Is Gluten Intolerance on the Rise? What You Should Know

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
12/21/2009 1:41 PM   :  81 comments   :  14,889 Views

Gluten is a protein found in products made from wheat, rye and some forms of oats. In some people, gluten can trigger an immune response, which damages the fingerlike projections of the small intestine known as villi causing them to become flattened which limits their ability to absorb nutrients properly.

People that suffer from gluten-sensitivity may become diagnosed with an autoimmune condition known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, non-tropical sprue, or celiac sprue, which are three different names for the same condition. Since the exact cause of celiac disease is unknown, prevention is difficult. For those that can recognize risk factors or identify multiple suggestive symptoms, early diagnosis and treatment can limit long-term complications and ensure a long and healthy life. Celiac disease diagnosis is typically based on results of a series of blood tests and perhaps small intestine tissue evaluation to look at specific antigens and antibodies.

A New York Times article last week reported that celiac disease is frequently overlooked and under diagnosed.

Here are some facts from the article that I found interesting.

  • One out of every 133 people in America has diagnosed celiac disease compared to 10 years ago when it was only about one out of every 10,000 people across the United States.

  • There are approximately three million Americans with celiac disease.

  • It takes about ten years for a person with symptoms to receive a diagnosis of celiac disease.

  • In 2003 there were approximately 135 gluten-free products on the market compared to today where there are over 830.

Back in the 1990's when I was working as a Registered Dietitian in a teaching hospital, it was very rare that I would have a client in need of gluten-restricted diet education or restriction. When someone did have that need, we used a resource list for specialty products that could be mail ordered and eating away from home was strongly discouraged. Today, you can walk into many large supermarkets and find a complete gluten-free section and there are resources such as the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program to help people find gluten-free dining opportunities. However, the increased awareness and availability of gluten-free foods for those that need them also opens a door for food marketers and fad diet promoters as well.

While symptoms of celiac disease vary significantly from person to person, here are some of the more typical gastrointestinal symptoms that are experienced.

  • Abdominal pain, distention, bloating, gas, indigestion

  • Constipation or diarrhea but typically there is consistency once a symptom is exhibited

  • Appetite changes and weight issues

  • Lactose tolerance issues which many times go away once gluten treatment begins

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • "Fatty" stools that float and are foul smelling and blood tinged
The intestinal symptoms many times accompany several non-intestinal symptoms as well.

  • Low blood counts and anemia

  • Bone and joint pain as well as bone diseases such as osteoporosis, kyphoscoliosis or fractures.

  • Ease in bruising

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Skin disorders such as dermatitis herpetiformis

  • Defects and discoloration in dental enamel
Sometimes celiac disease also accompanies other diseases and conditions such as:

  • Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus

  • Frequent miscarriage or unexplained infertility

  • Neurological conditions

  • Thyroid disease

  • Type 1 diabetes
A family with someone diagnosed with celiac disease is at an increased risk of having others that will suffer with it as well. Celiac disease is most commonly found in Caucasian individuals and those from European descent as well as in woman more often than men. Typically, once someone has been diagnosed through medical examination and diagnostic testing, a gluten-free diet is recommended which includes the elimination of foods, beverages, and medications that contain wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats. Education from a Registered Dietitian who specializes in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet is recommended and beneficial as well since diet modification needs are not always obvious. Many times the goal of diet therapy focuses on three goals: 1) to halt all disease symptoms, 2) to heal existing villi damage, and 3) to prevent any further or lasting damage to the small intestine.

There are many foods that create the staples of a gluten-free diet that allow it to be a fairly healthy and well balanced way to eat.

  • Cereals made without wheat or barley malt

  • Fruits and vegetables.

  • Lean meats

  • Low fat diary

  • Potatoes, rice, corn and beans

  • Specialty foods like pastas and breads made with alternative grains such as rice, potato, corn flours and starches
The Bottom Line

According to the National Institutes of Health, 95% of people suffering from celiac disease have not officially been diagnosed. At the same time, others are following a gluten-free diet unnecessarily because the marketing and diet industry has promoted it as the next great thing. Chronic symptoms like many that are listed above are potentially a sign of a food intolerance. Four different food intolerances (different from food allergies) are typically experienced.

