And, now, a gluten-free moment or two…

Reporter Vivien Williams discusses gluten with Dr. Joseph Murray

The Celiac Disease Foundation wants to make the process of going gluten-free easier for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease. Mayo Clinic experts agree that people with celiac disease should not consume gluten. But, many people who don’t have celiac disease also go gluten-free, because it makes them feel better. Dr. Joseph Murray says for that group, gluten may not be the issue.

In addition:

…Most of the people who reach for gluten-free products don’t have celiac disease and or even a sensitivity to wheat, Peter H.R. Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, told WebMD. “The market for gluten-free products is exploding. Why exactly we don’t know. Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier.”

In fact, it isn’t. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential. But for others, “unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Green.

Experts estimate that about 1% of Americans have celiac disease. The condition, caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, can damage the lining of the small intestine. That, in turn, can prevent important nutrients from being absorbed…

How can you know if you have celiac disease? The only way is to be tested. The first test is typically a blood test that detects antibodies related to an abnormal immune response. If the blood test is positive, a biopsy is performed to confirm inflammation in the lining of the small intestines…

So what’s wrong with the rest of us trying a gluten-free diet a try to see how we feel?

For starters, going gluten-free means saying no to many common and nutritious foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten also shows up in many whole grain foods related to wheat, including bulgur, farro, kamut, spelt, and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). Some celiac disease experts warn patients to steer clear of oats, as well…

Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits. But the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber…

If there’s anything lacking in what the average American consumes it is fiber. Eat lots of processed food? You eat damned little fiber.

Many folks who impulsively decide on going gluten-free gain weight, To make new foods palatable, producers add sugar and fat. Two food groups Americans already love. You also may be losing beaucoup minerals and trace elements from whole fiber foods.

Go talk to your doctor, find a nutritionist who has the reputation of being professional – not plugged into this year’s favorite magic bullet. Make certain you’re not wasting money on food that produces nothing more than increased profits for the corporations that specialize in hustling Americans with the latest fad diet.

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