NBC's segment on gluten-free diet gets it right

It is not often I watch a news segment on Celiac Disease/Gluten-Free Diet where I don’t want to cringe, but Friday’s segment on The Today Show by Joy Bauer gave viewers great information on how to determine who needs to ‘go gluten free’.

The segment started with Joy defining Celiac Disease as a serious autoimmune disease (not an allergy) that attacks the small intestines and interferes with the absorption of nutrients.  She went on to say that undiagnosed Celiac can lead to osteoporosis, anemia, infertility and failure to thrive in children.  Joy even addressed Gluten Sensitivity as a real diagnosis.

Joy defined gluten as a protein that is in wheat, rye, barley and their derivatives.  Unfortunately she did not address oats and their high probability for cross contamination due to how they are grown, harvested, and processed.  People on a gluten-free diet should only consume gluten-free oats and even then there are a number of people who cannot tolerate gluten-free oats.

She went on to dispel the myth that encourages people to try the gluten-free diet.  She said there is no reason to go gluten free if there are no health issues that warrant it.  She also encouraged people to get tested for Celiac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity and emphasized that you need to be eating gluten prior to the test (blood work/biopsy) because if there is no gluten present in the body then a false negative can occur. She also encourages people not to self diagnose and to get a medical diagnosis.

Joy also dispelled the rumor that eating gluten-free can help you lose weight.  You won’t lose weight if you replace the wheat-based processed food with gluten-free processed food that has no nutritional value. When looking for gluten-free replacement products the first ingredient on the label should be a whole gluten-free grain and the product should have less than eight grams of sugar per serving.  Joy has compiled a gluten-free shopping list.

I really enjoyed the segment and I was encouraged by its willingness to view Celiac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity/Gluten-Free Diet as serious health issue and not as a fad diet.  I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease almost 15 years ago and it is a medically necessary diet for thousands of people.  I just love that Joy created a gluten-free shopping list full of wonderful tasting and nutritious options because gluten-free food continues to get a bad rap as being tasteless and devoid of nutritional value.

Thanks go out to The Today Show and to Joy Bauer for doing their research and giving an unbiased view on the subject matter.  I hope those people who tuned in will reach out and get a diagnosis before jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon.

Article Courtesy:  Jennifer Harris

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