  • Dairy (lactose) Intolerance

  • Fructose intolerance

  • Yeast sensitivity

  • Gluten and wheat intolerance

If you or someone in your family has several of the symptoms or conditions listed above and you are not getting a clear direction on what might help turn things around, perhaps a trial elimination diet would be helpful to see if gluten-intolerance could be a contributing factor. The Celiac Sprue Association has outlined a wonderful three step process for gluten-free diet self-management that can help as well. There is also a basic list of what to include in your basic gluten-free diet for several weeks to help you see if gluten intolerance is a possibility. At the end of your three to four week elimination trial, you can go back to eating normally as you were before for several weeks. This will help you tell if there is a need to follow up with your medical provider for additional testing or if making the dietary changes made no difference. However, if you have minimal symptoms or medical conditions associated with gluten-intolerance and are using gluten-free products as a way to lose weight or believe it to be a healthier way to eat, you might be wasting your money.

Did you know about celiac disease as the reason for the gluten-free products or did you think they were simply a new diet fad. Is this an area you think might be beneficial to check into further for you or someone in your family?


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Comments

  • 81
    I have a very young niece who has been diagnosed with celiac's disease. She had to be tested several times before it could be verified because it is difficult to verify it in young children. I know a lot of the foods she cannot eat and my sister's and I have researched and found many recipes for cookies and such to make for family gatherings so there are plenty of foods and goodies for her to eat. We are are very close-knit family and always support each other so this would be our usual approach to a situation. Even though she is so young (just turned 6) the aching in her legs and knees alone is what made her want to go gluten free, she is an avid soccer player and the aching joints and exhaustion was interfering with her team playing. She is thrilled with the recipes we find for her to be able to enjoy "goodies". Believe me it is not a fad when you see someone so young suffer with such discomfort when all she wants to do is be out on a field playing soccer with her team but can't work up the enough stamina to do so. I want to thank you for this post because there was some useful information that I did not know and it may answer some questions for her Mom, my sister-in-law, who suffers with some ailments that have mystified the doctors. She has had numerous miscarriages, but carried 3 other daughters to term, the youngest had some problems at birth. We nearly lost her to SID and she was on a monitor for about 6 weeks after being born. She has some kind of pains in her legs at 2 and half that she cries about that the doctors cannot diagnose. Your post may help answer some of these questions. I am forwarding this to my sis-in-law immediately to see if it can help her. Thanks. - 2/18/2010   12:12:41 PM
  • 80
    I think the only people who think gluten-free is a fad are ignorant to the facts and/or perfectly healthy and living in la-la land (enjoy it while you can you lucky duck). I have concerns about recommending a trial version of the diet before talking to doctors about getting tested for celiac disease BEFORE changing their diet. Rule out the autoimmune component and then try a trial elimination diet. Otherwise people, including your family, may think you're jumping on a fad bandwagon (if they don't know the facts about the spectrum of gluten-intolerance).

    I hope people do their homework before embarking on this WOE; may I suggest reading a few books from the library, a favorite being Living GF for Dummies by Danna Korn. It's a quick read.

    When I was diagnosed only four years ago, our undiagnosed rate was at 97% of the population, now it's 95%. It's articles like this which help others seek more information and the publicity is very appreciated. More people are getting the disease, AND more people are being diagnosed.

    (Oh Jibbie49, my friend, it's not so easy to say a vague early symptom of fatigue is from eating gluten. Gluten is usually part of a person's life from your first year of life. How was I to know this "healthy" whole grain was causing fatigue when tiredness could be attributed to so many other things, and how I felt is all I ever knew?!) - 2/17/2010   1:38:00 AM
  • 79
    Not a fad, but it is also not just in food.

