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Is Gluten Free Diet Safe For Non Celiac


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#1 momofcdson

 
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Posted 09 February 2010 - 05:54 AM

My son was diagnosed a year ago with Celiac Disease. Since then, both my husband and I decided to go gluten free also, to make the entire house gluten free. I was sent an article that came out of Readers Digest that says it is not safe to be on this diet, if you are not celiac. Does anyone know if this is true?

"Fad Diet Danger - Gluten free diets are catching on across the country. But trying one may do more harm than good if you don't have Celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder in which your body's reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, damages the lining of your small intestine. In a new study from Spain, healthy adults who ate a gluten free diet for a month had a dramatic drop in protective gut bacteria and immunity boosting chemicals."
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#2 Jestgar

 
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Posted 09 February 2010 - 07:41 AM

I would think that if you substituted in a lot of alternative baked goods, you'd be eating a lot of starches and carbs that the average person doesn't eat. The study they quoted did just that.

If, instead, you increase your consumption of healthy fruits, veggies, and meats, and don't eat a lot of 'bread', 'cookies', 'pizza', etc, you will ultimately be healthier than the average person on an American/Western diet.

There are no nutrients that are found solely in grains, and no reason to have them in your diet (except as cheap filler).
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#3 tarnalberry

 
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Posted 09 February 2010 - 08:47 AM

That article (and the study it references) is insufficient to make a full determination on.
There shouldn't be any reason why gluten is necessary (plenty of cultures in the world lives for ages without wheat, barley, rye, or oats). Why European celiacs on a gluten free diet experienced lower levels of beneficial bacteria is unclear - you can eat healthfully gluten free, or crappily. I would stick with a healthy diet, supplement with probiotics if you feel you want to or should, and not worry about it. (But I am not a doctor! :) )
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#4 CeliacMom2008

 
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Posted 11 February 2010 - 06:29 AM

I'm not positive, so I'd do some more research; but I believe that study had a very small number of participants. If it's the same one I'm thinking about I think it was also deemed inconclusive in most of the medical society. But look into it further...

On a purely personal, extrememly small sample size - my hubby and I switched to a gluten-free household when our son was diagnosed as well. We do still eat gluten outside of the home, so we're not even a pure test...but I haven't noticed any ill effects. Of course there is no scientific basis for that, but I thought I'd share. For us, a gluten-free house is sooooo much easier. I don't have to wonder "is this safe," "did someone just put something they shouldn't have on the counter," and the like. I also like having a safe zone for my son. There's one place in the world he doesn't have to question what he eats - his home.

That said, we did notice a decrease in healthy eating with our travels through Celiac. I have a terrible sweet tooth and a new love of being in the kitchen trying new recipes. We used to only have things like cookies and cakes in the house for special occasions. I've never had will power when it came to baked goods so we just didn't buy them. Now the combination of wanting to try new things, needing to have treats on the ready for school situations (I try to freeze things, but I still eat them!), and buying things in bulk to get costs down means we have gluten free goodies around too much. It's something we are working on!!
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#5 nmlove

 
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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:24 AM

We used to only have things like cookies and cakes in the house for special occasions. I've never had will power when it came to baked goods so we just didn't buy them. Now the combination of wanting to try new things, needing to have treats on the ready for school situations (I try to freeze things, but I still eat them!), and buying things in bulk to get costs down means we have gluten free goodies around too much. It's something we are working on!!


Haha, sounds like me! In general, this is the healthiest I've ever eaten. But when we bake something, it's so hard to just freeze it for another time. But with gluten-free goodies, most taste best when first baked so... Anyway, step by step, right? By the way, Karina's chocolate chunk cookies are SO good just out of the freezer (let them rest a minute or two and then yum!).
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#6 Pac

 
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Posted 11 February 2010 - 11:53 AM

I have a terrible sweet tooth and a new love of being in the kitchen trying new recipes. We used to only have things like cookies and cakes in the house for special occasions. I've never had will power when it came to baked goods so we just didn't buy them. Now the combination of wanting to try new things, needing to have treats on the ready for school situations (I try to freeze things, but I still eat them!), and buying things in bulk to get costs down means we have gluten free goodies around too much. It's something we are working on!!


I can relate to this. :) Growing up, we never had any sweets at home, because none of us (parents and kids alike) was able to stop eating them. As a chocolate lover, I was never into cookies or baked stuff, but since going gluten free last year, I've been eating so much of it just out of curiosity. Lucky for me, I'm the only gluten-intolerant person in my family, so my simple solution is avoiding shops with gluten free flours and cookies.

