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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Horrible Slate Article
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70 posts in this topic

I am posting as a new member of this board....

So what if someone wants to adopt a gluten-free diet as a healthy choice?

Those of us reading and posting on this board are here for a reason. Either you have a confirmed diagnosis, or you are suffering symptoms for which you suspect or are wondering if gluten is the culprit, or you have a family member who is affected. We are looking at a gluten free diet as a way to remedy or at least provide relief from these physical problems.

Let's say I wasn't desperately seeking relief for my daughter - and I really wish I weren't - but had stumbled across Elizabeth's Hasselhoff's book. And I embrace the possibility that a glutten free diet for myself would be a means of both better nutrition and losing a few unwanted pounds.

I don't think that would be any different than my observations several years ago when my father in law was diagnosed with diabetes and he got dietary instruction as part of his treatment plan. It was a very balanced plan and it did help him. A side effect was that he lost weight. At the time, I encouraged my husband (who was trying to lose weight) to adopt this plan. My husband didn't have diabetes; I just thought it could help him achieve his personal goals.

A meal plan or an exercise regimen might very well be targeted to a specific problem but could very well benefit any one else not suffering from those specific issues.

I say let's not be judgemental.

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I'm going to duck down behind my couch and ask this question: Isn't there something of value in this article? Can we assume that EVERYONE on a gluten-free diet who isn't a celiac is doing it for the "right" reasons? Isn't there some worth in asking why gluten-free diets are on the rise, without jumping to the conclusion that it's just better for everyone to avoid gluten? I'm not saying no one who isn't a diagnosed celiac should keep on eating gluten. People can eat whatever they want, and more gluten-free food is better for those who want or need to eat it. I'm also not saying that only celiacs benefit from a gluten-free diet. I'm only saying that I like asking questions (which is why I'm in academics). I wouldn't shout down this writer. It's worth the conversation. E-mail him, sure, but I, personally, am not going to gather the torches and the pitchforks.

1. Most of the data he cited for celiac disease was correct, but he was attacking those following a gluten-free diet wouitht a celiac diagnosis. He said that non-celiac gluten intolerance is not identifiable by laboratory tests. That is patently incorrect and dismissive of those who are gluten sensitive without villous atrophy. There is at least a 15 fold increase of gluten sensitivity, as measured by serum anti-gliadin antibodies, as compared with celiac disease.

2. There is value of questioning many things provided one does not attack based on personal bias and intolerance. Given his careless disregard for the facts, I'd say that this article qualifies as slanted, unwarranted and baseless attack on those who follow a gluten-free diet in the absence of a celiac diagnosis.

3. There are many studies showing that the EMA and tTG are missing as much as 50% of milder cases of gluten induced villous atrophy. Because of his sloppy research, seronegative celiacs are thus being criticized for following a diet that is, by his own admission, healthful for them.

4. Who is best equipped to judge whether the removal of a particular food is making them healthier? A physician? A lab technician? A journalist? or the person who has chosen a restrictive, often inconvenient diet? My vote is for the latter.

5. Asking questions is usually a good thing. However, discrediting individuals for their dietary choices, especially when they often have to overcome resistance from relatives and friends, based sloppy, inadequate research is not very valuable to anyone.

6. I emailed the writer the same day I read his article. He hasn't responded.

7. Academic questioning and skepticism can be very valuable. But if we don't first do our homework, the questions we ask are foolish and reflect that we are ill informed. That is what this article reflects. Unfortunately, because he is an artful and effective writer, he has quite effectively discredited many folks who are trying to help their children despite a resistant spouse or members of the extended family who, because they see the child as deprived, "treat" her or him with tasty and addictive gluten foods.

rh+

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One thing that SHOULD be written about is the unfairness of the astronomical price of gluten free foods. Of course many companies out there are jumping on the bandwagon and producing it because there is a lot of money to be made! For anything that comes into the limelight, there will be someone wanting to make a buck.

I try not to buy prepackaged gluten free items as much because it is truly killing my grocery budget. Fresh meat, fruits, vegetables are much healthier anyway. But when I see gluten free pasta or mixes that cost 3 times as much as the regular variety I get so discouraged. Does rice flour really cost that much?

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rh+

Mr.Engber provided links to backup his statements. I would greatly appreciate if you could provide valid links to back up your statements number 1 and number 3. :) I would prefer they would be from either a .gov or a .edu site. I don't have a much faith in .com sites.

