What does "gluten-free" mean?

Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye and barley. "Gluten-free" means the food product has no gluten in it. Many foods are naturally gluten free; such as beans, fruit, vegetable, rice, quinoa, meat, eggs and most dairy. A gluten free diet is primarily used to treat Celiac Disease, a very serious condition where the ingestion of gluten severely damages the small intestines. Without a diagnosis of Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity, there is no clinical reason to follow a gluten free diet. In fact, many products with gluten-free labels tend to be more expensive because it's a diet fad right now. Ask your doctor or a registered dietitian in your area for an individualized plan if you need a gluten free diet for medical reasons.