Gluten Free Diet : A gluten-free diet (GF diet) is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye and triticale. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease attacking the small intestine due to the presence of gluten. Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is a form of celiac disease in which gluten causes the immune system to attack the skin; therefore a gluten-free diet is essential. People with these diseases are considered gluten intolerant. There is a minority of people who suffer from wheat intolerance alone and are tolerant to gluten. Gluten sensitivity is another reason people will choose to go gluten-free.
Some people believe that there are health benefits to gluten-free eating for the general population, but there is no published experimental evidence to support such claims. A significant demand has developed for gluten-free food in the United States whether it is needed or not. Peter H.R. Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University stated that the gluten-free market is expanding greatly. This expansion is extremely valuable for those with celiac disease or other medical reasons, such as gluten intolerance or sensitivity. However, a gluten-free diet does not hold the same benefits for the general public.
A gluten-free diet might also exclude oats. Medical practitioners are divided on whether oats are acceptable to celiac disease sufferers or whether they become cross-contaminated in milling facilities by other grains. Oats may be contaminated when grown in rotation with wheat when wheat seeds from the previous harvest sprout up the next season in the oat field and are harvested with the oats.
The exact level at which gluten is harmless for people with celiac disease is uncertain. A 2008 systematic review tentatively concluded that consumption of less than 10 mg of gluten per day for celiac disease patients is unlikely to cause histological abnormalities, although it noted that few reliable studies had been conducted.