The complete Gluten-Free Diet FAQ

 

A recent study by the ‘Journal of Consumer Research’ reveals some very interesting details about the impact of social influence. Apparently, every decision that you believe that you made ‘independently’ may be influenced by the people around you.

And when it involves a highly sensationalized lifestyle change that is being touted as the secret to good health by all and sundry, you can’t help but get influenced by it. Like going gluten-free.

Everybody wants to go gluten-free, but most people do not even know what gluten is and why it needs to be avoided.

Each day, we receive scores of emails from our readers who are curious, confused, unaware or plain misinformed about this ancient protein that has risen from being an obscure name, known to a selected few, to one of the most debated topics in health circles.

We figured that it was time for some myth-busting. Here’s a list of the common questions associated with gluten-free that we are hearing more often than others.

If we are missing anything, or you have any questions you’d like to be added or modified, or need more details – please don’t hesitate to comment below or send us an email so that we may clear everything up for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Simply click on any of the questions below and it will take you to the answer — it’s that easy!

What is a gluten-free diet?

In a gluten-free diet you must avoid all beverages and food that contain wheat, rye and barley.

We’ve written a beginners guide to the gluten-free diet guide that explains everything you need to know, from how to get started, to what you should eat and avoid.

Can it cure Celiac Disease?

No! There is no cure for Celiac Disease, living a gluten-free lifestyle is the only solution to keep the disease in check.

In time, the body heals from damage caused by the gluten protein prior to beginning the diet.

Can I eat gluten in small amounts if I have Celiac or Gluten Sensitivity?

No! If you eat even small amounts of gluten it will lead to autoimmune responses that can lead to serious intestinal problems and other complications.

Keep in mind that damage to your system occurs even when you don’t experience obvious symptoms when gluten has been consumed.

Can I lose weight by going on a gluten-free diet?

Yes, you can lose weight in a gluten-free diet because it’s quite restrictive and many staple foods can no longer be eaten, turning to high quality and naturally grown foods such as fruits, vegetables and certain gluten free grains that aids in weight loss, such as quinoa which is technically a seed.

Why do you claim that going gluten-free results in weight loss?

Because the studies have demonstrated it and I’ve seen it happen — over and over again, myself included.

Normally, people who undergo a gluten-free diet lose one pound a day for the first 15-20 days.

Why is this? Because Gliadin, a component unique to gluten is a big appetite stimulant right after digestion. If you remove it, your appetite thereby drops.

With less cravings and less hunger, your calorie intake will drop to 300-450 calories per day (or more depending on the person). This all occurs without worrying about cutting calories, or even limiting portion sizes.

It happens naturally, just by removing gluten.

Will I feel better by following a gluten-free diet?

Yes, after the detoxification process that normally lasts a few days to two weeks. Of course, not every body reacts the same way, how quickly you experience positive effects after beginning the diet will depend on many factors.

Afterwards, you will begin to feel mental clarity, more energetic, better mood and especially in most cases, weight loss results.

How much weight will I lose?

How much weight you lose is completely dependent on you. Of course, including an exercise to your regimen will speed your weight loss process indefinitely.

Cutting out common foods that impede weight loss such as dairy, artificial sweeteners and especially wheat products, making a gluten-free diet perfect for people who seek to lose weight.

In the beginning you’ll see most weight loss results are from water loss, it’s quite normal, so don’t confuse it with fat loss. Although, in a more positive note, this effect shows that your body is beginning to adjust to a fat burning mode.

What foods can I eat?

That’s a normal question to ask. Of course, the main thing is to cut out and stay away from gluten completely in all it’s forms such as wheat, barley and rye and you also have to be careful with cross-contamination.

I’ve put together a list of gluten-free foods to get you started on building a shopping list, and leading yourself to a healthier lifestyle.

Do you have a sample menu?

When it comes to this, it’s not easy to answer. Every single person is different, so their dietary menu changes from the amount of calories, carbs, proteins and fats aside from other factors. I have, however, created a meal plan that you can follow.

You can view the 30 Day Gluten-Free Diet Plan to get an idea of what you should eat on a regular basis.

Is Rice Gluten Free?

