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Front Page » February 4, 2014 » Scene » Festive Friday group learns about Celiac Disease
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Festive Friday group learns about Celiac Disease

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By Alice Wadley
staff writer

Festive Friday was held on Jan. 24. It featured guest speaker Dr. Carrie Durward, a USU nutrition specialist. She spoke on the topic of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. Christine Jensen gave the health and wellness tip of the month, drink more water. You need to drink at least eight glasses (64 ounces) of water a day. Some tips for drinking water are; drink two glasses after you get up, one glass before each meal and two glasses before you go to bed.

Dr. Durward spoke first on celiac disease. She said, the gluten free food industry is a $4.2 billion industry a year. On average, gluten free foods are 242 percent more expensive than regular foods. The gluten-free diet is hyped and endorsed by celebrities, who claim to feel better after starting a gluten free diet. There has been no research studies on the gluten-free diet for weight loss. Many celiac patient report gaining weight after starting a gluten-free diet, because the foods may contain more fat or sugar to make it more palatable.

Gluten is a protein found in some grains, including wheat, rye and barley. Gluten plays an important role in our food. It makes dough elastic and traps gas to provide a light and airy structure.

Celiac disease is a genetic disorder that causes damage to the intestines. The symptoms include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss and head aches. Complications can be anemia, osteoporosis and intestinal cancer. Celiac disease affects one percent of the population. It is easy to treat. To diagnose the disease a blood sample is drawn and tested for antibodies. If the test is positive a biopsy of the small intestine is taken.

Another celiac related problem is non celiac gluten sensitivity. The symptoms are the same as celiac disease, but not as many complications. The symptoms occur hours to days after consuming gluten. There is no damage to the intestines with gluten sensitivity. It is estimated, six to ten percent of the population are sensitive to gluten. If the celiac disease blood test is negative, your doctor will go through a series of tests to determine if you are sensitive to gluten. Dr. Durward spoke secondly on organic food. She gave a history of the organic food. Organic farming began as a social movement in response to the negative effects of the industrial food system. Today, organic is a term regulated by the USDA, which refers to food grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. In animal food, organic means that the feed the animals ate was grown organically without antibiotics and growth hormones.

The common terms used for organic are; 100 percent organic, which means there are no synthetic ingredients. Organic, 95 percent of the ingredients are organic. Made with natural ingredients, 70 percent of the ingredients are organic. There is no regulations or standard definition of the word "natural." Read product labels carefully and don't buy a product based solely on the word natural. Free range is also a term that is not clearly defined. The only parameter on this term is the animal had outdoor access.

All produce in the U.S. must fall below the government thresholds for the use of pesticides. The pesticide residue on organic foods is less than nonorganic options. There are no proven health impacts from consuming pesticides at these levels. Some people feel these thresholds are too high and the evidence isn't conclusive. The long-term exposure to low-levels of pesticides is ongoing and some people choose "Better safe, than sorry." Wash all fruits and vegetable thoroughly with water this will minimize your exposure to pesticides.

Dr Durward also went over the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen. The Dirty Dozen is the foods that contain the most pesticide residue. The list includes; peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines (imported), strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes (imported), spinach, lettuce and potatoes.

The Clean 15 is the produce with lower levels of pesticide residue. The list includes; sweet corn, onions, pineapples, avocados, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, papayas, mangos, asparagus, eggplant, kiwi, grapefruit, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and mushrooms.

When choosing to buy organic foods, choose what you feel safe eating and what fits in your budget. Organic foods are more expensive than conventionally produced foods. Maximize your budget by watching the sales ads and buy fresh produce, canned and frozen vegetables and fruits when they are on sale.

The next Festive Friday will be on Feb. 21 at the old court house in Castle Dale. The cost is $2 and includes lunch.

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