Celiac.com 10/31/2011 - Dr. Arthur Agatston, the doctor who created the bestselling South Beach Diet, is now claiming that many of the non-weight-loss benefits claimed by people following his diet are due to the elimination of gluten.

Agatston says that “the South Beach gluten solution is to eliminate all wheat products, rye, barley. That means you can't drink beer for about a month."

Photo: CC--tabula_electronicaFor the first two weeks of the diet, dieters eat only lean protein, nuts, beans and plenty of vegetables, and consume no wheat, barley or rye products. For some people, giving up gluten has caused more than weight loss. Some people have claimed extra energy, elimination of acid reflux, or even clearing of psoriasis after going gluten-free.

Agatston points to Novak Djokovic as a famous example of someone who has benefited from eliminating gluten from his diet.

“Djokavic turned around his career. He was always great but he would fade in the fourth and fight set until he went off gluten,” said Agatston.

This year Djokovic went on a huge winning streak that resulted in victories at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Dr. Agatston's own nurse practitioner Clarissa Gregory noticed a dramatic difference in her acid reflux after just a few days of gluten elimination.

Gregory admits to being skeptical when Agatston first encouraged her to give up gluten for a few weeks. However, she said she felt so bad at the time that she gave it a try, "and literally within two days, it was unbelievable."
 
 In what Dr. Agatston sees as another gluten-related success, he tells the story of a patient “…who went on phase one primarily for weight loss had horrible psoriasis and was about to go on a very toxic medication to clear it , and on the first phase of the diet which is wheat free her psoriasis completely disappeared.” 

The rapidly rising number of gluten-free breads, pastas and other products now on the market make it easier than ever to enjoy a delicious, nutritious gluten-free diet.

Agatston adds that avoiding items made with white rice and sugar is a good way to avoid gaining unwanted weight during the transition.
 
Lastly, Agatston notes that gluten intolerance affects many children. He advises parents of children with stomach issues, skin problems or allergies, to talk with their pediatrician about how a gluten free trial might help symptoms improve.

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