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Gluten-Free Holidays: How to Steer Clear of Risky Foods

Gluten-Free Holidays: How to Steer Clear of Risky Foods

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By    |   Tuesday, 20 December 2016 11:27 AM

The holiday season is in full swing, and with it comes an extensive list of festive entrees, desserts, and drinks. But for those with gluten sensitivity, holiday favorites like pumpkin bread, stuffing, gingerbread cookies, and pecan pie, can be harmful.

Although gluten isn’t harmful to most people, for those with Celiac disease and other gluten sensitivity problems, eating this protein can cause diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, low blood count, or even osteoporosis.

“Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley… but it’s also found in lots of places you wouldn’t expect, like sauces, dressings, and even cosmetics,” notes Dr. Chad Larson, an advisor and clinical consultant for Cyrex Laboratories.

He tells Newsmax Health the rise in gluten in many food products has contributed to an increase in gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease in recent decades.

“Gluten is what gives bread its stretchiness and pasta its stickiness, and so modern agriculture has begun hybridizing wheat to have higher gluten content,” he explains.

Up to 10 percent of all people suffer from some form of gluten insensitivity. In addition, only one in 4,700 people who have Celiac disease have actually been diagnosed with the digestive disorder.

That makes navigating the holidays particularly hard for millions of Americans.
But there are ways to head off gluten-related problems. If you know or suspect you may have gluten insensitivity, Larson has outlined a few helpful strategies:

Write it down. Keeping a food journal is a great way to track a possible gluten sensitivity. By logging your meals and how you feel after eating them — specifically symptoms like bloating, nausea, intestinal pain, irregular bowel movements, or constipation — you can identify cause-and-effect patterns in the foods you eat.

This is also helpful when visiting a physician or nutritionist, who may be better able to spot the cause and effect patterns that would point to gluten sensitivity.

Cut it out. If you feel the symptoms of gluten sensitivity, eliminating the suspected aggravator may help. Instead of completely cutting out the dish you love, however, Larson notes that you can try making a gluten-free version. “Nowadays,” he tells Newsmax Health, “you can name anything, and there’s a delicious gluten-free alternative.”

Get tested. If you suspect you may have Celiac disease or another type of gluten sensitivity, Larson recommends getting tested. Cyrex Laboratories, a clinical lab that specializes in functional immunology and autoimmunity, offers the “Array 3,” which tests for wheat and gluten reactivity and autoimmunity, or the “Array 10,” a multiple food immune reactivity screening, for those who aren’t quite sure which food is causing the problem.

“There are plenty of ways to avoid gluten — you can find tons of resources and recipes online,” Larson tells Newsmax Health. “As difficult as a gluten-free diet is, it’s never been an easier time for it.”

© 2019 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

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The holidays can be a difficult time for people on gluten-free diets because of Celiac disease and other digestive disorders. But you can still enjoy the season with careful planning and by taking a few sensible precautions. Here's how.
gluten, free, holiday
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 11:27 AM
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