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Posts Tagged ‘Celiac’

It’s estimated that 83% of people who have Celiac disease are undiagnosed… or misdiagnosed with other conditions. Could you be one of those undiagnosed? With May being Celiac Disease Awareness month, now is a good time to learn more about the disease that could affect you or someone you love.

Celiac disease is a serious, genetic autoimmune disorder triggered by the consumption of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When a person with Celiac eats gluten, the body begins to attack a part of the small intestine called villi. Damaged villi cannot properly absorb nutrients into the bloodstream. Undiagnosed (and untreated), Celiac Disease can lead to malnourishment and many other problems including some cancers, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, infertility and the onset of other autoimmune diseases.

Infographic_Celiac Disease at a GlanceWho Gets Celiac Disease?

One out of every 133 Americans has Celiac disease, about 1% of the U.S. population. Celiac disease is a genetic disorder, meaning that it runs in families. Sometimes stressful events such as pregnancy, surgery, infection, or severe emotional distress can trigger the onset of the disease in those who are genetically predisposed to it.

How Is Celiac Disease Diagnosed? 

Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose, given the wide variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms. To determine if a patient has Celiac disease, a physician can screen with a simple antibody blood test, sometimes combined with a genetic test. If a Celiac diagnosis is still suspected, the doctor will likely perform a biopsy of the small intestine for confirmation.

Common Celiac Disease Symptoms

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis
  • Infertility
  • Numbness in Legs
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint Pain
  • Osteopenia
  • Bloating
  • Dental Enamel Defects
  • Pale Sores in Mouth
  • Osteoporosis
  • Delayed Growth
  • Fatigue Migraines
  • Weight Loss
  • Depression
  • Gas
  • Nausea

Treatment of Celiac Disease: A Gluten-Free Diet

Currently, the only treatment for Celiac disease is strict adherence to a lifelong gluten-free diet. There are no medications or surgeries that can cure this autoimmune disease. Eating even tiny amounts of gluten can trigger intestinal damage. Eliminating gluten from the diet can be overwhelming at first, but with some practice and extra effort, people with Celiac disease can eat delicious food that tastes just as good as their gluten-containing counterparts. The good news is that with a gluten free diet, someone with Celiac Disease can heal, the villi can re-grow and much of the damage to the body can be reversed.

Interested in learning more? Check out the Celiac Disease Foundation and Beyond Celiac.

Sources:

The Celiac Disease Foundation https://celiac.org/

Beyond Celiac https://www.beyondceliac.org/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewed by: Melissa Rupp, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County.

 

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There is an ever-increasing bounty of gluten free foods available in grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Why? Are more people needing a gluten free diet, or just choosing to avoid gluten? The short answer is yes… to both questions.

Gluten free food products.If we look at the percentage of Americans that must avoid gluten for health reasons, that includes 1% of the US population with Celiac Disease, 0.4% with a wheat allergy, and then there’s that confusing category of non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, which may affect up to 6% of the US population. For more information on these conditions, you can read this blog article from Live Smart Ohio. That adds up to 7.4% of the US population avoiding gluten for medical reasons.

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, approximately twenty percent of Americans are on a gluten free diet. So what is the remaining 12.6% of our population doing on a gluten free diet? The most popular reason consumers give for buying gluten-free products is they believe the gluten-free diet has health benefits, including weight loss. While there is evidence to show that gluten free diet can help lessen symptoms associated with certain autoimmune diseases such as dermatitis herpetiformis, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, thyroiditis, and psoriasis, there is no evidence to support gluten-free health claims for the general population. Gluten is found in foods that are part of a healthy diet and contribute nutrients and fiber. Some people that are on a gluten-free diet simply don’t need to be.

