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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 Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  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 What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes

Gluten Addiction

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When I was eating gluten, I used to get regular cravings for pizza. Most people I've talked to crave pizza very regularly, like weekly...which is kind of strange if you think about it. And it's used often to entice people to events they don't really want to go to on college campuses because people just cannot resist pizza opportunities. I thought it was interesting that after being off gluten for 7 months, those cravings stopped. I used to not be able to resist pizza, and recently went to a place that served both regular and gluten-free pizza with some friends and just got a salad because I didn't really even WANT the pizza despite the sights and smells.

My roommate is also gluten intolerant and gorged himself on Cici's pizza last night. Today he's a mess and all he wants is another pizza or a big mac.


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I totally agree with you on this! I think in today's world, we throw the addiction word around freely and apply it liberally because it removes guilt and responsibility. Now we have people who overeat themselves into obesity but instead of calling it what it is, a behavior issue, we classify another "addiction".

One of the reasons for this is because once a behavior is classified this way, the medical profession can make money from treatments because insurance will cover the problem.

My niece is a recovering heroin addict...that's an addiction, folks! If you don't get the junk when you need it, you can convulse and die. This does not happen with food. Food, cigarettes and alcohol are powerful substances that may affect brain chemistry to a degree but you will not die from withdrawal. It will be terribly unpleasant until you break the emotional bond with whatever substance is the problem but it can be done and it is not an addiction. It's also nothing to be ashamed of either. Personal responsibility and acceptance of emotion as being the root cause goes a long way towards healing. If it were truly an addiction, you would never be able to break it without medical intervention and even then, that may not work. But we all know food, butts and booze can be conquered with hard work and the right mind set. It's natural to be upset about it and have difficulty with it but don't go into that place where you label yourself an addict. It will make a solution all the harder to achieve.

Nicely stated.

It all depends on will-power (for ANYthing, really).

Before I realized I had a gluten/wheat issue, I once forced myself to cut down on the amount of carbs I was taking in...breads and pastas. It was a rough time with cravings.

Now once I went gluten/wheat free, the things I had issues with and could not say no to were pizza, cake, and cookies. I wouldn't buy them, but my ex would. I would get up in the middle of the night with an intense desire to eat. I would look in the fridge...MMmmm cold pizza..."Num num num num num" and down went two slices. Oreo's were another issue. My favorite cookie in the world. So versatile. I could dip them in peanut butter...cover them in baker's chocolate. I could blend them in milk and vanilla icecream. I could even buy the mint ones and cover them in chocolate and have a better cookie than the Girl Scout Thin Mint. Shoot...I would give alot right now to be able to eat some oreos AND be symptom free.

I know ingesting the things we aren't supposed to over long periods of time eventually cause lots of issues...my anxiety attacks for one thing, migraines at least once a week...heart palpitations, mood swings, brain fog, eye sight probs, irregular menstrual cycles and then autoimmune problems that lead to susceptibility of getting viruses and respiratory infections. This is what I dealt with for a very very long time. Now everything is better.

So then when you GO gluten free for any amount of time, if you happen to just have one or two things here and there, imagine what you are doing to your body! It's confused...first you let it have this and that, you take it away, then you give it back....then you take it away, over and over. I would act crazy too if I were a body and was teased like that :blink: as crazy as that sounds, lol.

If you try really hard, eventually you'll be able to say no to things all the time. It took me a year to willingly NOT buy things I couldn't eat, or willingly eat things I knew was bad. I was only good sometimes. Then since august 07 I've done even better. 6 months ago I became better at NOT eating out.

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I can definitely relate to gluten cravings/addiction, whatever you want to call it. And I definitely think I am still going through some withdrawal even though it has been two months already. I have to say it is very tough. I will be full but will still want more. It's very difficult when you are receiving mixed signals: your brain tells you you want more, but your stomach says stop.

What seems to help is eating at set intervals, three meals a day: NO SNACKING. Stop eating when you are full and wait at least 3 and a half hours before your next meal.

Ummm I guess it depends on the individual...I won't say it works for everyone, but knowing from personal experience and being a former personal trainer and bodybuilder that it's proven that more than three meals a day is better for a person's over-all health. I don't have a nutrition degree, but aside the Celiac stuff (because I'm still learning), I would say I have way more than just a general knowledge of diet.

Three full meals a day with a snack in between each is best. Snacks consisting of something healthy like yogurt, veggies or fruit. Full meals should have a protein and a good side like vegetables, potato, or rice...small seving of pasta. NOT eating till you're full either...eating 6 oz of meat and 1 to 2 cups of veggies. Keeping carbs at their lowest from 4 or 5 through bedtime is better. If you workout, have a snack before-hand leaving your meal for afterwards (but not more than one hour after stopping exercise).

