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what you should know about a gluten free diet

Gluten-Free Eating: Important for Some, Not Necessary for Everybody

Avoidance of wheat gluten is leading to a growth in sales of gluten-free food, but not everybody who buys them really needs them.



Gluten-Free Eating: Important for Some, Not Necessary for Everybody

Avoiding wheat means fewer choices for people with celiac disease.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Walk down the aisles of any grocery store nowadays and for every box of crackers, you’re likely to see its gluten-free counterpart a few aisles over. One of the faster-growing sectors of the food industry, gluten-free foods have multiplied over the fast few years, mostly due to the growing need of people with celiac disease—which, according to a new study published in this month’s issue of Gastroenterology, is four times more common today than it was 50 years ago. However, many people are opting to go on a restrictive gluten-free diet because they think it’s healthier. But is it really?

THE DETAILS: Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that causes affected individuals to have an immune-system reaction to the protein gluten, which is found in wheat (all types, including semolina, durum, spelt, kamut, and faro), rye, and barley. The reaction triggered by the gluten damages the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing nutrients, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies that harm the brain, nervous system, bones, liver, and other organs, as well as stunt the growth of children with the disorder. Symptoms of celiac disease make it difficult to diagnose, as they can be vague and hard to pinpoint, for instance, diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, unexplained weight loss or gain, and unexplained anemia.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, one in 133 people are afflicted with the disorder, but nearly 97 percent of them go undiagnosed. And that can actually shorten people’s life spans, based on the results of the study published in Gastroenterology. The authors followed 9,133 Air Force personnel for 45 years and found that members with undiagnosed celiac were four times more likely to die within those 45 years than people who’d been diagnosed with the disease.

Filed Under: DIGESTIVE HEALTH, GLUTEN-FREE FOOD

Published on: July 16, 2009



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gluten sensitivity symptoms

DNA testing & gluten intolerance

It's good to have a discussion about gluten 'issues' - I'm pleased to see most of the comments encourage folks to listen to their bodies & continue an emphasis on whole foods, when making the shift toward gluten free.

2 years ago, my daughter sent off genetic samples (a cheek swab) to entero lab in TX for testing, & found that she & her 2 daughters each had 2 genes for 'gluten intolerance,' while her husband has one for intolerance & one for celiac. Her symptoms included heart palpitations from anxiety for the preceding 12 years. Those stopped about 4 days into the GF diet!

Her oldest daughter was on anti-seizure medication for petit mal seizures, the younger girl tended toward tantrums & hyper behavior. We also have a family history of Dyslexia, one of the 'alphabet soup' of learning issues that can be helped by going Gluten Free. (folks with ADD, ADHD, & Autism often respond well to a GF diet). The older girl is small for her age.

The younger girl was 4, & her playschool switched to gluten free snacks, but her little hands continued to be rough until they switched the flour used in the homemade play-doh to GF (rice flour works fine).
The girls are now 6 & 11, the older girl has been medication (& seizure) free for a year now; & her reading scores have improved. The younger girl rarely goes out of control, & can now swallow digestive enzymes & probiotics.
I should mention that in 2008, & again in 2010, year my daughter had bloodwork done for allergies, & is ALLERGIC to egg yolks, peanuts, almonds & several other items, but NOT to wheat! Yet she IS intolerant, by genetic testing.

Though I wasn't tested, I lived next door to their family, & decided since I passed on one gene for intolerance, I might as well go GF with them, as it would be easier for the girls as well as healthier for me in the long run. The article doesn't mention that once one goes gluten free, in most cases, their health care costs drop.

As so many others mention, I feel better now that I'm gluten free, though I didn't feel 'sick' before! I lost ~ 15-20# of that 'post-menopause' weight I thought I was stuck with, & again have a normal waist. I rarely feel I need an afternoon nap (If I ate bread, I'd often be sleepy in the afternoon) though I can still enjoy one. My scalp no longer itches (my daughter has DH, considered by some to be a form of Celiac) since switching to GF shampoos & conditioners. "Brain fog" is a thing of the past.
My dear friends, with their heavy waistlines & laundry list of health complaints, say "Oh, I'm sorry you can't eat this" (Sticky, yucky, glue-ten laden product) ... & I smile & eat something delicious, perhaps a piece of fresh, in season fruit!

Gluten intolerance is thought to plague 1/3 - 1/4 of the population, & you can imagine if only a few folks with 'celiac disease' have been diagnosed, how few who are intolerant know it! And since blood tests will show allergies, but not intolerance, most doctors don't recognize the need to recommend a GF diet to 1/3 of their patients! (or perhaps a higher number, since so many auto-immune & other diseases, MS, Parkinsons, arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, etc, seem to be related to gluten 'issues.')