    Be aware of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medication, personal care products, and anything that can be absorbed by the body. One day, I sincerely hope the pharmaceutical companies will have to label the drugs like food companies have to label food. I get tired of watching out for gluten only to have my pharmacist send me a drug with a gluten ingredient. - 2/5/2010   6:53:26 AM
  • IRENEWINSTON
    78
    Once diagnosed as having wheat intolerance, giving up bread was one of the hardest things. However, I have since made gluten free bread and picked up a few books. Some persons have more subtle signs such as fatigue or arthritis like symptoms. I attributed it to work stress. Not having the pain, a less foggy head and much more energy is a good thing. Many members of my family were diagnosed so teaching my niece and nephews to bake gluten free bread helped all of us. Juicing has also helped. Its a learning curve once diagnosed. - 2/2/2010   9:25:15 PM
  • 77
    My mother stopped eating gluten when she was 54. She barely had enough energy to get out of bed in the day, could not lose any weight and stopped eating because of how bad she felt the next day. She was then told about a gluten free diet and adopted that change. She now has the energy of a 35 year old, has lost 10 pounds through diet alone and has a great emotional outlook on life. - 2/2/2010   12:59:39 PM
  • 76
    I have known about celiac for a while, and became most aware of it because one of my husband's aunts suffers. Recently, my husband began showing more and more symptoms of a gluten intolerance, and we have recently begun eating gluten-free, as well. I thank everyone who takes the time to educate others as to how serious celiac disease and gluten intolerance is. When others become aware of how large an issue this is, there will be more and more alternatives for the gluten-intolerant, and the prices of gluten-free "specialty" foods will surely come down as they have a larger consumer market. - 2/1/2010   5:18:17 PM
  • 75
    I am a mother of 5 year old twin boys who were both diagnosed with Autism. I am told that removing gluten from their diet would be beneficial. Thanks for the info. - 1/29/2010   1:57:42 PM
  • 74
    For those with Celiac Disease, the availability of Gluten Free products is great. The awareness of the disease is growing, and getting the attention of food processors.

    The attention, however, is causing some fitness and diet "experts" to encourage people to go on a gluten-free detox type of diet. This is where the fad comes in. My very good friend was telling me all about a guest on a morning show encouraging people to eliminate gluten from their diets along with other foods to detoxify their intestines, and help them lose weight. The way my friend explained it, this is supposed to be the new easy weight loss secret that "they" won't tell you about. If you read other articles put out by Sparkpeople, you will find ones related to these fad diets. Sparkpeople also has an article about the detox diets, and how they are not necessary. Our body does a great job of eliminating waste on its own. - 1/21/2010   5:54:39 PM
  • 73
    I cook and bake for three grandchildren who are on wheat-free, gluten-free diets. The oldest needed the diet and the mother found it best to keep all three on the same program. In the 7 years we have been dealing with it, great strides have been made in the availability of gluten-free foods. Many are ordered online and now we find more in the supermarkets. Finding a suitable bread was the most difficult, but finally they found one.
