Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 May

Does Gluten Have Any Effect on Non-Celiacs?

wheat8The headlines are everywhere: gluten sensitivity doesn’t actually exist, and anyone who thinks they have it is a liar, delusional, dumb, or all three. The message isn’t a new one, but the stories do point to a new study from a group of researchers who previously found that removing wheat from the diet improved symptoms in people with IBS. In the new paper, the researchers tested whether isolated gluten – rather than wheat – exacerbated IBS symptoms. It did not. The IBS patients in the latest study showed no reaction to isolated gluten, and the only dietary variable that increased their symptoms was wheat. This could suggest that at least for some people (with IBS), gluten sensitivity may actually be wheat sensitivity triggered by the fermentable FODMAP fibers found in the grain.

Folks are so eager to say “told ya so!” that they gloss over an important fact: going gluten-free still worked. Sure, I guess some IBS patients can start doing lines of isolated gluten powder or whatever, but if the FODMAP mechanism holds, they’re still not eating wheat. They’re still gluten-free, or wheat-free, or whatever you want to call it – and they’re still experiencing relief from debilitating symptoms.

The “why” is certainly important. It’s interesting. It provides jobs for researchers and fodder for online arguments. It can lead to effective treatments and pharmaceutical interventions. But it doesn’t affect the people, here today, dealing with health issues who cannot wait around for a consensus in the literature. They need results, and going gluten-free tends to work more often than not. And going gluten-free does not hurt as long as you don’t just replace gluten grains with gluten-free junk food.

But today’s post isn’t really about that.

People typically analyze gluten sensitivity through the prism of gastrointestinal distress. It’s often the first symptom we notice. It’s certainly the most obvious. If you don’t have celiac but eat some gluten and your stomach feels bubbly and the toilet becomes irresistible, you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. If you can eat pizza without diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and/or inordinate amounts of gas, you probably don’t.

That’s how I know I’ve eaten gluten – my gut tells me. But for many people, there are extraintestinal, peripheral symptoms. And these aren’t just mass delusions. Legitimate research is discovering and beginning to unpack the connections between gluten, wheat, and a host of other disorders, even in the absence of celiac disease.

Those symptoms and disorders may still be mediated by the gut, but they’re not always felt in the gut. Kind of like how a tight muscle can affect other tissues along seemingly unrelated sections of the kinetic chain (ankle dysfunction can cause knee pain, for example).

The following are not ironclad, proven causal relationships. They describe correlations with plausible mechanisms, hypotheses still to be proven. I’m omitting any relationships purely based on anecdote, not to discount them, but to focus on the strongest candidates for conditions caused or exacerbated by gluten in non-celiacs.

Fibromyalgia

The mysterious, painful condition known as fibromyalgia has long been connected with celiac disease and general gut disturbances (IBS is quite common in fibromyalgia patients, for example, and IBS patients with fibromyalgia often have celiac). But only recently has non-celiac gluten sensitivity also been linked to fibromyalgia. Researchers selected 20 patients with fibromyalgia who experienced remission upon switching to a gluten-free diet, with remission including one or more of the following improvements: reduction in pain, return to work, return to normal life, or the discontinuation of painkillers. Tests confirmed they did not have celiac, leading the authors to suggest that “non-celiac gluten sensitivity may be an underlying case of FM syndrome.”

Autism

Gluten-free (often casein-free) diets are popular with many parents of kids on the autism spectrum, but most physicians have taken a skeptical stance on the whole premise. That’s to be expected. However, parents who report the strictest implementation of a gluten-free diet in their kids with autism report the largest improvements in symptoms. Oh, that’s just a large, admittedly well-documented and externally-verified compendium of anecdotes, you say? Recent research has shown that a subset of autistic kids show enhanced reactivity to gluten distinct from the response characteristic of celiac disease. You can certainly say that going gluten-free probably won’t help every kid with autism, but it looks like a portion of them are going to benefit from its removal.

