subscribe Signup for our Newsletter expand Expand Browser
Calorie Count Blog

The Truth about Gluten-Free Diets


By Mary_RD on Nov 10, 2009 12:00 PM in Tips & Updates
Edited By +Rachel Berman

Chances are you know someone who follows gluten-free diet (why else would supermarkets and restaurant chains point out the gluten-free foods?). Gluten-free diets are catching on at college campuses. Oprah Winfrey's "21-day cleanse" included gluten elimination. But should you be jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon?  Let’s sort out the science from the hype.

Who needs a a gluten-free diet?

A gluten-free diet is used to treat celiac disease, a genetically determined immune system reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley (and sometimes in oats too).  With celiac disease, gluten ingestion causes the intestines to become inflamed.  Inflammation eventually damages the absorptive surface, leading to malnutrition and other medical problems. When people with celiac disease eliminate gluten, they feel better in a few days, although it takes 2 to 3 months or longer for their intestines to heal.

The classic symptoms of celiac disease are crampy abdominal pain with bloating, gas and diarrhea, but some patients experience anemia, joint pain, headaches, and skin rashes instead - or no obvious symptoms at all.  Not long ago, celiac disease was thought to be rare (about 1 in 3,000 in North America), but new prevalence estimates are actually much higher and have been set closer to 1 in 133 (and 1 in 22 when a close relative has the disease.)  No one knows for sure why celiac disease has become more common.  The newer tests to find it are easier to use, but that doesn't seem to be the reason.  Theories abound, and according to the New York Times, one theory favored by some scientists hypothesizes that humans are overdosing on gluten because wheat has become so common in the Western diet.  Stay tuned....

What is a gluten-free diet?

Here's the real problem: the gluten-free diet is not easy to follow. Gluten is hidden in so many foods; for instance, gluten may be an ingredient in deli meats, soy sauce, vinegar, marinades, salad dressings, canned soup, thickeners, sour cream, ice cream, whiskey, beer, and many other foods.  Forget about easily going out for pizza and even Communion wafers! And warn the hostess that you are the dinner guest from hell. 

Gluten-free dieters must make a lifelong commitment to diligently read all food labels and ferret out sources of gluten-free food. To that end, many organizations have risen to provide reliable information.  Among the best are celiac.com and zeer.com.  Our own About.com has two guides to gluten: the Guide to Celiac Disease and the Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking.  

Gluten and YOU

And so, while a gluten-free diet is critical for celiac disease, it is just not necessary for John and Jane Q. Public.  When followed correctly, the gluten-free diet is inconvenient, expensive and presents nutritional challenges by limiting foods.  And if you think you may have celiac disease, see a doctor for evaluation before starting the diet because the gluten-free diet can impact the results of the diagnostic tests.  And so, if you need a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, then do your homework and follow it to the letter.  And for everyone, celiac or not, be suspicious about the information passed off as science.

Your thoughts....

Have you thought about going gluten-free?  Do you have celiac disease?



Comments


To say it is the diet from hell is an underestimate.  I would like to know if anyone knows, and can answer the question, is it a good diet for ulcerative colitis?  If anyone has done this diet,  for this problem would you please share results. Or has anyone found any diet makes a difference?



My wife was mis-diagnosed with ulcertive colitis and suffered for 10 years under this diagnosis.  She was taking Asacol 3x a day and had no relief.  The doctor always said her symptons were worse than the results of her colonoscopies.  Finally my wife had enough and informed the doctor that there must be something else going on.  He finally tested for celiac and the test came back positive.  After two days of a gluten free diet, her symptons disappeared.  I suggest you be tested for celiac disease to rule it out, and also be checked for osteoporosis.



I was diagnosed with Celiac disease along with allergies to milk, soy, egg and corn about a month ago.   I am not on a diet because there have been permanent changes that I have had to make to my diet!!  I go to the grocery  store by myself because I have to read every single label that goes into my cart and that does take time!!  I have been trying to plan out my meals... but they are very limited!  I have yet to tackle eating dinner out.  I am sure one day down the road I will attempt it.

I would love to hear stories from other that have been living with this too.  I am just at the beginning of a new long road, I would like to see what has worked for you.



I am suffering from fibromyalgia and have been thinking of trying a gluten free diet to help with the joint pain.  My doctor would not test me for celiac because I don't have the weight loss and diarreah.  If she won't test me for it I thought that I could try it for a little while on my own to see if it helps at all.  I was wondering if anyone with fibromyalgia has ever had any success with the symptoms by going gluten free?



My son is autistic and on a gluten/casein-free diet. It is extremely hard to follow. I have to cook everything from scratch (using seperate cookware to prevent cross-contamination). And it is expensive too. When you remove gluten from your diet you automatically also remove other important nutrients. Those you will have to supplement.

I will say that the diet has helped my son tremendously but keep in mind that he has gut problems similar to celiac disease. If you are a healthy person I would not personally recommend going gluten free. Many of the foods allowed on a gluten free diet are high in carbohydrates.

