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      Gluten-free facts, what you need to know

      AP Photo

      What is gluten? Why are dieters turning to gluten-free foods to lose weight? And what is celiac disease?

      Here are ten things you need to know about the word GLUTEN.

      • Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye.

      • A gluten-free diet omits the protein - gluten, which means no wheat, barley or rye.

      • Celiac Disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestines. The damage is caused by eating gluten.

      • More than three million Americans suffer from celiac disease. Many more are gluten-sensitive.

      • Celiac disease is usually found in multiple family members and can affect any gender and any age group.

      • There are more than 300 symptoms of celiac disease. They range from skin rashes to depression.

      • By 2015, sales of gluten-free foods and beverages are expected to hit $5 billion, according to Packaged Facts, a market research firm.

      • Gluten-free dieters often don't get enough iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins.

      • A gluten-free diet can lead to weight-loss because it eliminates high-calorie, refined carbs like wheat-based pastas, breads and sweets.

      • Most doctors only recommend gluten-free diets for people who have celiac disease and do not recommend it for weight loss.

      This information is sourced from celiaccentral.org, mayoclinic.com and U.S. News & World Report.