Gluten has become a household name in the last few years, with many crackers, cereals and other food products advertised as gluten free.
What is gluten, and should you be avoiding it?
In the past, the only people who paid much attention to gluten were those with celiac disease. This condition was thought to be common in Europe, but rare in the United States. Careful research published ten years ago revealed that celiac disease is just as common in the US as in Europe, but that it is too often neglected.
People with celiac disease suffer terribly if they consume foods made from wheat, barley and rye since those contain the compound referred to as gluten. Their immune systems attack and destroy the lining of the intestine when gluten is present. This can lead to a wide range of nutritional deficiencies and a number of not-so-obvious symptoms.
Now, scientists are finding that some people who do not have celiac disease are also sensitive to gluten and react badly to this protein. Could you be among them?
This Week’s Guest
Alessio Fasano, MD, is Director of the Center for Celiac Research and division chief of the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. He is also a visiting professor at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of Gluten Freedom, a research-based book that separates fact from fiction about how gluten affects health. His websites are www.celiaccenter.organd www.cdgemm.org and http://amzn.to/1dEtM1x
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