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Calorie Count Blog

When a Gluten-Free Diet Isn't Healthier


By +Carolyn Richardson on Jun 27, 2013 10:00 AM in Dieting & You

"I'm avoiding gluten for a couple weeks for health reasons," says a friend of a friend at a party. I dare not ask how her health "reasons" will disappear 14 days from now. She's not the only one I know going gluten-free in the absence of a clinically diagnosed gluten allergy or sensitivity. Clearly her time limit means she's making a personal choice. Nothing wrong with that for restaurants, as GrubHub just released new numbers that gluten-free takeout orders are up by 60% year over year. Traditional foods that contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and sometimes oats, are getting a gluten-free makeover to keep up with demand. While this variety is a major plus for those with Celiac disease, gluten-free foods don't live up to the health halo that has us all flocking to the gluten-free menu. The truth is gluten-free replacements aren't necessarily healthier. 

The Low-Calorie Myth

In the August 2012 Packaged Facts consumer survey, 27% of respondents believed that gluten-free products could help manage their weight. A separate set of American consumers told Nielsen that gluten-free foods have less calories than traditionally-prepared baked goods. But the opposite is often true. Case in point, Dunkin' Donuts recently released news that they would sell gluten-free versions of donuts and muffins. Their gluten free cinnamon-sugar donuts will have 60 more calories than a regular glazed donut. In general though, many gluten-free versions of bread, cereals, and snacks are comparable calorie-wise to their traditional options. For example Canyon Bakehouse 7-Grain Bread has 8 more calories than Roman Meal All-Natural 12-grain bread per serving.

The Low-Carb Myth

Another misconception revealed in the Packaged Facts survey was the belief that gluten-free products are low-carb. But, here's the truth. In place of gluten containing products, many gluten-free foods are made with rice flour, potato starch, and corn products among other items. Corn, rice, and potatoes are hardly low-carb options. Perhaps what's really happening is that people on gluten-free diets are more conscious of what they’re eating. Therefore, when they do cut out certain high-calorie gluten containing foods like pasta and bread, they may have a more well-rounded diet that includes more fruit and vegetables. 

The “Healthier” Truth

The biggest motivator of those who choose to go gluten-free is the notion that they are “generally healthier.” But, if you can’t cut calories or save on carbs, what makes going gluten-free healthier? For those with gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease, gluten-free products are a necessity for health, but for all others, there are some things you give up when you go gluten-free that aren’t so good for you. Here are a few things to consider about gluten-free products:  

Less Fiber
The ingredients that replace gluten-containing foods may be lower in fiber as many are made with refined, highly processed ingredients. To maintain taste, more fat and sugar may also be added to certain foods as well. 

No Fortified Vitamins and Minerals
Wheat flour is generally fortified with iron and B-vitamins, but gluten-free substitutions are generally not fortified. Also, whole grains that contain gluten have more nutritional value than the highly processed ingredients used in gluten-free products.  

Bottom Line

Be on the look out for healthier options to the foods you love, but don’t think it can be found in gluten-free products alone. Eating healthier foods means eating more nutrient-dense and less empty calories such as those high in fat and sugar. Bottom line, getting enough fiber, vitamins and minerals, and lean proteins, can be done without going gluten-free.

Your thoughts...  

If you're gluten-free, what was your initial reason for making the switch?




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Comments


Since I have been diagnosed gluten-sensitive I am thrilled that more gluten-free options are available in the market place.  However, the new fad-like gluten free dieters do an injustice to those who must avoid gluten for health reasons.  Most people seem to think that gluten-free living is just another option rather than a necessity. I appreciate the fact that your article makes the distinction clear and highlights the generally higher caloric counts of most gluten-free foods.

 



I am not exactly gluten-free, but after reading wheat belly, and seeing how much better I feel when avoiding wheat, I am eating almost gluten free.  However, I am not buying products labeled "gluten free".  Instead I am still eating fresh fruit and vegetable, lean meat, and am now baking muffins with almond flour rather than wheat flour, making pancakes from bananas and eggs, or almond flour pancakes.  I believe the less processed food you eat the better.



There was a good article in Living Healthy about a year ago that described how wheat flour has been manipulated over the past decades to ensure higher production, greater uniformity and long shelf life. This new "super gluten" flour is suspected to be causing the surge in gluten sensitivities. I saw a nutritionist after being diagnosed by my physician as hypothyroid. She suggested i go off gluten as some autoimmune disorders seem to be linked. I tried it and my hypothyroidism disappeared. I was impressed and so was my doctor. I have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease but wonder if by avoiding gluten, i have prevented its occurrence...


