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Is There Evidence to Support the Claim that a Gluten-Free Diet Should Be Used for Weight Loss?

      It seems to be the latest rage, with many celebrities promoting the gluten-free lifestyle, a multitude of books being published, and countless numbers of articles appearing in the press about the supposed benefits of a gluten-free diet. Searching the Internet for information on “gluten-free diet and weight loss” returns over five million hits. Claims of the potential benefits of following a gluten-free diet include better sleep, increased energy, thinner thighs, faster weight loss, clearer skin, and improvement of medical conditions such as autism and rheumatoid arthritis. With this surge of media attention, the number of gluten-free products on the market is exploding. A recent report on gluten-free products in the United States (
      Packaged Facts.
      ) estimated the US market for gluten-free foods and beverages at 2.6 billion dollars in 2010, and by 2015 it is expected to exceed 5 billion dollars. In addition, the report reveals that the number one motivation for buying gluten-free food products is that they are considered healthier than their conventional counterparts. As a registered dietitian, chances are you are seeing more and more patients trying to follow a gluten-free diet. But where is the research to back these claims? That's where it gets tricky.
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      References

      1. Packaged Facts.
        Gluten-Free Foods and Beverages in the U.S.3rd Edition. Packaged Facts, Rockville, MD2011 (Accessed August 31, 2011)
        • American Dietetic Association
        Evidence-Based Nutrition Practice Guideline on Celiac Disease.
        (American Dietetic Association Evidence Analysis Library Web site) (Accessed August 31, 2011)
        • Thompson T.
        ADA Pocket Guide to Gluten Free Strategies for Clients with Multiple Diet Restrictions. American Dietetic Association, Chicago, IL2011
        • Barton S.H.
        • Murray J.A.
        Celiac disease and autoimmunity in the gut and elsewhere.
        Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2008; 37: 411-428
      2. US Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
        (Accessed August 31, 2011)
        • Glutino Food Group
        Pretzels—Twists 8 oz.
        (Accessed August 31, 2011)
        • Valletta E.
        • Fornaro M.
        • Cipolli M.
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        • Bissolo F.
        • Danchielli C.
        Celiac disease and obesity: Need for nutritional follow-up after diagnosis.
        Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010; 64: 1371-1372