Jane



Hi Jennae1993  -  I also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and had severe joint and muscle pain.   My sister had similar symptoms - she lives out of state and was seeing a doctor there who suggested she get tested for celiac disease.  She was found to have it and when she went gluten free she felt so much better.   So I decided to try it too, though I have not been tested, and I can honestly say that up to 80 % of my pain has been relieved, particularly the diffuse muscle aching in my chest and neck area.   It has been almost two years now, and when I do slip up and have wheat, I can feel the aching return and know I have to get back on track.  Also, I have found fish oil caps to be really helpful with joint pain.  



Celiac and gluten intolerance runs in my family I have 5 family memebers that have one or the other. My 13 child has gluten intolerance. The big differance is celiac is an autoimmune disorder and gluten intolerance is like many other food sensitivities. However even with intolerance you need to eat a strick diet and avoid all gluten and there is alot of hidden gluten. Malt and modified food starch also should be avoided. However if it says modified corn strarch it is ok because it is corn based. Becareful and read labels always because the law does not require that food companys to anounce when they change something. Example years ago when I was a child eatting a gluten free diet rice/corn chex cereal had no gluten then several years ago they add malt now they have remade most of there produts "gluten free". I am so glade to see major food companys start to see the market value in a gluten free diet because more and more people and being diagnosed or being told for many inflamitory diseases to try to eat gluten free. It is not a very hard diet and there is alot to eat but if you were a conveice food eater in the past it will be hard. The few fast food they have are so expensive--example $7.oo for a 6 in pizza will make you panic. But remember fresh fruits and vegtables meats(becarful of chichen and turkey with a broth solution watch for those that say gluten free--Honey Suckle turkey are gluten free) Read read read is all i can say and greave over the loss of convenice foods but I have been able to recreate most of my daughters main dishes gluten free and they are good. Bakeing is hard but most possible. Bread however is the biggest advernture and disappointment because it is the gluten that makes bread good it takes awhile for that one. But most people who should go gluten free and do it right they feel so much better that they realize the food they once loved was poision in there body and the gluten free way is so much better --not easy but worth it. Good luck and seek support if needed-at least then you can share recipes. 



I have multiple sclerosis and treat it holistically with fantastic results.  The bulk of my treatment is through diet.  I have sensitivities to several foods that trigger my symptoms - one of these is gluten.  I have been avoiding gluten for 2 years now and honestly, I haven't found it too difficult.  The first thing I noticed within 2 weeks of cutting out gluten was a dramatic rise in my energy levels.  Yes, alternative grains are more costly, but they are also much more nutritious than the bastardized version of wheat that is so prevalent in the market today.  Try quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat, and don't forget about brown rice and sweet potatoes.  A gluten-free lifestyle is very possible without supplements and malnutrition.  Do your homework, experiment with recipes, and read labels.  Watch out for "modified food starch" as it very often contains wheat.  To thicken sauces, gravies and soups, use corn starch, arrowroot powder, or maize.  When baking with alternative flours, it is best to mix them as they do not react the same way as wheat flour.  There are quite a few gluten-free cookbooks out there - use them.



Jennae1993 - if your doc wont test you i would find another doc.  My sister and brother were recently diagnosed with celiac disease.  i insisted on the test because it is famlial.  the doc didnt want to do it because i didnt have specific symptoms.  it is a simply blood test.  eatingwell.com has lots of good recipes.  most of our family gatherings have now become mostly gluten free to make it easier for them.



You think gluten-free is bad? HA! I wish it were that easy! I have a rare form of arthritis that has me on a completely starch-free diet. No grains, of course--but also no potatoes, corn, rice, bananas or force-ripened produce or any products that use any of these things in them. Try finding *that* in the quick-foods section of the supermarket!



Testing for celiac is not always correct they get a lot of false negatives from blood work. There are a few other more invasive test -however if you do the diet and you feel better thats all that matters.



I have had celiac since I was 18 months old so it is the only diet I really know. I wouldn't say it is impossible at all.  I've probably had it since birth and didn't get diagnosed properly until 18 months.  There was a period of about 10 years of my life when I ate everything and that was all through high school and college.  I thought I had out grown the disease and because so little was known when I was younger no one knew it was for life.  so while i had no symtoms for 10 years I was still doing damage to my gut.  it wasn't until my father died in 96 that the symtoms came back from stress.  Because i was so little and didn't realize that I was on a special diet when I was younger I had told my mother about symptoms that I was having, she told me it sounded like the Celiac was back.  Sure enough, it was.

it's been 13 years since I've been back on the diet and I can tell you that if you have been recently diagnosed it is usually common for you to be told that you have a dairy allergy as well and to avoid milk.  I go to a wonderful gastro and he told me that because your intestines are so damaged, it's hard for your body to digest milk enzymes and to limit milk for 3-6 months.  Im not saying that everyone will be able to drink dairy after that period but I wouldn't rule it out until after 6 months of being on the gluten free diet.