As for the study. It was a trial when ten men for one month ate gluten free. Except for eating less polysacharides, they were supposedly eating the same food as before. Small numbers, short period of time, changes in nutrient composition of food and no control group. Can someone really call this a study, even though 'preliminary'? Any big change in diet is prone to cause a temporary disruption in gut flora, and since gluten grains are staples of "western" diet, I believe the dietary changes in this study weren't just minor ones. Personally I wouldn't worry too much about the results of this "study".
When I first went gluten free (in Europe), I heard/read a lot about gluten-free diet being insufficient, full of starch, low in vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre, and that celiacs should take medical supplements with those nutrients to make their diet more healthy. Most of this belief stems from simple comparison of wheat bread and gluten-free bread made of deproteined wheat starch. I admit that if someone eats just bread, pasta, pizza and very little else, then the gluten-free diet based on wheat starch is insufficient, for celiacs and non-celiacs alike though.
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#7 earthtoneNJ

 
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Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:23 PM

Ugh, I get so riled up when I hear that a gluten-free diet is somehow inadequate. I just have a hard time believing it. But then, I've been focusing on the naturally gluten-free foods, and avoiding white rice as much as possible, so my diet is meats, fish, beans, vegetables, nuts... Of course if you continue to eat white bread and refined starches, you're not eating well... But who doesn't know that already, gluten-free or not?

I do agree though that I eat more baked goodies now, because I figure I "deserve" my treats. hehehe Plus, since I always liked doing things the hard way, I find baking to be a fun challenge now. But hey, I use pretty nutrient-rich flours at least...
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#8 CeliacMom2008

 
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Posted 11 February 2010 - 07:18 PM

Just as a personal side note...this week we decided we were really going to crack down on the sugar intake...I caved tonight. I found a See's chocolate Santa from my son's stocking. I did ask before I lopped off his head and ate it...now as for the shoulders...nope, didn't ask - just chomped them down. So much for that sugarless run! We have been drinking a ton of smoothies too...
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#9 shayesmom

 
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Posted 13 February 2010 - 04:40 AM

My son was diagnosed a year ago with Celiac Disease. Since then, both my husband and I decided to go gluten free also, to make the entire house gluten free. I was sent an article that came out of Readers Digest that says it is not safe to be on this diet, if you are not celiac. Does anyone know if this is true?

"Fad Diet Danger - Gluten free diets are catching on across the country. But trying one may do more harm than good if you don't have Celiac disease - an autoimmune disorder in which your body's reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, damages the lining of your small intestine. In a new study from Spain, healthy adults who ate a gluten free diet for a month had a dramatic drop in protective gut bacteria and immunity boosting chemicals."

I think that you have to take medical information like this with a grain of salt. One study is hardly conclusive and Reader's Digest is not supplying any of the details involving the study. You're basically getting their version of what the abstract is and not the methodology.

I find it strange that the study put healthy adults on the gluten-free diet to see how it affected them. In reality, the diet is difficult to the point where no one would commit to it unless they were having serious health issues. (Does anyone else wonder if these people truly adhered to the diet? For us, that first month was one where many mistakes were made.) And I think that most have the sense to realize if the diet is making a positive difference or not. So I find the "fad diet danger" label to be suspect. Maybe I'm wrong, but it has always struck me that these articles stressing the importance of testing (in reality biopsy) and downplaying the benefits of gluten free for gluten sensitive non-Celiacs, is simply a ploy to keep people in the doctor's office and at the mercy of doctors who may or may not understand this disease. I'd much rather see an article covering the medical myths surrounding this disease so that patients could understand the pitfalls in obtaining a diagnosis.

But that's probably just me.

Anyway, our daughter is not officially dx'd with Celiac but her doctors are in agreement that she most likely does have it. Her reactions are extreme. We also have a gluten, dairy, soy and egg-free house. And my husband and I feel better than we did pre-diet days. I also avoid these foods outside of the home.

I think that the previous posters are correct in their statements that a whole food diet can be much more healthful than trying to replace bad carbs with more bad carbs. From an evolutionary perspective, humans really don't need to eat a lot of grains. So I wouldn't worry too much about what Reader's Digest has to say. You are going to be much better at assessing your family's health than they are.
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