Edukational header image

EduKational Health Article


Gluten - the facts

According to Dr. Daniel A. Leffler, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard, "people who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice. They'll simply waste their money, because these products are expensive."

People think gluten-free means healthier (it doesn't always), and food marketers think those people will pay more for foods with a gluten-free label (they often do). This, in turn, has contributed to the massive growth of the gluten-free market.

Do I Need to Worry about Gluten?

Scaring people into buying products is one of the strategies of marketing too

Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in wheat, rye and barley as well as products made with these ingredients. Gluten gives the stretchy texture to bread. People with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat allergies get sick when they eat food containing wheat or gluten.
In addition to prescribing a gluten-free diet, your doctor will want you to avoid all hidden sources of gluten. If you have celiac disease, ask a pharmacist about ingredients in

  • herbal and nutritional supplements
  • prescription and over-the-counter medicines
  • vitamin and mineral supplements

Do not self-diagnose. If you think you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, talk to your doctor about testing before you start a gluten-free diet. This is the only way to ensure accurate test results and protect your long-term health.


Celiac disease


Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or destroying villi - the tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine. It is both a disease of mal-absorption-meaning nutrients are not absorbed properly - and an abnormal immune reaction to gluten. It runs in families.

However, many people who do not have these conditions are trying to eat gluten-free because they believe it will help them lose weight or give them energy.

A gluten-free diet is not necessary for the general public, and it can make it more difficult to eat a heart-healthy diet, which includes whole grains such as whole wheat bread and pasta.

Products sold with the gluten-free label may also give a sense that the food item is healthier

Products sold with the gluten-free label may also give a sense that the food item is healthier, which is only true if you have a problem with gluten, but fewer than 1 percent of Americans do. Many gluten-free food products may contain high levels of sugar, salt, saturated fat or trans fat. Check the label.

The American Heart Association does not have a formal position on a gluten-free diet, but it does recommend eating more heart-healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and proteins, which are naturally gluten-free. Eating that way introduces more nutrients and more fiber into your meals. Higher fiber helps reduce the risk for heart disease.

Here are a few foods that are naturally gluten-free and heart healthy

Beans (plain) ● Rice ● Buckwheat groats ● Corn ● Eggs ● Fish ● Fruits ● Legumes ● Millet ● Nuts (unsalted) ● Potatoes ● Quinoa ● Soy ● Tapioca ● Vegetables ● Milk (fat-free and low-fat-less than 1 percent)

A diagnosis of gluten sensitivity is confirmed when you are not diagnosed with celiac disease or wheat allergy, and your symptoms diminish after starting a gluten-free diet, followed by a return of symptoms when gluten is reintroduced into your diet.


EduKational Restaurant

For only natural Health Promoting foods

Copyright © EduKational Restaurant -