I have started a cookbook of my own with great recipes and if anyone is interested in making certain items, please don't hesitate to contact me. i'm sure we can come up with a recipe for your favorite dishes!!!  Also, if you want the best gluten free pizza around... go onto Buddy's Pizza website. they have it down to a science and it has been recognized and certified by the celiac foundation.

Tracey



I have been having a lot of digestive problems over the last year.  I went to the doctor and they did a blood panel but found nothing out of the ordinary.  I'm wondering if I shouldn't go in and get a test done for celiac disease?  I would never have thought about it, honestly, until reading this article, it certainly doesn't run in our family.



I was tested for celiac back in June b/c of stomach pains and skin reactions to food.  And the test came back negitive...since then I have tried to eliminate gluten from my diet and we have discovered that i have a gluten intolerance which is different from celiac.  And i have been taken care of this for about 2 weeks very strictly and feel great.  I wish i would have known about this in college when i was in pain and not feeling well.



I was diagnosed as Celiac over 8 years ago. I was asymptomatic & only diagnosed because doctors found it while testing for something else. Lucky me!

It's been hard, but definitely getting easier as awareness of the disease spreads. Probably the hardest part is finding foods that I can eat, I want to eat and are good for me all at the same time.



I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and am gluten intolerant. When I stick to the diet, the weight falls off and I feel just great: more energy, no bloating or stomach pains, fewer joint pains. It's not a difficult diet at all as gluten free bread is easy to obtain and I rarely use pre-prepared foods at all. Corn, quinoia, rice are all easy to use and buy and certainly no more expensive than pre-prepared foods.

The only difficulty for me is when I attend work functions: then it's either starve or eat beforehand. On the odd occasion that I give in to temptation, I pay - so it's really not worth it.



My mom has celiac disease.  She almost DIED from it because they couldn't diagnose what was wrong.  In one week she lost 15 lbs.  And what do you do when you see someone lose weight?  We just kept feeding her the wrong foods which made her worse.

Yes, it's hard to be on a gluten free diet.  But the BEST foods to eat are your good old FRUITS and VEGETABLES.  You can also have lots of fresh meats, chicken and lots of fish.  Use lemons, gluten free soya sauce, gluten free marinades and even gluten free pesto to season/marinate your meats.  My mom eats very little "breads" - usually just rice toast.  She freezes them and has her "toast" in the morning.  The rest of the day is filled with fruits and veggies, fish, meat and chicken.  It doesn't have to be expensive - but it will be if you insist on still eating cereals, pastas and breads.

And my mom was born and raised in Italy - so pasta and bread was a staple in her diet.  Now she only has pasta (gluten free of course) on Sundays as her treat.

You can do it and in an affordable way.  You just have to stick to the outside of the supermarket, where the fresh fruits and veggies, meats, fish and poultry are.



I think the "success" of the gluten free diet is that it is very healty and for non-allergics a similar healty diet, but with some gluten will be just as good. It looks very hard to follow, so other alternatives will be preferable.



I had an interesting discussion with a farmer here in town recently ... he said he was growing old world and antique wheat, rice, hops, barley and other grains, and he claimed the old varieties had no or little gluten. I don't know how true this is, but it would likely affect the growing number of gluten intolerance diagnosis.

I don't know how to confirm or disprove this, but it does make a kind of sense.

I know several people with the gluten intolerance diagnosis. Perhaps it is over-diagnosed, but the change in their diets make such a huge difference in their health.

 



I have a lot of problems with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but mailnly on the constipation side. I have followed a high fiber diet, and it has helped some. The last time I went to see my Dr. and told him I was having a flare up of my IBS, he suggested a gluten free diet. I am a nurse, and know what is involved with trying to be consistant with gluten free. It is even a nightmare with trying to prepare a totally gluten free diet for patients in the hospital setting. I work two nursing jobs, and am going to school for my masters, so I would have limited time to shop for gluten free foods. Has anyone else been told that a gluten free diet would have any benefits for IBS?? Lisa



I have been following the Blood type/ Geno type diet developed by naturopath Peter D'adamo for about 2 months and have lost 13 pounds so far.

Gluten is one of my avoid foods and I really notice when I cheat and eat something made with wheat (bloating, and almost immediately get the runs)

I do not have celiac, but suspect that many more people can benefit from avoiding foods with gluten as described by D'adamo and many other naturopathic doctors.



P.S. It's not that hard to follow, even if you just eliminate things made of wheat, barley, rye, etc. and substitute recipes with brown rice flour you will notice the difference :)



Original Post by: lcwhittle

I had an interesting discussion with a farmer here in town recently ... he said he was growing old world and antique wheat, rice, hops, barley and other grains, and he claimed the old varieties had no or little gluten. I don't know how true this is, but it would likely affect the growing number of gluten intolerance diagnosis.

I don't know how to confirm or disprove this, but it does make a kind of sense.

