I am Karen Anderson, a Registered Dietitian with a private practice in Clifton Park, NY for over 13 years. I began working with Price Chopper on gluten-free nutrition a number of years ago and now will be working as a clinical consultant and regular blog contributor. Personally, I have lived with Celiac Disease for 16 years and follow a gluten-free lifestyle. Professionally, I provide nutritional guidance and promote healthy nutrition for those needing to be gluten-free.
In Celiac Disease, an autoimmune condition which is medically diagnosed, eating gluten (a fraction of a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and some other grains) causes the body to react against itself causing damage to the intestinal lining. Continuing to eat gluten once a person knows they have Celiac increases the risk of serious complications including nutritional deficiencies and even perhaps intestinal lymphoma. Gluten sensitivity without a diagnosis of Celiac also exists and may be more prevalent in certain populations (for an example, those with autism).
Approximately 1 in 150 individuals have a known gluten intolerance. In the US, about 1% of the population has Celiac and about 6% have a gluten sensitivity. Furthermore, statistics suggest that the numbers are increasing, perhaps in part due to increased awareness and screening.
In fact, a number of individuals are choosing to be gluten-free despite a lack of medically-determined need. Although eating gluten-free can be nutritious, proof (at least presently) is lacking that this offers health benefits for those who do not have Celiac or known gluten intolerance. Regardless, the demands for gluten-free product variety, availability, nutritional density and tasty choices are significantly building. By need or by choice, product demand has more than doubled in the past 5 years. Price Chopper continues to meet the challenge of wants and needs both proactively and productively.
Autumn is here and new gluten free products continue to be “harvested.” Simply stated, this supports the work I do as a health care provider, a provider who provides education on gluten-free nutrition, identifies delicious choices, and promotes healthy eating. I am confident that Price Chopper supports the initial greeting I give to a new patient which is, “Hello. Thank you for the opportunity I now have to educate you on what you CAN eat!”
Be on the lookout for more gluten-free blogging!
Meanwhile….take care of your nutrition!