Gluten Intolerance and Coeliac Disease
Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, barley, and rye. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, where an immune response is directed against one's own body rather than against foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. Celiac disease can only develop in those with certain genes called HLA-DQ2 or DQ8. Thirty percent of the population carries these genes. If one does not have these genes, celiac disease cannot develop, but only a small percentage of those with the genes develop celiac disease.In those with celiac disease, gluten causes an immune inflammation in the small intestine. Left untreated, celiac disease may lead to non-intestinal symptoms including anemia, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis, impaired spleen, infertility, neurologic disorders, skin rashes and cancer.A blood test is available for celiac disease but, like any test, it is not 100% accurate. If this blood test is negative and there is still a high suspicion or family history of celiac disease, a gastroenterologist may need to perform an endoscopy. This procedure is done under sedation as a tube is inserted through the mouth and passed into the small intestine for observation and biopsy. Both the blood tests and the endoscopy need to be done while the patient is eating gluten.Those who are diagnosed with celiac disease need to completely and permanently avoid any form of gluten in their diets. The assistance of a dietitian or nutritionist is recommended. There is research showing a possible decreased risk of celiac disease with breast feeding and continued breast feeding when gluten is introduced into the child’s diet. A previous history of intestinal infections and the state of natural bacteria in the gut may influence the development of celiac disease. Additionally, wheat has been modified to contain higher amounts of gluten and this, alongside the increased ingestion of wheat (breads) in developed countries, may contribute to the increasing incidence of celiac disease.Some patients have symptoms of celiac disease but their blood tests and endoscopies are negative or normal. This condition has been called non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). The symptoms may be similar to celiac disease including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, foggy mind, lethargy or fatigue. Symptoms improve when gluten is eliminated from the diet and return when gluten containing foods are reintroduced.The existence of NCGS is controversial because there are no tests for it. It is not thought to be an autoimmune disease and is not associated with complications of celiac disease.It is important to note that Celiac disease and NCGS are different from having a food allergy. With a food allergy, the immune system overreacts to a particular food causing symptoms that are potentially serious or even life-threatening. In food allergic patients, symptoms begin shortly after ingestion of the food (a few minutes to an hour or so) and include hives, shortness of breath, lightheadedness or vomiting. A food allergy is an immune, but not an autoimmune, reaction.If you believe you may have a food allergy, see an allergist / immunologist. Since allergic reactions to foods can be life-threatening, food allergic people must be very careful to avoid their food triggers. If you have severe allergies to food, be sure to complete an Anaphylaxis Action Plan and carry your autoinjectable epinephrine with you at all times. Use this medication in the event of an anaphylactic reaction, seek medical care, and then see an allergist/immunologist for follow-up care.
Diabetes and sugar reduction
Diabetes is a serious condition where your blood glucose level is too high. There are two main types, Type 1 and Type 2. They’re different conditions, but they’re both serious. There are some other rarer types of diabetes too.
What all types of diabetes have in common is that they cause people to have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood. But we all need some glucose. It’s what gives us our energy. We get glucose when our bodies break down the carbohydrates that we eat or drink. And that glucose is released into our blood.
We also need a hormone called insulin. It’s made by our pancreas, and it’s insulin that allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies.
Sugar has become perhaps the most discussed dietary issue in recent years with more and more research studies linking the effects of sugar to greater risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Statistics show that most of us in the UK are consuming more sugar than is good for our health.
Many of us are unaware that starchy foods like bread, rice or potatoes are broken down by digestion into surprisingly large amounts of sugar; a small slice of wholemeal bread is equivalent to three spoonful’s of sugar. It’s important therefore that your diet does not contain too much carbohydrate either.
A major cause of this has come from the high amounts of sugars added to a wide range of processed foods.
Sugar has extra relevance to people with diabetes as sugar has a formidable effect in raising blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes was once referred to as sugar diabetes - because sugar is at the heart of the problem.
For somebody with diabetes, it is the total sugar burden from any of the three sources (natural, added or as a product of the digestion of complex carbohydrate) which need taking into account to keep blood glucose levels low.
Don't worry, reducing sugar intake reduces the likelihood of needing medication and diabetes-related complications.
Research has shown a close association between sugar intake and development of type 2 diabetes. The more sugar in the diet, the higher the risk of type 2 diabetes.
An egg intolerance is a non-life-threatening adverse response to the consumption of eggs.
You might have an intolerance to the egg white, egg yolks, or both. Such an intolerance most commonly leads to gastrointestinal upset, such as abdominal bloating or diarrhea.
In some cases, an intolerance can last for years, while others have trouble with eggs for life. It can also occur at any age.
Please contact us to discuss other allergies ie nuts. Note we make all products in a kitchen where nuts have been used.
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