Portland expert weighs in on gluten-free diet craze

Portland expert weighs in on gluten-free diet craze

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by Collette Wieland, KGW Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 5:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 8:00 PM

PORTLAND -- Gluten-free diets are one of the latest popular trends for losing weight and getting healthy.

But are they the best option for everyone?

Valerie Edwards, a registered dietician with Providence Portland Medical Center said that just because gluten-free sounds healthy, doesn't mean it is.

"Unless you have a real problem digesting gluten, and the vast majority of people do not have trouble with gluten, there's no reason to follow that diet," Edwards said.

People living with Celiac Disease can greatly benefit from a gluten-free diet. About one out of every 130 Americans has the disease, which is an autoimmune condition affecting a person's digestive tract.

Portland resident David Jensen was diagnosed with Celiac Disease four-and-a-half years ago. He said eating was painful and "I was tired, I was run down, I was losing weight. I could just not digest food very well at all."

Jensen had a hard time finding gluten-free foods that he liked so he and his wife, Debra Reeves, decided to try and create some of their own in the kitchen.

"We made our house gluten-free because I knew that was going to be safest for him," Reeves said.

Together the couple created their own company, Gluten Free Concepts: Home of Jensen's Bread and Bakeries. Now their breads and buns sit on store shelves all over Oregon, next to a number of other brands.

The demand for gluten-free foods has been increaing and Edwards believes that's because of the diet rage.

Only a doctor can diagnose Celiac Disease, so anyone who thinks they may have a gluten intolerance should contact their physician.

More helpful info: (downloadable .pdf versions)

- Gluten-Free List

- Nutrition Quick Guide

- Gluten-free Tours

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