I've greatly reduced gluten in my diet because of a few studies and articles I found that showed reducing gluten reduces inflammation (i.e., joint inflammation). I also eliminated sugar and most dairy. After 4 months, the tendonitis pain I suffer in both elbows has been significantly reduced (we're talking a 80-90% reduction). I am concerned about losing fiber and other nutrients and so have been adding wheat (and yogurt) back into my diet. I also lost 20 pounds, but I agree with the article in that the process of deciding to 'eat healthy' contributes to the weight loss more than the lack of gluten. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has experienced improvement in arthritic pain and such by reducing their gluten...?



I would also like to comment on jeannie13's post. I totally agree. I think that avoiding processed foods is essential, whether it has wheat in it or not. Great comment.

 



I was cooking for Celiac friends when I noticed I felt better. I requested a test to check for gluten allergy. It came back positive. My main symptom was a blistery rash. I had requested a biopsy for it 11 years earlier. The doctors insisted it was herpes. The test came back negative, but they said it was a false negative. My diagnosis was dermatitis herpetiformis a form of celiac disease. Thank you for stating that eating gluten free is not a diet plan to loose weight. I do eat baked goods occasionally. I grind my own whole grain flours to increase the nutritional value, but it is still half refined corn starch and tapioca. Celiac is a serious disease and anyone who suspects they are sensitive to gluten or wheat needs to be tested before they begin to eat gluten free. Blood tests only come back positive when you you have gluten in your system.


This article in the February 3, 2013 New York Times Sunday magazine is incredible: "The Boy With a Thorn in his Joint", which talks about the links to food and many autoimmune diseases/conditions. It is a compelling read.



My daughter has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and it's not any fun.  Anytime she eats anything with wheat/gluten in it, she gets horribly sick and is in pain for the next 24 hours.  It took many tests to find out what was wrong, as she was diagnosed with Lupus and Sjougrens Disease about 4 years ago.  So, the poor girl is really having a rough time of it.  Someone who suffers from Celiac Disease, their lives depend upon the gluten free products.  The upside of so many people using gluten free products, is that it's made them a bit more affordable because they are in high demand.  



My son has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease.  His GI told him it did not matter what he ate, and that he would have to take anti-inflammatory drugs -- or worse -- for the rest of his life. Tom had horrible reactions to the antibiotics and to the other drugs that were prescribed.  The side effects were actually worse than the disease in some respects.  Tom lost his job, was in constant pain, and could not eat. It was heart-breaking to watch. 

From the start, however, I have done a lot of research about this disease and about the "leaky gut" and bad bacteria theories that have been advanced for decades about IBD, Crohns and other conditions. Tom started the SCD or specific carbohydrate diet, and has maintained it now for several months.  

SCD eliminates all grains and polysaccharides-- no wheat, no rice, no corn, no starch, no sugar -- and also all milk, except for yogurt that has been cured for 24 hours and certain cheeses.  This diet has been pilot tested for Crohns and colitis and other IBD disease -- and in 100% of the patients, their symptoms and dependence on drugs decreased.  Although the diet is highly restrictive,  there are many delicious recipes. I tell you, he has improved immensely in just the last 30 days since he stopped taking the meds.  I agree with jeannie13 that unprocessed foods are the best, and I believe your article is balanced. My point is that gluten-free and the SCD or GAPS diets should be studied more, and that highly processed foods are fueling many bad conditions, including GI diseases and the obesity epidemic.    



I have cut out a lot of wheat products and feel a lot better for it. Aches and pain not as noticeable.



Comment Removed

this article sounds judgy. like you must be brethren to join the rank and file. i have avoided gluten in the past for a while. i am now gluten intolerant (i get extreme pain, even from soy sauce). does that give me entitlement?

i also notice my husband is on a gluten free diet, if he has a cheat meal, he gets really pregnant looking.



Enjoyed your article, you make some great points. I have a friend who is "gluten free" on her own initiative. She has lost some weight, but like everyone else, her weight fluctuates mostly because her eating habits aren't always great.

For those of you who have reduced pain, is it possible that the pain has diminished because of weight loss? (e.g. knee & back pain reduced because you're trimmer?)  Just wondering.  



My sister has celiac disease and has suggested I go gluten free. My aunt is also on a gluten free diet for health reasons. I suffer from depression and have been told going gluten free can help me in that regard. I don't agree that going gluten free means you will be lacking in vital nutrition. There are many grains with great fiber as well. Spelt, amaranth, oats (although some gluten free folks have to stay away from oats as well), barley, corn and more.