I know several people with the gluten intolerance diagnosis. Perhaps it is over-diagnosed, but the change in their diets make such a huge difference in their health.

 


It is true, but the worse is that food produsers often add extra gluten in their halv/whole fabricated products because it makes their products taste better (not in IMO though)



@chickevolving-I don't know about UC, but I have lymphocytic colitis (aka microscopic colitis) and I have to limit my gluten intake fairly carefully.  Certain things I can get away with (bread, beer, anything with oats, rye or barley) and some things I cannot (pizza, croissants).  The factor with LC seems to be the amount of gluten in the item.  Pizza and croissants are kneaded for a long time and therefore have long, strong gluten strands, whereas beer is not kneaded at all, and therefore doesn't bother me.



Hi Everybody,

Here are some answers:

To our current knowledge, a gluten-free diet will not help the following conditions unless, of course, the those conditions coexist with celiac disease: ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, autism, multiple sclerosis.
However, research is always ongoing.  See this Celiac Disease and Autism study....

Re: Testing.
Anyone can be tested.  Ask your family doctor for a lab slip; however, for the test to be accurate, you need to be tested before you start the diet.

Re: Celiac disease vs. gluten intolerance (or gluten sensitivity):
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system attacks normal tissue (the intestines) in response to gluten. The patient is at risk for other autoimmune conditions and the intestinal damage can be life-threatening.  Gluten intolerance is not immune mediated. GI symptoms with wheat or gluten intolerance may include gassiness, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, and diarrhea, but these symptoms are usually transient and are thought not to cause permanent damage.

Re: help for celiac disease:
If you do have celiac disease, please read the references in the article, shop at the online Gluten Free Mall, join the societies and a local support group (get "word on the street" about food and restaurants and a chance to taste-test recipes), and subscribe to the Celiac Listserv.  Also, visit a registered dietitian for answers to your questions.

Re: the Celiac Listserv
The Celiac Listserv at St Johns University (New York, USA) has over 1000 members. It is an excellent resource for shared celiac information. To subscribe to the Celiac List, send an Internet e-mail message to CELIAC-subscribe-request@LISTSERV.ICORS.ORG containing "SUBSCRIBE CELIAC yourfirstname yourlastname" in the body of the message (without the quotes).

Best wishes to you all,
Mary



I was diagnosed with Ciliac disease over a year ago.   I find your statement "tell your hostess you are the dinner guest from hell" insensitive and ignorant.  You can certainly go out with friends and not be high maintenance.  True friends won't be upset if you bring your own food but I find in many cases they will try to accomodate me.  But I never ask them to.  I will sometimes eat before I go so I can share parts of the meal and not leave hungry.  Your life isn't over because of this diagnosis you just need to be a little more conscious of what you are eating and plan ahead.  The rewards of feeling so much better with out the wheat far outweigh the little bit of extra work that goes into keeping it out of my diet. 



I am vegetarian and have been gluten-free for 6 months.  It was a challenging change AT FIRST.  Now, it is routine and I have discovered so many wonderful new foods.  I have also eliminated many of the unhealthy, processed foods I was eating because of gluten content.  What a bonus! 

I wanted to comment on a few statements in this article.  First, only Celiac disease is mentioned as the reason to eat a gluten-free diet.  There are other reasons and conditions as well, including non-Celiac gluten intolerance and wheat allergy.  Second, oats were mentioned as sometimes containing gluten.  Oats do not contain gluten however they are often cross-contaminated during the manufacturing process.  There are certified gluten-free oats available.

This quote from the article is what concerns me most: "Forget about going out for pizza and even Communion wafers! And warn the hostess that you are the dinner guest from hell."

With the holidays upon us, even though of us eating gluten-free have to find a way to join in the festivities.  Sure, it was hard when I was using Calorie Count to lose 135+ pounds, but now it is even harder since I must avoid gluten.  BUT IT IS POSSIBLE!  Don't warn anyone that you are the guest from hell.  Take a moment to share with them your challenge and find a way to conquer it.  Take something you can enjoy (and share) or eat before you go.  BUT GO!  Don't forego opportunities to celebrate, socialize, be with your friends and family just because you have eliminated gluten.  And as for forgetting about going out for pizza, that is false.  I live in a small Midwestern city and have three options for eating gluten-free pizza out.  One pizzeria (Pizza Fusion) even has dedicated gluten-free cookware and a separate prep area.  It is possible to eat pizza out. 

Some of the statements in this article make it sound like eating gluten-free is a death sentence.  It is not.  Sure, it's a rough transition but it is not so horrible. 



I had an interesting discussion with a farmer here in town recently ... he said he was growing old world and antique wheat, rice, hops, barley and other grains, and he claimed the old varieties had no or little gluten. I don't know how true this is, but it would likely affect the growing number of gluten intolerance diagnosis.