Thank you

When I first read this article, it made me angry. Why?

Along with his cited information, he makes a lot of assumptions, and assigns emotions to eating:

According to a 2006 study in Journal of the Pancreas, a colony of lab rats subsisting on low-carb, high-fat food pellets ended up with less pancreatic α-amylase, an enzyme that helps break down complex carbohydrates. Now imagine that you've cut out gluten from your diet completely
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As a "non officially diagnosed" gluten intolerant person, who has had other auto immune problems for her entire adult life, including many neurological symptoms which mimiced MS, and who SELF DIAGNOSED based on a brain scan, showing lesions, that the doctor told me STILL had nothing to do with my diet,

I was infuriated by the grotesque "food trolling attitude" of the original article.

SO, if you just signed up here with an account, in order to defend yourself or whoever wrote that garbage, bring it on.

I would be more than happy to tear your stupid publication's desire for cheaply attained internet hits apart, line by line.

Why don't you do an article next week on the neurotic need for type I diabetics to use insulin to alter the way their body can process dietary carbohydrates, when everybody knows that if they just would have better emotional control and self esteem they could enjoy all the candy bars they wanted ?

:angry:

Or are women with auto immune diseases just all continuously lumped into the "hysterical" category with people with emotional issues ?

Please continue to promote the selfish attitude that it is really difficult and annoying to hang around with people eating differently in social settings.

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Or are women with auto immune diseases just all continuously lumped into the "hysterical" category with people with emotional issues ?

I think many of them are. Especially during the many years it takes for proper diagnosis of autoimmune disease. I believe that is the category I've been lumped into, since I have no concrete lab results to explain my symptoms. Going on 7 years of trying to figure it out now. <_<

Michelle

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Most of the latest estimates I have read have increased the number to 1 in 100. I don't have citations for this statement.

Mushroom - You are right. Here ya go, just in case someone wants it backed up... :-)

"The prevalence of coeliac disease is estimated to be one in 100 in the general population, although only 10-15 per cent of these are thought to have been clinically diagnosed. While many of the remainder will feel well, a significant minority will have chronic health problems such as GI symptoms, the effects of anaemia and lethargy. These symptoms may result in recurrent consultations with GPs and extensive investigations without a concluding diagnosis.

Coeliac disease can be effectively treated simply by a switch to agluten-free diet so it is important for GPs to identify people with undiagnosed disease to improve their health."

Butt, S.. (2009, June). New guidelines on coeliac disease. GP,28-29. Retrieved August 3, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Trade & Industry. (Document ID: 1785584191)

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I think I'm really missing something here. How is "bogeyman" insulting? It's saying it's something people are worried about. I don't think he's say AT ALL that some people are making things up and don't feel better when they're off gluten. I think he's saying we need to look more at why (is it because they're just paying more attention to what they eat in general?) and why people are doing it without medical indication - but not saying that doing it without medical indication is bad, or means it's all in your head, or anything. And he certainly isn't diminishing what happens to celiacs who eat gluten; it's just that the article isn't about that. Again, I guess it's my background, but I think these are questions we should be asking, and the more we look into things, in general, the better informed we all are. If people never ask why non-celiacs sometimes respond badly to gluten, we'll never find out, you know? And I don't think we can completely dismiss the idea that there may be a couple of people out there who are eating gluten-free who don't need to be because it isn't improving their health to do so. I know someone who decided to go gluten-free to see if it cleared her mind, but it didn't, and she quit before long.

I defintly agree with your view on the article. I actually thought it wasn't that bad the first time I read it through...but I do think he could've wrote it in more of a way that you are writing with the questioning of "why" and then look at the possibilities....

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It was a well written article which led to questioning celiac disease in myself and now probable pending diagnosis. Thumbs down to the Slate article.

:lol: "It" refers to an article other than the Slate article.

It was a well written article (not the Slate article) that led to my questioning celiac disease in myself. The Slate article was the opposite to the one I referred to. Currently awaiting blood test result. Looking forward to feeling better whatever the result!

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I just wanted to alert those interested here that there are some excellent responses from the original author of the Slate article, along with more replies from Ron Hoggan at:

http://www.celiac.com/articles/21874/1/Ron...late/Page1.html

Take care,

Scott

Thanks for posting the link. It was appretiated.

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I suppose my biggest issue with this article is that it is nutritionally inaccurate.