There are lots of Moms and Dads out there that have started gluten free diets in there households to help with the treatment of Autism Spectrum disorders. Some children really benefit from it.



Wow. This is such an interesting string of comments. Bcabaniss, I wondered too whether losing weight was the actual cause of joint improvement and I don't doubt that it GREATLY contributed (especially back and lower joints) but with my elbows, I don't see that connection and feel like my diet contributed more...? There is definite legitimacy regarding the wheat/gut/ inflammation connection. Now, whether we truly understand it is another matter! Very insightful posts here.



I also read Wheat Belly. I stopped eating wheat-based foods January 1. I also lowered my intake of all complex carbs. I have one or so rice and potato servings a week.

I had another blood draw May 1 and found that my cholesterol had lowered by 40 points, my blood pressure was 144/90 and lowered to 120/80 but I had lost only one pound. I am a lot healthier because of this dietary change.



I also added many vegetables and some fruit. I make about 28 oz. of green vegetable juice with an apple or orange in it.



I cook gluten free for 2 friends one has celiac and the other has Parkinson's and she has many food allergies along with it such as allergies to nuts  , soy, dairy, all meats and fish. At this time she is surviving solely on the recipes that I get from gluten free gigi site.  Because of things I have learned along the way I have been making gluten free breads and some deserts for my husband and I and I experiment with the flour blends ,I replace the rice flour with chickpea flour on the breads because of the higher protein and in other recipes I will do a half and half  blend  replacement with coconut flour,Brown rice flour , white rice flour and or buckwheat flour  . I also will use less sugar I replace sugar with honey or agave and sometime stevia .  I also add vegetables to the breads ( zucchini, squash, pumpkin, also pears or apples ) for the fiber and nutritional values. I will also use applesauce (homemade unsweetened) as a sugar replacement in some recipes. I have noticed that in gluten free recipes the sugar content is higher and the fat content.  I always use 100% coconut oil in all recipes to replace butters and vegetable oils and also use olive oil in some. I found that using coconut milk in recipes works better than regular milk and is better for you , I use it all of the time when making cream soups like carrot and squash , or broccoli and leek and sweet potato soup. I never add veg stock or chicken stock to these to thin them out I will only use the coconut milk and the soups are great .  



This article is rediculous. Implying that all calories and carbs are equal. Yes, it is possible for something of equal calories (or carbs) to be healthier than another. I shouldn't have to point out that two apples are healthier than two Oreos.


For the past 3 months I've lost 22 lbs without restricting gluten-free foods. Just focusing on low-carb, low-sugar and low-fats (especially saturated fats) and along with intense exercises. 

I think it is not necessary to focus on gluten-free foods except you've a conditional disease which gluten will boost the disease.



Over the past year, everyone I know seemed to be on a gluten free diet. Everyone had the same story, "it makes me feel great." How do you argue with that? Even if there weren't any scientific data to support their claims, the only way to know if it would make me feel better is to try it. So I did. The first week, I didn't feel any different. I was going to give it up, when someone told me "it takes two weeks (total bs)." So I stuck with it. After two weeks I was surprised to discover that I did in fact feel a lot better. I dropped from a 38 to a 34, had more energy, and slept better. So I've continued. It's been 7 weeks. While I did it just to feel better, losing 20+ pounds has been a nice bonus. Frankly, I don't really see a single valid argument against a gluten free diet, other than it can be restrictive. As long as I feel good, it's worth it.


Full disclosure, my diet consisted of giving up three things... Gluten, dairy and corn syrup. Other than that I eat a lot. More so than I did before. Probably slightly less calories but way more food weight. Like 4 pounds a day.


I used to eat pasta often, like every other day because it was quick and easy to make, but I also felt bloated and gross afterwards. So, because I knew people who had gone gluten free, I decided to give it a try on a one month basis to see how it affected me.

I lost 10 pounds within that month, without doing anything else, and I noticed that I was less bloated and felt better all around. It is hard to figure out what you can eat at first because it seems like there is gluten in everything but after a while, you get the hang of it.

I have now been gluten free for 8 months and love it.



I am not gluten sensitive, but when I eat wheat I get quite a bit of... discomfort shall we say. So I try to avoid it. However, I am always one to say to people to look for the logic as to why something might help them. I mean, with medicines that are prescribed, you won't see the logic, but here's some logic related to eating gluten:

  1. Gluten is a protein. What about not eating one type of protein will magically improve your health?
  2. If you are making a starchy product, like a muffin, without gluten-containing carbs, how are you going to make it otherwise? Its going to have carbs!

