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HHS HealthBeat (September 10, 2012)

Who should be gluten-free

A loaf of gluten-free banana bread.
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A Glimpse at ‘Gluten-Free’

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Researchers say many people who should avoid gluten don’t – and they wonder why others do. Those who should avoid gluten have celiac disease, so the protein – found in wheat, rye and barley products – triggers an allergic reaction.

Mayo Clinic researchers say about 1.8 million people have celiac disease, and most are unaware – but many others are going gluten-free without a diagnosis. Researcher Joseph Murray:

“You have 1.6 million people who are on a gluten-free diet but without a diagnosis of celiac disease. And we’ve got about the same number of people who have celiac disease don’t know it, and aren’t on the diet they need to be on.”

The study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: September 10, 2012