Monday, December 21, 2015

The Relationship between Gluten and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Can Gluten cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

It seems only natural that food would have an impact on the cause and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Historically however, that has not been the case. Healthcare providers frequently avoided addressing the impact of diet with IBS patients for a variety for reasons,  such as lack of training, data, and conclusive research that food has an impact. According to the article, What Role Does Wheat Play in the Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome?, recent research shows there is a potential for food, in particular gluten, to trigger symptoms for a significant number of IBS patients. The findings included within that article are highlighted here.

First, what is IBS?
According the the article “IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder that affects 7-20% of the adult population in the United States… IBS as recurrent abdominal pain or discomfort for at least 3 days per month in the past 3 months that is associated with 2 or more of the following: improvement with defecation, onset associated with a change in the frequency of stool, or onset associated with a change in the form (appearance) of stool.”

Understanding the Role of Food in regulating IBS
In 2009, The American College of Gastroenterology IBS Task Force said, “Patients often believe that certain foods exacerbate their IBS symptoms.” However, there is not enough evidence to state that food allergy testing and exclusion diets are effective in treating IBS. The lack of conclusive research collides with many patients, who are “increasingly seeking more holistic solutions for their IBS symptoms.”  Many individuals consult with friends and family or seek advice on the internet. With the sporadic information they gather, they go on reduction diets of fatty foods, carbs, gluten, milk, dairy, etc, with the hopes that it will cause relief in IBS symptoms. This disorganized approach can lead to a lack of relief and frustrations for both patients and healthcare providers.  Moreover, “highly restrictive diets for extended periods of time without appropriate supervision or monitoring can lead to the development of malnutrition.” How is one to know if the restriction of certain foods will lead to relief from IBS symptoms? It appears that some food types do exacerbate symptoms of IBS, but it is different from individual to individual. Gluten has shown to cause discomfort for some with IBS.

The impact of Gluten on a subgroup of IBS patients
Evidence from recent studies support the existence of a “subgroup of IBS patients with undiagnosed nonceliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), a term that is used to describe individuals who experience gastrointestinal and extraintestinal symptoms as a result of immunologic, morphologic, or symptomatic abnormalities that are precipitated by the ingestion of gluten.”

A recent study included 34 patients with IBS who had experienced symptomatic relief with a gluten-free diet. Those in the study who received a gluten-free diet: “reported significantly greater improvements in pain, bloating, satisfaction with stool consistency, and tiredness, than patients who ingested a diet containing gluten… Based on these results, the researchers concluded that NCGS may well be a distinct clinical entity and that gluten ingestion is associated with the development of gastrointestinal symptoms in a subset of patients with IBS.”

This study and others show that there are some IBS patients in which gluten may cause IBS and its exclusion may be an effective treatment. There are however, multiple variables that could be the explanation for the relief some IBS patients feel from excluding gluten. More research is required to understand the role of food in regulation IBS. It is likely that NCGS, “represents only the tip of the iceberg as it pertains to the role of food in IBS.”

If you are thinking of going gluten-free and are searching for healthy, convenient, and tasty gluten-free options, you will be delighted by Kay’s Naturals. Shop online to have them delivered to your doorstep!

Friday, December 18, 2015

What are Gluten Related Disorders?

What are Gluten Related Disorders?

There has been a tremendous increase in individuals on a gluten-free diet. This boom in gluten-free eating occurred for many reasons. The prevalence of celiac disease has increased considerably, as have autoimmune diseases and allergies of all kinds. This includes Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn's and wheat allergies, in which a gluten free diet is required. At the same time, there has a dieting craze to avoid all carbohydrates in order to lose weight. This may explain why many individuals now wrongly believed that eating a gluten free diet will assist in weight loss. Going gluten free has also become more mainstream because of the significant number of individuals who identify as being gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive, but do not have a wheat allergy or celiac disease. Gluten can affect one's health in multiple ways. These health concerns lie within the spectrum of gluten related disorders.

Understanding the spectrum of gluten-related disorders

Recent research has expanded our understanding of gluten sensitivity in the past 30 years. At one time, it was believed that the only form of gluten sensitivity was celiac disease. Now it gluten sensitivity is understood as an umbrella.