Not only is this a good way to keep or metabolism up and energy levels up, but it also keeps you from wanting, whether it be a craving or whatever, more food. If you plan what you'll eat each day or stay close to it as possible, your cravings for other things while waiting for your next meal won't be so bad. Train yourself to eat a healthy snack and not grab something from the snack machine. If you readily have something available, you're less likely to throw that aside and grab something else. Mind over matter. Going hours between meals is kinda hard. You get bored, you think about food/sugar...next thing you know you want a honeybun...but wait..."oh yeah, I have yogurt in the lunchbox/cooler/office fridge...I think I'll eat that instead." And most people don't even eat breakfast, so think about how many hours THAT is before lunch. Your body will crave sugar/salt...carbs.

I am no expert, but just ask the people I've trained and wrote diets for and helped with reaching their goals physically and food-wise. Also, I know it works for me :) So to each his own...

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I cried and could not sleep for the first 5 days I tried to go gluten-free. At first I thought it was just mental, I like cookies, toast, biscuits, fried food, french bread. But it was real craving

I also got mad because of hidden gluten.

There is a connection to the craving that is just physical. I tried to give coffee and dairy up 100% at first and that was just too much. I have now cut most of that out.

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I just signed up, and im glad im not the only one who has these killer cravings........ I love doner kebabs, and burger king...... all of my favourite foods.... I know now that im not going nuts from not just eating a gluten free diet... never even thought it was possible to get withdrawal symptoms....

the smell of a bakery makes me so hungry,

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Anyone who doesn't think that overeating certain foods can cause major problems including addiction has never been addicted themselves to a food. I have always had problems with Coca-Cola and chocolate in particular. It's probably the caffeine or the sugar, I've never been sure which, but my addiction to both goes way beyond it being a comfort food issue.

For the record I don't eat enough of it to even get a caffeine buzz, but I've honestly never been able to kick eating both of them for long, the cravings get so bad.

For me Coca Cola is liquid crack,and has been since I was about four.

I'm not a huge bread eater to begin with. I like it a lot when it's fresh out of the oven, but regular consumption of package bread doesn't really do much for me but I wouldn't consider myself carbs addict in terms of that, but ever since I went gluten-free it's all I can think about bread, crackers, pancakes, stuff like that.

I'm also very very hungry even after I've just eaten which is not very normal for me. I don't usually have the best appetite in the world and until I get really hungry I really don't bother too much with eating, so for me to sit here with cravings and considerable hunger all the time is really uncomfortable.

I'm hoping after the first month or so is over with, that this will get better. This is physically painful not just mentally annoying so yeah I think I do believe there is something to this little theory.

The gluten thing has not been as bad as trying to kick Coca-Cola, chocolate, or sugar in general,but it has definitely not been fun.

The posts I've read on here seem to indicate that this will pass in time. I sincerely hope so because I am not going to make it if I keep having cravings like this.

I feel like I'm giving up OxyContin or something, I guess I have been there. I had to kick those after I used them for pain after a car accident, and this is actually very similar in terms of how it's making me feel. There is definitely some kind of physical addiction going on here. It's not just mental.

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I hate to tell you this but you're just comparing one addiction to another and you're COMPLETELY INCORRECT about your addiction knowledge. I was a psych. therapist in a hospital and we handled a lot of addictions, guess which drug withdrawal we had to watch vigilantly due to it's severity? ALCOHOL WITHDRAWAL. In fact, we RARELY had to be as concerned about heroin withdrawal because those symptoms are not nearly as intense. I've seen people go into seizures from alcohol withdrawal. Case-in-point: you're very incorrect with your information.

To say that food, alcohol, and cigs are not nearly as addictive is completely ignorant. People become addicted to different things, it depends on their body chemistry, everyone does not react the same to each drug. In fact, AS SOMEONE WHO DID THERAPY WIHT MANY DRUG ADDICTS some could quit using heroin, but thought that kicking a cig. habit was the hardest thing in the world to do.

And as far as the statement "If it were truly an addiction, you would never be able to break it without medical intervention..." is NOT true. I have seen people break all sorts of clinically diagnosed addictions, without medical attention. Yes, medical intervention helps, but it is not 100% always necessary.

Instead of relying on your ONE EXPERIENCE with an addict to justify your argument, you should do some research.

An addiction is not classified as such by the extent of withdrawal, just because you can die from one and not the other does NOT MAKE IT ANY LESS DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH!!!! An addiction is an addiction is an addiction, severity of withdrawal has NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

Also, FYI food addiction is AN ADDICTION. The most addictive substances in our diets? caffeine, wheat, gluten, and sugar. Do not underestimate the power of food in your body. Breads and gluten substances increase serotonin levels in the body, they are CHEMICALLY ALTERING substances. Check it our for yourself. and even though "food addiction" is not in the DSM yet, it is being discussed and debated as we speak, if people did not think it met diagnostic criteria, then it wouldn't even be debated!

