- Celiac Disease
Over 90 million Americans follow a gluten-free diet. Half believe the diet to be “healthier." Will they stay gluten-free forever?
I am currently working on my Girl Scout Gold Award. Diagnosed in 2003 with Celiac, I have been on the gluten free diet for over 11 years. I focused my Gold Award on helping people who are already on the diet and infoming the public about Celiac disease.
Current treatment for celiac disease is to eat only foods which are gluten-free. But, what about foods processed to remove gluten? Is it safe for people with celiac disease to eat foods that have been processed to remove gluten?
The chilling news is that gluten-harm reaches far beyond the concept of celiac disease. Gluten has now been recognized to cause a widespread spectrum of illness, over and above celiac disease. The two questions to answer in this context are:
- How many other diseases does gluten cause?
- How many people are adversely affected by gluten over their lifetime?
For gluten-free Americans who love donuts, life just got a little bit better. That's because Dunkin’ Donuts has announced plans to offer gluten-free donuts and muffins in all its US stores by the end of the 2013.
Rates of autoimmune disease are rising, and not just in the United States, with diseases like type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and lupus being diagnosed in increasingly higher numbers.
There should be a gluten-free standard by now, but there is not. In 2004, Congress passed a law requiring the Food and Drug Administration to define the phrase 'gluten-free' by 2008. That deadline passed with the FDA providing no such definition, and we still have no official ruling today, in 2011.
Receiving a celiac disease diagnosis or being told you need to be on a gluten-free diet can be an overwhelming experience, and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. Most people get frustrated with the transition, and many don't know where to begin.