Celiac Disease
On one end is celiac disease, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system wrongly identifies gluten as being a foreign and dangerous substance. The immune system then leads an attack on the small bowel, damaging the villi in the small intestine. Celiac disease can cause great discomfort in the abdomen, as well as malabsorption and numerous other symptoms and conditions including infertility, dermatitis herpetiformis, and depression.

Gluten Ataxia
Another form of gluten sensitivity is Gluten Ataxia. Most individuals who have gluten ataxia also have celiac disease, but some do not. This is when the immune system attacks gluten and instead of a gastrointestinal response found in classical celiacs, there is a neurological response. Causing difficulties in balance and coordination, which can become severe enough to prevent the individual from walking or even seeing clearly.The outcomes of some studies of gluten ataxia have led some has lead some researchers to define gluten sensitivity as a neurological disease.

Wheat Allergy
Is a classical food allergy that can affect the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory tract. Wheat allergy “is an immune IgE- mediated reaction to gliadins found in wheat but not rye, barley, or oats” ( It is an adverse autoimmune response to gluten.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
Some individuals feel that gluten causes abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, or other clinical symptoms similar to celiac disease, but test negative for celiac disease or a wheat allergy. They can be identified as having a non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) when gluten is removed from their diet, and the symptoms go away within a few days or weeks and return when gluten is reintroduced. Like allergies, food intolerances and autoimmune disorders, the prevalence of NCGS is increasing. NSGS is a new disorder and research has yet to determining the causes and effects of NCGS, it is believed that it is an intolerance to gluten. Unlike celiac disease or a wheat allergy, it is not an autoimmune response to gluten. Rather, gluten has become toxic to the body. Some doctors still do not recognise NCGS, although recent research validates its existence. Many researchers such as Alessio Fasano are working at identifying a biomarker and a ways to test for NCGS.

When it comes to learning about the potential effects of gluten on the body, there is still a lot to learn. Some doctors are not aware of the most recent research about gluten sensitivity and gluten-related disorders. Other doctors are not familiar with symptoms of celiac disease that are neurological in nature and do not involve the gastrointestinal tract.

Kay’s Naturals is dedicated to providing healthy, protein rich, and low-sugar gluten free snacks and cereals. To learn more about Kay’s Naturals, visit our website!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mindfully Treating the elderly For Diabetes

In January of 2105, the New York Times ran an article outlining some of the unique needs of elderly individuals with diabetes. It was ominously titled, When Diabetes Treatment Goes to Far. Kay’s Naturals is an avid advocate for proactive and appropriate treatment for diabetes. In an effort to spread public awareness about diabetes and suitable treatment, we are sharing the information here. If diabetes is important to you as well, read on.
About 11 million Americans over the age of 65 have diabetes. Most take medications to lower blood sugar levels. The majority reach an average blood sugar target of less than 7 percent. Frequently, doctors are rewarded  by the number of patients who reach their target blood sugar levels. This practice is justified because early studies indicated that levels below seven can “reduce the risk of diabetes complications, including eye, kidney and nerve problems. As a result, for more than a decade, medical societies, pharmaceutical companies, and diabetes groups have campaigned with a simple, concrete message — to get below seven.”  

The author or the article, Kasia Lipska, warns that this may not be the appropriate treatment for older people, as it may cause serious health concerns for four reasons:

  1. The below seven strategy may not work for the elderly. The studies used to justify this practice were conducted years ago and conducted in people with Type 1 diabetes or who were younger with Type 2 diabetes. More recent trials “of older patients raised doubts about the benefits.”

  1. Having low blood sugar targets could cause damage. According to the article, one study trial on blood sugar levels of individuals with diabetes had to terminate the study because patients, with a target blood sugar level below six, had “significantly higher rates of death than patients targeting levels in the sevens.” The cause for this is unknown. What is known is that working to achieve levels below seven can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Reactions to low blood sugar can result in coma, falls fractures, confusion, abnormal heart rhythms and possibly death.

