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costellosfriend

Atkins And Celiac

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Hi all:

I'm new here and don't have a diagnosis of celiac. I have a history of tummy problems going back to childhood and even had an upper GI when I was 12 to see if I had an ulcer. In my early 20's a doctor slapped a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome on me (I'm almost 45 now), but I've never really had any special treatment for that. Nor have I made any special dietary changes.

As I've gotten older my digestive problems have become more irritating. I was a vegan for about 4 years, so I blamed a high fiber diet for my frequent bowel movements (3 to 6 a day). Even though the bowel movements were frequent, I didn't consider it diarrhea, because they were not watery. They were very soft and messy (hard to wipe off without water) and light-colored, however.

I've wondered occasionally about celiac, but since I'm very overweight I decided that probably wasn't me. And the idea of going to a doctor with the idea - well, I didn't want to be laughed out of the office!

In late July I started the Atkins diet. My life-long insomnia cleared up immediately and my mood improved. Then my bowel movements changed - became darker, firmer, don't float, etc. I also had a normal period - which I haven't had in several years (I'm not in menopause; I've had that checked with a blood test).

Since I wasn't losing weight, I stopped the Atkins and gradually I had a return of my problems.

Three days ago I went back on Atkins and already I'm seeing the changes again.

Obviously the induction phase of Atkins eliminates the foods that would have gluten in it. But it eliminates tons of other stuff too. I don't really want to go to a doctor with this, because I just don't like doctors. I've suffered from extreme fatigue and gradual weight gain for years but have learned not to ask doctors for help. They tell me there's nothing wrong with me.

Should I try the gluten free diet and see if it's the elimination of gluten that's making Atkins clear up my symptoms? If it is celiac, will I gain more weight if I go on the gluten-free diet? I'm already over 220 lbs. I can't afford to gain more.

Thanks for any thoughts.

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Hi - and welcome! If you don't care about getting a formal diagnosis, then sure - try the diet and see what happens! The big caveat here is that if you ever DO want an actual diagnosis, you have to be eating gluten, and plenty of it, to get accurate test results. So most people here recommend to do whatever testing you want done before you go gluten-free.

As for weight loss after going gluten-free, it seems to be a mixed bag: some people gain, some people lose effortlessly. Personally, I didn't see much change just from going gluten-free. However, I've been doing South Beach for about 6 months, and I've lost 15 pounds so far (hoping to lose 5 or 10 more). I'd recommend giving South Beach a look; IMHO it's a lot better balanced and certainly more sustainable than Atkins. It doesn't even really feel like a diet to me; it's just the way I eat now, and I feel better than I've ever felt before in my life! If you're interested, there's a South Beach discussion board at http://www.southbeach-diet-plan.com/ that I've found very helpful.

Good luck!

Jeanne

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I'm sure others will chime in . . . but here are some short answers to your questions:

If I were you, I would definitely try a gluten free diet to see if it is the gluten that is causing your problems. It won't hurt you, and it may provide answers to health issues you've been plauged with for years. Considering the improvement in the last few days, I think you've already discovered that SOMETHING in your diet is causing your problems. One of the best ways to determine if that SOMETHING is gluten, is to just add gluten itself back in for a couple of days. (Eat plain puffed wheat or maybe even try drinking some vital wheat gluten in water . . . I'm not saying it will taste good, but if it is the only addition you make to your diet, you will be able to determine whether a return of symptoms comes from the return of gluten or not.)

Alternatively, slowly add back in the other things that Atkins restricts (just plain potatoes, then just plain corn, then just plain rice, etc.), giving each item a several-days trial and keeping a "food/symptom" journal so you can see when your symptoms return. If you add everything but gluteny grains and your symptoms stay gone, you've got your answer.

And about the weight: celiac prevents the appropriate absorption of nutrients. For some people, this means that they lose tons of weight because they are starving to death. For others, this means their bodies go into "starvation mode" and pack on all the fat they can because it is OBVIOUSLY a time of famine! Many celiacs who are overweight while eating gluten LOSE weight once they stop eating gluten because they start absorbing nutrients and their bodies decide that the time of famine is over. I believe that nini (on this forum) has stated that she lost about 100 lbs. once she stopped eating gluten. Maybe she'll chime in.

Good luck, and welcome to the forum!

