Adopting a gluten-free diet has been increasingly on the rise over the last several years, but is it the right diet choice for you? How do you go about starting or incorporating gluten-free options into your daily routine? In fact, what is gluten to begin with? Let’s discuss these questions and more.
What is gluten? According to the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF), “gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale.” The CDF goes on to provide examples of the types of food that include gluten some of which are bread, baked goods, pasta, cereals, beer and more. Wheat is the biggest gluten culprit of them all, which also happens to be the main staple in Western diets. Eliminating wheat products and providing alternatives in pre-packaged foods has become an integral part of the food industry and its manufacturers, especially over the last five years.
A 2015 Gallup poll suggested that one in five people try to incorporate gluten-free foods into their diet, while one in six eliminates gluten altogether. The gluten-free products market (globally) was valued at almost 15 billion dollars in 2016 and is expected to continue to grow at a rate of nearly 10% between 2017 and 2025 as reported in a Grand View Research market report.
There are two main reasons people opt to incorporate gluten free products into their diet - either they want to adopt what they assume to be a healthier lifestyle choice, or they have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance.
Eliminating gluten is likely a necessity if you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, as defined by the Mayo Clinic as “an immune reaction to eating gluten,” or have been diagnosed with sensitivity to wheat. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that recognizes gluten as a foreign invader and thus your body responds to the invader causing varying responses including abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, anaphylaxis, or an itchy rash to name a few. These gluten intolerances are actually extremely rare, affecting less than 1% of the population. If you’re curious about potential food sensitivities (including to wheat and gluten), there are several products in the market today that allow for home testing; the EverlyWell Health Home Kit is one such product. Keep in mind that if you don’t have a medical reason to eliminate gluten from your diet then you should consult with a physician and dietitian before altering your diet to remove foods altogether, including whole grains.
So, why do people without a medical reason to ‘go gluten-free’ opt to follow this diet? Some appear to choose gluten-free diets for purposes of weight loss, but as of today, there isn’t enough research to confirm weight loss as a positive outcome of a gluten-free diet. Some research actually suggests that following a gluten-free diet may cause you to gain weight, specifically because of the elimination of all (or most) whole grains. Grains can positively impact your cholesterol and help to lower your risk for heart disease. That doesn’t mean eating select gluten-free foods will cause you to gain weight; it just means you have to choose high-quality gluten-free foods, in proportion, and incorporate them into a well-balanced wholesome diet made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and lean meats (all of which are naturally gluten-free).
Luckily the ability to ‘go gluten-free’ exists today with relative ease thanks to the billion-dollar industry of gluten-free foods.
The FDA has regulated gluten-free product labels since August 2014 to ensure they are truthful and consistent. According to the FDA, “The rule specifies, among other criteria, that any foods that carry the label “gluten-free,” “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” or “without gluten” must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This level is the lowest that can be reliably detected in foods using scientifically validated analytical methods.” Therefore consumers can rely on the credibility of labels to choose their foods and follow either the medically necessary or self-chosen gluten-free diet.
If you have chosen to eliminate gluten from your diet, you’ll want to follow these easy steps to get started.
If you haven’t been much of a label reader before, you will become one now! While this process sounds tedious, it will actually serve as a great learning tool to kick-start your new lifestyle. Carefully review the ingredients on each food label. Now, as mentioned before, most gluten-free foods are marketed as such and are easy to identify thanks to the FDA label regulations. However, some foods have always been or are naturally gluten-free, but may not be labeled as such; you’ll learn these over time and with practice, it will become second nature to know what is and is not gluten-free.
You will want to balance your diet with a mix of fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, fish, and lean meats. If you have a solid base to your diet, you can then enhance it with options that may include (gluten-free) pastas, (gluten-free) baked goods, and more.
You don’t need to eliminate grains from your diet completely, but you do need to know which grains are gluten-free. The top three to avoid are wheat, rye, and barley. The Celiac Disease Foundation provides a terrific list of grains to avoid and ones that are gluten-free safe. Check it out here. Amazon even has a terrific search for “gluten-free grains” to make shopping easy!