As for losing weight, that all depends on how you go gluten-free. Reducing refined carbs like white bread, crackers and pasta and processed grains and replacing them with whole grains will reduce calories and increase fiber. However, if you replace gluten-containing products with their less healthy gluten-free substitutes, you’re likely to consume more fat, sugar and calories. Additionally, refined gluten-free foods are not usually enriched or fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. Gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

While there are medical diagnoses that require avoiding gluten, there is little evidence to support gluten-free health claims for the general population. If you would like more information about gluten-free eating, please visit this 30 minute webinar by OSU Extension on Gluten Free Eating.

Sources:

“9 Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-Free” 2016. Celiac Disease Foundation.

Gaesser, G.A., PhD & Angadi, S.S., PhD “Gluten-Free Diet: Imprudent Dietary Advice for the General Population?” 2012. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“What is Celiac Disease?” 2016. Celiac Disease Foundation.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

 

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You’ve probably heard a lot about Gluten. Labels in grocery stores highlight many products as gluten free… Many of these seem like healthy products. But does being “gluten free” make something healthy? Is gluten bad for you? And… what is gluten?

What is Gluten? Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye, and barley. This protein provides bread, grain, and pasta products with elasticity and the ability to hold shape. Without gluten, we wouldn’t have many of the grain products we’ve enjoyed for thousands of years!bread-725873_1920

Is Gluten Unhealthy? The simple answer is “no.” However, there are 3 groups of individuals who are unable to eat gluten products due to specific dietary restrictions:

  1. Those with Celiac Disease: When those with Celiac Disease consume gluten, their bodies send immune responses that attack their small intestines. Over prolonged periods of time, this immune response destroys the intestine’s ability to obtain nutrients from food. Celiac Disease is a serious condition that can cause digestive issues,  fatigue, anemia, osteoporosis, and malnutrition.
  2. Those with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS):  Those with NCGS will not experience damage to their small intestine due to gluten consumption. But they will experience a list of unpleasant symptoms including brain fatigue, lost energy, and digestive issues.
  3. Those with wheat allergies: Those who are allergic to wheat experience allergic reactions to  wheat itself– not to gluten in wheat. These individuals must avoid gluten simply because it is naturally present in wheat products.

spike-8739_1920For the rest of us, gluten is just a protein in wheat, barley, & rye. In fact, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend Americans consume grains daily, making half our grains whole. Whole grains are essential to digestive health and provide valuable nutrients. Whole grains include wheat, barley, and rye, as well as other non-gluten products like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat.

If you don’t have Celiac Disease, an allergy, or sensitivity to gluten; eating wheat, barley, and rye is not unhealthy. Instead, these whole grains can supply important nutrients.

Why are gluten-free products everywhere? Formally, the U.S. lacked any rules regarding what food companies could market as being “gluten free.” In 2013, The FDA created a law which required all food products to meet specific criteria before they could be marketed as “gluten free.” This rule ensured all individuals with Celiac Disease could be certain the food they purchased was safe.

Since this time, the use of “gluten free” on labels has grown in popularity as a way to market products to those with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity. However, these labels do not indicate greater nutritional value. Some products which say “gluten free” would never normally contain gluten. For example, packages of potatoes, rice, candy,  or meat which market that they’re”gluten free,” do not normally include gluten. But this label indicates to those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity that no gluten has been present on the equipment used to process these foods– aka that the risk of cross-contact with gluten on equipment is limited to the trace amount allowable by the FDA. Nothing has been done to make these non-grain products healthier.This label is simply there to highlight a safe products for those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity.

So what does this mean for me? If you have Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity, be sure to consume gluten-free whole grains which are easy to find in most stores.  bread-399286_1920

If you don’t have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity, enjoy wheat, barley, and rye products: Just be sure to make half these choices whole grain. This will help you choose grain products high in nutrients and help you to live healthy live well!

 

References:

UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases. Celiac vs. gluten sensitivity vs. wheat allergies. University of California, Los Angeles. Retrieved from: http://gastro.ucla.edu/site.cfm?id=281

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

U.S. Food and Drug Aministration (2014). ‘Gluten free’ now means what it says. FDA Consumer Health Information. Retrieved from:  http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM363276.pdf

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