A gluten-free diet can help people with gluten sensitives and Celiac disease gain energy. YNN's Erin Billups filed the following report.
When Dan Shiffman turned 25 he started having issues with his digestion, fatigue, and joint pain.
"A friend recommended a gluten-free diet. I didn't know what it was," said Dan Shiffman, GFreely.Com Founder and CEO.
But he tried it and noticed a marked-difference.
"The fatigue was gone, I was waking up with a tremendous amount of energy," said Shiffman.
In an effort to make gluten-free living easier for others, Shiffman started GFreely.Com a year ago.
"When I started this diet I found it really challenging," said Shiffman.
Gfreely offers suggestions on how to live wheat-free and sells an assortment of products like the Kale chips made by NY Naturals in this Brooklyn factory. Already, it has nearly a thousand customers speaking to what Columbia University's Celiac Disease Center Director, Dr. Peter Green calls a worldwide phenomenon.
"There are some people who go on the diet because it's a bit of a trendy diet, and there are others who found the diet because they have various symptoms and they find that they get better," said Dr. Peter Green, Columbia University Celiac Disease Center Director.
Shiffman said for his customers it’s not a fad, it’s about better access to snacks like kale chips that simply help them live healthier lives.
"A lot of our customers are parents and they're just trying to find healthier foods and products for their kids," said Shiffman.
Dr. Green said that those who feel better after cutting wheat out of their diet are gluten-sensitive, and may very well have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where the body has a destructive reaction to gluten. For them cutting out gluten is essential, but for those who are not gluten-sensitive the diet could become unhealthy. Many products make up for the lack of gluten by adding more salt, fat and sugar. Also, gluten-free flours are not enriched with necessary vitamins.
"People on a gluten-free diet may become iron deficient or vitamin deficient and they could develop anemia, fatigue. If they're going to go on a gluten free diet they probably should seek some advice from an experienced nutritionist," said Green.
Green also urges those who feel they may have sensitivities to gluten to get tested for Celiac before switching their diet.