    Some may like to know there are three summer camps for children with celiacs. The one near us in NC is run in conjunction with the YMCA and is a very successful program. - 1/12/2010   9:34:40 PM
  • BLUE82
    72
    My aunt has celiac disease AND diabetes. Her first pregnancy nearly killed her and her second daughter died after a week after being born with half a heart. When my aunt was diagnosed, I never realized how vital this information is. I worked at a restaurant at the time and I had a customer say to me that a family member couldn't eat the bread because of celiac disease, and she looked at me as if she were expecting me not to believe her. I told her no big deal, my aunt has it and the customer eased up. My aunt told me of a gluten-free bread she found at a health food store and has been eating grilled cheese for the past week after not being able to have it for five years. I tasted the bread she brought for breakfast. Doesn't taste any different from regular bread, though it does have the consistancy of an English muffin. - 1/12/2010   10:56:40 AM
  • CYNNANE
    71
    I didn't know about it until my friend was diagnosed and I have since learned a lot about it. I have a goal to implement two GF days a week. Gluten is an inflammatory food, and I do notice that I bloat the day after I eat a lot of carbs. Of course moderation is always key, but I feel great having reduced the amount of gluten in my diet. I can't live without it, and frankly can't afford to avoid foods with it completely, but limiting my intact has helped both my water weight and bloating issues. - 1/10/2010   10:41:52 PM
  • GRAMMALOU
    70
    I was glad to find an article on celiac disease here on The Spark. I was just diagnosed last week but won't know if it's true celiac or just gluten-intolerance for about 10 days. I was told to go on a gluten free diet just the same. My grand daughter also has it and is very sensitive to gulten. Even coutons on her salad will make her sick. It's going to be quite a challange to change 67 years of eating habits but the consequences of continuing to eat gluten are enough to make me quit. I would like to see a celiac Spark team get started or maybe there already is one and i just haven't found it yet. I bought three books on the subject to get started and hope to throughly educate myself. - 1/9/2010   3:57:52 PM
  • 69
    READING ON CELIAC I THINK MY GRANDSON HAS IT HE IS 6' , 29" WAIST, 115 LBS..HE ISN'T ALLOW TO HAVE ANY SWEET BECAUSE STEP BROTHER IS DIEBETIC 1,,,BUT HE LOOKS HEALTHY...BUT MY GRANDSON IS SO THIN AND BONY THAT I WANT TO REPORT IT BUT IT I DO THAT I'LL NEVER GET TO SEE HIM..WHEN WE WERE THERE FOR THANKSGIVING BIG MEAL HE WASN'T ALLOW TO HAVE BUT JUST A SMALL HELPING AND NO SECONDS GOT NEW FOR YOU MOM I'M HERE AND HE BETTER GET A SECOND PIECE OF MEAT HE ASKED ...HE GOT IT BUT SURE SHE WAS MAD...ALL I CAN DO IS CRY LOOKING AT HIM...IS THERE ANOTHER WAY I CAN HELP HIM WITHOUT CAUSING ME TO BE THE MEAN IN LAW...MY SON TRIES TO SEE THAT HE GETS TO EAT BUT HE IS ON THE ROAD ALL WEEK AND ONLY HOME ON THE WEEK END HAD TO WORK FOR TOO MANY LOSING JOBS...SHE SAY I CAN'T FIND PANTS FOR HIM HE IS SO THIN...AT 29" WAIST .....EXCUSE ME ....BIG LIGHT BLUG MOM....SORRY I'LL STOP - 1/5/2010   5:08:05 PM
  • 68
    Celiac disease is NO JOKE and NO FAD. I find the idea that people would willingly cut wheat gluten out of their diets a little hilarious, since, having celiac disease myself, I KNOW how challenging it can be. But I think American society in particular is over-exposed to a number of food allergens, including high fructose corn syrup, soy lechitin, and wheat gluten, all of which we could certainly do without.

