The Truth About Celiac Disease and Gluten

Katie Couric
Global Anchor
Katie's Take

Katie's Take

It seems like every grocery store has a shelf (or several) of gluten free products these days.  It turns out roughly three million Americans suffer from Celiac disease, a disorder which makes it difficult to digest gluten…a protein component found in certain grains.

To learn more about the symptoms and consequences of celiac disease I spoke to Dr. Peter Green of Columbia University, a leading expert.

According to Dr. Green, the symptoms vary, but the most common ones include IBS, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.

As those can be symptoms of lots of digestive problems, many people in the United States don't get properly diagnosed.  In fact, 90% of those affected by Celiac disease don't even know they have it.

Celiac disease can easily be identified through a simple blood test, but the bad news is that there aren't any drugs to treat it. And that brings us back to those supermarket shelves, as a gluten free diet is really the only remedy available.

But some people are turning to gluten free products as a weight loss method, and Dr. Green says that isn't always the healthiest way to go.  Those products tends to be low in fiber and higher in fat.  Individuals who have celiac disease are advised to eat meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables to ensure they are getting the proper daily nutrients.

As always, talk to your doctor if you think you might have a gluten allergy, and here's to your health!