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Highlights of the November 2003 Journal of the American Dietetic Association

Studies examine life with celiac disease and a look at motivation behind dietary supplement purchases among women

American Dietetic Association

The November 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this month's articles. For more information, or to receive a faxed copy of a Journal article, call Kelly Liebbe at 800/877-1600, ext. 4769, or e-mail media@eatright.org.

Life with celiac disease
Researchers at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University examined the effects of a gluten-free diet and limitations on quality of life. The findings show that a gluten-free diet impacts both lifestyle and quality of life for individuals with celiac disease. The researchers also found show that 26 percent of the respondents violated their diets when dining at restaurants and 21 percent didn't follow the diet restrictions at parties or social functions. According to the respondents, the diets are too hard to maintain away from home. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the villi, or fingerlike projections of the small intestine. People who suffer from celiac disease can't handle gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Treatment for celiac disease requires a strict adherence to a gluten-free diet meaning total elimination of gluten from all foods and medications.

"Celiac disease can be controlled by choosing the right foods to eat," said registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Leslie Bonci. "Contact a registered dietitian to help identify the foods celiac sufferers can eat, including at restaurants, and still get the nutrients the body needs."

Motivation behind dietary supplement purchases among women
National surveys show that more than 40 percent of Americans take some form of dietary supplement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates more than 29,000 supplement products are in the marketplace today. However, little research has been done to determine how consumers evaluate the supplement that is right for them. Reports show that consumers want more assistance in the decision-making process to ensure the right purchase. Pennsylvania State University researchers surveyed women shoppers and found that most survey participants frequently considered price, quantity and dose of supplements when making point of purchase decisions for supplements. Participants also cited looking at the dose of supplements during product selection but didn't know the recommended dose to consume. Some believed a higher dose was better for them while others selected a lower dose to reduce the chance for excess intake. In addition to confusion with dosage directions, consumers confirmed not understanding labeling and claims. It is evident that supplement users need more education about supplement labeling to make more informed decisions.

"Talk to your dietetics professional or physician about the facts of supplements before adding them to a daily routine, said registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Roberta Anding. "Remember, good nutrition depends on overall healthful eating and physical activity, not on the use of dietary supplements."

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The Journal of the American Dietetic Association is the official research publication of the American Dietetic Association and is the premier peer-reviewed journal in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

With nearly 70,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Based in Chicago, ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. Visit ADA at www.eatright.org.

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