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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Most Space Food is Gluten-Free, but No Celiac Astronauts Allowed

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Most space food is gluten-free, but that doesn't mean people with celiac disease can go into space.


    Caption: Image: CC BY 2.0--Kevin M. Gill

    Celiac.com 07/23/2019 - Most space food is gluten-free, but that doesn't mean people with celiac disease can go into space. In fact, NASA doesn't want you if you're gluten-free, vegetarian or have a food allergy. What does NASA want? NASA wants people who eat meat, and sleep late.

    As the world celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, NASA is gearing up for a manned mission to Mars. NASA has penciled-in 2030 as the date of a crewed surface landing, and 2020 for an advance support mission by Mars rover.

    In the meantime, many engineering, design, manufacturing and logistic problems must solved, including problems of what kind of food will best serve such a mission. Interestingly, most space food is gluten-free, but that doesn't mean people with celiac disease can go into space.

    While most space food is gluten-free, people with celiac disease should be getting their hopes up about dining in space, at least on the manned mission to Mars. That's because NASA is looking for specific attributes in the men and women it sends to Mars, and vegetarians, early risers and the gluten-free need not apply. Why is that, exactly? According to food scientist, Vicky Kloeris, designing food for astronauts is a challenging, time-consuming process, so sending a vegan or someone with celiac disease, gluten-intolerance or severe lactose-intolerance, would require an "enormous amount of special accommodations for that person. That would cost a lot of extra money. So that would be a decision that NASA would have to make.”

    So, you need not apply to be an astronaut if you have celiac disease or food allergies, or if you are gluten-free, or vegetarian. What does NASA want? NASA wants people who eat meat, and sleep late. This is largely because NASA feels that those attributes will help the astronauts to better cope with the effects of a prolonged mission to Mars, including the longer day/night cycles on Mars.

    Read more about safe gluten-free foods, and unsafe, forbidden foods and ingredients, at Celiac.com. Read more about food in space at Cheatsheet.com
     


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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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