Yes, if one relies on refined flour products to 'replace' refined wheat products, there could be deficiencies. I would suggest that from my research on this subject, the deficiencies in those of us who are intolerant or have Celiac began with gluten's interference with proper nutrient absorption! We do take high quality nutrients including a multi-vitamin, extra Vitamin D-3 & Magnesium, all depleted by the 'grain-damage.' We also take fish-oil caps, probiotics & digestive enzymes, & are careful to buy allergen free, high quality brands.

So, rather than 'waiting to see' if your doctor, who hasn't been tested for gluten intolerance HIM(HER)SELF, decides that you "might" have Celiac ... & decides to order blood tests (which will probably turn out negative), I agree with many Gluten Free health care providers & suggest that if you have ANY of the symptoms of gluten intolerance, go Gluten Free for 6-8 weeks, & see how you feel! If one person in a family has already been diagnosed with Celiac or is gluten intolerant, there's a high risk that other family members do as well, & should also be tested or go Gluten free! The genetic testing will bear this out.
Gluten Free RN & Celiac Nurse are two wonderful on the web health care providers who can help with great information & suggestions on regaining optimum health, once you've gone gluten free.
They both suggest, as I would, that you focus on eating a variety of whole foods, OG & locally grown where possible. Get a collection of gluten free flours & experiment with GF recipes. Cut back on sugar, take good supplements, drink pure water, & grow a garden!!

And try new vegetables, think of ways to use veggies rather than breads (zucchini for 'pizzas' or lasagna ... so many delicious options!) I have quinoa & amaranth growing in my garden, older forms of spinach, & great for greens as well as grain (seed) production. I just ordered seeds for fall gardening, including Magentaspreen & Orach (two more quinoa relatives) .... enjoy your gluten free lifestyle, & fabulous health!

Sceptics take note....

Sceptics take note, there is now too much evidence that a gluten free diet can have positive health benefits to those who are wheat intollerant. I haven't cut wheat out all together but I do eat less than I did before, I also take omega 3 oil, ginseng and buy silver collidal, my energy levels are way up. That's just my opinion, but what have you got to lose by going gluten free for 10 days and trying it out?

re

Hey all ,
I was diagnosed with Celiac's in March of this year. It is still diffuclt for me to eat foods of gluten free nature. It takes a long time to figure all the ingredients out on products. Hopefully someday that all of us can understand what the actually cause of the disease is. Take care and good luck with everything. baza firm | katalog firm

Great post

This was one of the most well documented blog entries I have read in a long time. It was a pleasure to fill all the gaps I had about this topic. Well written an concise.
Thankyou.
clarinet repair

Gluten-free

I have had RA for some 20 years, and am now in a wheelchair. I told my Rheumatolist that I thought I was having a reaction to foods, especially wheat and other carbs. He told me I was in "denial".

So, I didn't listen to my body and gut, and now I can't walk. LISTEN to your body and TRUST our instincts! I wished I had back then. but am now! I never went back to that doctor! I am now off all medications. Make sure you take care of yourself so you don't have to rely on a wheelchair lift for the rest of your life.

Gluten-free is the way to be.

Gluten Intolerance - Eating OK Foods not that hard...

Since cutting out wheat products a year ago, I feel better than I have in over 20 years. A GP had prescribed me a stomach acid medicine [that purple pill} and wanted to put me on arthritis medicine. I freaked out, I'm only 55 I thought. I didnt want to start down that slippery slope.

So, I did some research and saw that wheat/gluten intolerances can cause my very symptoms [bloating, feeling like someone had punched me in the stomach for 5-6 hrs - ugh]. I stopped pasta, bread, gravies, most sauces, flour tortillas.

In short, I woke up after only 10 days and felt like a new person. I lost almost 30 lbs in 45 days, and I was EATING MORE but eating foods not intolerant to me. I now buy jeans 4 SIZES smaller and can run up the stairs without panting. My lovely rings are once again on my non-painful fingers after 20 years of being in my jewelry box unworn.

I started and am still on an "elemental" diet - baked chicken, fish, steaks, pork chops, rice, QUINOA, potatoes and yams, but without sauces and gravies that use flour to thicken. Its NOT hard to eat well like this, folks!

I also take Omega oils and a good multivitamin, check the labels. I write down product and the mfgrs on a cheat sheet to take to the grocers. Fast and simple. Got about 7-8 recipes I have altered them to fit my non-wheat/gluten requir3ments. You only cook about that many different ones anyway. Its not hard to do!