There's more, but I'll leave it there. One more thing; fortified vitamins and minerals are no use. They aren't absorbed because your body can't access them from these sources. You need to eat them naturally.



I don't understand your comment, Delk. What do you mean you won't see the logic of prescribed meds? I do.

(1) There are lots of reasons why not eating one type of protein can "magically" improve your health. Allergies, for example. Intolerances. Severe issues like autoimmune disease and interstitial cystitis in the bladder even. If you do not know of such things, you are not giving an educated response.

(2) This isn't about not using carbs to make a muffin. Use carbs. Just not wheat gluten or other glutenous grains. That is not so hard to understand.

(3) Where did you get the idea that fortified vitamins are not absorbed? Source please. 



Original Post by: janiewc

I also added many vegetables and some fruit. I make about 28 oz. of green vegetable juice with an apple or orange in it.


That is awesome!



Original Post by: AlexiHolford

I don't understand your comment, Delk. What do you mean you won't see the logic of prescribed meds? I do.

(1) There are lots of reasons why not eating one type of protein can "magically" improve your health. Allergies, for example. Intolerances. Severe issues like autoimmune disease and interstitial cystitis in the bladder even. If you do not know of such things, you are not giving an educated response.

(2) This isn't about not using carbs to make a muffin. Use carbs. Just not wheat gluten or other glutenous grains. That is not so hard to understand.

(3) Where did you get the idea that fortified vitamins are not absorbed? Source please. 


I guess I should have quoted when I replied before. Smile

 

I don't understand your comment, Delk. What do you mean you won't see the logic of prescribed meds? I do.

(1) There are lots of reasons why not eating one type of protein can "magically" improve your health. Allergies, for example. Intolerances. Severe issues like autoimmune disease and interstitial cystitis in the bladder even. If you do not know of such things, you are not giving an educated response.

(2) This isn't about not using carbs to make a muffin. Use carbs. Just not wheat gluten or other glutenous grains. That is not so hard to understand.

(3) Where did you get the idea that fortified vitamins are not absorbed? Source please. 





wish I could delete my comments above and submit them again to properly reply to someone. arrggh.



I have been eating Gluten Free for about 14 years.  At that time Nutritionists helped me determine that I had not only a Gluten Sensitivity but a food allergy to Citrus.  Being in my late forties before being diagnosed I believe is the contributing factor to my ulcerative colitis.  I have had some of the tell tale symptoms of Gluten sensitivity since I was an infant, it was just that no one put them all together.  I feel much better without Gluten and citrus in my diet but even though I lost weight at first, it was due to reduction in sugar and carbohydrate content rather then cutting out the wheat. 

In the past year I have decided to lose weight through a medically monitored program and lost 70 lbs.  eating more fruits and veggies and less sugars along with exercise are what does the trick.  I am still gluten free, but not because it is a fad, because it is what my  body needs.



Gluten is a protein that humans have consumed safely since the birth of our species. Unlike lactose intolerance which is a natural response to a protein unnaturally introduced to our species, gluten intolerance is a simple failing of a persons immune system.

It might sound harsh, but a natural intolerance to gluten is, like down syndrome or autism, something that went wrong during the gestation period or something incorrectly written into a persons genetic code. It is not natural and it's definitely something that you should want to have.

While it may be true that GMO's and processed foods could be responsible for a surge in gluten sensitivity, this "dieting trend" that has people making up stories about how gluten made them feel a little queasy that one time, so they stopped eating it and feel sooo-oo-ooo much better is sickening. It devalues people who actually have an awful condition and it makes you look like an idiot. 

I would rather have dinner with a vegan than someone who is "gluten-free".



Original Post by: Tncronick

Gluten is a protein that humans have consumed safely since the birth of our species. Unlike lactose intolerance which is a natural response to a protein unnaturally introduced to our species, gluten intolerance is a simple failing of a persons immune system.

It might sound harsh, but a natural intolerance to gluten is, like down syndrome or autism, something that went wrong during the gestation period or something incorrectly written into a persons genetic code. It is not natural and it's definitely something that you should want to have.

While it may be true that GMO's and processed foods could be responsible for a surge in gluten sensitivity, this "dieting trend" that has people making up stories about how gluten made them feel a little queasy that one time, so they stopped eating it and feel sooo-oo-ooo much better is sickening. It devalues people who actually have an awful condition and it makes you look like an idiot. 