Finding hidden gluten in foods really ties into label reading and understanding ingredients as we mentioned in #1, but because it can be tricky, it’s important enough to list it separately. You will need to educate yourself on the code words used to mask gluten in food. Check out this list provided by The Alternative Daily for hidden gluten code words.
Again, thanks to the FDA approved labels, and the multi-billion dollar gluten-free product industry, it is increasingly easier to find gluten-free foods. Most large retailers even separate gluten-free foods into one section to make it easier for shoppers.
First and foremost, be your own advocate. Ask questions of your server. Have the server ask the chef. Or avoid complicated orders or meal choices and stick to a simple, clean, wholesome plan – fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, fish, and lean meats. Anyone can benefit from simplifying their order when eating out.
Learn to cook. Learn to love to cook. Like any diet or new lifestyle choice, planning ahead will solve most, if not all, of your challenges. Meal prep will save you from eating out at the last minute. Doing your research and planning out a weekly menu will help you at the store. Planning ahead will also help with tame any anxiety of not being prepared or having to wing it.
Going gluten-free can be easy thanks to the growing assortment of gluten-free products available at your everyday grocery store. From cereals, breads, baked goods to snack bars, like (all varieties of) Truth Bars, flavor is never sacrificed.
What are the key attributes of a Truth Bar?
Truth Bars are functional nutrition bars with many key attributes. They were the first bars with both prebiotics and probiotics; they are high in fiber (13-14g); low in sugar (4-5g); contain a full day's supply of Omega-3 from white chia seed (250mg); and are made from natural, real food ingredients with no fillers. They are gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, soy-free and all 200 calories or less. Truth Bars contain premium, mostly organic ingredients such as organic extra virgin coconut in our coconut bars. Truth Bars come in both Vegan and Non-Vegan varieties. Best of all, Truth Bars continue to receive mostly five stars for great taste!
Questions About Prebiotics and Probiotics:
What is a probiotic?
Probiotics are good bacteria in your digestive system that help to keep your gut healthy and that make a beneficial contribution to your overall health.
What is a prebiotic?
Prebiotics are indigestible fibers that come mainly from certain plant foods that feed the good bacteria in your gut.
Why is it important to have both prebiotics and probiotics together?
Prebiotics feed the probiotics to help them thrive and work longer in your body. When combining a nurturing base of prebiotics in the belly, with a good dose of probiotics, a garden of flora blossoms and fills the gut with a balanced, healthy microbiome.
How much probiotic is in each Truth Bar?
1 Billion CFU's.
What is the strain of probiotic used in Truth Bars?
Lactobacillus sporogenes (bacillus coagulans). It is a stable Lactic Acid forming probiotic that has extensive studies of gut healing effects ranging across gastrointestinal issues, bloating, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome. This spore-producing bacteria remains dormant in the package and on grocery store shelves, but becomes activated once eaten. This hardy bacteria strain has a protective shell that helps it survive the acid and bile in your stomach so that it can reach your intestines unharmed. Once there, the low ph and moisture in your intestines allows it to activate and multiply rapidly. This is especially true when it has prebiotics there to feed it.
Questions about ingredients:
How are Truth Bars sweetened?
In order to achieve a balance between sweetness and low sugar, Truth Bars are sweetened by a combination of natural sweeteners and real food ingredients.
How many grams of sugar do Truth Bars have?
The number of grams of sugar ranges from 4 grams per bar in the Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar to 5 grams per bar in the rest of the Truth Bar flavors.
Are Truth Bars Made With All-Natural Ingredients?
Yes. Truth Bars are made with 100% all-natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no artificial sweeteners, and no fillers. Truth Bar ingredients are also non-GMO.
Are Truth Bars Vegan?
Two Truth Bar flavors are vegan. Our Dark Chocolate Coconut and Chocolate Raspberry Coconut bars are both 100% Vegan. They're both rich in fiber and essential medium chain fatty acids that are easily digested, which makes them incredibly useful for a quick burst of energy.
