Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications

Victoria Middleton

Victoria Middleton

RD
Registered Dietitian
New York City, NY
Yumna Khan

Yumna Khan

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON
Margarita deGraaf

Margarita deGraaf

RD
Registered Dietitian
Burlington, ON

Quiz: Do You Understand Celiac Disease?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Celiac disease is related to inflammation of the intestines but Crohn's disease is not.

Explanation:
Celiac disease and Crohn's disease are both diseases related to inflammation of the intestines. Crohn’s disease is more common in people who have celiac disease.
2

Exercise may help reduce inflammation related to celiac disease.

Explanation:
Research has shown that exercise can improve the body's anti-inflammatory response by activating its sympathetic nervous system. During exercise, the body releases hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, which activate immune cells.
3

A gluten-free diet is the only treatment if you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease.

Explanation:
People with celiac disease need to follow a gluten-free diet for life. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. In people with celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in the small intestine. Over time, the lining of the small intestine is damaged and is unable to absorb certain nutrients.
4

Celiac disease is not genetic.

Explanation:
Celiac disease is linked to heredity, so if you have a relative with the disease, your risk is higher.
5

There may be a link between depression and celiac disease.

Explanation:
Studies have found that people with celiac disease may have an increased risk of developing depression. This may be related to the stress of managing a chronic disease; and/or the inability to absorb certain nutrients such as the essential amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin, a chemical that helps regulate mood.
(Answer all questions to activate)

Lauren K. Williams, M.S., Registered Dietitian, discusses getting vitamins and minerals with celiac disease.

Lauren K. Williams, M.S., Registered Dietician, discusses dining choices for celiac disease.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is one of the more common conditions that affects people of all ages, and it relates to nutrition and to the immune system.

And there is some reaction of your own immune system against three types of grains, including wheat, barley and rye, and all other grains are safe. But the immune system someone initiates a reaction which cause damage to different organs in our body, and mainly to the gastrointestinal tract.

So people with this condition as long as they are exposed to one of those three grains, have a risk for different complications and the effect will be very mild, to nothing, or very severe, with almost life-threatening situation.

But while this cruel disease, once diagnosed and properly treated with the exclusion of three grains of the diet, the person is perfectly healthy and well with no risk to his health in long term.

The important thing is to be very, very persistent with your diet. There’s no cheating in this diet and then you’re cured. So in a sense if one is sick and can have a choice, this is a good disease to have, because lifestyle and diet can completely cure you. So people often think of food and diet in relation to not feeling well. Local Pediatrician

Celiac disease is a great imitator, so the best is to go talk to your family physician, get more information and more precise evaluation.

Presenter: Dr. David Israel, Pediatrician, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Pediatrician

Dining Choices for Celiac Disease

If you have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease and are wanting to go out to a restaurant, there are some key condiments you need to be aware of that may contain gluten.

Things like marinades, things like seasonings, salad dressings, soups that are thickened as well as even cocktail sauce, Worcestershire sauce, gravies, those all can contain gluten. If you’re preparing a meal for someone who has celiac, it’s important to be aware of all of these flavorings and seasonings that may contain gluten.

It’s also very important to be aware of cross-contamination because those extra crumbs from the previous other products you might have been working with can get onto the products that you’re preparing, and therefore they might contain gluten. Even the littlest bit might cause a reaction in someone with celiac if they’re very sensitive.

Do your research before you go out to a restaurant. Look at the nutrition facts online. Some restaurants even have gluten-free options where they’re careful of that cross-contamination. Again, if you’re cooking for someone, making sure you do your research as well to avoid gluten in the products that you serve.

Celiac disease and gluten intolerance is becoming increasingly prevalent, so you may find most restaurants or chefs are familiar with the products that you can have if you have celiac disease. Make sure that you’re talking to the chef and requesting those gluten-free foods when you are in the restaurant.

For more information and tips on how to include those gf foods in your diet, or how to eat properly, contact your local nutritionist or local registered dietitian.

Presenter: Ms. Lauren K. Williams, Registered Dietitian, Vancouver, BC

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