The simplest thing to do is just go on a simple diet for 2-3 weeks, keep a food diary and note any bloating, stiffness in joints, patchy skin, fatigue, or insomnia, etc. Take that diary to the dr and see what he/she says.. if she just writes out a scrip, find someone else who'll LISTEN to you!

Wheat and Gluten Intolerance

If you have any of the symptoms described above, do yourself a favor and seek the help of a Kinesiologist! I was diagnosed by Chiropractor/Kinesiologist, Wayne Hogan, DC in Mechanicville NY 5 years ago and have been "behaving" myself by following his recommendations, including taking herbal supplements on a daily basis. There were no blood or skin scratch tests, only muscle resistance testing with the suspected irritant on my stomach. This is specially helpful for small children and individuals afraid of needles. It is not hocus pocus, it is real! I am living proof and so are many others who have had the opportunity to be tested by a Kinesiologist. Prior to being diagnosed I had severe bone aches, extremely low blood pressure, sinus infections, acne,severe itchy skin, bloating, lack of energy you name it I had it. My gallbladder wasn't working properly and my doctor send me to a surgeon. BTW, I still have my gallbladder and nolonger have any issues! In the past 5 years I have been to my PCP for a physical and 1 sinus infection. I feel great and I lost 30 pounds in 12 months by staying away from Dairy and Wheat! Take contol of your own health! Don't take another pill you are only masking the symptoms! You are not taking care of the problem! Here is to good Health! God Bless!

Celiac Disease

When my mom was diagnosed with Celiac almost 20 years ago we thought we were going to loose her. Her doctor told us she had alzheimers and just wasn't eating. I have been online looking for all the information that I could find and HyVee has a list you can call about or go online with and get a complete list of every food sold by them in the store that is gluten free. They sent it free of charge to my mom when I ordered it. Thought this might help some of you be able to know what is gluten free a little eaiser. It sure has helped my Mom and me to do the best for her diet. Thanks.

Celiac

I am a 76 year old male. I was diagnosed as having celiac when I was 11 months old and was gluten free until I was around 6. At that point, the symptoms left me and I ate a normal diet. I wanted to play football, but was too thin. I went through school, college and the navy eating everything.
At age 46 I endured six weeks of intense diarrhea and lost ten pounds. I was then rediagnosed as having celiac and went off of gluten. My problems disappeared overnight. Within a few weeks I regained my weight and have over the past 30 years put on twenty more pounds. My feeling is that if you have a disease and it can be controlled by diet, with no medications, you are very lucky.

gLUTEN-FREE dIET

I was diagnosed with Celiac's in March of this year. It is still diffuclt for me to eat foods of gluten free nature. It takes a long time to figure all the ingredients out on products. Hopefully someday that all of us can understand what the actually cause of the disease is. Take care and good luck with everything.

I got psoriasis

I got psoriasis. Never had it, then boom! in my 20's, a sudden thing. I'm a walking Selsum Blue and Head n Shoulder's case, and I stopped wearing dark shirts. Its on my body, groin, legs n thighs, arms, head, even on my face (waaah!)

My mom and some siblings have celiac's or varying degrees of wheat sensitivity.

Only thing that helps is salt water (I'm an east coast surfer), sun but not much. And the metallic / crude oil smelling ointments my doc prescribes.

I decided to not eat wheat, well since some reports say close family chocks on +5% chance of being susceptible. Four days later, the flakes n scales clears from the everywhere. I still got the psoriasis (bit on the elbows / groin area), but its 90% less and the flakes from my head are non existant except a few bits an pieces.

Just like in the military, your weapon was made by the lowest bidder, when dealing with Western medicine, its your medicine was made with how much money can this make?

I'd bet my life (well I really can't b/c its a uber gift that can't be bet) so I'll use my "priceless" visa card, US medical research has came across "silver bullets" for AIDS, cancer etc, but don't release it because you can make more money off of sick people for a long time, but not off of insta cures.

Well the best thing is trama and symptom treatment. The trick is they can make money off of sick ppl but not dead people. We got that down. But for overall health, long term heal issue prevention, nah. I mean look @ US, highest health issues. You got dudes n dudettes in Europe eating cream, croissants, sugar n tea, pasta 24x 7 and US still has the best obesity rates around.

diet

Dr. Neal Barnard has good information about diet and eliminating triggers with an elimination diet. He has information about many conditions including food sensitivities, inflammatory pain and immune problems. The book contains some recipes as well as information. One of his books is "Food That Fights Pain". He has a web site on the net.

