Gluten: What exactly is it and why could it be bad for you?

Gluten: What exactly is it and why could it be bad for you?

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Many people are getting the gluten out of their diet. But, what exactly is it? And, why is it all of sudden bad for us? Good Day Atlanta's Tacoma Perry has those answers.

At Marilyn Santulli's bakery in Roswell, called American Gra-futti, you'll find fresh baked bread (22.34), graham crackers (2.42) and a delicious treat called cheese straws (22.51); but, one thing you won't find is gluten.

Marilyn said, "Even our employees do not bring lunches with gluten in them."

Her bakery is just one of a number of businesses and products that tout the gluten-free label and are part of a $5 billion industry. But, what exactly is gluten?

"Gluten is a protein that in certain prodcuts can go into baked goods, barley and rye," said Dr. Stanley Fineman, from the Atlanta Allergy & Ashtma Clinic.

For some, gluten presents no dietary problem, whatsoever. But, for 25 million Americans, gluten is off limits.

Dr. Fineman said, "It typically causes a condition that's called celiac disease and celiac disease is a condition that patients can't process those particular grains that contain that gluten protein properly."

Symptoms include gastrointestinal problems, nausea, diarrhea, chronic fatigue and difficulty losing weight. It's how Marilyn – diagnosed with celiac's disease – says she knew something was going on in her body. Now, she caters to others like her. These are people who need to remove gluten, while holding on to many of the foods they enjoy.

She said, "My goal has been for our products to be universal; for people of all ages, whether they need gluten free or not, to enjoy your products and it's very rewarding."

To diagnose a gluten insensitivity, you can get a blood test from your doctor.

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