clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Sen. and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz is taking a hard line on gluten. In fact, he's basically saying, "If you have celiac disease, you're unfit to serve in the American military." Cruz has pledged not to provide the military with gluten-free Meals, Ready-to-Eat if he's elected president, reports CNN. The GOP contender took his shot at the gluten-averse in a South Carolina stump speech on Tuesday.

"That's why the last thing any commander should need to worry about is the grades he is getting from some plush-bottomed Pentagon bureaucrat for political correctness or social experiments — or providing gluten-free MREs," Cruz said.

Cruz's speech reportedly included two key Republican staples — Ronald Reagan and political-correctness — but standing up for wheat seems to be a new plank in the party platform. While the overreaction of some people who claim "gluten sensitivity" has become an annoying trend for many restaurant industry pros, celiac disease is a real thing. The Mayo Clinic defines it as "an immune reaction to eating gluten."

"Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine's lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption)," reads the clinic's official definition. "The intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating, and sometimes diarrhea. Eventually, your brain, nervous system, bones, liver, and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment."

The definition goes on to say there's no cure,€”" but following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing." Well, Cruz certainly wouldn't want that. Time notes about 1 percent of Americans are affected by celiac disease, which isn't a lot, but isn't zero either. In his speech, Cruz went on to say, "It is time for America to once again prioritize a strong, advanced, and robust military." Strong and robust — as long as you don't have celiac disease.

Considering his distaste for specialized diets, Cruz must have a real problem with the 100 percent vegan "Bernie Sanders Burger" that's being sold at a restaurant in Millville, N.J.