(If there are any Spanish speakers in the house, check out this free full-text paper for a further look at the evidence. I’d be curious to hear what it has to say.)

Type 1 Diabetes

In pregnant mice who were diabetic but not celiac, a maternal gluten-free diet maintained during breastfeeding up until weaning reduced both inflammation and type 1 diabetes in the offspring. Pancreatic regulatory T-cells (which suppress inflammation) and tight junction activity were both up-regulated in the GF offspring. This echoes other rodent studies stretching back to the 1990s. Okay, but those are mice. They’re cute and mammalian and all, but what about human research? Most recently, a six year old with type 1 diabetes experienced remission upon adopting a gluten-free diet. Twenty months later, he was still off insulin therapy.

Schizophrenia

For nearly 50 years, a large body of research has tentatively established links between schizophrenia and wheat consumption. A 1966 study found that as wheat and rye consumption increased following World War 2, hospital admissions for schizophrenia also increased. Later that decade, the otherwise rare celiac disease was discovered to be oddly common among patients with schizophrenia, while early interventions saw some success at treating relapsed schizophrenia with grain-free diets. Abnormal sensitivity to gluten isn’t universal among patients, but there appears to be something there. And research continues to this day, with a recent meta-analysis finding that certain markers of gluten-sensitivity are elevated in schizophrenics compared to controls (and differently than in celiacs). Maternal gluten sensitivity is even related to the offspring’s chance of developing schizophrenia.

Depression

A recent case study found that a gluten-free diet led to remission of depression symptoms in a patient with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. A placebo-controlled trial from this year found that while isolated gluten added to a gluten-free diet did not cause GI distress (just like the study described in the introduction), it did increase symptoms of depression in a group of patients with “self-reported” non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Ataxia

Not as well-known as some of the other conditions mentioned, ataxia is a neurological disorder characterized by an inability to control gait, balance, and hand-eye coordination. It’s incredibly serious, and multiple reports link it to gluten sensitivity. They even call a subset of it gluten ataxia, which is not accompanied by celiac-related enteropathy. A recent trial in patients with ataxia found that a gluten-free diet significantly improved symptomsirrespective of GI symptoms.

Clearly, looking at the gut for evidence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity is not enough. And yes, it may very well turn out that it’s something else in the wheat causing the issues in these conditions, too, but does that change the effective therapy – a gluten-free/wheat-free diet?

No. It still works.

If any of these conditions affect you or someone close to you, a gluten-free diet may be worth trying. It’s free, after all.

Thanks for reading, all. For those of you with personal experience with any of these conditions, has going Primal – and gluten-free – helped at all? I’m really curious to hear.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I am tired of hearing people complaining about the “gluten free fad” as being just a fad that needs to stop, and the only people who need to eat gluten free are celiacs and NCGS people. But those who are complaining are the same people who are having reproductive issues, obesity, skin problems, etc.

    Erin wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • My right knee swells up and stiffens if I even look at anything with grain in it. Before I went Primal, I couldn’t walk enough to shop for the awful things I was shopping for. Now I stride around the store buying Primal on a good strong knee. And I am 70 yrs old with a body that I never intended to preserve. Use it up has always been my motto. So have fun with your studies. I know what I know. It’ll be awhile yet before I am used up.

      Healthy grandma wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Sure you are 70. Sure you are.

