celiac support organization as they provide lots of excellent information on the web and printed materials such as newsletters and other helpful resources. Links to the various groups in the US and Canada can be found at http://www.glutenfreediet.ca/groups.php