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FDA Defines 'Gluten-Free' for Food Labels

Rule will benefit millions of Americans with celiac disease

continued...

Buying "gluten-free" has become something of a fad. But for people who don't have celiac disease, gluten-free products can actually be harmful if consumed exclusively, one expert warns.

"People with celiac disease must adhere to a gluten-free diet, but people who are not afflicted with this condition put themselves unnecessarily at risk for nutrient deficiencies by banishing all gluten from their diet," said Dana Angelo White, a nutritionist and clinical assistant professor of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

Many people without gastrointestinal issues mistakenly believe that gluten-free foods are healthier or helpful for weight loss, White said.

In actuality, "many gluten-free products, including a variety of baked goods, are higher in calories than their [non-gluten-free] counterparts, which could lead to weight gain," White added. "That said, there are many healthy foods that are naturally gluten-free."

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