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Natural Awakenings Philadelphia

Gluten is the Devil You Know

Jan 06, 2017 05:25PM ● By Adam Howell

The past few years have seen a surge of consumers across the country looking for gluten-free products. Whether as a part of diet program or due to an increased awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, gluten-free options have never been more readily available and affordable. Although there are numerous alternatives to gluten, consumers must be aware of the potential for more sugar and sodium to be added to prepackaged gluten-free items.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley and rye, giving baked goods their elastic properties. For individuals with celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune response which wreaks havoc on the intestines. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has concluded that roughly 2 to 3 million individuals have celiac disease and another 18 million have a sensitivity.

While many companies have created gluten-free options to meet the surging demand, some brands have taken advantage of the phenomenon and labeled their Greek yogurt, for instance, gluten-free, despite it not having gluten in it to begin with. While gluten-free should not be considered a magic bullet to cure non-celiac-related ailments or shed pounds, it has brought forth much new information to a percentage of the population that must adhere to the diet.

Cosmic Catering offers gluten-free products made with amaranth flour or rice flour. Popular catering items such as turkey mushroom sliders and turkey Swedish meatballs have not contained gluten since the inception of the recipe. The organization sees using gluten in items of merely fillerS with little nutritional benefit.

Whether a passing fad or a new fixture of the American diet, gluten-free has become a movement of which all producers and consumers of food products must be aware. The exposure has helped service providers to alter offerings to serve the 1 percent of gluten-averse individuals.

Adam Howell is the general manager of Cosmic Catering, LLC, located at 1 Boathouse Row, in Philadelphia. For more information, call 215-978-0900 or visit

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