I would rather have dinner with a vegan than someone who is "gluten-free".


Gluten sensitivity and intolerance is a real thing, "natural" or not. Just because someone isn't diagnosed with Celiac Disease, doesn't mean their bodies aren't sensitive to the protein. Eating gluten free shouldn't be a "diet trend," but a GF lifestyle can be very beneficial for many reasons - and if it makes people feel better, who cares why they choose to eat a GF diet?



I know it's a real thing. It's a deficiency. A defect. 

 

It's a problem for the same reason that it would be a problem if a bunch of people went around going "be nice to me, I have autism." when they obviously don't. It makes them sound stupid and it makes a joke out of an actual condition some people actually suffer from. 

The only reason it makes people lose weight is because they find themselves eating fewer calories, less processed foods and less refined sugar. Gluten does not cause weight gain, that's dumb. Gluten does not cause gas, that's dumb. Gluten does not make your skin break out, that is dumb. 

What kind of person makes up an allergy? And why? It's bored yuppies and housewives desperately searching for an identity after spending the better part of their youth trying to be just like other people. They can't figure out what makes them unique or special so they take the easy way out. 

"I have an allergy! Look how deficient I am!"



Original Post by: Tncronick

I know it's a real thing. It's a deficiency. A defect. 

 

It's a problem for the same reason that it would be a problem if a bunch of people went around going "be nice to me, I have autism." when they obviously don't. It makes them sound stupid and it makes a joke out of an actual condition some people actually suffer from. 

The only reason it makes people lose weight is because they find themselves eating fewer calories, less processed foods and less refined sugar. Gluten does not cause weight gain, that's dumb. Gluten does not cause gas, that's dumb. Gluten does not make your skin break out, that is dumb. 

What kind of person makes up an allergy? And why? It's bored yuppies and housewives desperately searching for an identity after spending the better part of their youth trying to be just like other people. They can't figure out what makes them unique or special so they take the easy way out. 

"I have an allergy! Look how deficient I am!"


Thinking that having an allergy to something can't cause your body to react in other way is "dumb." Or at the very least, demonstrating a clear lack of understanding of basic medicine.

It's cute that apparently people have to show you their entire medical records in order for you to think they aren't lying about their medical conditions.



I have just started a gluten free eating plan.   This food experiment is not mandated by a specific diagnosis, it was suggested by a friend who has an autoimmune disease and has elevated inflammatory markers when she eats gluten/milk/other things.  I'm dipping my toe in the water by trying gluten free.  Will I feel better in a few weeks or a month?  Don't know.

I suspect that whatever weight loss or caloric deficit that will occur will be because the gluten free stuff tastes so bad.  I even tried Cashew Butter (bleh).  Not worth the calories.  Ever.



I agree with the comments that this article seems very "judge-y." Not everyone who is on a gluten-free diet is doing it because it's a way to lose weight! Some people, myself included, do not eat gluten because gluten itself is not good for you! I've also read Wheat Belly and other books like it. And most people who "test" it out themselves by avoiding gluten for 2 weeks and then trying to eat something again will notice the bad affects it has on you.

And I also wanted to comment that just because I'm not allergic to it (though now that I don't eat it I have no tolerance and notice symptoms), doesn't mean that I should feel like I can't order in a restaurant - and those people who are ordering gluten free items in restaurants because it's a "fad" are doing those who need to order gluten free a service - the more people request it, the more items will be on the menu!



AlexiHolford- All I'm saying is that most people can't tell me why paracetamol will stop their pain, or the specific reasons why any drug will cure them. I know that it is a narcotic, meaning that it blocks the receptor sites for neurotransmitters meaning that the nerve impulse is not passed onto the brain, which is how we feel pain. All I'm saying is that could you, without doing any research, tell me why buscopan works? Probably not, and that's what I meant about not knowing the logic of the prescribed meds.

1) Again, its a case of misinterpretation, probably showing I needed to articulate my points better. But anyway, what I'm saying is, take two people of "average" health with no allergies. If they eat protein (which they should), and one has gluten and the other doesn't. If that is the only difference in their diets and lifestyles, the one not eating gluten is not magically healthier than the one who does. By the way, I do know about those conditions. Intolerances aside (as I assumed would be taken into account, but maybe I should have stated) the other conditions listed are affected by overconsumption of protein in general. It wouldn't matter if the protein eaten is gluten or something else, its simply eating too much that's the worry.

2) I was referring to the point in the article that there is a belief that gluten free= low carbs. My example of a muffin was just that that is a carby food, gluten or none.

