A lot of celebrities like Gweneth Paltrow & Elisabeth Hasselbeck are promoting gluten-free diets, but did you know that the diet was actually created for those who are gluten intolerant?

Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.

Alene Schwartz was diagnosed with this disease three years ago. She is a patient of Dr. Sasson Moulavi M.D., the Medical Director of Smart For Life. Alene says after switching to a gluten-free diet, she lost more than 125 pounds after being diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease.

So, what does a gluten-free diet mean?

Dr. Sass says all gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye that contain those grains should be eliminated from your diet. He also says countless food products including pasta and bread also should be eliminated from your diet for a gluten-free diet.

Does it work?

“Yes, changing to a gluten-free lifestyle does in fact help. Ask Alene!” Dr. Sass says.

These dietary changes to cut go gluten-free, Dr. Sass says, have people eat whole foods including fish vegetables and red meat, which are an excellent source of many needed nutrients.

Some symptoms to look out for include:

  1. Low energy
  2. Gastrointestinal problems (similar to bloating, diarrhea, cramping and constipation)
  3. Acne
  4. Inflammation

He says Celiac patients can also develop headaches, fatigue, muscle pain, tingling, skin rashes and joint pain. These symptoms are due to the autoimmune attack at the root of the disease which gradually erodes your intestine wall. Dr. Sass says this then leads to poor absorption of iron, folate and other nutrients that affect energy and brain function.

How much gluten is normal?

If you have Celiac’s Disease, you must commit to a completely gluten-free diet, Dr. Sass advises. But for people with gluten sensitivity, this is not the case, because sensitivity to gluten has not been linked to intestine damage and long-term health problems. Dr. Sass advises to eat as much gluten as you feel comfortable and can handle without feeling sick.

If you think you may have Celiac’s Disease, Dr. Sass advises to see a doctor so that they can run a blood test to diagnose gluten sensitivity. He says that many patients have to experiment through trial and error, measuring their gluten sensitivity through foods.

If you're looking to go gluten free, check out Smart for Life's great selection of cookies, protein bars, shakes & soups!