My understanding is that the major seed companies- Monsanto and Dupont are the top two     (http://www.gmwatch.org/component/content/article/10558-the-w orlds-top-ten-seed-companies-who-owns-nature)     are very much into bio-engineering.

One way to increase profits is to increase the weight of your grain which is purchased by weight. Gluten is a very heavy protein which has been engineered into more grains than originally contained it or contained it in smaller amounts in order to increase profits to the farmer.

The farmer is caught in a cycle of purchasing from these large conglomerates because unlike "heirloom" seed, the bio-engineered seed while coming with many advantages from the marketing point of view (pest resistance, disease resistance, weight...) doesn't regenerate on its own. Remember your gene theory about mixing species- you get sterile results which cannot bear offspring.

These companies also produce the fertilizers which are necessary to push growth from the soil which has been sterilized of all the microorganism colonies which would normally support the growth of wholesome, healthy plants. Oops, guess what killed the microorganisms in the first place?? Chemical fertilizers.

Support your local organic farmer!!



I have endometriosis, and read an article a few months ago linking endo pain to inflammation, and inflammation to wheat. After talking with a cousin who has celiac disease, I decided to give gluten-free a try. After a week or so, I noticed the intermittent knee pain I'd had for a while was gone. Then my brother got married and I ate cake and bread and whatever else I wanted all weekend, and by Sunday morning my knees were killing me! After going back to gluten-free, my endo pain is not gone but much milder. I'm convinced!



For people even considering if a gluten free diet would be of benefit I suggest just 2-3 days of gluten free eating to see if you notice any benefit.  Though it may or not work that fast for everyone it did for me.  I tend toward constipation and that was relieved and probably the first symptom alleviated.  Other symptoms that have been relieved over and time are chronic and generalized tendonitis, scalp itchiness, facial redness and dry irritated skin, frequent severe sinus headaches that often included vomiting.  Also the low blood sugar crazy hungry swings are significantly reduced.  Oh!  and the bloat!  totally gone!  I was probably carrying 2-3 lbs of water just in retention.  

I haven't gone as far as gluten-free, I only avoid wheat.  I don't try and find substitutes too often as I don't like the texture and taste of most 'pretend-wheat' products like bread and pizza, though they are making great strides in making these better.  

Long-winded post to say:  try two days wheat or gluten free and see what happens.  No biggie!



so i was wondering as i was reading all of this, what if you have celiac and then you become pregnant? will it be harder and more challenging to make sure your baby gets the proper nutrition?



Here is my story, When my son was about 2 months old I had a massive gallbladder attack, a week later I had my gall bladder removed. I had had small attacks during my pregnancy and really didnt know what they were. Once I had my gall bladder removed things started happening, I ended up becomming lactose intollernt, and I started having problems with going to the bathroom, having cravings, and other stuff, at the same time my best friend started going through the same exsact thing, as well as my sister and they had had there gall bladders removed as well... I was diagnosed with celiacs disease. I was devistated because quite frankly, I love bread. I started looking into different diets and what not, then I went and switched to an organic diet. I think that alot of what is happening is that people are getting geneticly modified wheat/gluten products and that is what is hurting them, if I stick to the organic wheat/rye I can eat relativly what I want, and I am not dieing afterwards. + My autistic son is on the same diet and I do not see a difference between the GM free glueten diet and the non gluten diet as far as behavior is concerned...

 



Tromor-

Its not any harder to eat properly Pregnant on a GF diet that it is with out it, you just have to read the lables closer.



For the person discussing Irritable Bowel Syndrome - the symptoms you discuss are also part of a K deficiency.

I suffer from multiple food allergies - 99% of grains (excluding organic rice, Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia, and Oats) - yes this includes Millet and Corn; soy, potatoes (but not Yams), onions & garlic (they're OK if very well cooked), and yeast. Keep in mind for all of you that read labels - this means I also cannot have fructose, gluose or fructose/glucose unless it is made from actual fruit, from sugar cane, or from rice; and lets not forgot all those alcohols - the only one that I can have - is rum which is made from sugar cane. So although Celiac is a very dangerous disease, my issue takes it another step farther. So what do I eat? I eat very well and very healthy. Yes it takes thought (big deal), and a good chunk of money (especially hard for a person on a limited income), and for a person who used to spend upwards of 4 months on the road per year (working booths at trade shows, conferences and visiting clients) it means a life style change, but our health is worth it.

I was tested for Celiac and they did a scope as well in 1999 - results were negative; in early 2000 one allergist indicated I was allergic to about 90% of food (turns out he was right) but my doc at the time wouldn't believe this and wanted a second opinion and the second allergist said the first was a quack and told me I was allergic to 3 types of grass pollen. I should have taken the cue when he 'forgot' to prick the spot for yeast (that I was so adamant about) that he was an incompetent idiot. I suffered for another 5 years by taking his advice. In 2005 I finally started doing an elimination diet. I still don't have everything down to a T (I still get rocacea flare ups and systemic allergy reactions - lots of fluid retention all over, foggy brain, low blood pressure, low pulse rate, weird heart thumperbumps we call them, sometimes minor throat closure, tight forehead, etc.) but with doctors not being able to get their **** together I'm pretty much fed up with them and work on things by myself.