One of the commonest doubts that people have during their gluten-free crusade is whether they can eat that deliciously smoked or stir fried bowl of rice that they have been tempted to try since ages. Considering that gluten has an uncanny knack to end up even in grains that do not contain the protein by itself, the doubt is partly justified. So, does rice have gluten?

The answer is no. Not only is rice completely gluten-free but the chances of cross contamination are also remote because rice and wheat are rarely processed in the same facility. So, you can go ahead and taste that mouthwatering Biryani that you have been yearning for. All varieties of rice are inherently gluten-free. This includes brown rice, basmati rice, plain polished white rice, black rice and even wild rice.

In many cases, the name itself can be a misnomer. For example, glutinous rice. Despite sounding like glutinous rice is loaded with gluten in every molecule, it is actually gluten free.

So, do any varieties of rice contain gluten?

Yes. They do. If your taste buds veer towards flavored versions then you are officially entering gluten turf. Flavored rice mixes contain wheat-based ingredients like thickeners and soy-sauce that can contaminate it with gluten.

Most manufacturers of rice who are diligent about protecting their products from cross-contamination are adding the ‘gluten-free’ label as a USP and a feather to their collar. Not only does this help clear the doubt in the minds of the discerning shopper, it also provides an added impetus to the sales.

Are Potatoes Gluten Free?

As gluten continues to snatch away one delicacy after the other from your dinner plate, you want to ensure that the humble potato is spared.

Oh no, anything but the potato. How can I survive without mashed potatoes and the occasional French fries?

But if you have been stared at with a cold glare when you asked for potatoes after mentioning to the waiter that you were gluten-free, then you are not alone. A lot of people are confused whether potatoes are gluten free or not.

Out of the ground, they certainly are. But like a lot of other things, the problem arises with cross-contamination. Unless you are ordering potatoes from a completely gluten-free kitchen, the chances of it coming into contact with gluten in one of its many avatars is highly likely.

For example,

  • Potatoes coated with a thick layer of flour
  • French fries fried in oil that was also used to fry any food that contains gluten
  • Baked potatoes that are baked on the same rack that was used to bake gluten based food

If you were to take a walk around the kitchen with a potato in hand, you’d be astonished to discover some of the ways in which it can get contaminated by gluten.

The bottom line, is that you have to be extra careful about the way in which the potatoes are prepared. If you would like to be extra cautious, just ask the restaurant to make you a plate of ‘clean and contamination free’ potatoes for your sides.

Is Pop Corn gluten free?

For something that is consumed in insanely large quantities in the USA, popcorn is one of the common names that pops up (no pun intended) whenever someone has a doubt about gluten.

‘Does popcorn have gluten’?

How many times have you heard someone ask this at movies or a sporting event to the vendor?

Here’s the answer to this riddle.

Pop Corn in its purest form contains just oil and corn, both of which are gluten-free. However, there are many versions of this versatile snack that can be riddled with gluten due to cross-contamination caused by spices, seasonings and flavors.

This stands true for all versions of popcorn including pre-popped, microwaveable and movie-theater. In many cases, even pre-salted popcorn has the risk of being gluten contaminated. The only way to be really sure is to pick a brand that labels itself as gluten-free.

That assures you that you are buying a product that is not processed in any manufacturing unit that shares the space with grains or products containing gluten.

Any brand that does not label itself explicitly as being gluten-free is a high risk snack for celiac patients.

Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?

Is Oatmeal Gluten Free?

Last but not the least, we have America’s staple breakfast, ‘Oatmeal’. How many of you start your day with a warm and inviting cup of oatmeal? It’s loaded with nutrients, lignants, fiber and err….gluten?

The possibility of oatmeal being contaminated with gluten due to the presence of ‘Oats’ are surprisingly high. In its pure form however, Oatmeal is safe and gluten-free.

Oats, by itself is gluten-free but often shares a common manufacturing or processing unit with its gluten-rich brethren which make it a high risk proposition for celiacs.

And most oatmeal brands today contain oats. There are just a handful of brands who advertise their oatmeal brands as being gluten-free. Quaker, states explicitly that they are unable to assure that their oatmeal is gluten-free.

There are other brands however, like Bob’s red mill and Holly’s Oatmeal which are quite popular for their range of gluten-free oatmeal snacks.