Chances are, if you don't have an aversion to gluten, diagnosed as celiac disease or not, you know someone who does. Those who go gluten-free tend to proselytize -- extolling the virtues of their new gluten-free diets, and criticizing the excesses of our modern American diets.
The apparently sudden increase in this wheat gluten aversion made many skeptical: Is this just a diet fad? Is it a small problem that doctors are only now diagnosing?
A new study by the highly reputable Mayo Clinic should quiet our skepticism. By analyzing the stored blood of Army recruits, researchers showed that celiac disease is four times more common today than it was in the 1950s.
Not all who suffer from a gluten intolerance know they have celiac disease, though, researchers said.
Celiac disease is a condition that prevents the body from processing gluten -- a protein in wheat, rye and barley. The immune system responds to the gluten, triggering digestive problems and an inability to absorb nutrients.
Most of the symptoms associated with celiac disease are non-specific, according to the Mayo Clinic (which has much more detailed and authoritative information about celiac disease), so it can be difficult to diagnose.
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