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Gluten and celiac disease

Gluten and celiac disease

A recent trend in dieting is the gluten-free diet. Many celebrities have been following this diet, claiming that it is healthier, and several millions all over the world have adopted the gluten-free lifestyle. But many of these people do not even know what gluten is and whether it really is harmful to the body and what is celiac disease.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat that we use to make flour, which is a key ingredient in many common foods and drinks such as bread, pasta and cereals. The main function of gluten is to give consistency and elasticity to dough in order to make it chewable.

In the past few years, many people have adopted a gluten-free diet without knowing what gluten really is. But as we have seen, gluten is nothing to be afraid of and does no harm to your body – unless you have celiac disease.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a disorder of the autoimmunity whereby the consumption of gluten harms the small intestine. Symptoms of celiac disease include digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, etc. Symptoms also include behavioral disorders such as ADHD and bad temper.

The gluten-free diet

People with celiac disease should avoid any food or drink that contains gluten in order to protect their intestines. Even the smallest amount of the protein can bring on abdominal symptoms. That means cutting out all sorts of breads and pastas, everything that contains wheat such as cookies, candy, cakes, beer, etc.

They can, however, have these foods and drinks if they are labelled “gluten-free,” as awareness concerning the disease has pushed manufacturers to make products specifically for those with gluten insensitivity.

Should you follow a gluten-free diet?

Studies have shown that, for people who do not suffer from celiac disease, gluten is a harmless protein, so there is no reason for you to eliminate it from your diet.
In addition, many foods that contain gluten are essential to our health because they provide us with fibers and other important nutrients.
The best thing you can do is to consult your dietitian or your doctor if you are considering following a gluten-free diet.

Author Info

Dr Nagi Safa

Dr Nagi Safa is a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeon (Weight-Loss Surgeon) at the Advanced BMI in Lebanon and at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, and holds an academic appointment at the University of Montreal. Furthermore, he is involved in the training of residents and surgical fellows on how to perform advanced laparoscopic obesity surgery. In 2010, he launched the Advanced Bariatric and Metabolic Institute (Advanced BMI) in Lebanon, and has been helping hundreds of patients from all over the Middle-East through his expertise in obesity surgery. Education: Dr Safa completed his residency training at the University of Montreal General Surgery Program. He then performed a fellowship in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and Minimal Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery), at the Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, which is the largest Weight Loss Surgery center in the Montreal area, and one of the busiest in Canada. Experience: During his training, and throughout his practice, Dr Safa performed more than one thousand laparoscopic procedures, including Roux en Y gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, gastric banding, gastric plication and many other abdominal surgery procedures. He has a particular interest in LaparoscopicRevisional Surgery including banding, bypass and sleeve. With a keen interest in the advancement of obesity surgery and newer minimally invasive surgical techniques, Dr Safa gained experience in the single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS), and offers Single Incision gastric banding and Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery. Research: His current research interests include clinical outcomes from various bariatric surgery procedures and investigations on the impact of bariatric surgery on Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome X. Memberships: Dr Safa holds professional memberships with the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons, Canadian Association of General Surgeons, Canadian Medical Association, Canadian Association for Surgical Oncology, Quebec Medical Association, Trauma Association of Canada, Association Quebecoise de Chirurgie, International College of Surgeon, and the College des Medecins du Quebec.
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