Partly it was due to the condition being quite under-diagnosed, as it’s symptoms are very broad and are often dismissed as nothing serious, but also it is due to food products these days using wheat products in grossly over-processed forms and in far more food products than ever before.
Celiac (pronounced see-lee-ak) disease is actually an auto-immune disease where microscopic finger-like intestinal villi in your lower intestines to flatten and become inflamed. It is these villi that help the body absorb much of the nutrients that you actually ingest, thus if these villi are being attacked and deformed, they are thus no longer able to perform their functions in nutrient absorption and severe cases of malnutrition often results.
Other symptoms include:
- Mild digestive upsets
- Mouth ulcers
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Chronic fatigue
As you can see, with such a broad range of symptoms and with no guarantee as to which combinations of these symptoms will present themselves, it is often the case that wheat or gluten intolerances are thought of as nothing more than a mild stomach upset that will pass without any treatment. Diagnosis is only really conclusive with an endoscopy and intestine biopsy.
The only real treatment for Celiac disease is to avoid gluten. A gluten free diet means not only avoided the obvious breads, pastas, cakes, pizzas and burgers but also things that you may not even realise have gluten in them, such as certain cereals, beer, battered fish, gravy, mustard amongst many others.
There are however many alternatives and gluten free pastas, breads even beers are becoming more and more available and especially so at organic food retailers. No gluten flours based on rice or quinoa have been widely used to replace wheat flour, thus almost any food product requiring a flour base can be made gluten free.
Key dietary issues do arise on a gluten free diet as fibre is very lacking in Celiac sufferers and so fibrous fruits and vegetables should be a key feature of a reduced gluten diet plan as well.
Protein is recommended to be had as naturally as possible as even crumbed chicken breasts or meatloaf tend to have high gluten content. But even so, with more and more being discovered about the condition, more and more is being made available to the gluten intolerant and having a gluten free diet is certainly far easier than it has ever been previously.