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Why Do Some People With Celiac Disease Look So Healthy And Other's Don't


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32 replies to this topic

#1 Ms. Skinny Chic

 
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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:26 PM

I have been on the celiac diet less than 1 year now. I see so many people with celiac disease on television and etc. Everyone looks so healthy and they seem to be a great weight also.
Someone people here seem to have gained weight with celiac disease and others lost weight.
I have always been a skinny girl.. I am on the losing end.
It is hard to maintain this lifestyle at times without the occassional gluten accident..
I have tried to bake my own breads and things... everything turns out terrible.
I wasn't a great cook pre-celiac disease....
When, does it get easier????
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#2 samcarter

 
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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:45 PM

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. It's been my experience (since i have another autoimmune disease as well) that such disease effect everybody differently. I have psoriasis, but it's not covering my entire body or even large portions like it does on some people. Why? No idea.

I think it's the same way with celiac. Some people look great. Some people have a harder time healing than others. For some it takes a long time, for others it takes less time. I'm an overweight celiac. I have always been slightly overweight, and going gluten free, I've lost maybe five pounds, but people tell me I look thinner. I've lost some water retention, I think.

To put on weight, maybe you need to up the healthy fats in your diet. Avocadoes, fatty fish like salmon, good meats. Eggs that are high in omega-3 (or whatever that good omega fat is supposed to be). Nuts, if you're not allergic.

It's also possible you have other food intolerances, such as dairy. I had to cut out dairy, as well as foods I have allergies to, in order to start REALLY feeling better, rather than just "better than I did before".

As for baking bread, I am a fantastic baker and I have hit-or-miss luck with gluten free baked goods. At this point, I have just decided to not bother with sandwich breads. I eat salads with gluten free crackers, meat, veggies, rice, potatoes, fruit, eggs, you get the picture. Whole foods. Most baked goods aren't that good for you anyway, and just because they're gluten free doesn't mean they're healthier.
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Negative EMA test 8/08
Gluten free 8/08
Positive response to dietary change
Dairy free 3/09
Citrus free 5/09
Allergies: bananas, apples, green beans, mold.

#3 foodiegurl

 
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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:53 PM

I remember one of the first time I went out to eat after going gluten-free..I was at this falafel place and asking about what was safe, etc... And the guy working there was like, "you look healthy, i would never of thought you had celiac". I am still stumped by that statement. Am I supposed to look sick? :(

I guess when I heard that, it depressed me and made me think to myself..wow, i am sick, i have a chronic illness, even though i don't feel like i do (for now). But since being gluten-free, I have been 100% about it, and have no plans to cheat.
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Anne in Chicago
Pescatarian since 2005
Diagnosed by blood test February 2009, biopsy June 2009, at age 36
Gluten-free since 3.16.2009

#4 Salax

 
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Posted 06 May 2009 - 01:44 PM

I am an overweight celiac as well (why couldn't I get the weight loss symptom!) Any ways people tell me the same thing that I don't look sick. Untill I actually don't feel good. Then they can tell. I look "toxic" as my father puts it, my eyes are glossy, I am not bright and cheerfull and my face looks paler (I am already pale to begin with) but it's strange....I always felt sick and I thought I looked sick. But I guess it's different for everyone.
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Salax
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Celiac Disease - Gluten Free since Feb 2009,
Cow Milk &  Corn free - June 2012,
Gall Bladder Failure - Removed July 2009,
Colitis, Hashimotos Disease, & Diverticulitis

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
( )_( )
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(")_(") Eat your vegetables!


#5 GottaSki

 
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Posted 06 May 2009 - 04:22 PM

Another overweight celiac here...in fact my chief complaint to docs over the years was that I keep gaining weight with no explanation...I've gained 60 lbs in 20 years and for most if not all of those I was eating very well balanced meals and exercised a good amount. Every single doc dismissed it usually along with a wink, wink look of - sure, you are eating right and exercise enough. Those that know me well also could not understand how I could do so much and eat so little and look like I eat junk food all day long.

