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Donuts, cupcakes, freshly baked bread, beer, pasta with sauce and creamy ranch dressing – all can be categorized as some of life’s most enjoyable guilty pleasures. However, someone with Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity would probably disagree.
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), about one percent of Americans have celiac disease and six percent have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. People with Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity cannot tolerate gluten as their bodies cannot absorb it properly. This leads to damage to the small intestine and side effects such as diarrhea, weight loss, constipation, anemia, loss of bone density, headaches and/or fatigue, among other possible symptoms.
Many people who cannot tolerate gluten have become vigilant about changing their diets. As a result, more and more food manufacturers are creating and packaging gluten-free items and many restaurants are boasting gluten-free menus. But how can you tell if something you are eating is not gluten-free, even if it claims to be? Unfortunately, a gluten allergy does not elicit an immediate allergic response like a peanut or egg allergy. You may not even realize you have ingested gluten. That’s why it is vitally important to strictly avoid gluten, and heed the following advice when you need to follow a gluten-free diet:
For more information on living a gluten-free lifestyle, visit:
Free Webinar on July 15
You can also participate in an upcoming free webinar, Gluten-Free for All? Separating Facts from Fiction, sponsored by the NFCA on Tuesday, July 15, at 2:30 pm. Learn more.
Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical dietitian with WakeMed. With questions for the dietitians, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For individual nutrition counseling, call WakeMed Cary Hospital Outpatient Nutrition Services at 919-350-2358.
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