    Please note: this blog makes it sound like celiac disease only causes intestinal distress - CD is a very serious disease that people can die from, if it is not properly treated. Children are especially vulnerable, but over the long term, CD can wear down an adult's immune system and cause serious havoc with digestive, neurological, and skeletal systems. It is linked to Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and intestinal cancer, among some of the more serious conditions.

    If you suspect you or someone you know has CD, please get tested - it is a simple blood test for antibodies. Make sure you do not stop eating wheat prior to the test, or the results may be falsely negative. Even if the test IS negative, you may still have a gluten intolerance (just not CD), so it is important to try an elimination diet AFTER the blood test if your symptoms do not resolve.

    Finally, if you have a diagnosis of CD, there is no known cure! If you deviate from the only existing treatment (a gluten-free diet), you are putting yourself at risk for cancer and other serious diseases down the line. Wheat gluten can cause damage even in miniscule amounts, and the damage can remain hidden for months or even years! If you have celiac disease and go back to eating gluten after a period of abstinence, you may feel OK, but your intestines are still being damaged. The only way to stay healthy for the long term is to stay gluten-free! - 1/5/2010   1:50:04 AM
  • NEECAB
    67
    I recently started reading the "Eat for Your Blood Type" book and realised that a lot of the foods that I suspected were not agreeing with my body turned out to be foods that I should avoid eating - mainly wheat and dairy. Having read this article I now wonder if I should do more investigating since I have also suffered from debilitating hip and back pains since I was a child. It's not easy have steroids injected into your spine at 13! With age, the pain has lessened and I have always been curious about that because I gained weight as I got older - shouldn't the pain have increased? I am now thinking that it has more to do with me making my own food choices as an adult. Good article. - 1/5/2010   12:00:34 AM
  • 66
    My husband has celiac sprue so we are very grateful for the increased awareness of this condition. There are so many more products available now and restaurants are starting to offer gluten free menus. The more attention it gets the easier it makes it for those who need a gluten free diet. - 1/1/2010   10:39:51 AM
  • DANCERGIRL9763
    65
    Thanks for this blog, I have known for a while that something isn't right with how my body reacts to food. But I keep getting told that it is nothing! I passed the lactose tolerance testing, but my doctor "doesn't believe in food allergies". This blog has made me realize I should keep looking into my problems and maybe find a second opinion! - 12/28/2009   6:13:45 PM
  • 64
    Heinen's grocery in Northeast Ohio has marked shelves where items are gluten free. They also have a nutritionist on hand part time who will give personal counseling on finding foods. She was very helpful to me trying to find food for Chrons diet. - 12/27/2009   7:38:11 PM
  • MSLIZINCA
    63
    OMG thank you for this blog. I was diagnosed with thyroid disease at age 13. At the same time. I underwent a painful test to determine the cause of my knee pain. No cause was found. For 37 years my knees have hurt. It even hurts to touch my knee joints. I also have several issues including yeast sensitivity and lactose intolerance. I am starting a gluten free diet to test the theory that my problem is gluten. Thanks again. - 12/27/2009   11:45:21 AM
  • 62
    I have celiac, and have been on a gluten-free diet for about 6 years. I am thankful for the increased attention and the increased availability of gluten-free foods. I hate the thought of anyone suffering from CD one day longer than they have to for lack of information and missed diagnoses.
    As for going gluten-free to lose weight, that's not a good reason, and just like any other diet you can do it the healthy way or the unhealthy way. When I first started eating GF, I mourned the loss of bread, pasta, cereal and dessert and replaced my favorites with GF versions. Unfortunately, equivalent serving sizes of GF foods are almost always higher in calories. I also comforted myself with ice cream. I put on about 30 pounds the first year after I began eating gluten-free. After 2 or 3 years I got over my mourning period, took a look at myself and joined Sparkpeople. Since then I have focused on lean meats, veggies and fruits, and much smaller portions of gluten-free grains. I'm back to my normal weight and have adjusted my lifestyle to accomodate celiac. It is hard to eat GF, and it is forever, no cheating, NOT a fad. But I am healthy and thankful that I know what disease I have and how to manage it. - 12/27/2009   10:19:48 AM
  • BRIOBRIO
    61
    Undoubtedly, those with celiac disease need to void all gluten. I have celiac disease and being diagnosed back in June and going gluten free has been one of the best things that has happened to me in the past decade.

    Whether the general population needs to avoid gluten, I don't know. I'm sure moderation, for most folks, is the key. Gluten is a difficult protein to digest. I would think some bodies have the ability to adequately do so, though, even if mine doesn't. - 12/26/2009   12:51:57 PM
  • NDWANNABE
    60
    Of course it's not a fad.

    Simply our awareness of the fact that our bodies are not designed to digest gluten, let alone in quantities the food industry supplies it.

    Not only genetically modified grains have way more gluten than the nature indented, but many flour based products have pure gluten artificially added.

    The fact hat some people seem to be "tolerant" to gluten only means that their system tries to handle the strain. for some, the damage is internal and does not show up for quite some time.

    It's like if I were to label myself "nicotine intolerant" if I had a misfortune to acquire a health condition associated with smoking, as opposed to somebody else who seems "just fine" smoking a pack a day - 12/26/2009   3:37:55 AM
  • 59
    I think every woman over 40 should check to see if she is intolerant to gluten. It is rather easy to eliminate gluten for 2 weeks. I found out I am sensitive to gluten. By experimenting, I've discovered I can have gluten about 2xs a week. So I feel blessed that I have a bit more freedom than others who are highly miserable when they eat gluten. - 12/25/2009   8:39:15 PM
  • 58
    Our daughter, at age 38, was quickly diagnosed with Celiac Sprue including biopsy. Since I have become the age of maturity (Medicare eligible), I tested for it as positive. Since September 24th I have been gluten free except for once (the bar-b-que sauce on beef of all things....). I only think about it anytime I am hungry.... Gluten is in so many products: soy sauce, licorice, corn/rice cereals, malt flavoring etc. Fortunately I have new glasses also to read the labels :-)

    I had thought I had been asymptomatic, but have seen improvements in not bloating, not having joint pain, fingernails and teeth and.....energy....and....mood.

