We identified allergen-free foods as a primary trend for 2005, but within that, the gluten-free subcategory has soared, and will continue to do so, especially once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s allergen-labeling rule goes into effect next month.The attention is good news for celiacs, but there are signs of potential confusion among natural food consumers and merchandisers.
Initially created as a solution for the approximately 2.2 million Americans with celiac disease, gluten-free foods have found an audience with those who also avoid lactose, including vegans and consumers of kosher food. (Lactose, a milk protein, is often poorly tolerated by celiacs and is commonly eliminated from GF foods.) Many mothers of autistic children are also eliminating gluten from their kids’ diets, as research mounts demonstrating a potential link between the protein and the childhood disorder.I hope that people understand that, among celiacs, lactose intolerance often subsides with adherence to a gluten-free diet. I also hope that parents seriously consider testing "autistic" children for celiac disease as part of their diagnoses. Testing typically involves a set of blood tests and, possibly, a biopsy of the small intestine. (Genetic tests are of limited value.)
Congrats to Foods by George, The Gluten-Free Pantry, and the Gluten-Free Certification Organization for getting nods in the article!