Celiac, Dieting and Body Weight
- By Carol Frilegh
- Published 12/27/2007
I am 79 an undiagnosed Celiac, since March 2000. I had chronic sinus infections and fluctuating weight, lost 86 pounds, got pneumonia, and needed antibiotic and Prednisone. I also got MCS and Latex Allergy. Unable to eat without pain, I started The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). Things began to improve at once. I am not cured but SCD has been effective in managing the Celiac and helped improve my damaged immune system. It is a bit stricter than the gluten-free casein-free diet, but
I still perch on the digital Tanita weigh scale the first thing every morning--jiggling a bit from side to side to push the number lower (Despite the fact the read-out rarely changes or wanders, bad habits die hard). Seeing the same number continues to surprise because my weight fluctuated wildly from 1944 until shortly before I started a celiac diet in 2000. The numbers ranged from 136 pounds at age twelve to 219 pounds in 1988.
Now I am comfortably settled in at a healthy weight and still rejoice along with my family physician over the last eight years of stability and a good BMI.
Obesity is rarely associated with celiac disease. Typically, weight loss is reported and a history of low body weight despite excessive caloric intake.
In young women with undiagnosed celiac disease, this is often mistaken as an 'eating behavior disorder'. Nutrients from food do not get absorbed properly. I didn't fit the profile and had worked hard to lose 86 pounds sometime before celiac disease presented. There is a strong possibility that the weight loss lowered my immune system and made me vulnerable to the pneumonia that followed and leveled my tolerance to food and the environment. Your immune system ordinarily keeps you from getting sick, but in someone with celiac disease, the body starts damaging and destroying the villi. Without villi, a person's body can't absorb vitamins and nutrients from food.
In order to to be sure my diet is balanced and has the proper nutrients, I have continued to keep track of daily food intake and calories.
I also take gluten free, starch free, yeast free, and soy free vitamins daily. I am able to choose some calorie dense foods, notably Medjool dates and almond butter without obsessing. It seems to be the lack of starchy foods and grain that make the difference.
Another SCD-er who has lost 180 pounds (and is still losing) is our best gourmet cook, writing a cookbook and including her tale about continuing on Specific Carbohydrate Diet throughout the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.
Satiety and variety are great assets derived from life on Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
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