Facts behind celiac disease and gluten intolerance

celiac disease x

Millions of people around the world are giving up gluten. I know why I stopped buying traditional bread and cakes, but I’m unsure about everyone else, writes William Kremer.

Human beings generally have a lot to thank gluten for. It makes our bread light and springy, since it is able to trap steam and carbon dioxide as dough rises, and during baking.

But it is unique among proteins in that it cannot be broken down completely by human beings into amino acids. The best we can manage is to break it into chains of acids called peptides. These simply pass through most people’s bodies, but coeliacs are genetically predisposed to flag them up to the immune system, which believes it is being attacked by microbes.

Coeliac disease is quite common, afflicting about 1 percent of people in the developed world, but it isn’t enough to explain the burgeoning popularity of the gluten-free diet. According to Mintel, 7% of UK adults say they avoid gluten because of an “allergy” or “intolerance” (strictly speaking, coeliac disease is neither of those), and a further 8% avoid it as part of a general “healthy lifestyle”.

But with 29 percent of American adults trying to avoid gluten, that still leaves 22 percent – 53 million – who are not on the spectrum of gluten-related disorders, but who say they want to cut gluten from their diet.

Frustrated by the sensationalist coverage, Dr Alessio Fasano, director for the Center of Celiac Research in the U.S., published his own book last year, Gluten Freedom, written with Susie Flaherty.

He says that eating gluten poses no risk to people who fall outside the spectrum of gluten-related disorders – and most experts agree with him.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: The great gluten-free diet fad

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