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Gluten-Free Diet and Beyond

  • Editorial Staff
  • July 2014
  • 7 min read

A gluten-free diet has become the diet of choice among those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. As Americans continue to embrace a healthier lifestyle, three other popular diets that include gluten-free recommendations are also gaining traction in the United States. If your clients are considering adopting one of these trendy diets, there are a few nutrition considerations to take into account:

  • Paleo — The fundamental concept of this diet is to eat only foods that were available during Paleolithic times and that humans are genetically adapted to best digest and absorb.
    • The belief is that refined and processed foods have been the downfall of human health.
    • Emphasis is placed on fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, fiber and low glycemic index carbohydrates.
    • Refined sugar and vegetable oils, legumes, dairy, starchy vegetables, processed foods and cereal grains (including gluten-containing grains) are not allowed.
    • Some critics say the diet is too restrictive and lacking in essential nutrients, such as vitamin D, calcium and some B vitamins.
  • Low FODMAPS — Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides (and) Polyols (FODMAPs) are short-chain, rapidly digested carbohydrates and sugar alcohols.
    • This diet is commonly prescribed for those diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.
    • FODMAPS tend to be poorly digested or absorbed and pull water into the digestive tract, which can lead to diarrhea. They also are fermented upon by intestinal bacteria when eaten in excess which can cause gastrointestinal distress.
    • Although gluten itself is not a FODMAP, the diet advises against wheat, barley and rye, as these contain fructans that fall into the oligosaccharides category.
    • Some advise buying gluten-free grains and products just to be safe and avoid any cross-contamination.
  • Raw — Proponents of this diet contend that cooking food destroys nutrients and natural enzymes and also makes food toxic.
    • Some theories claim that eating raw can cure headaches and allergies, boost immunity and memory and improve arthritis and diabetes.
    • Emphasis is placed on fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains.
    • This diet takes a high level effort to follow, and there are concerns with food safety as well as a lack of many essential nutrients such as protein, iron, calcium and vitamin B12.


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