The 10,000 Year History of Celiac Disease Spotlights the Benefits of Eating Gluten Free

While gluten free eating and celiac disease seem new to medical science, the condition was known to classical era Greek physicians and dates back to prehistory.

Because of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the condition, many misrepresent the condition. Trivializing celiac disease and the need for those who have it to avoid gluten can cause serious problems. Some suffering from the condition may ignore the benefits of eating gluten free and find themselves severely ill as a result.

Understanding this potentially deadly condition starts with learning about the illness and its history.

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease emerged in prehistory as mankind shifted from a diet entirely composed of foods hunted and gathered. When humankind turned to agriculture as an important supplement to food production, grain-based products such as bread entered the regular diet.

A small percentage of humans never developed the digestive versatility needed to adapt to the new diet. Wheat, barley, rye, and other grains contained certain proteins that some people cannot digest. Even worse, trying to eat foods with gluten proteins can cause serious damage to the digestive system and even death.

The Long History of Celiac Disease

In the first century AD, Arataeus of Cappadocia identified a serious condition where certain foods passed through the body undigested. Using the Greek word for “abdomen,” he named it koilakos. 

Not until the early 1800s did medical science again address the problem now known as celiac disease. He noted the lack of digestive effectiveness in certain foods, causing diarrhea and gas distended bellies and so recommended dietary restrictions. Experiments showed that a diet relying heavily on rice would prevent the onset of symptoms.

In the next century, noted pediatric doctor Samuel Gee identified the disease and helped to craft the diet known today as gluten free. 

Why Does Gluten Free Eating Prevent Problems?

Fortunately for those who suffer from celiac disease, research has identified most of the food products that could potentially provide problems. They go beyond simply excluding bread from the diet. 

Many sauces, soups, gravies, and even salad dressings use gluten as an ingredient. Most would not automatically associate these or other products with gluten proteins This makes it vital that celiac disease sufferers understand what to avoid. 

In the past, celiac disease affected a small percentage of the population and resembled other conditions. This oversight resulted in the suffering and even early death of many who unintentionally poisoned themselves with the same foods that sustained friends and family members.

The good news for celiac disease sufferers is that modern nutritionists and food producers have teamed up. You no longer have to avoid the foods you love when gluten-free alternatives are available. 

Reach Out Today

Learn more about celiac disease and the health impacts of a gluten free diet. Our team at Spiffy remains dedicated to spreading the word about facts and fiction concerning gluten. We can answer any questions about our delicious gluten free products, as well as general inquiries about the protein itself.