        Alison wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • Well, she’s not 70 anymore. ;)

          Jen wrote on May 25th, 2014
    • …whereas I, by contrast, am tired of hearing people overstretch the implications of the research: Pretty much all pathological processes even vaguely associated with gluten in the scientific literature appear to be linked to either celiac disease or NCGS – mostly by way of abormal antibody titers – so yes, “the only people who need to eat” (completely) “gluten free” are indeed “celiacs and NCGS people,” as far as we know at this point (and the latter need not even necessarily completely abstain all of the time and forevermore); also, whatever the actual combined incidence/prevalence of CD/NCGS may turn out to be, most scientists appear to agree that this phenomenon certainly does not encompass “everyone out there,” – if you go by the words of Dr. Alessio Fasano, pretty much the pioneer in the field, “the vast majority” of people aren`t affected (yet) – and that the (relatively) recent “upward surge” with regard to the number of affected people can be counteracted or even reversed by way of manipulating the microbiota/microbiome; after all, some types of bacteria have the ability to degrade gluten peptides (, lactose, phytic acid, …), and those can be found not only in the colon, but also in the upper GI tract (of some people, at least)…Which makes the fact that several of the longest-lived healthy populations on earth (Sardinians, Ikarians,…) regularly consume gluten-containing/cross-reactive grains much less surprising than it might appear at first glance. Thus, depicting gluten as the key to every ailment under the sun is more than a tad far-fetched, I think (though you are on to something with regard to the “skin problems”: there is, after all, dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring – though that is also linked to celiac disease, I hasten to add…).

      Karl wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • “…several of the longest-lived healthy populations on earth (Sardinians, Ikarians,…) regularly consume gluten-containing/cross-reactive grains…”

        According to an Oxford Journals study, silent celiac disease is endemic in the population of Northern Sardinia. The study states that “the prevalence of biopsy-proven coeliac disease in the general population (of Sardinia) is particularly high.”

        Modern wheat is very different from, say, the wheat eaten by the ancient Romans. This website gives some information on the differences between ancient wheat and modern wheat:

        http://theglutenminded.com/2013/05/13/the-rise-of-gluten-intolerance-modern-wheat/

        SumoFit wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • There is a company called Wheat Montana that is raising Non-GMO organic wheat…its the 1950′s wheat that I ate as a kid. Surprisingly they sell it at WalMart.
          When I eat grains and other no-nos I wake up with pain in my right leg (inflammation?) So when I tried this Wheat Montana flour I was sure it would be OK…not so…I still woke up with pain in my right leg.. It a barometer for me of what I can eat and what not.

          joan wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • SumoFit,

          “According to an Oxford Journals study, silent celiac disease is endemic in the population of Northern Sardinia. The study states that “the prevalence of biopsy-proven coeliac disease in the general population (of Sardinia) is particularly high.”

          True, but take a look at how this translates into actual numbers: The prevalence of celiac disease in Northern Sardinia is 1.06%, whereas it is 1.01 % among non-Hispanic whites in the US (Rubio-Tapia, Ludvigsson et al) – a 5 percent difference, more or less; about 1 in 94 versus about 1 in 99 people. Not exactly earth-shattering, right? I have to concede, though, that in my impression (friends of mine live in Southern Sardinia), Sardinians seem to indeed be more aware of the CD conundrum than the average European, and tend to get tested more often – but those who are “in the clear” generally proceed to happily dig into traditional wheat products (like fregola, which appears to be especially gluten-rich – and, admittedly, doesn`t seem to be very popular in the north).
          As far as “modern wheat” is concerned, its peculiarities may very well play a role in the relatively recent upward trend in grain-related health problems; however, while the hypothesis is plausible, there certainly aren`t any data that prove iron-clad causations, as of yet, and most scientists “in the trenches” agree that gluten/wheat consumption certainly doesn`t produce catastrophic or even significantly negative health changes in most people, let alone everyone – the more fervent “grain haters” out there really distort and oversell this stuff (the ever popular “Wheat Belly,” for example; take a look at Chris Masterjohn`s/Emily Deans`/Melissa McEwen`s comments on this rather overhyped tome).

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • There is no such thing as GMO wheat.

          Andy wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • GMO wheat does indeed exist. Numerous field tests have been conducted with GMO wheat, but none is currently being grown commercially.

          SumoFit wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • There is actually no test at the moment for NCGS, not in Australia anyway. So how do you suppose people deal with that?