Anyway...here I am gluten-free for 42 days and while I'm not certain I've lost weight I look thinner...I think I've been bloated in more than my tummy for years! The cloud that I've been walking around with for a long time seems to be lifting...I am still bloating everyday...just not as badly. My joints are far from happy, but do feel better as well. It is after 5pm and I feel decent...it is a very good day.

I sure wish everyone would expand the symptom list based on this site...For goodness sake...even when family and friends are trying to understand and learn about celiac for themselves they ask -- but you aren't thin or underweight!
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-Lisa

Undiagnosed Celiac Disease ~ 43 years

3/26/09 gluten-free - dignosed celiac - blood 3/3/09, biopsy 3/26/09, double DQ2 / single DQ8 positive

10/25/13 - MCAD

Health history since celiac diagnosis became too long -- moved to the "about me" section of my profile

My children and I all have multiple copies of the genes for Celiac Disease, along with large variety of symptoms/resolution gluten-free

Current tally from me, three kids and two grands: 4 diagnosed with Celiac Disease, 2 NCGS

Get PROPERLY tested BEFORE REMOVING GLUTEN.

ALWAYS independently research health related information found on internet forums/blogs.

"LTES" a Gem :)


#6 NorthernElf

 
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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:44 AM

First of all, pretty much anyone on tv has a crew of make up artists, hair stylists, and wardrobe consultants. <_<

Seriously though, a diligent celiac should look healthy - I think the celiac diet is a pretty healthy one. Think of all the processed stuff one can't eat - it's easier to stick with fruits, vegetables, unprocessed meats - than to risk glutening.

I'm one of those leaner celiacs. When I get glutened I do look sick. I get sinus/migraine headaches and lovely dark circles around my eyes. I get very bloated out. Maybe my smaller frame makes it more obvious. I've heard that some people 'look' celiac...I think it has to do with the dark circles and leanness. HOWEVER - if one is eating gluten-free one shouldn't have that "celiac" look.

Of course, if all celiacs looked like celiacs (should there be such a look for everyone) it wouldn't take so darn long to find the right diagnosis...the average celiac takes 11 years to get diagnosed !!! Ugh.
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#7 Ms. Skinny Chic

 
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Posted 07 May 2009 - 06:57 AM

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. It's been my experience (since i have another autoimmune disease as well) that such disease effect everybody differently. I have psoriasis, but it's not covering my entire body or even large portions like it does on some people. Why? No idea.

I think it's the same way with celiac. Some people look great. Some people have a harder time healing than others. For some it takes a long time, for others it takes less time. I'm an overweight celiac. I have always been slightly overweight, and going gluten free, I've lost maybe five pounds, but people tell me I look thinner. I've lost some water retention, I think.

To put on weight, maybe you need to up the healthy fats in your diet. Avocadoes, fatty fish like salmon, good meats. Eggs that are high in omega-3 (or whatever that good omega fat is supposed to be). Nuts, if you're not allergic.

It's also possible you have other food intolerances, such as dairy. I had to cut out dairy, as well as foods I have allergies to, in order to start REALLY feeling better, rather than just "better than I did before".

As for baking bread, I am a fantastic baker and I have hit-or-miss luck with gluten free baked goods. At this point, I have just decided to not bother with sandwich breads. I eat salads with gluten free crackers, meat, veggies, rice, potatoes, fruit, eggs, you get the picture. Whole foods. Most baked goods aren't that good for you anyway, and just because they're gluten free doesn't mean they're healthier.




