am I allergic to gluten

(image thanks to kelownaceliac.org)

This article from the New York Times brings out some good points, but unfortunately starts out with the draconian nature of avoiding gluten.

This might be good marketing for the writer, but it’s the typical way of criticizing anything that is really healthy for you. You can’t possibly do those things because most people don’t do those things. Don’t bother being healthy, it’s so un-American.

Oh the humanity. Then there is the argument that this is just a fad. Of course, if everyone were feeling great and their health was just fine, then people wouldn’t be jumping on this issue. People are seeking answers, and enough people are finding them by avoiding gluten that the market is growing, rapidly.

My only concern, don’t replace all of the glutenous food with the same things that are gluten free. It may healthier, but it still isn’t health food. Gluten free cookies are still junk food. Replace the gluten with more vegetables, nuts, meats, and fruit. It’s an opportunity to learn how to truly eat healthy food. Then use the gluten free specialty products sparingly.

Excerpt:

Now medical experts largely agree that there is a condition related to gluten other than celiac. In 2011 a panel of celiac experts convened in Oslo and settled on a medical term for this malady: non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

What they still do not know: how many people have gluten sensitivity, what its long-term effects are, or even how to reliably identify it. Indeed, they do not really know what the illness is.

The definition is less a diagnosis than a description — someone who does not have celiac, but whose health improves on a gluten-free diet and worsens again if gluten is eaten. It could even be more than one illness.

“We have absolutely no clue at this point,” said Dr. Stefano Guandalini, medical director of the University of Chicago’s Celiac Disease Center.

Kristen Golden Testa could be one of the gluten-sensitive. Although she does not have celiac, she adopted a gluten-free diet last year. She says she has lost weight and her allergies have gone away. “It’s just so marked,” said Ms. Golden Testa, who is health program director in California for the Children’s Partnership, a national nonprofit advocacy group.

Read the full article on NYTimes.com here.

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What if you haven’t run any blood tests, but know that you can’t eat gluten?

There are many people who discover through trial and error that eliminating gluten from their diet helps them to feel much better. These people often have not undergone any testing. And really, what is the point? You don’t need someone else to tell you that you feel better.

I always honor my patients’ right to know that they can’t eat gluten. Who am I to tell them otherwise? There usually isn’t any point in testing them, since any test for celiac disease or gluten intolerance will typically be negative once a person has stopped eating gluten for a while. And asking someone to eat gluten for at least a month so that I can verify their gluten intolerance seems illogical when you consider how ill that usually will make them feel.

The common treatment for everyone with Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance

Whether you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant, or just think that everyone on earth should avoid gluten (I don’t think this), then you are left with the same treatment plan, avoid gluten. Some people believe that celiac disease is a more severe form of gluten intolerance, but the evidence does not necessarily support this. Many celiacs are basically asymptomatic. And many non-celiac gluten intolerant individuals are very ill.

“Gluten intolerance” covers us all

In the end, the words “gluten intolerance” cover anyone who can’t eat gluten, regardless of the reason.