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More People Going Gluten Free By Choice

gluten free

Photo: Andrea Nguyen (flickr)

Gluten free Bob's Red Mill Brown rice flour is a substitute for wheat flour.

An increasing number of people  are going gluten-free both out of necessity and by choice.

Following a gluten-free diet is necessary for people who have Celiac Disease. They can get sick if they consume even a hint of wheat. Researchers with the Mayo Clinic say the prevalence of people being diagnosed with the disease is increasing.

Nearly four times more people have Celiac Disease today than a half century ago. However, doctors do not know if that is because more people actually have the disease or if just more people are being diagnosed.

Lisa Means is a volunteer facilitator for the celiac support group at the IU Health Hospital Education Center. She says the symptoms of Celiac Disease vary widely though making it difficult to diagnose.

“Some people don’t know that they have it at all because they don’t have any kind of a stomach reaction to it,” she says. “It could be a skin reaction, or they may just feel really tired, or they may have neurological symptoms.”

Celiac Disease can be fatal if it goes untreated. But a number of people who are going gluten-free do not have the disease. IU registered dietician Bobbie Saccon goes so far as to call it a fad – especially among young people. She cautions people against entirely cutting any food group out of their diet unless they have a food allergy.

“If you’re able to follow a gluten-free diet in a healthful way using other grains, it could be a very healthy diet as well, but many times, especially when convenience and cost and time come in, it’s not always necessarily a healthy alternative,” she says.

Some restaurants have also begun catering to people who want to avoid eating wheat. At The Owlery in Bloomington restaurant owner Toby Foster says about 10 percent of his customers request gluten free options.

“I think that we definitely do appreciate when people are direct in that way and say that  this is what is going on with me this is what I need from you,” he says. “We definitely appreciate having that kind of information.”

For people who have Celiac Disease, after they remove wheat from their diet they usually do not have any other complications.

For more on going gluten-free, listen to Noon Edition, WFIU’s weekly public affairs show.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

  • Carl Web

    Celiac Disease isn’t on the rise.Wheat has been around since 10,000 B.C.

    Spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, okra, parsley, leeks and quinoa are among the most oxalate-dense vegetables.Celery, green beans, rutabagas, and summer squash would be considered moderately dense in oxalate

    There are a few, relatively rare health conditions that require strict
    oxalate restriction.These conditions include absorptive hypercalciuria
    type II, enteric hyperoxaluria, and primary hyperoxaluria. Dietary
    oxalates are usually restricted to 50 milligrams per day under these
    circumstances. (Please note: these relatively rare health conditions are
    different than a more common condition called nephrolithiasis in which
    kidney stones are formed, 80% from calcium and oxalate).

    What does 50 milligrams of oxalate look like in terms of food? One cup of raw spinach
    in leaf form (not chopped) weighs about one ounce, and contains about
    200 milligrams of oxalate, so 50 milligrams for the day would permit a
    person to consume only 1/4 cup of raw spinach (and no other oxalate
    sources could be eaten during the day).

    Cealiac disease is uncommon.Saying it’s increasing is like saying absorptive hypercalciuria
    type II, enteric hyperoxaluria, and primary hyperoxaluria are on the rise.I read wheat belly & it was very thoroughly debunked.

