What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease – Is an autoimmune or allergic reaction to the protein gluten in certain grains, such as wheat and rye in people with a genetic susceptibility. The effect destroys lining of the small intestine resulting in a much reduced surface area due to the flattening of the villi. Elimination of wheat, rye and certain other grains from the diet restores the intestinal surface. What is Gluten? Gluten – A protein found in wheat, oats, barley, and triticale; gliadin is the toxic fraction of gluten. Celiac is managed through diet. To maintain health, those with celiac must consume a gluten-free diet to correct a vitamin or mineral deficiency. This can be very challenging where gluten is found in other non-grain products such as hot dogs, many deli meats, some vitamins and minerals, bouillon and salad dressing. For those with celiac disease, reading food labels is crucial. Consequences of eating gluten for celiacs is that the presence of gliadin in the small intestin triggers an autoimmune response that causes an inflammatory reaction in the lining of the small intestin. This causes the surface area of the intestine to decrease and malabsorption occurs. With repeated exposure to gliadin, the lining then becomes flattened and poorly absorbs nutrients which leads to deficiencies and other health consequences. Signs and symptoms of celiac disease varies widely from mild to severe. Some severe symptoms would be diarrhea, bloating, weight loss, infertility, fatigue, growth failure in children, to name a few. In some cases, it is clinically silent where no symptoms are present. In 2008, the prevalence was 0.5 – 1% of population worldwide but much more have it than those who have been diagnosed. It has been underestimated in the past and is now considered to be about 1 in 133 persons in the US. The most common age to be diagnosed with celiac is between 40-60. The onset of celiac can appear at any time from infancy to adulthood. Because it is hereditary, the prevalence is more common among relatives. Delay in diagnosis is due to silent forms of the disease. Because symptoms vary so greatly, celiac disease can be misdiagnosed for years as irritable bowel syndrome, lactase deficiency, gallbladder disease, or other disorders. Final diagnostic confirmation requires a small bowel biopsy. Not all gluten free products are fortified like other grain products, so a gluten-free diet may not be as complete without supplementation. The list of food to avoid includes everything made with flour such as breads and pasta, as well as food with wheat, barley, or rye. Foods allowed include rice, soy, corn and potato flours as well as tapioca, arrowroot, amaranth, quinoa, millet and buckweat. Oats do not contain gluten, but commercial oats and oat products are often cross-contaminated by grains that do. Meats, fruits, and vegetables are not restricted but many processed foods use wheat flour for thickening. After practicing a gluten-free diet for a prolonged period of time, the damaged intestine heals. At Evan’s we realize that changing ones diet to a gluten-free diet is a major commitment. No more processed foods, most baked goods, typical breads, cereals and wheat pasta. We realize that eating out at restaurants or even at friends’ houses is a real challenge and can be frustrating. Fish & Chips is something most celiacs think is out of their diet. With the help of Schoohouse Gluten-Free Gourmet, Evan’s is proud to offer an amazing Fish & Chips.