3) I haven't found a source that states it outright, I believe the research is still ongoing, plus food companies don't want to do the research that might prove them wrong. I heard this from a nutritionist from what she knew about food. Here's a source about the virtues of getting nutrients from real foods and not fortification/ vitamins (the non-natural sources):
http://www.today.com/id/16892345/ns/today-money/t/are-vitami n-fortified-foods-healthier/#.UcykNdJJ5EQ and

http://blog.fooducate.com/2009/12/11/dietitians-recommend-ge t-vitamins-from-food-not-supplements/ 

Here's one about how folic acid fortification may cause B12 deficiency:
http://www.stewartnutrition.co.uk/nutritional_emergencies/vi tamin_b12_deficiency.html (not in itself a good website, but well referenced.)

Enough sources yet?



Original Post by: dellk

AlexiHolford- All I'm saying is that most people can't tell me why paracetamol will stop their pain, or the specific reasons why any drug will cure them. I know that it is a narcotic, meaning that it blocks the receptor sites for neurotransmitters meaning that the nerve impulse is not passed onto the brain, which is how we feel pain. All I'm saying is that could you, without doing any research, tell me why buscopan works? Probably not, and that's what I meant about not knowing the logic of the prescribed meds.

1) Again, its a case of misinterpretation, probably showing I needed to articulate my points better. But anyway, what I'm saying is, take two people of "average" health with no allergies. If they eat protein (which they should), and one has gluten and the other doesn't. If that is the only difference in their diets and lifestyles, the one not eating gluten is not magically healthier than the one who does. By the way, I do know about those conditions. Intolerances aside (as I assumed would be taken into account, but maybe I should have stated) the other conditions listed are affected by overconsumption of protein in general. It wouldn't matter if the protein eaten is gluten or something else, its simply eating too much that's the worry.

2) I was referring to the point in the article that there is a belief that gluten free= low carbs. My example of a muffin was just that that is a carby food, gluten or none.

3) I haven't found a source that states it outright, I believe the research is still ongoing, plus food companies don't want to do the research that might prove them wrong. I heard this from a nutritionist from what she knew about food. Here's a source about the virtues of getting nutrients from real foods and not fortification/ vitamins (the non-natural sources):
http://www.today.com/id/16892345/ns/today-money/t/are-vitami n-fortified-foods-healthier/#.UcykNdJJ5EQ and

http://blog.fooducate.com/2009/12/11/dietitians-recommend-ge t-vitamins-from-food-not-supplements/ 

Here's one about how folic acid fortification may cause B12 deficiency:
http://www.stewartnutrition.co.uk/nutritional_emergencies/vi tamin_b12_deficiency.html (not in itself a good website, but well referenced.)

Enough sources yet?


I must disagree with this statement:

"the other conditions listed are affected by over consumption of protein in general."

My sister has those conditions and she can hardly eat anything at this point. And she is vegetarian. She has never eaten too much protein. It goes beyond food. There are plenty of neurological and autoimmune diseases in our family, unfortunately.

Thanks for the sources. I will check them out. In general, I eat whole foods, not processed. I juice and eat raw food. I take a liquid vitamin called Alive!, chromium, Omega 3 and Vitamin D3. I don't look for vitamins in fortified food, and I don't see that as something to worry about regarding a gluten free diet.

 



an additional comment....so now there are more gluten free, dairy free, fat free items on the grocery shelves...Yay!  When will there be more SUGAR free items or at least fewer sugar loaded items to sift through?  I'm not bothered about my own dietary plan as I have a good grip on what I consume.  The public health aspect of the sugar craze bothers me.



Eating Gluten Free is not healthy when you go out of your way to make all of those sugary items gluten free. I was told by my doctor to eat raw fruits and vegetables, limit my eggs, add fish to my diet, nuts and seeds.  For almost two years I have been eating Dr Furhman's diet.  G= Green Vegetables, O=Onions, M=Mushrooms, B=Beans and Berries, S=Seeds+Nuts. Two yrs ago in August I watched him on PBS tv.  I grabbed a pad of paper and a pen and took a lot of notes on his diet method.  Based on Eat to Live - not live to eat.  The wt seemed to fall off.  By Christmas I had dropped 30 pounds and that was with diet and adding my favorite workouts - yoga and pilates, walking when I was able with some strength training.  His book is now part of his new program which you can catch and decide for yourself on PBS tv - as Dr Joel Fuhrman loves to help support public television so we all can enjoy better programs and become educated in some form.  You can also read his methods on http://www.DoctorOz.com or http://www.drfuhrman.com/                                                                         Then, decide if you are worth loving enough to become healthier than you have ever been before. Choose life!!!



