Thursday, January 10, 2013
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat and other grains, such as barley, kamut, and spelt. Gluten has an elastic and glue like capacity that makes grain products chewy. Commonly consumed gluten-containing products include bread, pasta, pastries, cereals, and croutons. Gluten is a hidden ingredient in numerous food products on the market: pie fillings, soy sauce, foods that contain "hydrolyzed protein," some canned foods, deli meats, beer, foods with sugar alcohols, sauces, and fast food. Gluten also may be found in preservatives, breading, and thickening agents.
Celiac Disease: This is not a food allergy; it is an autoimmune disorder in which the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten. The digestive tract contains tiny hairlike projections called villi, where food is absorbed. These villi are destroyed in people with unmanaged celiac disease. When the villi are not functioning properly, nutrient deficiencies will result because carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water in some instances, cannot be absorbed. In an athlete, the malabsorption also leads to decreased exercise performance. Once considered a rare disease, the prevalence of CD has increased during the last 100 years. Today, it is considered to affect 1% of the population. This disease is under-diagnosed, and the estimate stated is thought to be underestimated. Because this disease is genetically based, first-degree relatives will have an increased risk of also being diagnosed with CD.
6 Gluten Free Foods
1) Rice (brown or rice)
6) Meat/Seafood (unbreaded)
Gluten Intolerance: This is very similar to CD. Individuals with GI suffer in a similar fashion as people with CD but do not test positive for CD. Unlike Celiac Disease, where the person can have no gluten in their diet from any source, individuals with Gluten Intolerance exhibit a range of gluten sensitivity. Some people may be able to eat small amounts of gluten until they reach a threshold, whereas others cannot tolerate any gluten. Approx. 10% of the population may have some degree of Gluten Intolerance. GI can be subtle and worsen with continued gluten consumption over a period of time. Continued consumption of gluten with true gluten sensitivity will contribute to further deterioration of the body and lead to a multitude of degenerative symptoms (i.e. osteoporosis). Due to the fact that gluten sensitivity is an autoimmune response, continued consumption of gluten can manifest other autoimmune disorders.
The best method for people to determine if they are Gluten Intolerant is to be evaluated and diagnosed by a gastrointestinal specialist and collaborate with a registered dietitian on following an elimination diet.