I make my own flatbreads (which I also make into mini pizza's) and just managed to mix and match and now have a great recipe for pumpkin loaf which I think I may be able to use for banana loaf, cake, and possibly a version of bread (I really miss a good old fashioned sandwich). I don't know what the person is talking about regarding gluten free pasta being expensive - places like Safeway and the Real Canadian Superstore have it now and I eat a fair bit of pasta given I can have rice pasta, quinoa pasta, rice, and yams as a starchy main course food. I have a pasta maker and can get organic quinoa, oat flour, and rice flour relatively cheaply in bulk (locally grown as well) - so I might give that a try as well.

We do what we have to do and truthfully, I think we're far healthier as a result than the average jo. 



I have fibromyalgia and I have gone wheat and gluten free. I feel a difference and I am learning more and more about this lifestyle change as I go.



Original Post by: elisalarrow

I have a lot of problems with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, but mailnly on the constipation side. I have followed a high fiber diet, and it has helped some. The last time I went to see my Dr. and told him I was having a flare up of my IBS, he suggested a gluten free diet. I am a nurse, and know what is involved with trying to be consistant with gluten free. It is even a nightmare with trying to prepare a totally gluten free diet for patients in the hospital setting. I work two nursing jobs, and am going to school for my masters, so I would have limited time to shop for gluten free foods. Has anyone else been told that a gluten free diet would have any benefits for IBS?? Lisa


I to have IBS, Ive had it for years, A dr. tried to put me on all kinds of meds but none of them ever worked. So i tried this diet back in the day, i did really well, hardly anymore pain, but because im a pizza lover,... fell off the wagon.. Now i started again last week and it is helping.  It doesnt seem to be helping with my shoulder pain...And yes somethings are more expensive like cake mix 3.99 a box or the special flour you have to buy 14.99 for 5lbs. Thats just crazy.... And oh yes remember fruits and vegetables are gluten free....... And you do have to go back to the old fashion way and cook all your meals But thats not a problem for me cause i do that anyway.... I just miss PIZZA so bad!!!!!!!!!!!



One thing people should know is that a large number of tests for celiac disease can come back negative before the age of fifty. My grandfather has it, and never knew about it until he was older because his tests came back negative. Several other members of my family (myself included)  have symptoms and a high risk for celiac disease but have yet to find a positive test result. I also have a close friend who's blood work came back negative three times before she was discovered to actually have celiac disease from other forms of testing. People should know that if you get tested, especially at a young age, don't take no for an answere the first time. Be persistant with the doctor, you may need additional types of testing as well. If you have any symptoms you very well may have celiac disease, it's much more common than people think.



At first I was excited to see the GF diet get what I thought would be some positive press, but I am extremely disappointed in the negative tone of this article.  While it is entirely fair to say that the diet should be reserved for those requiring it (like Celiacs, although these are by no means the only groups for whom the diet may be necessary), it is completely unfair to characterize it as so expensive and undesirable that folks who need to be on it should expect to live life avoiding restaurants and social outings.

Statements like, "Forget about going out for pizza and even Communion wafers! And warn the hostess that you are the dinner guest from hell," are so ignorant and insensitive that I was shocked to learn it was written by a dietician.  Celiac disease is not cancer-of-the-social-life, as this author suggests, or at least it does not have to be.  And, I have found hostesses offering to accommodate my family- and no, I never ask!

Please remember when you post an article in a public forum such as this, your audience may include individuals who will be offended when the treatment for their condition is portrayed so negatively.



I have suffered for 5 yrs with a fibromyalgia diagnoses that came on over night and finally I decided to try the glutten free diet, No more pain! In 2 days my pain was gone. I will never eat glutten again. I have also noticed I get a little stiff if I eat a lot of sugar.



my daughter has suffered from fibro pain for 6 years. last month she was told that she had such a slight case of celiac so slight it most likely makes no difference. she too did not have weight-oss etc. she has been cutting out gluten and her pain is greatly relieved. it's worth a try, not as hard as it seems. when she 'falls off the wagon' and eats gluten she feels so much worse



I have a severe gluten intolerance - not technically celiac but in some cases more severe reactions. In the past I've been diagnosed with IBS, ulcers of the throat and stomach, fibromyalgia and restless limb syndrome. A gluten free diet has taken the IBS, ulcers, RLS and most of the fibro away.


Gluten free is much easier now than its EVER been.  For rookies wanting to eat out try PF Changs or Outback that both have a gluten free menu and cooks are TRAINED on gluten free.  Other restaurants are also starting to carry gluten free items (Boston's Gourmet Pizza for example) but places like On the Border cross contaminate with gluten without even knowing.  Amy's Kitchen has a line of gluten free frozen dinners that you can find in WalMart and Super Target. But yes - there is a difference between "no gluten ingredients" and "gluten free" meals.