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What a great forum! Two helpful replies so quickly!

Jeanne, others have recommended South Beach to me also. I may go ahead and switch to it in time. Atkins is tough to stick to.

Betsy, I like the idea of gradually adding foods back to my diet. I think I'll stick to Atkins for another week or two, then add foods back one at a time and see what results I get.

Thanks again for the rapid responses to my question. :)

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Hi,

Just wanted to add my 2 cents :D . Before I had even heard of celiac I was on the Atkins diet for 2 years. Initially I started it to lose 40 lbs (which I did) but I stayed on it for so long because I felt soooo much better on the diet. I ended up going off the diet (and I won't go into the long story of why). Since going off the diet I gained all the weight back and more. I have also had stomach pains, joint pain, back pain, depression, headaches, hair loss, compulsive eating, etc. My sister was diagnosed with celiac and told me about it. I had the blood tests (as you can see in my signature) which were negative. I have had a very positive response with the gluten-free lifestyle (I don't even want to call it a diet- because it is a lifetime lifestyle change).

I guess what I'm getting at is if you feel better on Atkins - you will probably feel better on gluten-free. To me it seems easier than Atkins (except for the hidden gluten) because I can have fruit, rice, corn & potatoes.

Good luck :rolleyes:


Jackie

hypothyroid 1991

back surgery for herniated disk 1997

gallbladder removed 2004

knee & back pain, depression and headaches for too many years to count

Negative labwork for IGG & IGA 8/3/06

Decided not to have anymore tests. Started gluten-free on 8/7/06.

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Thanks for the feedback, Jackie. I saw my doctor yesterday - a bariatric doctor. She "officially" put me on Atkins. I see her again in early December, so I'm going to try to stay with the Atkins induction phase until then and see what she says. God willing, I'll lose a few pounds by then. :rolleyes:

Hopefully she'll let me start adding other foods back in eventually, and I'll get to test gluten.

I did find this article on Medline:

Novel presentation of coeliac disease after following the Atkins' low carbohydrate diet. It's in the Sept 2005 issue of Gut.

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I once lost 30 pounds on Atkins and felt great. I stopped after a while and gradually felt worse. I have always tried to eat low carb to control weight and I now wonder if this is what may have given me a false negative blood test ? I now am loving gluten-free as I can eat carbs without bloat !


Diagnosed May 2006 - Hashimotos Thyroid after being diagnosed in 1977 and told it didn't matter.

Diagnosed June 2006 with adrenal insufficiency.

Diagnosed June 2006 as Gluten Intolerant after I failed the Challenge Diet. Negative blood test.No biopsy.

Diagnosed June 2006 as B12 low. Needed weekly injections for a year.Still have them every 2 weeks.

Trialled Dairy Free Diet and reacted positively to that challenge in January 07.

News Flash! Coeliac Genetic Testing done April 08 . DQ2 Positive !

Diagnosed July 2010 FODMAP. Limits on Fructose, lactose, polyols, fructans. NO ONION! But I can have hard cheese, butter and cream again!!!

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I'm a regular participant in a low carb forum and it is amazing how many people say that low carb cleared up some health problem for them. Personally, I think it was that they got off wheat.

Unfortunately there are a lot of low carb products out there that are FULL of gluten because... unfortunately... gluten is the pure protein part of wheat so you can make low carb stuff out of it. This is what actually made my IBS worse. So avoid that stuff!

Get familiar with what contains gluten (there are many surprises) and do a strict gluten free diet whether it is low carb or not. One of the staples on a low carb diet is usually dairy products and I found that those also wreck me. So now I'm off gluten and dairy and I feel better than I have in ages!

If you want some sort of a test, you could always get one done with enterolab.com. They can detect the antibodies for a year from going gluten-free.

Good luck!

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Thanks, Nancy. I was wondering how much I'm eating has gluten in it - even on the low carb diet. Since I'm not used to thinking about it, I'm not aware of what all it's in. I'll have to do some research.

I may try enterolab.com.

Thanks again!

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The Atkins diet is what led me to the gluten free diet. I follow the Atkins diet faithfully and it has worked wonders for me. It is easy to follow a diet that alowed me to lose a lot of weight and makes me feel good.


If all the world is indeed a stage and we are merely players then will someone give me the script because I have no f!@#$%^ clue as to what is going on!

