A gluten-free diet is a must for people who suffer from celiac disease or are allergic to wheat, but it can also be a healthy way to lose weight eating right.

Gluten-free usually means a harmless level of gluten, not the complete absence of this protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Gluten free foods are quickly gaining popularity, even amongst people who aren't gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant, thanks to the promise of weight loss.

Gluten-Free Diet Pros and Cons

While gluten isn't bad for most people, eliminating it from your diet also means cutting back on most processed foods and eating naturally. This dietary change often leads to weight loss based on a healthier diet, weight that's easier to keep off in the long run.

The biggest con of a gluten-free diet is the fact that the transition can be considered difficult. You'll need to check every label very carefully when selecting gluten free foods, with the unprocessed products being the right choice most of the time.

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Gluten Free Diet: Choosing Gluten Free Foods

Gluten-Free Foods for Weight Loss

While oats are technically gluten-free, they often come into contact with wheat, either on the field or during the processing or packaging. If you want oats in your gluten-free diet, make sure you purchase only the ones guaranteed to be gluten-free.

Naturally gluten-free foods include all meats, fish and poultry, as long as they haven't been breaded or marinated, along with vegetables and fruits, eggs, most dairy products, beans, seeds and nuts.

Grains and starches that are considered gluten-free foods vary from corn and flax to millet, quinoa, rice and soy, along with any gluten-free flour, made from corn, rice, soy, beans or potatoes.

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Gluten Free Diet: Choosing Gluten Free Foods

Foods to Avoid in the Gluten-Free Diet

Flour that contains gluten can be found under different names, that include bulgur, durum flour, farina, kamut, spelt, semolina and graham flour. To be on the safe side with the gluten-free foods, you need to check labels to ensure for a lot of products. Unless they're clearly labeled gluten-free, they might be best to avoid.

Along with foods that contain flour, like cakes, cookies, matzo, crackers, croutons and seasoned snack foods and rice mixes, you should also check for the gluten-free label in the following foods: beer, candy, french fries, gravy, processed meats, salad dressings and sauces (even soy sauce), soups and vegetables in sauce.

Some medications and vitamins also contain gluten as a binding agent, so make sure you read the ingredients carefully to stick to your gluten-free diet, especially if you suffer from celiac disease.

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