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Celiac Disease Awareness: Gluten

What is GLUTEN?

Gluten is a protein that is found in barley, wheat, and rye.

Did you know?

There are more than 160 food allergens? Gluten is one of the most food allergens known to the public, however, many people have no idea what gluten is. Grocery shopping and going out to eat are two of the most common methods of obtaining food to eat! Unfortunately, while these are simple tasks for the majority, those who struggle with food sensitivities are not as lucky.

The Struggle is Real

The FDA is slowly making progress in tightening the requirements for food manufacturers to properly label their products so that they are easily identifiable for those with Celiac disease. Many foods such as poultry, meat and un-shelled eggs are not covered under the Gluten-Free Labeling Rule. Alcohol is also a category that is not covered. Still, reading food labels for hidden ingredients is very time consuming and many do not know what ingredients to look for. This is taxing for both the individual with Celiac disease and their family and friends.

Dining out has its own challenges. Many food establishments are not very well educated on gluten or any other well-known food allergen. From personal experience, it is very difficult to dine out with friends or family because many restaurants still do not address food allergens. In addition, it is very difficult to explain to the waitstaff what gluten is, what has gluten in it and how to avoid it.

If a Celiac disease patient consumes gluten, serious symptoms can arise. Eating gluten can result in damage of the intestines and severe inflammation in the body. There are other no-so-pleasant symptoms that tag along.  The long-term effects of consuming gluten are anemia, gastrointestinal issues, osteopenia, and malignancy.

Wahlburgers has a dedicated gluten-free kitchen

It’s Not Just a Preference

In recent years, eating gluten-free has become a major fad linked to weight loss. As a result, many people tend to not take a reported gluten-allergy very seriously. Creating  public awareness to the condition of Celiac disease is crucial to ensure the safety of Celiac patients and those who struggle with gluten allergies. The general public needs to know what gluten is and why it can be potentially dangerous for some to consume .

This blog post was written as an assignment for my Master’s Program in Applied Nutrition. This is also educational material for my readers to enjoy.

Here are my references:

  1. Leffler, D. A., Edwards-george, J., Dennis, M., Schuppan, D., Cook, F., Franko, D. L., . . . Kelly, C. P. (2008). Factors that influence adherence to a gluten-free diet in adults with celiac disease. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 53(6), 1573-81. doi:
  2. US Department of Health and Human Services, FDA, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. FDA food labeling guide. . 2013.
  3. Fransvea A, Celano G, Pagliarone CN, et al. Restaurant-based intervention to facilitate healthy eating choices and the identification of allergenic foods at a family-oriented resort and a campground. Abstract. 2014;3(3).

-Your Food Allergy Guide

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