What does not kill you makes you stronger.

Nobody cares about losers and quitters never win. If you fail with the cowards then what's the message you send?

Can't get it right, no matter what I do. Might as well be me and keep fu@$ing up for you. - Brian Thomas (Halloween, the greatest metal band ever!)

Ian Moore. Self diagnosed at 36 because the doctors were clueless.

Started low-carb diet early 2004, felt better but not totally gluten-free. Went 100% gluten-free early 2005 and life has never been better.

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Hello All,

Just came back from a doctor's appointment (more aptly put, doctor's 'disappointment'). Like many others, I to was diagnosed with IBS over 20 years ago (as a teen) but like many others was never given any real direction as to changes in diet, lifestyle, etc. thus have continued to tolerate less than optimum health since. Again, like so many others I went on the Atkins diet to lose a few pounds. I could not believe the results. I dropped 20 pounds in 3 months (please keep in mind I was also extremely active, ie. squash, rowing, etc. which clearly added to my expedited weight loss). I managed to keep most of the weight off until just recently when I suffered a form of amnesia (also known as a loss of "knowing better") and started eating all the foods I know are not 'good' for me. The short of my tale is this, I am fairly certain I have Celiac Disease. I am fairly certian my younger brother does as well. Unfortunately, when I brought this up with my physician today, he was quite quick to point out that I would need a scope & biopsy for a conclusive diagnosis and that first I should go gluten-free and see if it changes anything. I told him as he was walking away from me that I have already done so with exemplary results to my overall health and well-being. That was the end of his conversation.

Is it fair to assume that this a typical response from most health care profressionals? How necessary is it for me to have a diagnosis of this? Will it make any difference as to how I control the issue?

So glad to have found this forum.

C

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With ot without diagnosis, the treatment is a gluten free diet. I don't know if having a diagnosis would result in more follow up testing for vitamin deficiensies, osteoporosis, that kind of thing, it might, without a diagnosis your docs might not feel the need to do those. On the other hand having a diagnosis can make it more difficult to get health insurance. There are arguments either way.

Pauliina

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One problem I forsee for you on a gluten-free diet is the carby gluten free stuff is even more highly refined and much starchier and higher in carbs than what you're replacing. I think everyone goes a little nuts on the gluten-free replacement foods at first, I know I did. I would suggest you adopt a diet that has plenty of whole foods that haven't had a lot of processing. Meat, veggies, fruit, nuts. Grains aren't really necessary to nutrition, you can get all the micronutrients you need out of other foods, but they can really pack the pound on you! A piece of this rice based bread I found had 120 calories per slice versus the 40-80 calories in wheat bread. This is just really typical.

I do some low carb/gluten free baking using things like flax meal, almond flour, coconut flour but only as special treats.

Good luck! I can recommend a forum with great low carb recipes if you want to stick to your diet.

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If you feel better on the diet and eliminating gluten helps - go for it!!

My daughter was overweight - looked pregnant and puffy faced at 11... fatigue and migraines.

She has slimmed out - the bloated "pregnant" look is gone! Her butt and legs slimmed out and all we did was go gluten free, we did get the diagnosis first but you dont need one to go gluten free - it is simply a different way of eating.

I wish doctors would get rid of the notion that a person has to be thin to be celaic.

We were blessed with ped GI who focused on symptoms and Kathyrn's emphatic statements: I get sick when I eat bread or spagetti - I dont want to eat it, it makes me feel crappy!!!


Sandy

Type 1 diabetes - 1986

hypothyroid -1993

pernicious anemia

premature atrial beats

neuropathy

retinopathy

daughter is: age 15

central hypotonia and developmental delay

balance issues (rides an adult 3 wheel bike)

hypothyroid 1996

dermatographia - a form of angioedema 2002

celiac 2004 - by endoscopy

diagnosed Aspergers at age 7 - responded very well (HUGE difference) to gluten-free diet

recovered from Kawasaki (2003)

lactose intolerant - figured out in Oct/06

Gilberts syndrome (April/07)

allergy to stinging insects

scoliosis Jan 2008

nightshade intolerance - figured out April 2008

allergy to Sulfa antibiotics

son is 13

type 1 diabetic - 2003 diagnosed on his 9th birthday

celiac - 2004 by endoscopy

lactose intolerant - figured out Nov/06

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