    So, it is a way of life now for three months to NOT eat gluten. Several restaurants in Missouri have gluten free menus and I trust their kitchens (Outback Steak House, Ruby Tuesday's). What is more expensive in raw cooking products is saved by NOT frequenting McDonalds which has wheat flavoring even in their grilled chicken and Black Angus burgers. Can, however, eat tostadas at Taco Bell and baked potato with sour cream and a side salad at Wendy's.

    I look at it as not eating wheat (normal cookies, normal bread, normal noodles) at this time when I'm invited to try something at a potluck etc. It's a bit much for friends to grasp that it is NEVERMORE EVER.

    My understanding also is that the antigens continue to do damage whether there are obvious symptoms or not, so why should I continue to imbibe something that is not doing well in me once I eat it? There are so many great, wholesome food choices in vegetables, fruits, meats, rice etc., and for me, dairy, that I had been gravitating towards such menu items anyway.

    So, it's all good, for me not a fad, and I'm glad for the products, knowledge and support available today. Would like to see prices come down. Am encouraged that the gravy packets with Butterball and Riverside turkeys were made with rice flour this year, so gluten free becomes a bit more mainstream each season. My personal theory is that, like another poster mentioned, I think our wheat is "being messed with" to have more and more of us respond to it as an allergen. Good wheat is Scriptural and meant to be eaten. The Scripture, "Man does not live by bread alone," however, has taken on a new meaning :-)

    Cheers,
    Babs - 12/24/2009   5:58:13 PM
  • GRANDMO1
    57
    I have a good friend who was diagnosed as celiac over 20 years ago, so I know it is not just another fad diet but a real health issue. - 12/24/2009   12:33:32 AM
  • BLAKELOVE
    56
    I have a friend with Ciliac disease. He was on the verge of death when he was finally diagnosed. He is not robust and happy.. No fad!!!!!!!!! - 12/23/2009   11:28:55 PM
  • 55
    Nope, it's not a fad, it's just more "mainstream" than it used to be (both in terms of more products being available and more people being aware of CD and gluten intolerance). I was diagnosed with gluten and dairy intolerance 20 years ago so I am thrilled with all the attention that is being paid to this issue. I am not so sensitive that I get sick every time I eat wheat, rye, etc. but I gain weight like crazy and can look pregnant I get so bloated. I am currently "off" my diet which means I feel really crappy and have gained weight recently. It's an ongoing battle for me even though I've been doing this for 20 years. It's not an easy problem to deal with and I find the holidays to be particularly challenging. - 12/23/2009   12:01:29 PM
  • 54
    Thanks for writing this blog!!! I don't have this problem, but have a friend who does! She suffered a lot until she was diagnosed & learned what not to eat. I'd never heard of it until she learned that was causing her problems & that was several years ago. - 12/23/2009   10:00:44 AM
  • LIBERRYAN
    53
    While I don't have Celiac disease, I am intolerant to gluten having been diagnosed as such with an allergy blood test a couple of years ago. It has been a life changer for me...I tell people I feel better in my 40's and 50's than I did in my 20's or 30's--it was amazing even after just one week of avoiding the foods I was allergic to, the article is right on with symptoms especially the aches & pains at least for me. I'm just so happy people are finally being correctly diagnosed. I think there are a lot more allergic people out there who are being misdiagnosed [I can't remember how many tests I was subjected to with the results always being negative to the things I was being tested for!!!] If you think the symptoms fit you, it's much easier to do the elimination diet that being tested for other diseases! - 12/23/2009   9:11:16 AM
  • 52
    Thanks - a great summary! I understand that there are some cases of (usually mild) gluten intolerance that can benefit from switching to sprouted grains. I think the rise in this condition is not just that it is more quickly diagnosed - it's happening more because of the horrible quality of the grains (GMO, etc.) in our destroyed food system. - 12/23/2009   6:42:24 AM
  • 51
    I have a friend with celiac disease, so I know it's not a fad. - 12/23/2009   4:55:43 AM
  • 50
    SAdly it's not a fad, not to me and my family anyway. We don't have the disease. We don't digest gluten and the pain is as bad is not being be able to digest lactose (milksugar) or caseine (milk proteine) and eating some ... I know as I have it both. It's overlooked. Everybody accepts milk lactose/caseine problems. Why not the grain pain - 12/23/2009   2:45:40 AM
  • 49
    I think there is something to it being a fad.... but, I also have 2 close friends who cannot tolerate glutin and 1 friend is allergic to just about everything to eat due to mercury poisoning. Her life is very limited due to her food allergies and it is al lvery real! - 12/22/2009   10:17:41 PM
  • SERPENTINE
    48
    I don't know if calling it a "fad" is fair. Is anything labeled "dairy free" just jumping on a bandwagon or is it helping people who can't eat dairy?? I have inflammation issues with some gluten and wheat ingredients and I don't think it's a fad or should be casually dismissed as a fad..it's not really funny or just a fad if I eat refined wheat and my feet swell up to the point of immobilization the next day...I know there are marketers out there who will use anything to their advantage but please don't discredit people who actually experience negative effects from a food. - 12/22/2009   7:46:39 PM
  • GOSPELCLOWN
    47
    I never thought it was a fad diet. I have known people with the lactose intolerance... so a wheat intolerance didn't surprise me one bit.