Honestly, please read up on your information before touting an uneducated opinion.

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Here's an extract from Killer Cravings (all cravings not just Gluten)


Addictive substances cause the body to become dependent on an unnatural substance for homeostatic balance. Removing it causes withdrawals. During withdrawal, the addict suffers through the painful readjustment as the body cries out for the missing substance.

In a desperate attempt to maintain homeostasis (chemical balance), the body demands the very substance that caused the imbalance.

The body

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I am so thankful to find this thread! I have been gluten-free (apart from 1 early experiment) for almost 3 weeks, and, last night, I wondered whether I was going to eventually die of fatigue. I am so relieved to learn that gluten is addictive and that I am likely experiencing withdrawal.


I realize this is not scientific data, just my experience, but within a couple of days of going off gluten my food cravings ceased. For those of you who doubt that something in food can be addictive, I can tell you that hunger is a cakewalk to deal with compared to cravings. I banished junk food from the house only to discover that I could create some with whatever I had on hand, and, in a pinch, I would get in the car and drive. I was hiding what I ate from my family as much as possible. I am almost 60 lbs overweight, have been for years (even heavier at times) and could not leave the "comfort food" alone. I never wanted to be fat, and I don't for a minute believe that most people do, yet over half of us in the USA are overweight and a third are obese. I have lost 11 lbs after going gluten free, and I have gone to my doctor for celiac testing after my first week off gluten.


For those of you who are having cravings during withdrawal, I am so sorry that is happening to you, and I hope and pray you are able to stick with it until the cravings end. Pamper yourself with some other comforts. Also, talk with your doctor or a nutritionist about supplements that might help.Best of luck to everyone.

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Just want to let you know this thread is 3 years old and the people you are replying to may not see it. 


Also, celiac testing should be done while you are still consuming gluten. Best wishes to you

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Food has a powerful impact on the body and mind period but I have a somewhat unique case as I have a history of addiction to opiates and unfortunately past eating disorders as well.When my eating disorder was at its worst it was usually when I had given up opiates and I immediately went to anything with bread or wheat to try and soothe myself.Mysteriously when I went back to the opiates my eating disorder vanished.Im saying this because after getting sober I went into the field of addiction/mental health. I am convinced that in susceptable individuals that gluten can have a powerful impact on the brain and addiction.While I have the physical symptoms after ingesting gluten like brain fog and fatigue, I also have violent bouts of anxiety, depression and  a feeling of almost mild opiate withdrawal after I accidentally ingest gluten.


I am very well versed as to what withdrawal feels like,in particular opiate withdrawal, and I agree with coldnight that our reponses are so varied and different that its impossible to make broad conclusions.There is also as coldnight said, a huge difference between addiction and dependency.While most everyones body can become dependent on a particular substance if exposed to long enough, addiction is a behavior to obtain that substance even in the face of of terrible consequences. Genetics, predisposition and life experience it what usually determines how we respond to those substances and sady I got hit on all three levels so I must be extremely careful with everything. 


Since becoming gluten intolerant (which I believe was actually triggered  when I quit smoking) I have had a MUCH harder time staying sober.Cravings for actual opiates become almost unbearable in the times right after I have ingested gluten.I thought that there had to be some sort of connection so I did some research last night and found this and then came to this site and found this thread. Makes me know Im not crazy. Im on the ultra sensitive spectrum as far as anything goes so like I said while this might sound far out I know theres got to be some tickling of opiate receptors going on.


Im def not saying everyone will have this problem and I dont want to lend to any cause for celiacs being lumped in as addicts because as catslovedi said, docs are fast to discriminate when anything about addiction comes up.Im just saying in some people I think that gluten can have a very negative impact on mental health and addiction.Anyways heres a snipet of what I found from this site( Im new here so hope I can post links, if not moderator feel free to delete).(:



Gluteomorphins: Are You an Addict?
Many people who go gluten-free claim that the diet actually makes them feel worse. This can be quite baffling if one is unfamiliar with gluteomorphins. Common in autistic children, gluteomorphins are opiod peptides formed during the digestion of the gliadin component of the gluten protein (3). For these folks, getting off of gluten can be like kicking a cocaine habit!

The discontinuance of any addictive substance will result in a period of withdrawal lasting a few days to several weeks. In the case of gluteomorphin withdrawal, symptoms can include neurochemical imbalances, altered mood, and gastrointestinal distress. Yes, gluten can be a drug.

An individual whose immune system is making antibodies to gluteomorphins will have a much tougher time in the early phases of a gluten-free diet.

Traditional gluten testing does not look for gluteomorphin antibodies.

Wrapping It Up
Ugh! I hate when my blogs turn out this long. Another antibody to look for is prodynorphin. A basic building block of endorphins, the manufacturing of prodynorphin can become depleted in gluten sensitive individuals, leading to vulnerability to drug addiction, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and a form of epilepsy (3).

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