Friday, July 22, 2011

The Truth About Gluten (Article)

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From the article:

Gluten is a protein found in wheat. It's a binding agent, which means it makes ingredients stick together. If flour didn't contain gluten, breads would turn out like pancakes.  

For decades, scientists thought you were either allergic to gluten or you weren't. If you were allergic to gluten, you were given the diagnosis of celiac disease. But now we know that celiac disease isn't the only issue. You could be gluten intolerant.

The main difference between gluten intolerance and celiac disease is that with gluten intolerance your body's immune system doesn't nuke your intestines. Instead, your body just can't digest gluten (so you still end up with bloating and other issues). Either way, you should be opting for a gluten-free diet.

Aside from digestive discomfort, having an immune system that constantly attacks your intestines has serious repercussions. Those with celiac disease are at increased risk of arthritis and potentially colon cancer.

Get tested to see if you have an issue with gluten via antibody or genetic testing. You might not have celiac disease since only 1 in 133 people in America have it, but you could easily be gluten intolerant.
Some of us can eat gluten with no problem, but if you're battling the bloat, I don't recommend taking it on faith that you're one of those people.

At the very least, test how you feel with and without gluten. If you're completely symptom-free with it in your diet, then getting biopsied is a waste of time (and you'd never be able to convince your doc to do it). But if you're noticing mysterious stomach issues, test a gluten-free diet.

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