GOING GLUTEN-FREE

Gluten is a particular kind of protein that is not found in eggs or meat but is in barley, rye, wheat and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Going gluten-free means avoiding these grains. A gluten-free diet is essential for those who have celiac disease, a condition that causes inflammation in the small intestines, or gluten allergies.  Symptoms of celiac disease include anemia, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, gas, headaches, skin rashes, joint pain and fatigue.

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A DIET FOR HEALTH & WEIGHT LOSS

Have you noticed? Look around and you’ll see a majority of Americans who are either overweight or obese. Look in supermarkets and you’ll see a plethora of food products, many of them processed or high-fat and/or sweet laden.  Consuming such a diet often leads to poor health and weight gain. It is not surprising that the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease. A number of diseases, including pre-diabetes, diabetes, stroke and depression, are linked to how we eat .....

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ANTIBIOTICS IN OUR FOOD

Just what is in the food we eat? Considering the food chain, did you know adding antibiotics to food dates back to the 1940s? Antibiotic use has led to a dramatic reduction in illness and death from infectious diseases, yet there is a downside to this practice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others encourage health care professionals and patients to use antibiotics more wisely and seek education and understanding about both the risks and benefits of using them.

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Genetically modified foods bring some controversy to today’s consumer. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as plants, animals or microorganisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. When a gene from one organism is purposely moved to improve or change another organism in a laboratory, the result is a GMO. This is also sometimes called “transgenic” for transfer of genes. There are different ways of moving genes to produce desirable traits. Foods produced from or using GMOs are often referred to as genetically modified (GM) foods.


If you’ve eaten anything today, chances are you had GMOs. GM foods are made from soy, corn or other crops grown from seeds with genetically engineered DNA. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, GM seeds are used to plant more than 90 percent of the corn, soybeans, and cotton grown in the United States. Unless you consciously avoid them, GM foods likely find their way into many of your snacks and meals.


Nine genetically modified crops are available today, including corn (both sweet and field), soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya, potatoes and squash. GM apples have been approved and will be commercially available this fall. The National Center for Food and

ARE YOU EATING GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD?

Agricultural Policy estimates 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically modified.


Some clinical researchers believe genetically modified foods are safe, healthy and sustainable, while others claim the opposite. GMOs are engineered to give food more color, increase their shelf life or eliminate seeds. That’s why we can buy seedless watermelons and grapes. Some GM foods also have been engineered to have higher levels of specific nutrients, such as protein, calcium or folate. Proponents of GM foods contend genetic engineering can help us find sustainable ways to feed people in third world countries. Specifically, in countries that lack access to nutrient-rich foods, using GM crops provides nutrient-enriched food for their population.


Learn more about GM foods through information provided by the World Health Organization on its Website, www.who.int. You’ll get an overview of many of the main issues and concerns about consuming these foods for human health. The Web site also lists risks and benefits and discusses how such foods are regulated nationally and internationally.  

DR. THOMAS W. MILLER, PH.D, ABPP

Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D., ABPP, is a professor emeritus and senior research scientist, Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; retired service chief from the VA Medical Center; and tenured professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky.

more articles by Dr thomas w. miller