Canada’s Gluten-free Craze

File photo shows Amy Fehr of Panne Rizo, a Vancouver gluten-free bakery and cafe, with an assortment of muffins and cupcakes. Although many who adopt a gluten-free or gluten-reduced diet say they get relief from bothersome symptoms, health professionals are concerned that people are turning to the diet unnecessarily, possibly leaving them open to negative health effects.
(CP Photo/Chuck Stoody)

In Canada, medical marijuana has been legal but highly regulated for more than a decade. Patients with doctor approval could grow or have someone else grow small quantities or request limited amounts from Health Canada, the national healthcare department. But the conservative-led government voted earlier this year to effectively scrap that system in favor of a privatebut also strictly regulatedsystem, targeting the flow of legal marijuana into the black market and shedding Health Canadas role in marijuana production. Health Canada will phase out the current system, under which it sells registered users marijuana grown by Prairie Plant Systems , by the end of March. Instead, starting Tuesday, medical marijuana users, or aspiring users, can send in an application directly to sanctioned corporate producers , along with a doctors note (or in some cases, a nurses note). If approved, they can place an order, pay the market price (the black market price is about $10 a gram; officials say the medical marijuana price will drop below that within a year), and wait for the secure courier to deliver their weed. (MORE: Majority of Americans Support Legalization of Marijuana ) There are nearly 40,000 people registered to use the drug under the current system in a country with a tenth the population of the U.S., and the government expects that number to balloonup to 450,000 by 2024and fuel what could become a $1.3 billion domestic pot industry. But the government expects that the privatized system, with only heavily-vetted producers (so far there are two licensed distributors, of at least 156 applications), will help ensure a higher level of oversight. Were fairly confident that well have a healthy commercial industry in time, Sophie Galarneau, a senior official with Health Canada, told the Canadian Press. Its a whole other ball game. The new regulations have failed to win over advocates for legalized marijuana, who have faced strong resistance from the conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In November, even as two states in the United States voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the Harper government passed strict minimum penalties for people who grow as few as six marijuana plants. They treat pot like its plutonium, says Blair Longley, head of the single-issue Marijuana Party that fielded five candidates in the 2011 parliamentary elections. Speaking to TIME, Longley says hes concerned the market-based system, whichnixes the right to cheaply grow marijuana at home, will make marijuana less affordable for patients. We always knew that marijuana would get legalized in the worst possible way. Its not a surprise that thats whats happening, Longley says.

Canada Rolls Out a ‘$1 Billion’ Privatized Medical Marijuana Industry

Others perceive it as simply a healthier way to eat. However, the growth of gluten avoiders has raised concerns among some health professionals, who say that following a gluten-free diet without first consulting a doctor or dietician could be harmful. I think whats really driven this whole lifestyle has been the celebrities, says Shelley Case, a Regina-based nutrition expert on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. This fad diet is the flavour of the month right now. Its kind of like Atkins was a number of years ago. Now its gluten-free. Unnecessary Gluten-free Diets Last month Case spoke at an international Celiac Disease Symposium in Chicago, where she voiced her concerns about the risks of unnecessary gluten-free diets. She says one of the biggest issues is that people are not consulting an expert or doing adequate research before going on the diet. These people may not have worked with a dietician, theyve just sort of done this on their own, and so theyre not really aware of what [nutrients] they might be missing out on, says Case. A common misconception about gluten-free foodswhich on average are more than double the price of gluten-containing foodsis that theyre automatically healthy, says Case. But many foods advertised as gluten-free are refined and have been stripped of fibre and some vitamins and nutrients. The big risks for people who dont have celiac and are following the gluten-free diet is that theyre often eating the processed gluten-free products, and many of these products are not enriched with iron and B vitamins, she says. You can have a pretty decent, healthy gluten-free diet, but from my experience of working as a dietician for over 32 years, after looking at food records [of gluten avoiders], they arent getting a good balance. She also notes that a gluten-free diet doesnt necessarily lead to weight loss. The diet is great Case says anyone considering a gluten-free diet should first consult an expert and get tested for celiac disease, the reason being that if an undiagnosed celiac cuts out some gluten but does not adopt a strict celiac diet, they may never get properly diagnosed. And if they continue to ingest small amounts of gluten it could lead to serious complications. People who go gluten-free first and then get tested for celiac disease often get a false test result because they need to eat gluten regularly for a period of time before the test for it to be accurate. Clairmont agrees that getting tested is important, but says almost everyone who comes to her clinic has improved from a balanced gluten-free or reduced-gluten diet.

Canada’s Milos Raonic defeats Lukas Lacko to advance to semifinals at Japan Open

Raonic will next face Croatian Ivan Dodig, a winner over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 7-6 (3). Dodig has won two of the pair’s three matches, including a second-round victory over Raonic last June on grass at Eastbourne and a Barcelona win in 2011. A win over Dodig would mark a return for Raonic to the Tokyo final where he lost a year ago to Kei Nishikori. Raonic, ranked 11th in the world, is coming off a win at the Thailand Open on Sunday and improved his season record to 40-17. He’s trying to earn one of the last spots in the World Tour Finals in London next month. Against Lacko, Raonic never faced a break point from his 81st-ranked opponent. The loss to Raonic was Lacko’s 14th straight against a top-20 opponent. Raonic, who stands 5-0 in quarter-finals this year, has not lost a set this week. He took early control against Lacko with two breaks to earn the first set in 25 minutes. He went up a quick break in the second for a 2-0 advantage, and later closed his match with a service winner. Sports & Recreation Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama demanded an end to a three-day government shutdown he decried as a reckless “farce,” piling pressure on Republicans to climb down first on a budget impasse. AFP NEW YORK (AP) Procter & Gamble executives say it was striking the first time they witnessed a man shave while sitting barefoot on the floor in a tiny hut in India. Associated Press Rep. Todd Rokita prefaced a response to CNN’s Carol Costello during a debate over shutdown pay by praising her beauty. Yahoo News If you’re attending one of the worlds top universities, chances are high you’re an English-speaking student on a leafy campus in the United States or the United Kingdom. Christian Science Monitor For the first time family discusses calling for help when they were being swarmed and attacked.

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