Humans do not need grains for nutrition. Period. I have heard of no medical condition in which a grain free diet would be detrimental. There is no nutrient you can't get from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and meat/fish. So it can't hurt you to be grain free. So why write an article suggesting that the new 'fad' is in any way detrimental to people's health? I suppose it hit me the same way it hit another poster- advertising. They need to sell more grain, and less people are eating it. Uh-oh.

Yes, the author was off-base when claiming non-Celiac gluten intolerance is not clinically diagnosable. But it annoys me more that people are still pushing the food pyramid '5 servings a day' crap.

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I suppose my biggest issue with this article is that it is nutritionally inaccurate.

Humans do not need grains for nutrition. Period. I have heard of no medical condition in which a grain free diet would be detrimental. There is no nutrient you can't get from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and meat/fish. So it can't hurt you to be grain free. So why write an article suggesting that the new 'fad' is in any way detrimental to people's health? I suppose it hit me the same way it hit another poster- advertising. They need to sell more grain, and less people are eating it. Uh-oh.

Yes, the author was off-base when claiming non-Celiac gluten intolerance is not clinically diagnosable. But it annoys me more that people are still pushing the food pyramid '5 servings a day' crap.

Amen!

You go, girl! :)

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I'm new to this Forum, but have been been receiving regular updates from Celiac.coom for over a year now. I don't want to step on toes or start another word war, but there is definitley something called Gluten Sensitivity, and it is very real. I know. I have it.

I have been sick since the birth of my daughter nine years ago. Each time another new malady comes up, the conventional doctor wants to put me on another drug. Up until Aug 2008, I was on 12 prescription meds at the age of 40 years. Yep. Before I moved to where I now live 12 years ago, I never took a prescription med 24/7 in my life. That in itself is enough to make me see boiling red. But that's another article. I have managed to get myself off 7 of those RX meds, and am still working on the other 5 meds.

My route to a normal, healthy life has been my own responsibility. Naively, I thought my conventional doctor and even my Integration Doctor would actually want to help me get better. Nope. It's all me. Next, I'm going to look for a Naturopathic doctor. They seem to be the only ones who are really and truly interested in helping one heal. But that's also another story for another time.

Any one who stands in my face and says I'm not Gluten Intolerant, I'll flat out call them a liar. The first two tests my Integration Doctor made me take was one for heavy metal toxicity (VERY TOXIC!) and the SIgA test. I am severely intolerant to soy and Gliadin (my score was 81; anything over 15 U/ml is positive), and I have an allergy to milk casein protein. I have since learned that many people with Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease also test positive for soy intolerance and casein allergy--or at least lactose intolerance.

I went on a gluten-free diet for five months, then off so I could do a Gluten Challenge. After all the endoscopies were done, no Celiac. Took the genetic test; highly doubtful I'll ever have Celiac. Yay me! But boy, was I sicker than a dog after I finally was done with all this testing and could go back to eating a gluten-free diet again. I'm still trying to get my body back since I did that challenge, and it ended the first part of June. Now I am having problems with my liver enzymes/tests going high, and my cholesterol going high, and all these "areas" that are linked with problems with gluten/giadin, going way up.

And am I getting help from my two doctors? No. My Integration Doctor, who has special naturopathic training AFTER her 4 year medical degree, just told me that I probably am getting fatty liver disease and insulin resistance. That's it. That's all. No, try this supplement or do this (well, other than to cut all grains out and just eat meat, veges, and fruit). In fact, she didn't seem concerned at all that I might be in the process of developing diabetes--or trying to help me stay clear of getting diabetes.

Okay. That one, of course, clearly shocked me. I thought an Integration Doctor went into being an Integration Doctor specifically because she wanted to help me help myself get better. Or maybe that's only for those who have a lot of money and can come see her all the time. Hmm.

All I know is, ever since I've discovered I'm intolerant to soy, gliadin, have a casein allergy, and also have 21 other food intolerances, according to my Lame Advertisement test, I don't really trust anyone anymore. Just myself, my body, and what I'm finding on my own to help cure myself. My daughter also needs help, although she didn't test positive for any of the IgA test, but I also haven't had a chance to get her tested for other food intolerances through Lame Advertisement (I have to pay these lab tests myself). We both, though, are horribly, horribly depleted in nutritional elements.

