Is a Gluten Free Diet a Healthy Choice Essay

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Dorothy A. Caudill English 1102 Professor Lorena Sins March 14, 2012 Is a Gluten-Free Diet a Healthy Choice? Walking down any aisle in the grocery store, it is hard for a person to not notice all of the packaged foods that state, in big bold lettering, health claims such as “Low Fat,” “Low Cholesterol,” and “Low Sodium.” Lately, there ia a new label that has been gaining a lot of attention, “Gluten-Free”. Almost every food product that is gluten-free, and there are hundreds out there, is labeled as such. Many people have adopted a gluten-free diet for various reasons. Media darlings such as Oprah Winfrey and Chelsea Clinton promote a gluten-free lifestyle. Oprah Winfrey has stated numerous times on her talk show that she removed foods that contain gluten as part of a twenty one day cleansing diet to lose weight. As stated in Woman’s Health magazine, by dietician Karen Ansel, Chelsea Clinton is on a gluten-free diet because she has a gluten allergy and has to avoid foods that contain gluten (Ansel.) With the media, Hollywood starlets, and fitness gurus jumping on the “Gluten-Free” bandwagon, an interesting question is posed. Is a gluten-free diet a healthy choice? To best answer this question one must realize what gluten is, how it affects different people, how to become gluten-free, and the side effects of going gluten-free. Gluten is a protein most commonly found in the kernel of wheat, rye, and barley. It is what gives elasticity to dough and chewiness to breads and pastries. Karen Ansel states that Gluten is developed in the dough when the proteins absorb water and are pulled and stretched in the kneading process. As the proteins are worked, they become long, flexible strands, and as the yeast produces gases in the dough, mostly carbon dioxide, these strands trap the gas bubbles and the dough expands. When the bread is put in the oven, the

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