Thanks for the advice. I have a problem with dairy, I think too... Dairy is the easiest milk for me at the moment.. I have worse issues with the other milks ( rice and soy). They really make me sick.I am eating lots of red meats... I eat steaks 1 or 2 times a week and fish is part of diet too.. I am done with baking anway, the last time.. I made gluten-free bread it was hard as a rock on the outside and not done on the inside...yuck...
Obviously, baking is not the right thing for me...
I had some skin issues, before starting the gluten free diet with eczema... I don't have any skin issues currently.
I don't know, if I will ever have control over this diet... All my attempts at getting healthy have been a complete failure.
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#8 northernsunshine

 
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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:03 AM

I looked sick before my diagnosis. I probably started looking better a few months into the diet. One day, quite recently, I looked in the mirror and realized I was back. I'm no longer bloated, my skin is glowy, my hair is shiny again. It took a year on the diet to get to this point. As for weight issues, I weigh five pounds less than I did when I was sick. I was already at a good weight. Now I'm at my dream perfect weight (I'm very short so five pounds packs quite a bit of punch on me.)
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#9 lizard00

 
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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:11 AM

Thanks for the advice. I have a problem with dairy, I think too... Dairy is the easiest milk for me at the moment.. I have worse issues with the other milks ( rice and soy). They really make me sick.I am eating lots of red meats... I eat steaks 1 or 2 times a week and fish is part of diet too.. I am done with baking anway, the last time.. I made gluten-free bread it was hard as a rock on the outside and not done on the inside...yuck...
Obviously, baking is not the right thing for me...
I had some skin issues, before starting the gluten free diet with eczema... I don't have any skin issues currently.
I don't know, if I will ever have control over this diet... All my attempts at getting healthy have been a complete failure.


Sounds like you have already made some progress. Stick with it, you will get control. The first couple of months are hard, there's no way around it. Gluten is everywhere, in things you would NEVER suspect, and you never think about it until you have to. It's a completely new way of looking at things.

You don't really need all that baked stuff anyway. Much of it is empty calories. Concentrate on whole foods, fatty fish, nuts, etc, as the others have said. That way you gain healthy weight, and not all the bad things that accompany eating junk food just for the sake of gaining weight.

Our bodies are all different. While I never lost drastic amounts of weight, I didn't look healthy either. A lot of people were worried about me because I had circles under my eyes, was tired, didn't have much color, etc. But it was only people who knew me well. I didn't look like I was dying, but to those who knew me, I didn't look healthy.

Stay positive!!
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Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
Oscar Wilde

Gluten free November 2007
IgA Deficient, Neg Bloodwork, Double DQ2 Positive
Dietary and Genetic Diagnosis June 2, 2008
Soy free Jan 09

#10 northernsunshine

 
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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:32 AM

Thanks for the advice. I have a problem with dairy, I think too... Dairy is the easiest milk for me at the moment.. I have worse issues with the other milks ( rice and soy). They really make me sick.I am eating lots of red meats... I eat steaks 1 or 2 times a week and fish is part of diet too.. I am done with baking anway, the last time.. I made gluten-free bread it was hard as a rock on the outside and not done on the inside...yuck...
Obviously, baking is not the right thing for me...
I had some skin issues, before starting the gluten free diet with eczema... I don't have any skin issues currently.
I don't know, if I will ever have control over this diet... All my attempts at getting healthy have been a complete failure.


I hate gluten-free baking too. Maybe when the gluten-free Betty Crocker mixes come out I'll try again. I eat a lot of meat and fish now and a ton of Kind bars. If you can eat nuts they are the bomb.
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#11 samcarter

 
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Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:39 AM

Thanks for the advice. I have a problem with dairy, I think too... Dairy is the easiest milk for me at the moment.. I have worse issues with the other milks ( rice and soy). They really make me sick.I am eating lots of red meats... I eat steaks 1 or 2 times a week and fish is part of diet too.. I am done with baking anway, the last time.. I made gluten-free bread it was hard as a rock on the outside and not done on the inside...yuck...
Obviously, baking is not the right thing for me...
I had some skin issues, before starting the gluten free diet with eczema... I don't have any skin issues currently.
I don't know, if I will ever have control over this diet... All my attempts at getting healthy have been a complete failure.


