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Healthy Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Looking for a quick and easy dessert to whip up?

The Dr. Weil staff loves this True Food Kitchen Chocolate Pudding recipe because it is not only delicious, but also vegan friendly and gluten-free!

Packed with potent antioxidants from dark chocolate and cocoa, this dessert makes a great addition to a barbecue and is a healthy treat that kids will also enjoy. Try this recipe and let us know how you like it!

The Downside of Gluten-Free Eating

A recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,000 Americans found that 63 percent believed that following a gluten-free diet would be good for them, resulting in better digestion, healthy weight loss, increased energy, lower cholesterol and a stronger immune system. But the magazine's research of the scientific evidence suggested otherwise. It reported that unless you're among the seven percent of Americans who have true celiac disease (an inherited, autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine when those with this condition consume gluten), going gluten-free could have more risk than benefit. The investigation found that many products touted as gluten-free aren't enriched or fortified with micro-nutrients such as folic acid and iron, which are common additions to wheat flour. What's more, these gluten-free products may be higher in fat and sugar than regular versions, contain rice or rice flour, which in turn may expose you to more inorganic arsenic than considered safe. In addition, there's no scientific evidence that a gluten-free diet will help you lose weight - the opposite is more likely to occur (patients with celiac disease frequently gain weight on the gluten-free diet). The CR team also points out that gluten-free products are often more expensive than their regular counterparts, and analysis indicates that some of them contain more than the FDA's limit of less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

My take? While some experts have agreed that "non-celiac gluten sensitivity" can be seen clinically, and that those affected may benefit from a gluten-free diet, there is no reliable test for gluten sensitivity. The only way to be reasonably confident that gluten is the problem is to rule out other medical possibilities and undergo a trial period without gluten in the diet. The most common symptoms linked to gluten sensitivity are digestive problems (similar to those of irritable bowel syndrome), headache, fatigue, numbness, and depression as well as more than 100 different non-specific symptoms including "foggy mind," ADHD-like behavior, anemia, joint pain, osteoporosis, leg numbness and balance problems. Other than for true celiac patients, I know of no evidence demonstrating that following a gluten-free diet leads to all the health benefits being claimed for it, but if you feel positive changes in your health without gluten, be sure to consider the other important aspects of diet, including fiber and nutrition.

What Foods Must You Avoid? (Poll)

A recent Q&A discussed the idea of labeling foods that are gluten free: New Rules on Gluten-Free Food Labeling? Check out the article and let us know what foods you must avoid that have labels on the food packaging.