May 20, 2023

You’ve likely heard of the gluten-free diet and have seen a lot of different gluten-free products on the shelves at the grocery store. You may know someone who doesn’t eat gluten or have heard it recommended for a variety of reasons. So it’s only natural to wonder if eating gluten-free will improve your health. There are many myths about the gluten-free diet, so we’re here to set the record straight. Read on for the facts about the gluten-free diet, including why some people need to avoid gluten, how that is determined, and how you can get more help from a Hy-Vee dietitian.

What Is Gluten?
Gluten is the protein component in the grains wheat, rye and barley. When a person with a condition called celiac disease eats gluten, the villi in the small intestine are damaged, which can lead to problems with malabsorption of nutrients. Celiac is diagnosed with a blood test or small intestine biopsy. The only effective treatment for celiac disease is adherence to a strict, lifelong, gluten-free diet.

Should I Avoid Gluten?
Besides celiac disease, the other reasons to follow a gluten-free diet include a wheat allergy or an intolerance to wheat (test negative for celiac disease but still experience symptoms when eating gluten). You should always work with a physician and get tested to make sure you have the correct diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, then you should avoid gluten. Other than that, there is no evidence that removing gluten from your diet will improve your health. In fact, many foods that contain gluten also provide important nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins and heart-healthy fats. If you’re still not sure or have any questions, reach out to your doctor.

Label Reading for Gluten
If you do have to follow a gluten-free diet, you can still eat a balanced diet that includes all five food groups. Learn to read labels carefully to identify and avoid gluten-containing ingredients. Hy-Vee has a large selection of gluten-free products, and our dietitians are here to help with label reading and product selection. Stop by the HealthMarket to check out Good Graces, a new line of high-quality, affordable gluten-free products. They have a wide variety of items, including soup, baking mixes, chicken tenders, tortillas, pizza and more.

Ready to learn more? Check out our On-Demand Virtual Gluten-Free Store Tour! Your Hy-Vee dietitian offers a complimentary On-Demand Virtual Nutrition Store Tour to help you learn the basics of gluten-free eating. Simply register and a link to view will be emailed directly to you to enjoy from the comfort of your own home at your convenience. Register for your On-Demand Gluten-Free Store Tour today.

Looking for a new gluten-free recipe to try at home? Pick up a bag of Good Graces gluten-free almond flour and Good Graces gluten-free vanilla almond granola to bake up this delicious Gluten-Free Lemon-Blueberry Coffee Cake.

Gluten-Free Lemon-Blueberry Coffee Cake
Serves 10

All You Need:
3½ cups Good Graces gluten-free almond flour
1 tbsp xanthan gum
1 tbsp Hy-Vee baking powder
1¼ cups Hy-Vee granulated sugar
½ cup Hy-Vee unsalted butter, softened
3 Hy-Vee large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp lemon zest, plus additional for garnish
¼ cup Hy-Vee 2% reduced-fat milk
1½ cups Hy-Vee frozen unsweetened blueberries
1½ cups Good Graces gluten-free vanilla almond granola
Fresh blueberries, for garnish

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Whisk together almond flour, xanthan gum and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Beat sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium for 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon zest until well combined. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk until well combined. Fold in frozen blueberries.
  4. Spread batter in prepared pan; top with granola. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean and cake is lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Remove side of pan; place cake on serving platter. Garnish with additional lemon zest and fresh blueberries, if desired.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 510 calories, 33g fat, 8g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 80mg cholesterol, 230mg sodium, 45g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 34g sugar (29g added sugar), 12g protein. Daily Values: vitamin D 0%, calcium 10%, iron 6%, potassium 8%. Recipe source: The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.