What is a gluten-free diet?
Gluten refers to certain proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. People with gluten-related disorders cannot tolerate the proteins found in foods containing these grains, and eating them can cause serious health problems, including malnourishment, chronic fatigue and damage to the small intestine.
The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), founded in 1974 under the name Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, was the first organization to help people diagnosed with gluten reactions to identify safe and appetizing gluten-free foods.
History of GIG
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) was founded in 1974 by Dietitian Elaine Hartsook, PhD, RD and started as a family-run organization. Elaine, GIGs first executive director, was a cancer researcher at the University of Washington and led the non-profit group for 20 years. Elaine was considered a top international expert in celiac disease until her death in 1996, which prompted the leadership of Cynthia Kupper, GIG’s current Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Registered Dietitian Cynthia Kupper has expanded GIG in a number of ways. For more than 18 years she has developed a variety of service programs to promote safe gluten-free practices for the food manufacturing and food service industries. She has also enabled GIG to teach and support consumers about gluten-related disorders through annual education events, interviews, and educational materials. During Cynthia’s tenure, GIG has expanded its services both nationally, with 100+ local support groups, and internationally, with food service certifications in 29 countries.