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Gluten-Free Product Guide

Think in terms of "CAN" not "can't"
Gluten-Free Product Guide: Main Image
Base your meals on healthy, whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats, poultry, and fish

Too often, gluten-free diet information focuses only on things you cannot have. With this intense focus on what to avoid, the message about what of the many gluten-free foods you can--and should--eat for good health often gets lost. The most nutritious gluten-free diet is one based around healthy, gluten-free, whole foods, such as vegetables, fruit, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats, poultry, and fish. Over-reliance on heavily processed, convenience foods can result in a diet that lacks important nutrients, including B vitamins, iron, calcium, and fiber, for good health.

FOOD: Vegetables

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Fiber, vitamin C, minerals, and plant ("phyto") nutrients such as beta-carotene and other carotenes, flavonoids, and antioxidants
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Decreases risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • HOW MUCH: A minimum of 3 to 5 1/2-cup servings per day of colorful, raw and cooked vegetables; include a wide variety of different types in many colors
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Gluten-containing dips, seasonings, and flavorings; high-fat dips and dressings; excess sodium in canned and prepackaged vegetables

FOOD: Fruit

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Fiber, vitamin C; and phytonutrients such as beta-carotene and other carotenes, flavonoids, and antioxidants
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Decreases risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • HOW MUCH: A minimum of 2 to 4 1/2-cup servings per day of colorful fruit; include a wide variety of different types in many colors
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Gluten-containing and/or high-fat dips; added sugar or high fructose corn syrup in canned or frozen fruit

FOOD: Whole grains, such as amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, teff, and quinoa

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Fiber, minerals, B vitamins, and phytonutrients
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Decreases risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • HOW MUCH: A minimum of 2 to 6 1/2 1-cup servings per day of non-gluten, whole grains
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Wheat, rye, barley, kamut, and triticale; oats that have not been certified gluten-free; any breads, pastas, or baked goods that contain these grains

FOOD: Nuts & seeds

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Fiber; monounsaturated and omega-3 fats; protein; selenium, magnesium, and other minerals; and phytonutrients
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Fuels muscle growth and maintenance; regulates appetite and inflammation; supports digestive and cardiovascular health
  • HOW MUCH: One 1-ounce serving of nuts or seeds, 3 to 7 times per week; include a variety of types such as walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, and Brazil nuts; sesame, pumpkin, and flax seeds; and others
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Gluten-containing flavorings and seasonings added to prepackaged nuts; high-sodium nut mixtures

FOOD: Legumes (beans)

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Protein, fiber, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Fuels muscle growth and maintenance, supports digestive and cardiovascular health, regulates appetite
  • HOW MUCH: Minimum of 1/2 cup of beans, 5 to 7 times per week; include various types such as black, navy, red, pinto, and others
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Prepackaged bean mixtures with gluten-containing flavorings and/or excess sodium; sodium-added canned beans

FOOD: Fish

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Protein, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin A, omega-3 fats
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Fuels muscle growth and maintenance, supports immunity and cardiovascular function, reduces inflammation
  • HOW MUCH: Minimum of 3 ounces of fish, 2 to 3 times per week; include cold water varieties such as salmon, cod, tuna, and sardines
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Gluten-containing breadings, toppings, or seasonings; high-mercury varieties such as shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tile fish*

FOOD: Poultry

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Protein, selenium, B vitamins, vitamin A
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Fuels muscle growth and maintenance, supports good immune function
  • HOW MUCH: Maximum of 3 to 6 ounces of lean white meat (for example, chicken breast) with skin removed, per day
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Gluten-containing breadings, toppings, or seasonings; fried poultry; fattier dark meat, skin; high-sodium, deli-style poultry and lunch meats

FOOD: Lean beef

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Protein, iron, zinc, selenium, B vitamins
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Builds healthy blood cells and fuels muscle growth and maintenance
  • HOW MUCH: A maximum of 3 ounces of lean beef, 3 to 5 times per week
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Gluten-containing breadings, toppings, or seasonings; less healthy cuts of high-fat meats

FOOD: Gluten-free packaged and convenience foods**

  • KEY NUTRIENTS: Avoid the many gluten-free convenience foods that contain little fiber and few vitamins, minerals, or other important nutrients; some are fortified with folate, other vitamins, or fiber; many are high in sugar, fat, and empty calories
  • HEALTH BENEFIT: Only fortified gluten-free convenience foods are likely to offer measurable health benefit; gluten-free packaged and convenience foods often do not offer balanced nutrition and should be used only occasionally or as a special treat
  • HOW MUCH: Maximum of 3 times per week
  • WATCH OUT FOR: Products that are labeled wheat-free but still may contain gluten; seek out gluten-free labeled foods only

*Consult the Environmental Defense Fund Seafood Selector to identify which fish is best for your health and the environment.

**Examples of gluten-free food brands include Foods by George, Pamela's Products, Gluten-Free Pantry, Enjoy Life Foods, Glutino, Heartlands Finest, Orgran Natural Foods, Cream Hill Estates, Farm Pure Foods, Gluten Freeda, Bi-Aglut, gf meals, and others.

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, author, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

 
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