March 20, 2018 12:40 am
Gluten-Free: Part 1
Standing in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, the guy next to me sarcastically commented, “Who thinks orange juice needs to be labeled gluten-free? Clearly it’s just another diet trend!”
I can see why he might think this, but actually there is more to it. This particular brand of orange juice contained maltodextrin, which is often used to sweeten and thicken certain foods. By labeling their orange juice gluten-free, the manufacturer notifies consumers that none of the ingredients – including maltodextrin – are derived from wheat. This is very important to anyone who has been diagnosed with Celiac disease.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the consumption of wheat products, like bread or pasta, cause serious damage to the small intestine. Minor damage can block the absorption of nutrients from food. Continued consumption may cause major damage that leads to gastrointestinal cancer, serious neurological disorders, as well as other autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 diabetes. Anyone diagnosed with celiac disease must avoid all gluten in their food, skin care and hair care products. The Celiac Disease Foundation offers some great tips on reading labels and avoiding gluten.
Many people have an allergy to wheat without developing celiac disease. A blood test can verify if you have acquired antibodies to the proteins found in wheat. I have also had patients who react symptomatically to wheat even though their allergy test is negative. Symptoms may include: constipation, diarrhea, itchy skin, swollen/painful joints, insomnia, irritability, mouth ulcers, and fatigue.
Studies show that the pesticides found in wheat, called glyphosate, are tearing up people’s guts and destroying healthy gut bacteria. For some people, adding a good probiotic to their daily supplement routine may be enough to offset the effects of the pesticides. But most people will do better following a gluten-free diet.