Topic – Gluten and Lactose

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Gluten and Lactose

Your digestive system has two main jobs:

• to turn the food you eat into nutrients your body needs

• to get rid of waste from food that your body does not need

Nutrients that you need are fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fibre. A balanced diet will give your body all of the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy and growing.

Sometimes the body does not work the way it should. This can happen when certain foods contain proteins or sugars that some people’s bodies cannot digest.


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Some people’s bodies react negatively to that protein and they develop celiac disease. When they eat food with gluten, a reaction happens in their small intestines, or gut. This reaction damages the small intestine so it cannot take in nutrients from any food to the rest of the body.

People with celiac disease may have stomach aches and diarrhea. They may not want to eat and could lose weight. They may not grow the way they should. They could get a skin rash, too. These symptoms may come and go, depending on what they eat.

The best way for people to find out if they have celiac disease is to see a doctor. The good thing is that the disease can usually be controlled by not eating foods that contain gluten. Today there a many gluten-free products, and almost anything can be made without gluten by using a little imagination.


Lactose is a type of natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Some people are lactose intolerant. This means their small intestines do not break down the lactose enough. When this undigested lactose moves into the large intestine, it can cause gas, pain or cramps, diarrhea, and throwing up. The best way for people to find out if they are lactose intolerant is to see a doctor.

Some people who are lactose intolerant cannot have any dairy products. Others can drink or eat small amounts without any problems. Like with celiac disease, the best thing to do is to not eat or drink any products that contain lactose.

Getting enough calcium can be a problem for young people who are lactose intolerant. But some lactose-free products contain calcium. Other foods that have calcium include broccoli, kale, salmon, almonds, fortified orange juice, and tofu.

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