If you ask around, just about everyone has an opinion on “gluten-free,” Celiac Disease, or gluten-sensitivity. Often times, their opinions are misinformed and can be insulting, especially to people who have Celiac Disease (CD) or are gluten-sensitive.
For those of you (or your friends) who have CD or have gluten-sensitivity, you’ve probably heard the snide comments from friends or family saying that it’s “made up” or “all in your head.” The unfortunate reality is that many people are just under-educated on the matter and don’t have all of the facts.
Luckily, it seems many people are beginning to understand CD a bit better and do treat it as a “real” disease. The conversation can often veer off track, though, when the concept and condition of gluten-sensitivity is discussed.
Again, many people (incorrectly) believe that gluten-sensitivity is in your head. Thanks to a recent study published by Columbia University Medical Center, that perception will hopefully change very soon. While gluten-sensitivity varies greatly on a microscopic level from CD, there is compelling evidence that some individuals don’t digest wheat gluten, barley, or rye the same way others do. When blood samples and intestinal biopsies were taken from individuals with CD and those who were self-described as “gluten-sensitive” and analyzed, researchers found that those who reported a gluten sensitivity had leaky gut (whereby proteins and toxins actually permeate the intestine and make their way into the bloodstream).
So, what does this mean? It means that gluten-sensitivity is real. Unfortunately, it is much harder to diagnose than CD, which means many people may go through life eating gluten products and not understanding why they feel miserable.
However, the more the general public understands the distinct differences between CD and gluten-sensitivity, and the less taboo gluten-sensitivity becomes in society, the better off people who may have gluten-sensitivity will be.
Thankfully, brewers across America are beginning to educate themselves more about their patrons’ tastes and dietary needs. New Planet Beer has been offering gluten-free and gluten-reduced beers since 2009 and continues to be at the forefront of the gluten-free beer revolution. With beer that still packs all the flavor, characteristics, and all-around goodness that craft beer has to offer, look for New Planet Beer in a liquor store near you.