I know people who have celiac disease and need to be gluten free. I also know people who are imagining that gluten is the cause of whatever ails them.  From where I sit/stand, those who are truly gluten sensitive are lucky that modern science has discovered a way for them to live without the constant pain of celiac disease.  But most of us wouldn't be here if it were not for the fact that wheat was domesticated and allowed more people to survive.  If we all were truly sensitive to gluten, we wouldn't be here.



I have Celiac Disease - it was not easy at first. As I learned more about it my health changed and those of us who have this auto-immune disease - allergy to grains, possibly milk products as well - are learning from one another.  From eating non gluten and a better well rounded diet for the Celiac my eye sight improved, I lost wt.  my life is better.  I actually run into ppl who are prejudice against me because of the Celiac and say that I am nuts.  I tell them to read about it - I am not going to eat your cake/bread it will make me sick and just walk off.  I do not know why some ppl are like that.  My church does not support the wheat free bread during communion - I pass on the bread or throw it away. 



I always had a bloated feeling no matter how little I ate and attributed it to poor digestion during menopause.  I happened to read some of "Wheat Belly" and found out some of my constant constipation and bloating could be due to the new hybrid wheat they mass market. So I tried going wheat free and after a few days my stomach felt great.  I purchased rice based more expensive, high calorie products and found them worth the price.  I eat smaller portions because of the higher calorie content and when I cheat and have that full bloated feeling again I know there is something to the myth that wheat is not good for yoy.



I like many others here, do gluten free because they or a family member has has celiac diease. In my household its my husband. Do not get the idea that eating gluten free means you can eat more of it. Those who think gluten free food is healthier for a diet and eat it like they do diet foods in excess will have the same results. Gluten free is necessary for a lot of people and is not a fad for them. I can eat what I want but chose to eat gluten free in my home. That way my husband can eat whatever is in our home without worrying about getting sick. I have found that since I have started eating gluten free I have less of a desire to eat sweets and breads. Although I can't give up my chocolate, lol! A gluten Free Diet like any other diet is eating and exercising for health. We went gluten free in our house 4 years ago. What is available to day comared to those four short years ago is amazing. I really feel for those who ave had to be gluten free for 10 or 20 year or more, they didn't have the choses that are available today. The most frustrating thing about dieting with celiac disease is that all the diets are aimed at those who can do regular diets and not those with food allergies or intolerances.  Hopefully we will see a change in that in the near future as well.



People's misconceptions that a gluten-free diet is "healthier" are just that - misconceptions.

No one looks at a peanut-free diet and automatically assumes that it's healthy; adopting an _(insert allergen here)_-free diet is an individual REQUIREMENT.

All that to say, gluten-free products CAN be healthy or unhealthy, just like their gluten-CONTAINING counterparts. Imagine having Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity - wouldn't it make you a little sad that you could no longer have you beloved Oreos or other gluten-containing foods? These new gluten-free products are NOT all created to be heathfoods; they're created so that GF people can at least have the OPTION of having junkfood if they want.

In any diet, you can be either healthy or unhealthy. Many people assume that vegans are healthy eaters; not always so (I'm not knocking anyone, I'm vegan, I try to do about 80% healthy and 20% unhealthy) Example:

Healthy Vegan: Whole fruits & veggies, beans, nuts & seeds, whole-grain bread, tofu
Unhealthy Vegan: Canned fruit in syrup & canned veggies (high in sodium), sweetened baked beans, peanut brittle, donuts & cake, mock-meat

 

Basically, a person's allergy may only minimally influential of their overall diet (unless, of course, they have MANY allergies).



Original Post by: alannaw

I found out I was gluten sensitive five years ago.  Changing to a gluten free diet was extremely difficult.  I did learn, and follow, that just because it says gluten free, doesn't mean it is healthier.  Nor does it mean you should have it just because it is gluten free since many gluten free products are simple carbs and loaded with fat and sugar.  The newer products are much better, but I still avoid them and eat whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa.  Good luck to all those who have gluten sensitivity and celiac! 


I work at Walgreens and they are now touting on many Theater candy boxes and other candy that they are Gluten free.  Is that really supposed to mean its healthy or something?

Sure there is another reason to have it on there as some people are extremely sensitive or Celiac.....but it just comes off like the Fat free labels do.


