Gluten is seriously misunderstood.
Some people think it makes them fat. Some think it makes them sluggish. The truth is, gluten is not a problem for most people.
Have you heard these myths about gluten?
There is a small population of people with celiac disease, a gluten allergy, who should go gluten-free.
Celiac disease affects 1 in 100 people worldwide. It’s an autoimmune disorder, so when someone with celiac disease eats gluten, his body ends up attacking and damaging his small intestine.
Symptoms of celiac disease in adults include:
Kids are more likely to experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, vomiting and constipation.
If you suspect you have celiac disease, make an appointment to see your doctor. Blood tests can confirm your body’s response to gluten. If tests reveal no celiac disease or wheat allergy, yet you still have symptoms, you may have gluten sensitivity.
People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience the symptoms of a gluten allergy, yet they don’t have the same intestinal damage as those with celiac disease. There isn’t a test that can confirm this sensitivity, so your doctor may recommend cutting out gluten or wheat to see if that lessens your symptoms.
A gluten-free diet will probably not improve your health if you don’t have celiac disease.
If you purposely stop eating gluten when you’ve never had celiac disease or sensitivity, it’s OK. Just make sure you’re eating a balanced diet with enough fiber (lots of fruits and vegetables).
Dr. Sivakami Krishnan, M.D., a family medicine physician with Elmhurst Memorial Elmhurst Clinic, is accepting new patients in Oak Park! View her profile.
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