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Monday, February 21, 2011

Gluten-Free. Who, Me?

"Gluten-free" seems to be the new fix-it for everything from tummy aches to weight loss. Amazing how quickly and easily many people will get on a bandwagon, believing the latest cure-all. Even if they don't have the ailment something is supposed to cure!! The reality is that although there are more diagnosed cases of celiac disease than ever before, that doesn't mean someone who doesn't suffer from the disease is going to somehow enhance their life by going gluten-free. In fact, it can be quite the contrary.

One of the problems is that food made without gluten needs to compensate for the lack of it. Often that means added sugar and fat--to do something gluten does so well, which is to bind food together and make it more palatable. And there is the nutritive value of grains that is sacrificed, including wheat, barley, and rye. Protein being only one of the benefits of eating whole grains.

photo from care2
According to an article posted by Rodale in, an Archives of Internal Medicine study conducted in 2003 suggests that celiac disease affects one in 133 Americans. For comparison sake, consider that one in three Americans suffer from high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. (And btw--how many of those people lower their salt intake, practice stress-reducing exercises, exercise, etc.?)

If you do suffer from celiac disease, this is serious business and you should indeed adopt a gluten-free diet, but this is not a diagnosis you can or should try to determine on your own. You need a physician to make the call.

Remember, the motto should be 'consumer beware'--NOT 'consumer believe'. You could be doing yourself more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing. . .

Read more in this interesting article By Karen Ansel, R.D., Women’s Health on care2

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