Gluten Free Health

I don't think any wheat or gluten intolerance is temporary. I went through a year of losing weight, feeling run down, running a low grade fever and constant diahrea and no one could tell me what was wrong - I had every test that the doctors could think of and still nothing. In desperation, I tried a rotation diet. The only time that I felt better was when I didn't eat wheat/gluten so even though I am not a diagnosed Celiac, I eat only gluten free food. It is definitely healthier for me - I was beginning to look anorexic

gluten

I have had RA for some 20 yearts, and am now in a wheelchair. I told my Rheumatolist that I thought I was having a reaction to foods,especially wheat and other carbs. He told me I was in "denial". So, I didn't listen to my body and gut, and now I can't walk. LISTEN to your body and TRUST our instincts! I wished I had back then. but am now! I never went back to that doctor! I am now off all medications. Thank you, God!

diagnosing and living with "harmful" foods

Following 3 bouts of bronchitis in 4 months, I went searching for answers. By happenstance I discovered millet caused an asthmatic reaction. This set off a chain of events... what else could cause these problems and are the symptoms causing me to be more susceptible to illness? You bet! Blood tests (Complement Antigen Test) revealed 21 foods harmful to me of 144. Additional skin prick tests over four weeks confirmed those and revealed numerous other harmful foods. Food challenges then revealed specific symptoms for each "harmful" food: digestive, asthmatic or anaphylactic symptoms.
The catch? Not all allergists want to test for food allergies because food allergies are not treated with desensitization shots (they can't make more money). We spent tons of time on the internet researching labs for blood testing, and much time interviewing allergists personally. Finally we found an allergist who had food allergies himself and truly understood my difficulties!
So, along with the four shots a week for airborne allergies, I now choose to eat healthy and eat only whole foods, totally avoiding "harmful" foods. I carry a business-size card: one side has printed "GOOD FOOD" in green, the other "BAD FOOD" in red. Chefs are wonderful and eager for the challenge to try to create a new dish from the few items on the "good" side while avoiding the "bad" side. I avoid all pre-packaged foods. It's a learning experience, but feeling well is worth the effort.
I'm always armed with an emergency kit for asthma or anaphylaxis, just in case, but it's truly wonderful to know I can go out socially and be able to eat. I try to pass the waitress my card while she's handing out menus. I apologize up front for the difficulty and explain the situation. This gives the server an opportunity to talk with the chef and suggest something for my dinner by the time everyone else is ready to order.
Hats off to the food service industry for their diligence in serving "alternative" meals for "handicapped" diners. In our numerous outings, only once have we encountered a server that didn't want to be bothered (but her manager had no problem!).

Gluten Free Diets

Going gluten free opens the door to adding some
of the more under utilized grains in Mother Nature's
cupboard. Buy expanding your nutritional repertoire
you gain access to many nutrients, flavors, and textures
not normally present in the Standard American Diet. Enjoy
the journey!

wheat reaction

I went on a wheat free (not gluten free) and dairy free diet for at least 9 months. I did find my complexion improved. I hadn't linked it to wheat until I read your entry. You have a very viable point. My reason to eliminate wheat was due to having low blood sugar and testing to see whether it would improve my energy. Due to life circumstances I couldn't afford to continue the diet and I attributed my returning breakouts to stress. However I do believe it may be due to the wheat. I hope to cut back on the wheat completely again, as budgets allow. My favorite pasta substitute is quinoa. It works in place of cous cous or rice but is much healthier. I hope this helps.

health information on MSN

I find much of the health information on MSN to be bunk. Sorry, but it is what it is. I love MSN but not Business or Health/Medicine/Alternative Medicine areas.
Selling meds, outdated info, or faddish treatments is the norm. Is this section paid by the Medicine Business - pharms, ins.,AMA, hospitals? Or does it all come from remaindered material from the '80's? It can do much harm. It is no service. If you are going to present it, check the information and sources and more than one please! Get It Right!You are costing people not just money but their health!

allergies

i have been tested and am allergic to wheat, rye,barley,flax,oats and bran. The main problem I had was major sinus problems and puffy, itchy watery eyes and headaches. I have many other food allergies but these foods above really set off these problems. Following a gluten free diet has relieved me of about 90% of my problems.

Diabetics/Hypoglycemics

If you have high or low blood sugar, check out carbs. Some break down so quickly into sugar that they can cause problems. So while you might avoid "sugar", you might be substituting for something just as harmful. Since a GF diet generally focuses on more fruits & veggies, you might benefit from that. Watch out for some those fruits, though!

breads etc

Allergy testing done in the US is almost useless. Do your own testing, as you have, in your own body. If all you have is a skin reaction, you might count yourself lucky, but you know you can't eat wheat. If you continue to eat it, you could go on to more serious and disabling problems.

