Food Marketing trends have many consumers following the fads without actually understanding them. What is important for the consumer is actually to research facts before jumping on the bandwagon trends, so as to really embrace and understand the benefits. So what is all the hype about Gluten, and should you be avoiding it?

First we must understand what gluten is, and why it causes damage to the intestine for many people. Gluten is a protein specifically found in wheat, barley and rye, and is what gives it the elastic structure. Because of this elastic structure, it is usually used as a thickening agent in many recipes. Thus, any ingredients with these grains will have gluten, and yes unfortunately any foods containing these flours will have gluten! Oats do not contain gluten, however have been shown to also cause bloating and intestinal discomfort to some. What does this mean? It means that in most baked goods you will find gluten, and it may be undetectable. Most breads, bagels, crackers, cakes, beer (has malt which derives from barley), pasta, pizza, and so on, have gluten, unless they are made with gluten free flour (such as rice, potato, coconut, almond, quinoa flour, and more alternatives).

Many people have been found to have a hypersensitivity and intolerance to gluten, causing autoimmune disorders, celiac disease, gastrointestinal disorders, disorders of the small intestine and allergies. This is when someone should consult their healthcare professional and consider going gluten-free, because if these symptoms remain untreated they can result in autoimmune disorders. 

So how can we detect if we have sensitivities to Gluten? The most common symptom of celiac disease may include, chronic fatigue after eating food containing gluten, abdominal bloating and gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, anemia, skin rashes, brain fog, weight loss, ulcers, aching muscles and bones, are just a few symptoms. However, you don’t need to have full blown celiac disease to be sensitive or intolerant to gluten, many people may not experience these signs right away and may be causing damage even without detecting it.

If you feel anything close to these symptoms, it would be good to take the test to see if you might have Celiac disease, and even if not detected, because it may be at a lesser degree, it would be good to eliminate Gluten from your diet and see how you feel, and if your symptoms begin fading away, then Gluten free might be the way to go!

Statistic’s show that 1% of the population of the United States is diagnosed with Celiac Disease. If diagnosed with Celiac disease this means that the immune system triggers an attack on the intestines when gluten is eating. This causes damage on the villi and then the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream causing malnutrition and other chronic conditions.

It has not been determined however if people who do not have Celiac Disease but are sensitive to gluten and experience similar symptoms when eating gluten causes damage to the intestines.

No one said it will be easy, the hardest thing to cut is bread and delicious baked goods, however there are so many healthy alternatives that will help free you from any of these symptoms that ruin your quality of life, so its well worth it!

Many health food stores offer a great assortment of alternative flours and products that are gluten free. These are usually made of almond flour, coconut flour, potato flour, corn, and rice flour. In general, chose whole nutrient dense gluten free foods.

 If you generally have allergies, it would be good to also get tested, as many people have recently discovered food allergies that include, nuts and corn. 

Some studies have also found, that gluten –free diets have helped children with Autism Spectrum disorder, although the evidence is controversial, many parents have seen a difference in their children’s behavior when they modified their diet.

Be sure to read the labels and look out for hidden ingredients, and check the additives in canned foods, however check with your health care provider before changing your diet.

People following Gluten Free diets should be mindful about eating more fruits and vegetables, high quality meats and fish and gluten free grains enriched with vitamins and minerals, to avoid deficiencies. 

What is important is to learn to listen to your body and how you feel after eating. If you have discomfort after eating, chances are some foods don’t agree with you. Trial and error in eliminating certain foods from your diet will result in more understanding of which foods agree with you best.

Thompson, T. (2008). The gluten-free nutrition guide. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. 

Dennis, M. (2010). Real life with celiac disease. Hanoi, Vietnam: AGA Press.


  • Yanna Darilis

    TV Host, Lifestyle Reporter, Producer, Director, Fitness Expert, Nutrition & Health Coach, Peace & Health Advocate

    Yanna Darilis has been in the broadcast industry for over 25 years having worked on major Greek and American television channels as an on camera talent, producer, writer and director. Having worked predominately on live morning shows, her specialty is in live broadcasts and reporting on lifestyle, travel, fitness & health. Yanna is currently the President & CEO of the 30 year Greek American Television Channel New Greek Television on Spectrum-Time Warner, RCN & Bell Fibe, Canada, where besides a media executive, she produces, directs and hosts many shows. Highlights of Yanna’s career include Master of Ceremony for the opening and closing Ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games, guest segment host on NBC’s TODAY show, and guest segment host on E Entertainment’s Tara Reid’s Travel Adventures. Her extensive career includes hosting, writing and directing over 80 travel and cooking features on Greece. Yanna shares her travel experience on her blog for the and health topics on Her latest appearance as Host of, “Mediterranean Blue” aired nationwide on various PBS affiliates and History Channel, Greece As a peace and health advocate Yanna also devotes her time to organize and moderate panels for the United Nations Recreational Council, Salus. She is on the Executive Committee Board of the Foreign Press Association, where she advocates and supports  journalists. Yanna also specializes in exercise science and was trained under some of the founding fathers of Exercise Science at her alma mater C.U.N.Y, Queens College. She is a published author with the first exercise Book for Greece, “Love your Body”. Yanna recently joined the ambassador team at the Integrative Nutrition Institute and is a Certified Integrative Nutritionist & Health Coach.