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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Is a Gluten-free Diet Better than a Hypocaloric Diet in Fibromyalgia Patients?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Caption: Photo: CC--MST7022

    Celiac.com 07/26/2017 - People with fibromyalgia often experience symptoms similar to those seen in patients with gluten-related disorders. Could these patients have some kind of hidden gluten sensitivity? Could a gluten-free diet offer improvement in their condition? Is a gluten-free diet better than hypocaloric diet for these patients?

    A team of researchers recently set out to evaluate the effects of a gluten-free diet (GFD) compared with a hypocaloric diet (HCD) in a group of fibromyalgia patients.

    The research team included Mahmoud Slim PhD; Elena P Calandre MD; Juan M. Garcia-Leiva PhD; Fernando Rico-Villademoros MD; Roccia Molina-Barea MD; Carmen M Rodriguez-Lopez MD; and Piedad Morillas-Arques MD. They are variously affiliated with the Institute of Neurosciences "Federico Olóriz" University of Granada, Granada, and the Department of Neuroscience and Health Sciences, University of Almeria, Almeria, Spain.

    Over a 24-week period, the team fed either a gluten-free diet, or a hypo-caloric diet to adult patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Of the 75 total study subjects, 35 were randomly placed on gluten-free diet, and 40 on a hypo-caloric diet.

    The team focused mainly on symptoms related to gluten sensitivity. They also evaluated the following secondary outcomes: body mass index, Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Brief Pain Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory-II, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Short-Form Health Survey, Patient Global Impression Scale of Severity, Patient Global Impression Scale of Improvement, and adverse events.

    Their results showed that the least squares average change in the total number of gluten sensitivity symptoms from baseline were similar in both the gluten-free diet and hypo-caloric diet groups (−2.44±0.40 for the gluten-free diet; −2.10±0.37 for the hypo-caloric diet; P=0.343).

    Both diets were well tolerated, but neither was superior in terms of the remaining measured secondary outcomes. Patients in both groups saw similar beneficial outcomes in terms of fewer gluten sensitivity symptoms and improved secondary outcomes.

    However, despite better specificity, the gluten-free diet was not better than the hypo-caloric diet in reducing the number of gluten sensitivity symptoms or secondary outcomes.

    At the end of the day, the gluten-free diet was no better or worse than the hypo caloric diet in treating fibromyalgia.

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    If you have celiac disease, you should not be eating anything dairy. There are other causes to gluten intolerance besides celiac disease. I find eating toast with a glass of milk makes me ill. (Its like having the flu:belly ache, cramping, nausea). I can drink milk by itself without problems. Eating gluten-free has resulted in normal A1c´s and am no longer considered "pre-diabetic", with weight loss. My A1c´s have been 4 to 4.5 for the past two years now. I just need to keep a cereal bar with me because I actually have low blood sugar. (carbs increase blood sugar, no carbs low blood sugar). I have a number of health issues. I have mycrocytic hypochromic anemia. In a nutshell, this condition cause low iron and oxygen levels in my blood. Your body needs oxygen & iron to maintain healthy everything. This condition is often misdiagnosed because it causes symptoms of other diseases.

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    I was diagnosed with celiac disease first, then Fibromyalgia. The former (celiac disease diet) do not improve the latter. oh well. I gained a lot of weight and am pre- diabetic and I hurt. That is what celiac disease and Fibromyalgia have done to me.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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