Nutrition News- Gluten

You may have noticed a lot of attention in the media lately surrounding gluten. So, just what is gluten?

Put simply, gluten is the main protein in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Gluten triggers an abnormal immune reaction in some people, and when these people consume foods containing gluten, it damages their small intestine.

This is called Coeliac Disease, and is a serious medical condition, because the small intestine is where our bodies absorb most of the nutrients from the food and drink we consume.

When the small intestine is damaged, our bodies don’t absorb these nutrients as effectively. This can lead to deficiency of certain nutrients in our bodies, or even malnutrition.

Coeliac disease affects 1 in 70 Australians; however as many as 80% of people with Coeliac disease have not yet been diagnosed.

There is no cure for Coeliac Disease; the only treatment is a gluten-free diet.

People without Coeliac Disease don’t need to remove gluten from their diets, and doing so may cause more harm than good, as gluten foods (like wholegrain breads and cereals) contain dietary fibre, folate, vitamins and minerals, which are essential for good health.

Yakult is a probiotic that contains 6.5 billion good bacteria per bottle, and is gluten-free! Probiotics help the overall balance of bacteria in your digestive system.

If you’d like more information on gluten, Coeliac Disease, visit the Coeliac Australia website.

Stay tuned for more nutrition updates and general news!

Rachael Thompson
Yakult Dietitian APD

Healthy Intestinal Villi

Damaged Intestinal Villi

*images used with permission from Coeliac Australia.

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