  1. Older folks are at greater risk of severe hypoglycemia. As we age, our kidneys become increasingly less efficient, resulting in drugs such as insulin accumulating in the body. The accumulation of insulin may cause hypoglycemia. The interaction of other drugs may also cause hypoglycemia. Increasingly complex insulin regimens and additional medications are more common for older people, increasing the likelihood of possibile of errors- such as an accidental overdose.

  1. Lastly, older people have less warning signs of blood sugar drop, leaving them will less time to react and prevent a problem from becoming dangerous, such fainting and crashing a car.

American Geriatrics Society and the Veterans Affairs diabetes guidelines understand the risk of reaching for low blood sugar levels for individuals with considerable health problems. They “recommended a cautious, case-by-case approach for older patients. For those with serious health problems, or prior history of hypoglycemia, going below seven may not be worth the risks involved.” Unfortunately, those guidelines are not practiced, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, of which Dr. Lapski was an author. According to their study, most doctors are still “adhering to a one-size-fits-all approach, despite the risks that it poses to millions of older Americans.”

Dr. Lapski believes there must be a change in the current paradigm. She suggests that patients and doctors partner together to make decisions about diabetes treatment. “Patients need to understand that there are different options, with different risks. The goal is not to get a perfect score on a report card, but to weigh these risks to make a good decision.”
If you are working on lowering your blood sugar levels, it is likely that you will greatly enjoy Kay’s Naturals. All of our products are low- GI and diabetic friendly, even your Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks! To learn more visit our website at

Friday, December 4, 2015

Dieting Trends: what work, what doesn't and why.

Dieting Trends: what works, what doesn't and why.

Nutritionist Rovenia Brock is the author of Dr. Ro's Ten Secrets to Living Healthy spoke. She spoke with NPR about diet fads and myths. She outlined so succinctly and brilliantly what does and doesn’t works, that we had to share it here as well. This blog will outline common myths mentioned on the NPR radio show and what dieting trends are fact or fiction.

Diet Rule
True or False?
Never eat after eight
Nearly True
It is not advisable to eat two to three hours before going to bed, because you are going to be sedentary while sleeping.
It is safe to lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks
Although possible, it is not safe to lose so much weight that quickly. What Ms. Brock advised was losing one to two pounds a week. With gradual weight loss, one is more likely to keep the weight off if they have increased their physical activity and are eating nutrient dense foods instead of calorie dense foods. Rapid weight loss is gained back when the diet is over, often causing the person to gain even more weight than they lost.
Stress (cortisol)  makes your tummy fat
Stress hormones begin to peak from three to six pm. Cortisol begins to course through the bloodstream, which cause you crave fatty and sweet foods.  If these foods are consumed, they will cause you to gain weight around your belly. Ms. Brock advised eating high protein foods near the end of the day. Taking a chemical concoction stress reduction drugs that are often advertised on the internet will not help to lose belly fat in the long run. What it takes is a lifestyle change.
Lack of sleep makes you fat.
According to Ms. Brock, lacking sleep will simply makes you feel more tired.
Eating low-fat and low-sugar products will help you lose weight
Often food that is advertised as low-fat or low-sugar have compensated for the lack of fat or sugar by adding something else. So, low-fat food often have more sugar and low-sugar food often has more fat or other calories. Consequently, diet foods often have just as many calories. Additionally, often people who are eating low-fat or low-sugar products tend to eat larger servings than the non-diet counterparts. This is why most diet foods tend to not help people lose weight.
Drinking water helps you lose weight
Frequently, when someone feels a hunger pain, what they really are is thirsty. Most people do not know this. Therefor, drinking water can eliminate the feeling of being hungry and the unnecessary consumption of calories. Additionally, drinking water before a meal will cause you to feel fuller and satisfied quicker. This may cause individuals to consume less.

There you have it, six common dieting fads debunked and explained. Of course, there are dozens more. If you have any dieting trends you would like explained, comment below! And remember, Kay’s Naturals is a healthy, highly satisfying snack. It is low-GI, which means it will not cause your blood sugar to rise. Moreover, Kay’s is high-protien, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Shop online at to get some healthy and gluten-free snacks of your own!