Really - if you're switching to gluten free go back to basics. Does it really take that much longer to cook a chicken breast at home in a skillet than to heat up a pre-made, calorie-filled dinner? AND typically gluten free foods are lower calories thus helping a number of other health problems (cholesterol, heart, diabetes, etc.)



Jennae1993,

  I suggest you once again ask your doctor to test you for celiac and also to do an Elissa (I think I spelled that right) test on you -- that's the blood test that's about 80%+ accurate to food sensitivities and allergies.

  I don't have all the the typical symptoms (running for the bathroom and losing weight) for gluten intolerance either, but I have some of them. I discovered I am borderline gluten intolerant. Since last Dec 1st, the last day I ate wheat, I have lost 35 pounds. All of my unpleasant symptons have gone away, too.

  I want to encourage you to find out because diseases are not so simple that we all have the same symptons. As my doc says, I'm that unusual case that held onto, or gained weight, with my gluten problems.  



I have been lactose intolerant for over 25 years now.  I suffer from IBS.  I was recently tested for allergies and am allergic Milk, Eggs, Potatoes, Tomatoes, Peas, Nuts, some fruits, and Wheat!  I am having a heck of a time eliminating everything from my diet and I break out in hives when I eat something that has a hidden product in it that I am allergic to.  Did you know that you have to buy uncontaminated oats because regular oats are contaminated with wheat!?!

I can't believe someone would recommend giving up wheat as a *diet*.  That is insane!  Heck I can't believe people and their bad advice or desperate advice.  Whichever it is, Oprah is not a doctor even though she likes to play on on T.V.



I just started a gluten free diet about a month ago.

It's really not that big of a deal to do. The only issue I have is when going out to eat. I hate being "that guy".

Other than that it's easy. It just forces you to be a little more conscious about what you eat. Overnight I couldn't eat all the stuff that makes most people fat.

No more snack cakes, not much fast food. All the white doughy stuff that is hard to say no to is no longer even an option.

If you cook for yourself it's not hard or expensive to be gluten-free. If you want to eat sugary doughy things it could be because you have to hunt down specialty vendors. If you are really trying to lose weight you probably shouldn't be eating breads, bagels, muffins and pasta to much anyway.

You don't have to spend more to be gluten free unless you want to. Expensive is an excuse not a reason.



Phew!  What a lot of interesting information today!!  I'm wondering what is the distinction between regular wheat bread and "sprouted" wheat bread products.  ?

I was raised to eat everything and not be 'fussy'.   And I'm very interested in this discussion because I've long noticed symptoms of bloat, gas, inflamation, pain etc but not precicely attributed it to wheat and found I feel a 'quiet' in my abdomine when turning vegetarian which for me meant beans and brown rice etc veg and fruit. 

It's worth taking another and closer look at.  "Sprouted" anyone?  What this is. ? 

 



when I clicked on the link in my email to this article, I was excited to see some press about the Gluten Free diet, but after reading the content, I was offended by the writer's tone - and I don't have Celiac Disease or any other health concerns that would require me to be on a gluten free diet! My boyfriend was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease (almost 2 years now) and since his diagnosis, I've worked with him to convert his diet to avoid gluten, while finding alternative ways to prepare some of his favorite meals. There are a number of cookbooks and sites online to look for gluten free recipes, and though the GF diet can be more expensive, you have to consider the fact that for people that NEED to be on this diet, the cost is worth it when you consider their alternatives. Snack items are limited, which is healthier if you think about it - and paying an extra dollar or two for GF pasta is worth it to continue to have Pasta Night during the week.

The GF diet shouldn't be viewed as a "fad" diet, just because Oprah decided that she would stop eating gluten for a period of time. As for the writer's statements that one should "Forget about pizza" and to "warn the hostess that you are the dinner guest from hell" makes a gross generalization to the diet and those affected by the diet. I actually went out the other night and shared a delicious gluten free pizza with my boyfriend for dinner - and it was better than a regular pizza! As for categorizing someone who has to avoid gluten as the "dinner guest from hell" - that just makes it sound like being a Celiac is some sort of condemnation. I don't know of any host or hostess that would be put off from hearing that someone attending their dinner would need gluten free options - it's not that difficult to come up with a few options for something like that.

It takes some time and effort to convert to a GF diet, and there will be a lot of time spent reading labels (but once you start to realize which products are safe/unsafe, you only need to check labels for new things while shopping), but stores like Whole Foods carry a lot of gluten free foods. TriumphDining.com has books on GF grocery items and a GF Restaurant Guide for the US - so dining out is still very much an option!