It feels like they are trying to act like its healthier or something because its gluten free.  Candy is junk food regardless of whether it is gluten free.



Original Post by: bcabaniss

Enjoyed your article, you make some great points. I have a friend who is "gluten free" on her own initiative. She has lost some weight, but like everyone else, her weight fluctuates mostly because her eating habits aren't always great.

For those of you who have reduced pain, is it possible that the pain has diminished because of weight loss? (e.g. knee & back pain reduced because you're trimmer?)  Just wondering.  


I really don't think weight loss has much to do with it.  Its largely about inflammation and Gluten causes inflammation in a large part of the population.  Perhaps not everyone but the amount of people is sizable.

Weight loss contributes and to some degree it probably lowers inflammation itself due to not having as much estrogen.  Fat is an organ which produces estrogen and possibly other things that lead to inflammation.  Estrogen is something we all need, but having a ton of excess throws off the balance.



Original Post by: Tncronick

I know it's a real thing. It's a deficiency. A defect. 

 

It's a problem for the same reason that it would be a problem if a bunch of people went around going "be nice to me, I have autism." when they obviously don't. It makes them sound stupid and it makes a joke out of an actual condition some people actually suffer from. 

The only reason it makes people lose weight is because they find themselves eating fewer calories, less processed foods and less refined sugar. Gluten does not cause weight gain, that's dumb. Gluten does not cause gas, that's dumb. Gluten does not make your skin break out, that is dumb. 

What kind of person makes up an allergy? And why? It's bored yuppies and housewives desperately searching for an identity after spending the better part of their youth trying to be just like other people. They can't figure out what makes them unique or special so they take the easy way out. 

"I have an allergy! Look how deficient I am!"


I tend to agree with you.  People who have been diagnosed with celiac disease or  a gluten intolerance certainly need to follow a GF diet,  but people are very suggestible and often have trouble differentiating between GF/low-carb/low-calorie etc (as the polls quoted in the article demonstrate). 

Some of the time,  following these restrictive plans (GF, Paleo, low-carb) is just another form of  or "mask" for an eating disorder.  Look up "orthorexia."  It's not officially recognized by the DSM yet, but some respected researchers believe it should be. 



I’m currently not on a wheat free diet.  However, due to the massive amount of people who have benefited from a wheat free diet (just do a google search, or read about the hundreds of people Dr. William Davis put on a no-wheat diet) there is no denying there is something to it.  But why?  I found the following in the book Wheat Belly.  This is just 2 paragraphs, and he did write a whole book explaining it, but it’s a small piece of the puzzle, I think.

“Nutritionists established the fact that wheat increases blood sugar more profoundly than table sugar thirty years ago. As we’ve discussed, the glycemic index, or GI, is the nutritionist’s measure of how much blood sugar levels increase in the 90 to 120 minutes after a food is consumed. By this measure, whole wheat bread has a GI of 72, while plain table sugar has a GI of 59.

Because wheat carbohydrate, the uniquely digestible amylopectin A, causes a greater spike in blood sugar than virtually any other food— more than a candy bar, table sugar, or ice cream— it also triggers greater insulin release. More amylopectin A means higher blood sugar, higher insulin, more visceral fat deposition … bigger wheat belly. Throw in the inevitable drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) that is the natural aftermath of high insulin levels and you see why irresistible hunger so often results, as the body tries to protect you from the dangers of low blood sugar. You scramble for something to eat to increase blood sugar, and the cycle is set in motion again, repeating every two hours. Now factor in your brain’s response to the euphoric exorphin effects induced by wheat (and the attendant potential for withdrawal if your next “fix” is missed), and it’s no wonder the wheat belly encircling your waist continues to grow and grow.”

 

Davis MD, William (2011-08-30). Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health (pp. 63-64). Rodale. Kindle Edition.



Something else found in Dr. Davis' book:

HLA DQ2 , HLA DQ8. These are not antibodies, but genetic markers for human leukocyte antigens, or HLA, that, if present, make the bearer more likely to develop celiac disease. More than 90 percent of people who have celiac disease diagnosed by intestinal biopsy have either of these two HLA markers, most commonly the DQ2.

A dilemma: Forty percent of the population have one of the HLA markers and/ or antibody markers that predispose them to celiac, yet express no symptoms or other evidence of an immune system gone awry. However, this latter group has been shown to experience better health when wheat gluten is eliminated.   It means that a very substantial portion of the population is potentially sensitive to wheat gluten.

 

Davis MD, William (2011-08-30). Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health (pp. 80-81). Rodale. Kindle Edition.

 



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