Coeliac Disease

What is coeliac disease?

Coeliac disease is a condition characterized by unpleasant digestive problems after consumption of wheat, rye or barley products. These grains contain gluten, a protein that makes bread dough elastic. This is a significant problem because foods made with these grains are ubiquitous. Rye, barley and wheat are also used in many food products.

Coeliac disease is a debilitating condition that, if left untreated, results to more serious health problems. If you have coeliac disease, eating food with gluten causes abdominal symptoms that can be source of embarrassment especially in public places. In the long-term, a person with coeliac disease becomes at risk of malnutrition that results to numerous health problems.

Symptoms of coeliac disease

Coeliac disease primarily causes symptoms in the digestive system. The classic signs of coeliac disease in children and adults are diarrhoea and unexpected weight loss that occurs after eating food with gluten-containing grains. You may also experience significant bloating, flatulence and nausea. These symptoms occur soon or sometime after eating food with gluten. Some patients also experience contradictory symptoms such as constipation or obesity. Patients with coeliac disease also experience headache and fatigue.

Children with coeliac disease tend to be overweight and short in stature. They also tend to suffer from delayed puberty and neurologic problems such as ADHD and learning disabilities. In infants, the condition cause failure to thrive as chronic diarrhoea results to pain, swollen belly and weight loss.

Many cases of coeliac disease are accompanied by a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis, which cause formation of itchy rashes with numerous tiny blisters on the scalp, elbows, torso, buttocks and knees. This condition is caused by sensitivity to gluten, and it is indicative of coeliac disease

Symptoms of coeliac disease damage the lining of the intestines, causing reduced absorption of nutrients resulting to malnutrition. This is the reason why coeliac disease have to be treated.

What causes coeliac disease?

The primary cause of coeliac disease is the body’s immune response to gluten. Normally, the immune system ignores gluten. However, coeliac disease causes the immune system to react abnormally to gluten in the digestive tract. Because gluten is in the intestines, the first reaction is to flush them out quickly resulting to diarrhoea. This abnormal immune response in gluten is linked to genetics.

In some cases, coeliac disease is triggered by pregnancy, intense emotional stress, childbirth and surgery.

Diagnosing and treating coeliac disease

The only treatment for coeliac disease is not eating food-containing gluten. Coeliac disease cannot be treated with medications or specific medical procedures. This means that you need to stay away from foods with gluten completely. Specific food items with gluten include pasta, breads, noodles, imitation meats (made from wheat or pure gluten), baked products like cakes, cupcakes, malt, breakfast cereals, bran, couscous, semolina, flat breads, foods with batter and breadcrumbs, snacks made with rye, wheat or barley, and malt drinks, beers and barley teas.

The fact that many gluten-containing foods are staples is a significant problem for persons with coeliac disease. You can still eat staples that do not contain gluten, like rice, quinoa, legumes, corn and millet.

Most baked goods will trigger symptoms in coeliac disease sufferers. There are however, bakeries that specialize in certified gluten-free baked products. GF Bakery makes cakes and baked desserts that are gluten-free and made with fresh natural ingredients so to avoid using artificial ones that may contain wheat-derived substances.

What is gluten?

Wheat-Field

You might want to know what is gluten doing in baked goods. Okay, gluten is the protein found in wheat and related grains such as rye and barley. Kneading dough made with wheat flour makes it pliable because it activates the gluten. Gluten is elastic, which contributes to chewiness of baked goods like bagels. To bakers, good gluten content is desirable because it stabilizes the resulting bread.

Well gluten has become something controversial. Gluten is linked to various medical conditions and can provoke symptoms in people with celiac disease. There are plenty of studies associating gluten consumption to allergies, problems in digestion and development of diseases.

what is glutenWhere can I find gluten?

Aside from baked goods made with flour, rye or barley. Breads are especially high in gluten, while pastries are the lowest. Foods with gluten include bread, pasta, pies, pizza, bagels, cakes and many more. Farina, semolina, einkorn and other flours also contain gluten. Gluten is also an ingredient in dumplings, spring rolls and grocery meatballs.

Gluten is also present in beer (uses barley), soy sauce, imitation meat, textured vegetable protein and malt and malt vinegar. Most breakfast cereals also contain gluten. Oats themselves do not have gluten, but it is often processed in mills that process wheat so they are often contaminated with gluten.

Because it improves texture, gluten is used as an additive in ice cream, ketchup and other processed food products including salad dressings and sauces.

Role of gluten in health

Let us discuss if gluten consumption has any benefit on health. Gluten is actually a protein, but it has no use for the body. There is no medical evidence showing the benefit of eating gluten. Gluten does not build muscles, strengthen bones, improve mental function or increase energy levels. This is something most people do not know.

So to say, gluten has nothing to do to improve your health.

Gluten and disease

This is what is gluten known for, which is its role in disease. There is significant evidence that gluten is actually harmful to the health, and does so in several ways.

Gluten is very popularly known for causing gastrointestinal distress. Your gut absolutely hates gluten, and yet we still continue to dump it in our bodies. Gut inflammation is a consequence of gluten consumption, and it causes diarrhea, Inflammation is bad because it opens up the gut allowing gluten to be absorbed in the bloodstream, which leads to another bad thing.

Our body cannot tolerate gluten, and when its introduced in the bloodstream, all sort of bad things start to happen. Inflammation levels shot up as the body tries to ‘kill’ gluten by forming antibodies. Of course, this is unsuccessful and results to immune system problems that leave us vulnerable to infection. Gluten causes the body to become over-vigilant, causing chronic fatigue and clouded thinking. Prolonged inflammation promotes development of lifestyle disease such as hardening of the arteries, diabetes and arthritis and many more.

Gluten is a known allergen. Unlike other allergens, our bodies cannot simply tolerate any amount of it. Eating gluten causes prolonged allergic symptoms that are often mistaken for other allergic conditions.

Ready to stay away from gluten?

Now that you understand the role of gluten in your health, you can now better make a good decision whether you want to eat more of it and feel sick, or embrace gluten-free lifestyle and feel healthier.

Baked goods like birthday cakes are a part of life and many of us just cannot simply live without it. The good news is there are stores like GF Bakery that only produce gluten-free goods including cakes, birthday cakes and party-sized cakes.