Are you allergic to nuts? If not, I would suggest almond milk. I prefer the taste over rice and soy, though I do use soy on my cereal (it's the milk the rest of the household uses, so it's just convenient to me).

Yep, don't worry about baking. Seek out foods that are naturally gluten free. Potatoes, steak like you're eating (mmm, steak), and again, avocadoes and other healthy fats.

There's always a learning curve to the gluten free diet. I had a hard time letting go of dairy. I leaned heavily on cheese after I gave up bread. It sounds like you've had a positive response with your eczema clearing, that's great! Don't give up.
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Negative EMA test 8/08
Gluten free 8/08
Positive response to dietary change
Dairy free 3/09
Citrus free 5/09
Allergies: bananas, apples, green beans, mold.

#12 Lexi

 
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Posted 07 May 2009 - 06:24 PM

I was wondering the same thing. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about a year and a half ago, and everytime I see a picture of myself, I feel like I look sickly. I am about 102 pounds, and my family thinks I'm too thin, but I am perfectly happy at this weight. I just want to look and feel and look healthy. I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia today. I think chronic pain wears a person down physically and mentally.
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#13 teemaree

 
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Posted 08 May 2009 - 08:31 AM

I got a real indication last week at how bad I must look...
I was at work, I work at a cinema, and I served a lady, I had never seen or known her and she said to me....
Are you alright?..... I smiled at her and said "yeah I'm alright"
she then again said.... Are your sure your okay?... I laughed and said "yeah I'm fine "
She then said "Health wise, I mean?....is your health alright?"

I found this odd to be asked this, and I said, ohhh I have celiac, guess that's a health problem

She said you truly do not look well....

Then the other day my mother in law rang me, and said you need to get more help,
You shocking people with the way you look... she said that my sister-in-law who hadn't seen me in approx 3 months, said I was unrecognizable, she would never of believed that the person she saw standing before her was me...

besides the drastic weight loss, my mother in law went onto say....

you seem like a shell, you no longer have the glimmer in your eyes, you look like noone is inside your body... well not the person we know as always spirited and enthusiastic, that spread infectious laughter into other people... it's so hard seeing you like this, is there anything we can do to help you..
clean your house?... anything..... we want you better, your so distant ,we want YOU back.


If only they knew, I want " ME "back also...................
All my friends make comments, and continually ask me am I alright?..... people have even asked my husband am I dying of something?

So in answer to your question.... I'm so looking forward to looking healthy again!!!...............because with all these types of comments, I must look dreadful!
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#14 AWonderTree

 
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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:56 AM

Another overweight celiac here...in fact my chief complaint to docs over the years was that I keep gaining weight with no explanation.


It's my understanding that weight loss from celiac disease is from having damaged villi that are unable to absorb food properly. That makes sense to me, but I haven't heard an explanation for weight gain. Can somebody please explain how it would happen?
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#15 JNBunnie1

 
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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:13 PM

It's my understanding that weight loss from celiac disease is from having damaged villi that are unable to absorb food properly. That makes sense to me, but I haven't heard an explanation for weight gain. Can somebody please explain how it would happen?

It's actually more related to nutrient deficiencies. Certain metabolisms, like mine, when deprived of nutrients will lose weight until people start asking if you're ok. Other metabolisms are the kind where you may be short on nutrients, but as long as you're getting any calories at all your body will hold them tight and not release any of them, turning them into fat. I don't know the underlying reason for this metabolic discrepancy, but a number of overweight people will lose weight when improving their nutrition even without reducing caloric intake. Basically the body has two reactions to high-calorie malnutrition: either lose or gain weight. It's been my experience that most people are very much one or the other, and not a lot of people at time of diagnosis are a pretty normal weight and continue to be after going gluten free, most swing one way or the other.
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