Delayed hypersensitivity reactions to Foods

Certain people have immune mediated problems caused by foods. These are called delayed hypersensitivity reactions and are in the same family as poison ivy rash. They are definitely immune system reactions, and cause much suffering. The only thing to go is to go on line and start researching. These delayed hypersensitivity reactions are now being implicated in autoimmune disease like MS, crohn's, IBS, rheumatory arthritis, the major mental illnesses, thyroid disease, Type I and II diabetes and even more. Celiac is the end stage of a glutin sensitivity. Catch it before you almost kill yourself. Why not do a more accurate article that reflects up to date knowledge? The Rodale publishers used to be trustable for information, but not any more.

Gluten-free diet

Here's something to consider: compared to 20-30 years ago, how many more carbs are Americans eating? (Cookies, crackers, snacks, etc. seem to be a constant inhalation!) When you think about it, if the very high carb diet is not so healthy, all you're doing is switching to gluten-free carbs. You're not changing your habits, just the ingredients in the diet. Because the GF items ARE so much more expensive, it's actually cheaper to choose fresh fruits & veggies.

By the way, I am celiac, and while I do miss being able to just casually eat a sandwich or other things without thinking about it, I've adjusted. Yes, I occasionally buy GF items or make them myself. I jokingly say that I buy my junk food at the health food market!

What a healthy diet is seems to be the thing nobody can (or wants to) agree on.

celiac

I have read this whole artical and I have celiac. I have researched and the best place to get your info is from the Canadian celiac association. I have been to many doctors, Dietitions and with all my research that I have done, the diet is much healthier, for everyone. So please do your research and do not go by one artical that I believe is incorrect.

reply to IDK

Honestly, you should get tested by an allergist. There might be something in your diet that you are allergic too and it might not have anything to do with breads/yeast or flour products.

Seriously, go to your doctor say you want an allergy test to see if there is anything in your diet that makes you break out. The doctor might even know what is going on without having you take an allergy test or a blood test...

Reaction from eating breads/yeast or flour products

I do not know about being gluten intolerant, but if someone has the same symptoms as I do, please share what you have found out. I have self diagnosed myself a few years back, I use to eat breads, etc. and had a slight acne problem. Then i went on a no breads/flour diet and when I treated myself to a subway sandwich, the only thing that was altered is that I ate the bread, everything else I ate was on my normal diet plan. Within 2 days I had medium size sores on the perimeter of my face? Then I tried it a couple more times and it seems like that is the situation, does anyone know why this is happening to me and can I correct it? Sometimes even eating gluten free products causes this to happen, I stay away from those foods completely and nothing happens.

Why bother if you are not Celiac?

This article is absolutely on the money when it comes to Celiac Disease and gluten free eating. Understandably, if someone has a wheat or gluten intolerance, there can be issues, only temporary ones at least. When you have Celiac, as I was diagnosed this past year, everything changes! The immediate effects are one thing, but, the problems you can face in the future are quite another. What you are no longer able to eat/drink is beyond what anyone who has never tried it can believe. Bakery breads, no more. Most everything on the grocery store center aisles, not. Beer, forget about it. Making pasta for the family, be sure you buy your own version. The food is much more expensive, not as easy to get in all markets as this article suggests, and not as good as its wheat counter parts. Personally, I don't think it's any healthier - and my doctor actually apologized when he told me...

gluten-sensitivity has multiple causes

I don't think I have celiac, but I seem to have gluten intolerance. It took forever to figure out. Doctors have minimized the IBS-like side-effects I suffered with for years. No one ever asked about the allergies that run in my family. For the longest time, my throat itched after meals. I never knew why. I've been off gluten for a few days and already feel some relief. Maybe someday there will be more recognition for the various causes of food intolerance. And more resources for people with comorbid intolerances. I don't tolerate dairy well so I have removed this, too. Just because a reaction isn't anaphylactic doesn't mean it's not serious. Having digestive symptoms can really complicate someone's life, and if a modified diet helps, it should be viewed as an important, if not celebrated attribute of one's health.

there is more here than celiac disease...

I don't have celiac disease, but I know I am sensitive to gluten and fiber, so much so that it is necessary for me to avoid wheat (and other sources of gluten) most of the time. I can eat a little and manage alright.

My point is that I think there are other food sensitivities that may necessitate the avoidance of gluten (and other foods) that are NOT celiac disease but still a problem.

I think the best thing for anyone who suspects a food sensitivity is to go on a diet that includes only the simplest of foods (until all problems have subsided) and then start adding suspected problem foods. Your body will react quickly and obviously to an irritant at that time and you will know what to avoid from then on.

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