    I put together a Christmas basket last year for my brother-in-law and he had not seen some of the products that I was able to find & surprise him with! (Even Snickerdoodles!) - 12/22/2009   6:17:55 PM
  • BOLAURAOK
    46
    This is so ironic that this was on here now. I have a co worker that has Celiac's disease. Last week we had a pot luck at work. I wanted to find something she could enjoy without bringing a lot of attention to herself. I went to the store to the ilse maked celicacs diet., found ,looked at several things wondering what I would do with them. Then I found a reciepe on the back of a pasta box and thought this should work. I double checked with her (worried about the feta) and only a few people realized that it was gluten free. Actually I ended up giving the reciepe to a few others who knew people with it. As I visited with her I realized if I buy gluten free cookies I could even make her a home baked cheesecake,if I used the receipe with cornstarch. - 12/22/2009   5:17:47 PM
  • LIVINGONMYTERMS
    45
    Great Article! I have an aquaintance (sorry for the misspell) who has diagnoses with CD about 6 years ago. I am glad the medical community has recognized this as a real disease and not an "all in your head disease". - 12/22/2009   5:05:33 PM
  • 44
    my niece was very sick as a child before being diagnosed with it. i am glad that finally there are more gluten free products. however, companies do charge people higher prices than they should for their products. just like they charge people with high blood pressure more for products that are salt free. - 12/22/2009   2:30:23 PM
  • 43
    I have a few friends with a gluten problem. I also suffer from some of the problems from gluten foods & I have been buying gluten free for my home.NO this isnt a fad it's a true health problem. Thanks. - 12/22/2009   1:27:07 PM
  • 42
    If it's a fad then it's a good one.

    Although my blood test said that I do not have Celiac, for years I was constantly coming down with infections, headaches, eczema outbreaks and suffering from constipation. Through talking to natural healers and doing some research of my own, I learned that I should avoid wheat and sugar. It is very clear that it makes me sick if eaten on a regular basis. With an Italian-American background, some of my family thought I was slightly "off" when I first tried to explain that I needed to avoid pasta, bread, cakes, etc. over 10 years ago. It's such a relief that this has become more mainstream and that there are more products available.

    My body seems to be able to handle wheat in very small quantities, but once I eat more than that, the symptoms begin. It's great to have alternatives - my favorite gluten-free pasta is Tinkyada ( http://www.tinkyada.com /) - and although I don't eat it regularly (for other diet reasons), it is wonderful to know that I can still enjoy a comforting bowl of pasta and sauce. - 12/22/2009   12:50:45 PM
  • 41
    My dauther was diagnosed with CD after a year from hell, literally, at college. She even had her gall bladder removed to try to cure her, which only made the symptoms worse. Often severe stress brings this on. My grandmother had it too. It is NOT a fad, but marketing can make it seem so. I believe I may have it and try to limit my gluten intake. I was tested and found to be negative but thinking back on it, I beleive I was in the midst of a low-carb diet and so wasn't eating any bread products. If I eat a lot of bread I can't hardly even stand to be around myself, so I try to stay away from wheat. I've not officially gone gluten free but I know I should.