Sorry to rant so long, but those of us with gluten intolerance are just as sick as those of you with celiac disease. The only difference is, my gluten intolerance won't eat away at my villi. But I suffer from all the other maladies associated with celiac disease/gluten intolerance/gliadin as the rest of you. So let's not divide the camp, but rather, work together to help people understand this disease.

Thank you.

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I don't think anyone's arguing - or at least, I am CERTAINLY not arguing - that there's no such thing as gluten intolerance. Not at all. All I'm saying is, asking why some people go on a gluten-free diet with no medical indication isn't a bad thing to do. You were very sick while eating gluten, and going on a gluten-free diet makes total sense for you, and I'm very glad you did and that you feel better. But there are people out there for whom going gluten-free makes no health difference. It's a way to limit their food intake, to be trendy, to get attention, because they mistakenly think it's healthier in general. I know people like that. They don't worry about cross-contamination, they cheat when they want, they don't read labels, they're not sick. I wonder why they're doing this, and I'm glad someone's asking why. And if we all say, "We're doing it because it makes us feel better," that's a good thing, and can lead to more research. I do have diagnosed celiac disease, but I don't think one has to be to feel better on a gluten-free diet. Not at all.

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I'm going to duck down behind my couch and ask this question: Isn't there something of value in this article? Can we assume that EVERYONE on a gluten-free diet who isn't a celiac is doing it for the "right" reasons? Isn't there some worth in asking why gluten-free diets are on the rise, without jumping to the conclusion that it's just better for everyone to avoid gluten? I'm not saying no one who isn't a diagnosed celiac should keep on eating gluten. People can eat whatever they want, and more gluten-free food is better for those who want or need to eat it. I'm also not saying that only celiacs benefit from a gluten-free diet. I'm only saying that I like asking questions (which is why I'm in academics). I wouldn't shout down this writer. It's worth the conversation. E-mail him, sure, but I, personally, am not going to gather the torches and the pitchforks.

Gluten free food is higher in calories though because it has a higher carb concentration. It doesn't seem logical to switch to a gluten-free diet unless you have proven or suspected insensitivity. His article is very misleading. Look at the debate: http://www.celiac.com/articles/21874/1/Ron...late/Page1.html

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Gluten free food is higher in calories though because it has a higher carb concentration. It doesn't seem logical to switch to a gluten-free diet unless you have proven or suspected insensitivity. His article is very misleading. Look at the debate: http://www.celiac.com/articles/21874/1/Ron...late/Page1.html

I'm not sure I see your point. I accept your premise that gluten-free food is higher in calories. Your argument, then, is that it is not logical to switch to a gluten-free diet unless you have a problem with gluten. Okay; so then, why are you saying his argument is misleading? And why is that a response to my point? I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to understand.

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Gluten free food is higher in calories though because it has a higher carb concentration. It doesn't seem logical to switch to a gluten-free diet unless you have proven or suspected insensitivity. His article is very misleading. Look at the debate: http://www.celiac.com/articles/21874/1/Ron...late/Page1.html

That's only if you eat lots of expensive, processed substitutes. A potato eaten before you go gluten free has no fewer calories than the one you eat after going gluten free. The cup of rice eaten before going gluten free has no fewer calories than the cup of rice after going gluten free. Hot cereals (outside of cream of rice) have *fewer* simple carbohydrates than most packaged cereals. And beans have fewer simple carbohydrates than pastas and grains that might otherwise take their place as, say, a side dish.

It doesn't seem illogical to eliminate something that isn't needed in a diet. Whether or not you add in unhealthy things is entirely up to you, and true whether you go gluten free or not.

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The words of this article totally undermine those who have severe, even life-threatening "gluten intolerance" or undiagnosed celiac. There are plenty of people--many here on this board--who for various reasons were not diagnosed with celiac, yet were either later diagnosed with celiac, or who were diagnosed with severe gluten intolerance. They need to avoid gluten every bit as much as those with an official celiac diagnosis.

For that matter, who is able to judge the merits of those who "feel better" on the gluten-free diet? If someone's diarrhea and tummy aches go away on a gluten-free diet, it's certainly possible, maybe even likely, that they may be far less likely to develop an autoimmune disorder if they stay on a gluten-free diet.

I noticed that there were only 2 comments posted under that article. I would have been happy to add mine, but the Slate website added 9 cookies to my computer, and made me sit through an advertisement before I could read the article. I couldn't leave the site fast enough!

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