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The Gluten Menace

November 23, 1990

I am extremely concerned that The Times has repeatedly run inaccurate statements about gluten that not only misinform but, more importantly, give potentially life-threatening information.

For the thousands of people who have Celiac Disease (a chronic, hereditary intestinal malabsorption disorder), all gluten is bad. The consequences of a Celiac eating foods with gluten (or derivatives of) basically boils down to death by starvation, even if they were eating a "normal," well-balanced diet.

The body fails to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, and K) and eventually stops absorbing even the simplest proteins and carbohydrates.

The lack of awareness among the general public (and unfortunately, the medical community as well) perpetuate the many problems facing Celiacs.

While Celiac Disease affects one out of every 1,500 to 2,000 Americans (the same ratio as Muscular Sclerosis), patients cannot get the medical information or FDA labeling laws they need to stay alive and healthy. Celiac is treatable if diagnosed in time and only when strict adherence to a gluten-free diet is maintained.

--RACHEL KAE

Senior Vice President

Celiac Disease Foundation

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