USC Unit 2 Biology Gluten and The Digestive System Report

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Unit 2 Report

Matt and Maria decide to study together for their upcoming midterm, but first, they want to grab some lunch. Maria says there is a particular restaurant she would like to go to because they are able to accommodate her dietary restrictions. Matt agrees and they head to the restaurant.

At lunch, Matt asks Maria what is special about her diet. Maria tells him that she can’t eat gluten. Matt says, “Oh yeah, my cousin did that for a while because she heard that gluten is bad for you. But it was too hard for her to not eat bread and pasta, so she gave it up.” Maria tells Matt that avoiding gluten isn’t optional for her — she has celiac disease. Eating even very small amounts of gluten could damage her digestive system.


  1. Explain the flow of food through the digestive system: oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine
  2. what is gluten and why is it harmful to people with celiac disease?
  3. What are the general functions of the small intestine? What do the villi in the small intestine do?
  4. Why do you think celiac disease causes so many different types of symptoms and potentially serious complications?
  5. What are some other autoimmune diseases that involve the body attacking its own digestive system?

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