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Fuel Nutritionist

Could Gluten Be Your Problem?

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Finding the facts behind the fad By Anne Wilfong, R.D., L.D.

or the last several years, gluten has increasingly become a hot topic among the health and wellness industry. Gluten-free products now line entire aisles at the grocery store and, as of August this year, the FDA set a standard for foods labeled “gluten free.” Increased awareness and new labeling laws are great news for those individuals with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder) because they must maintain a gluten-free diet for a lifetime in order to relieve their symptoms. Additionally, the medical community has started discussing a condition commonly known as “non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” which is different from the medical diagnosis of celiac disease. This condition is also sometimes referred to as “gluten intolerance” or “gluten sensitivity.” What is—and isn’t—gluten sensitivity?

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s of now, researchers have not determined an official medical definition for non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For the purposes of this article, I’ve used the definition proposed by Dr. Alessio Fassano, M.D., a celiac expert with the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center: “Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is an adverse food-induced reaction, possibly immune-mediated, but for which there is no diagnostic test available.” The symptoms of this condition are similar to those of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) –abdominal pain, gas, and bloating—and may also include fatigue, headache, “foggy brain,” and tingling/numbness in the hands and feet. According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and current research, there is no intestinal damage caused by nonceliac gluten sensitivity, nor is it associated with other autoimmune diseases. In addition, “research estimates 18 million Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” and it is suspected that the condition is most common in adults and is not genetically based.

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How do I know if I’m gluten sensitive?

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hose who suspect they have non-celiac gluten sensitivity would test negative for celiac disease as well as for a wheat allergy. Frequently, I have clients who mention that they have taken a medical test indicating they have gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. Unfortunately, as the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Centers points out, “there are no tests to diagnose non-celiac gluten sensitivity at this time. Which means, no research has been through a scientific, evidence-based, peerreviewed study that proves what some labs claim as a way to detect non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” So, what should you do if you suspect, on the basis of your symptoms, you are suffering from non-celiac gluten sensitivity? First, rule out any possibility of celiac disease and/or wheat allergy through proper testing with your physician. Next, keep a food/symptom diary, noting symptoms and when they occur. Finally, in order to confirm non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you should begin eating a gluten-free diet while

Profile for Austin Fit Magazine

October 2013 - The Fashion Issue  

Gracing our cover is Austin's most popular stylist, Ross Bennett. We also have Susi Wolff, a female F1 driver and other local apparel compan...

October 2013 - The Fashion Issue  

Gracing our cover is Austin's most popular stylist, Ross Bennett. We also have Susi Wolff, a female F1 driver and other local apparel compan...

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