Gluten-Free Diet

The Gluten-free diet is indicated for celiac disease (which may be accompanied by dermatitis herpetiformis) and wheat allergy. However, this diet has gained popularity in people without specific allergies to gluten. There have even been claims that this diet may help to treat autism, although this claim remains unproven. This diet excludes all gluten-containing products. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and titicale (hybrid mix of rye and wheat). Gluten is also an additive to many foods. In addition, while oats are gluten-free themselves, they are almost always contaminated by contact gluten-containing grains during processing.

Less Obvious Sources of Gluten

Pros and Cons of a Gluten-free Diet



  • May decrease carbohydrate consumption and encourage increase in fruits and vegetables
  • Many gluten-free foods are also not enriched with iron, fiber, or folate
  • Difficult to adhere to
  • Limiting diet; more commonly used in those without celiac disease or wheat allergy than in those with those conditions

There are many "gluten-free" products on the market that are modified versions of foods that naturally contain gluten, such as gluten-free breads and pastas. These foods are more expensive and calorically very similar to their gluten-containing counterparts.