The thing that this article fails to mention is that many people do not have celiac disease, but can still have a mild to medium gluten intolerance that can be very uncomfortable.  I knew that something was wrong with my energy levels and I was having a constantly upset stomach.  I also had unexplainable mood swings.  It was recommended to me by a nutritionist that I try to go gluten-free for a month or so just to see how I felt.  The results were fantastic!  I have energy all day and my moods are way more even.  When I researched it, I found out that many people who have a gluten intolerance have been misdiagnosed as bipolar.  It is so interesting to me how much my diet can affect my quality of life!  The good things that also come from being gluten free are that you naturally tend to eat way more fruits and vegetables, and tend to cut back on sugary foods and junk foods.  I really don't feel too inconvenienced by this, and I think it has caused me to be a much more explorative cook.  I also spend less money dining out because at most places I end up ordering a salad, and I go out a lot less now that I cook so many meals at home.  The only thing that I do miss is beer - there are so many micro breweries that I love, and the gluten free beer really doesn't cut it, but I have taken to vodka sodas when I have a drink, which are way lower in calories anyhow, and pretty good once you get used to the taste.  Over all, I would skip the testing at the doctors office, try eliminating gluten from your diet, and let the results speak for themselves.  I never have stomach problems anymore and I feel great all the time, which tells me that I need to keep gluten out of my diet, but I think everyone needs to take the time to figure out how their own body operates, because everyone is different!



I would like to share this website.  I found it extremely helpful in identifying foods that contain Wheat.

http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/UVAHealth/adult_allergy /wheat.cfm



My daughter has been gluten free and yeast free for 16 months and I find it quite simple.  My rules were "no health food shop shopping", which I mostly keep to.

1.  For meals, think meat/fish/egg/tofu, veg.  That's a WIDE choice.

2.  For sandwiches, put them on GF crackers or put them in a sushi nori sheet or buy asian rice wraps -- dampen them, put the food in, and wrap like a burrito.  Also, the thin rice cakes are great!

3.  For desserts, search the web for "flourless" recipes.  I have a ton of simple recipes for cakes and cookies that I found this way.

4.  If you want chicken noodle soup, just before serving the soup, add asian rice thread noodles -- they soften without boiling and hit the spot.

5.  When you get a craving, bring a GF pizza base to your fave pizza shop and ask them to put the sauce and toppings on and bake it for you.

It just takes a shift in thinking.  We regularly go to friends' houses for meals, and I often forget to tell them our restrictions.  There's always plenty for her to eat.  And I always bring dessert!

BTW, there is a new test for Celiac that you can do even after you've been on the GF diet.  I forget the name, but google it.

Lastly, for those who can tolerate SOME gluten, oats DO have gluten now (although they didn't, historically, which is why you can find GF oats) but have low low levels.  Spelt is an ancient form of wheat, which is why it's low gluten and many people who are gluten sensitive can tolerate it.



Original Post by: northj2162

The thing that this article fails to mention is that many people do not have celiac disease, but can still have a mild to medium gluten intolerance that can be very uncomfortable.  I knew that something was wrong with my energy levels and I was having a constantly upset stomach.  I also had unexplainable mood swings.  It was recommended to me by a nutritionist that I try to go gluten-free for a month or so just to see how I felt.  The results were fantastic!  I have energy all day and my moods are way more even.  When I researched it, I found out that many people who have a gluten intolerance have been misdiagnosed as bipolar.  It is so interesting to me how much my diet can affect my quality of life!  The good things that also come from being gluten free are that you naturally tend to eat way more fruits and vegetables, and tend to cut back on sugary foods and junk foods.  I really don't feel too inconvenienced by this, and I think it has caused me to be a much more explorative cook.  I also spend less money dining out because at most places I end up ordering a salad, and I go out a lot less now that I cook so many meals at home.  The only thing that I do miss is beer - there are so many micro breweries that I love, and the gluten free beer really doesn't cut it, but I have taken to vodka sodas when I have a drink, which are way lower in calories anyhow, and pretty good once you get used to the taste.  Over all, I would skip the testing at the doctors office, try eliminating gluten from your diet, and let the results speak for themselves.  I never have stomach problems anymore and I feel great all the time, which tells me that I need to keep gluten out of my diet, but I think everyone needs to take the time to figure out how their own body operates, because everyone is different!


I couldn't have said this better myself. I re-read the blog article and felt that it would put off many people who did not have celiac disease from going gluten free.

YOU HAVE TO TRY IT BEFORE YOU DISMISS IT! It's not that hard, especially if you do not have celiac disease, just cut out wheat and other gluten containing grains and see for yourself! It really changed my life, and like I said before by following the blood type diet I lost 13lbs in 7 weeks...these were the stubborn last pounds before my ideal weight too! I get A's for nutrition every day and eat about 1500 cals average.

Every body is different, we can't all just go around eating everything all the time...our bodies were'nt designed for that.



Post Your Comment

Join Calorie Count - it's easy and free!
CREATE FREE ACCOUNT
Advertisement
Advertisement
Allergy Remedies
Is It Possible to Go Natural?
The side effects of allergy medications keep some people from using them. Natural remedies can be a great alternative, but some are more effective than others.