Three of our Truth Bars are protein based (10g per bar) and non-vegan. Our Chocolate Almond Crunch, Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch bars feature a Non-Vegan blend of brown rice protein, whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate that supplies essential Amino Acids for a "complete" or "whole" source of protein.
Are Truth Bars 100% gluten free?
Yes. All Truth Bars are 100% gluten free.
Are Truth Bars soy free?
Yes. Though often found in chocolate, the specially formulated dark chocolate coating on all Truth Bars is completely free of soy. (the chocolate coating itself is also sugar free)
Are Truth Bars dairy and lactose free?
Truth Bar's vegan bars (Dark Chocolate Coconut and Chocolate Raspberry Coconut) are dairy and lactose free. Truth Bar's protein bars contain both Whey Protein Isolate and Whey Protein Concentrate. These whey proteins contain a small percentage of lactose.
What about other allergens?
If you have allergies, please read the food ingredients on the label carefully or talk to your nutritionist, allergist, or doctor about what is best for you. Also note that though not every Truth Bar contains these ingredients, they are made on equipment shared with peanuts, tree nuts, soy and dairy.
Are Truth Bars kosher?
Yes. They are certified OU Kosher by the Orthodox Union.
What is the source of Omega-3's?
Truth Bars contain Omega-3s from white chia seed.
Do Truth Bars contain MCT (medium chain triglyceride) Oil?
MCT Oil can be found in four of our bars: Chocolate Raspberry Coconut, Dark Chocolate Coconut, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Chocolate Almond Crunch.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch contains no MCT oil.
Where can I find a full list of ingredients?
You can find a full list of ingredients on each bar’s label and product page on truthbar.com. The ingredients can be found by clicking the second tab on each product page.
Where can I find nutrition information?
Each bar’s nutrition facts can also be found on the product pages on truthbar.com. Just click the third tab.
You can also find information on the ingredient page on truthbar.com that outlines key ingredients and their benefits.
Truth Bars & Popular Diets:
Are Truth Bars Keto Friendly?
Keto diets are very low in carbs, high in fat, ideally higher in fiber, and have some balanced amount of protein. The strictest Keto diets require very low to almost no carbs. Truth Bars would not be ideal for the strictest keto diet. But if you are looking for a snack option for a basic or moderate keto diet, Truth Bar's Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch bar is a great choice -- high in fiber (13g), high in healthy fat (12g), moderate protein (10g) and relatively lower net carbs (6g).
How many Weight Watchers points does a Truth Bar have?
Truth Bars have approximately 8-9 points per bar.
Are Truth Bars Paleo Friendly?
Paleo diets in their strictest form include foods that hunter-gatherers would have eaten. This means no foods that were not available to them (like sugar, processed foods, artificial ingredients) and lots of fruits, grains and lean protein. Paleo diets also restrict grains, legumes and dairy. Truth Bars, while gluten-free and only containing real food ingredients, would not fit in the Paleo diet in its strictest form as they contain some sugar (4-5g).
What is the shelf life of Truth Bars?
Truth Bars have a shelf life of 12 months from the date of production. We make our bars in small batches, which should ensure that our retailer's shelves are stocked with fresh bars when rotated correctly.
Do Truth Bars need to be refrigerated?
No. This type of probiotic is not in a live state on the shelf, it is activated only after it's eaten. For this reason, Truth Bars do not need to be refrigerated.
Questions about buying Truth Bars
How do I find out if Truth Bars are sold in a store near me?
You can use the Store Locator on truthbar.com to search by zip code, city or state to find a store near you.
What if there aren't yet stores near me that carry Truth Bars?
First, you can talk to your grocery store or health food store's manager and ask them to stock Truth Bars in their store. They can contact us directly and we can help. Meanwhile, Truth Bars can be purchased on amazon.com/truthbar and truthbar.com.
What is your return policy?
100% satisfaction or your money back. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help.
Please let us know if you have a question that is not listed above.
Simply write to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to answer any questions!