Kudos for column (and a little celiac clarification)

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I appreciated seeing Peter Jackson’s column “Don’t be a glutton for gluten”
(p. B3 The Telegram, Aug. 6).

I certainly agree with Mr. Jackson that many people are going gluten-free for some arguably flimsy reasons, such as to lose weight.

Going gluten-free may in fact lead to weight gain — it all depends on one’s dietary choices and lifestyle habits.  

I also commend the writer for choosing Lay’s potato chips for his snacking needs.

Many of their flavours are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Program, and are tested to be below 20 parts per million gluten, as is required for someone with celiac disease to eat safely.  

On the matter of celiac disease, however, I would like to provide some clarification.

Celiac disease is not an allergy to gluten. It is actually an autoimmune disease whereby the intestinal lining is damaged by gluten — a substance found in wheat, rye and barley.

The body turns on itself and the resulting damage hinders the absorption of the nutrients required to remain healthy.

For celiacs, ingestion of gluten can result in an increased risk of osteoporosis, certain cancers of the gut and infertility.

It can even be fatal if not treated.

While there is no cure, celiac disease can be managed through a strict, gluten-free diet for life.

The Canadian Celiac Association provides professional advice, advocacy and support for those medically required to avoid gluten, and you can visit us online at www.celiac.ca.

Mark Johnson

board member, Canadian Celiac Association, Ottawa

Organizations: Canadian Celiac Association

Geographic location: Ottawa

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