    Is all the marketing for diabetic products & info a fad? Not hardly, and you can't lump this under a fad if you haven't lived with it in some way. If celebrities seem to be jumping on this bandwagon, maybe they have these health issues. It isn't any of our business if that is the case unless they want to tell us that. - 12/22/2009   12:37:15 PM
  • CMB113
    40
    Soem people see it displayed in stores, particularly healthier groceries store and think it's a good diet choice like low fat, no carb diet.
    I've read interviews discuss their elimantion of wheat products (interpreted also as gluten free) from their diet as how they lost weight - no mention of a medical condition.
    I think it's good to have these products for those who actually suffer from a disease. - 12/22/2009   12:33:21 PM
  • 39
    Thank you for doing this blog and raising awareness of Celiac Disease, now if you would add it as an option on the menu planning would be perfect. I have Celiac disease and for me eating gluten is NOT an option. Unfortunately it is turning into a fad with celebrities going GF to lose weight.

    Dolmadez be careful with gluten and glutin - they are different things. rice is glutinous but safe for CD, gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats.

    Mayber- I hop I'm misreading but this can not be outgrown. The guy you're talking about has to stay GF for life.

    Quiditchgrll - the problem is some people show no symptoms yet are still doing the intestinal damage in turn causing malabsorption and raising their chance of all cancers from mouth to hiney.

    Anyone with a family member with CD, please be tested since if it's a 1st degree(parents, siblings, children) relative its a 1 in 22 chance of having the disease and 2nd degree(Grandparents, cousins, aunts/uncles, grandchildren) its 1 in 39. - 12/22/2009   12:18:24 PM
  • REBECKY44
    38
    Yes, my DH has a cousin with Celiac & severe rheumatoid arthritis. He was 80 when diagnosed.

    Also, I have a 2 yrs old grandson who has just been diagnosed with Autism. He was taken off all gluten & diary proteins, and within 3 months we all saw a dramatic improvement in his condition. - 12/22/2009   11:23:36 AM
  • 37
    GREAT INFORMATION!
    THANK YOU FOR SHARING! - 12/22/2009   11:13:58 AM
  • 36
    I knew about celiac but I think many of the people picking up gluten-free foods at Whole Foods don't have celiac but rather either self-diagnose or think it's trendy to cut out gluten. I think it's great that people with the disease have more options now but "gluten-fee" has become a buzz word mostly for those who want to get in on the fad. - 12/22/2009   11:09:40 AM
  • 35
    It is not a fad ... it's a disease. I have 4 members of my family who have CD and it was a blessing to finally know what was wrong. Yes, it takes time to plan meals and gatherings but we do it and are healthier for it! - 12/22/2009   10:34:31 AM
  • 34
    I know a few people with celiac disease, so I knew that the new gluten-free products on the market are a great relief for these people who formerly could not find very much processed food that was okay for them to eat. However, I'm sure there are people without celiac disease who are buying and trying these products. More power to them!

    My sister has been told to avoid products with gluten, and she says she feels much better. She has suffered for many years from many of the indicators - gas, bloating, indigestion, diahhrea and constipation, etc. - 12/22/2009   10:16:59 AM
  • 33
    This past year, I went through a period of awful, awful abdominal issues and after a series of eliminations, trials, and blood tests, I actually tested negative for Celiac, but as a biologist, I know there can be other things going on that we can't test for, so I went with the "if it makes me sick, don't eat it" method, and have been gluten-free for the last 7 months and feel better overall than I have in 10 years, so there is something to be said for it working.

    My friends think it's impossible, but getting on a gluten-free diet has been pretty easy, just eat real food (meat, veggies, potatoes and rice, cheese). I've also gotten into GF baking, and made some awesome (not diet friendly) cookies this holiday season and even doughnuts for Chanukah, so it is possible to enjoy your food and still eat gluten-free. - 12/22/2009   10:01:29 AM
  • 32
    I think it's a fad diet if you don't display the symptoms of celiac disease, yet you cut gluten-containing foods from your diet "just because." Everything is about moderation, and unless you have a diagnosed condition, you're choosing to limit your intake of otherwise healthy foods based on the pathological reaction of people with celiac disease. - 12/22/2009   9:09:09 AM

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