  • R D

    The human digestive system evolved over a million years ago and finished evolving 250,000 years ago. The processes to that full evolution likely started to occur in 3.5-2.5 million years ago. During this time, no anatomically modern human (AMH) or near predecessor (to include cro-magnon man, neanderthal man, homo sapiens idaltu, homo erectus, et alii) ate any grain or wheat product. We could not digest the flora wild, and knew to avoid it. The inclusion of wheat and grain germs into our diet occured about 11,000-10,000 years ago when agriculture and processing was developed. The processing and cooking of these grains is what enables our bodies to digest grass seeds that we are not designed to eat. Now imagine an evolved digestive system as a library. It has a specific card catalog and knows exactly where it’s cataloged books go, even if they get checked out and don’t return for a while. If you introduce a book from another library into that digestive system, your library will reject it. The lectins and proteins present in the endosperm of grains are “alien” books. They are not in our digestive systems’ card catalog; we do not have the capacity to digest these substances. These substances cause problems, and research is linking these problems are related to significant health detriments.
    Evolution takes a long time. However, adaptation does not. Over 10,000 years our bodies could develop tolerances for certain foods (such as dense gluten found in grains). This has occured for acidic foods in near east orientals decendents, and lactose in northern european decendents. However, mounting evidence shows that across generations, adaptation that occurs without mutation or change in the genome can be rejected or dropped by subsequent generations. This could explain why more and more adults are becoming lactose intoleratant. This also shows that an increase in rising celiac disease is DEFINITELY PLAUSIBLE and your rough rebuke is completely unfounded. Your offshoot into hypercalciuria and enteric hyperoxaluira which are genetic mutations in the basic human digestive code are loosely and barely related to the drop in ability to process gluten.
    Research is linking a heavy grain diet (read American diet) with increased risk in diabetes, obesity, cardio-, and cerbrovascular diseases. As the average American’s intake in grain rich foods (think, how many pieces of bread do you eat in a day, or how many sandwhiches, buns, chips, flour; it’s in EVERYTHING) increased in the 21st centurary, due to high production and government subsidization (and propoganda to recoup subsidy sales, remember the food pyramid?), so too has the increases in those diseases risen proportionally. Contrasted with other cultures, who consume fewer grains (lb/yr per individual), such as Scandanavian, Japanese, or Inuit, who have significantly less occurances of these diseases.
    With mounting evidence that links grain with diseases in this country, I’d like you to point out again how anything was debunked with your offshoot on oxalate rejection (which is beyond uncommonly rare, where as celiac disease is just uncommon, not rare) talk.

  • Carl Web

    Here are just a couple.

    This new wave of obsession with health & diets have spun off the table.The problem is everyone’s metabolism is not the same.Very few of the population can digest & use all 3 of these very effectively/efficiently,Fats,protein,& carbs.

    Fat and protein efficient (74% of population): This metabolism can more efficiently utilize fats and proteins than carbohydrates.This type of metabolism consists of 50% protein,25% fat and 25% carbohydrates.

    Carbohydrate efficient (23% of population): This group easily digests and stores carbohydrates.This type of metabolism consists of 68% carbohydrates, 20% proteins and 12% fats.

    Dual (3% of population): This type has the special ability to utilize all three nutrients.This type of metabolism consists of 33% of each carbohydrate, protein and fat.

    Through a series of bloodwork & trying each diet,I found myself to be Carbohydrate efficient.Once I stuck to the diet I quickly shed 40lbs,toned very easily & quickly,slept better,& felt the best I ever had in my life!

    Honestly imo,I believe these are the major problems regarding health.
    GMO,purified sugar,purified salt(iodized salt too),pop,yeast,not drinking enough water,hydrolyzed ingredients(it’s in over 90% of processed foods),aspartame & many other ingredients put in food,non fermented soy,petroleum based food & drink containers,most rx pills,& crazy fad diets in it for the cashflow.

    Also most simply don’t move around or exercise enough.Most have a time demanding job,above average stress,little free time to spend with family,barely cook at home,& don’t have the finances to buy the healthiest of foods or the finances,time,& space to grow their own food.Many are just plain lazy & don’t really care.

    I’m tired of people trying to tie every problem to one individual thing.Several factors are involved in pretty much everything.Especially for health & diet.

  • R D

    I agree with your last few paragraphs. Nearly 100%; these factors are the largest contributors to health problems.
    However your rebukes are not good enough. One blog entry that just iterates opinions and another paper written by a non-M.D./Ph.D. level person aggregating random information from references and sources to claim an M.D.’s work was poor by manipulating quotes and information on a non-scientific, quasi-statistical basis in a CEREAL JOURNAL (obvious bias for wheat) doesn’t cut it and proves nothing. Certainly does not say in any way wheat is harmless or good for you.
    Now if you have any sources for your efficiency theory, I’d love to read that. The last I read was that all humans across the board where all programmed to be fat burners, and through body adaptation (takes place in about 2 years) turn into carb burners. I also read this adaption can easily be reversed be detoxing large-chain carbs and loading on fats and proteins. But if there is a set efficiency hard wired, I’d like to see. Thanks.

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