        I am clear for Coeliac Disease however whenever I consume anything with wheat in it I get huge sinus issues, feel like I’ve had 4 hours sleep a night instead of 8 for the next 5 days and I get really anxious and emotional.

        Like Mark says it may not even be the gluten component that’s upsetting me, but there’s definitely something about wheat that my body just doesn’t like.

        Joey Thomas wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • If you notice health deterioration when you consume wheat, avoid it – there`s nothing wrong with that. However, there is also nothing wrong with eating wheat when that does not result in any detectable objective or subjectve health changes for the worse – that`s the point I was trying to make.

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • “…subjective…”

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • @ Karl: “However, there is also nothing wrong with eating wheat when that does not result in any detectable objective or subjectve health changes for the worse…”

          Right, except that most gluten free foods tend to be nutrient barren fluff. If you don’t have issues with wheat/gluten, then eat away, absolutely. But don’t kid yourself into thinking that it’s at all an optimal food choice. Being an antinutrient, gluten hampers the absorption of the nutrients in more nutritious foods, and I’ve read in the past that it may have addictive potential due to its meddling with opoid receptors.

          Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on the above, but it seems to me that there are more reasons than mere celiac disease to avoid wheat/gluten. At the very least, wheat is a crappy food choice. You’d be better off eating a sweet potato or something as a carb source, you know?

          Horace wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • Horace,

          “…except that most gluten free foods tend to be nutrient barren fluff.”

          You mean “gluten-containing foods,” right?

          Avoiding wheat/gluten versus walking around as a “nutrient-depleted ghoul filled to the brim with toxins” is a false dichotomy: There is zero credible evidence demonstrating that someone who eats a varied diet and does not suffer from certain very specific diseases (like CD/NCGS/wheat allergy/PKU) is in any way endangered by the consumption of moderate amounts of “antinutrients” – not to mention the fact that the whole “antinutrient” concept is , by and large, based on rather ridiculous experimental setups that are completely out of touch with reality (massive amounts of raw legumes/potato skins being fed to rodents don`t improve the health of said critters?You don`t say!); Mat Lalonde gave a great AHS presentation on that topic once, I think. Plus,
          a)perfectly “Primal” foods contain “antinutrients”
          b)the microbiota appears to be able to inactivate “antinutrients”
          c)most “antinutrients” are actually pretty multifaceted with regard to their effects – phytic acid, for example, appears to reduce the risk of contracting certain cancers.
          On top of all this, the traditional concept of “nutrient density” appears to be in dire need of an overhaul anyway, seeing as the microbiota can apparently produce a significant amount of nutrients for its host(and requires certain things in return, thus – for example – making a cooked and cooled white potato more “nutrient-dense” than a sweet potato from a microbiota-oriented viewpoint, even though the latter boasts a decidedly more favourable”nutrient-to-antinutrient-ratio” than the former); maybe that explains why certain Bedouin tribes appear to do reasonably well on a diet that is largely reliant on unleavened bread.
          All in all, it appears pretty much impossible to unravel this Gordian Knot well enough to be reasonably certain about what is “optimal” at this point in time; the available data simply don`t allow it – and seeing as the “Blue Zoners,” who, by and large, consume at least a moderate amount of “antinutrients” regularly, appear to live at least a decade longer than “acculturated hunter-gatherers,” (who partake in the wonders of modern medicine while eating and moving traditionally) on average, – even when one corrects for infant, adolescent, and early adulthood mortality – I really doubt that “optimizing” one`s nutrient intake matters much, if at all – so why not consume some “suboptimal foods” – that contain, for example, wheat – for pure enjoyment in addition to a “solid base” of “Primal” foods, provided that one does not have CD/doesn`t experience health changes for the worse? Of course, there is still gluten`s “addictive potential” – but the “wheat exorphin theory” William Davis describes in “Wheat Belly” has been proven incorrect by subsequent research: Ironically, exorphins have also been found in meat, and pretty much the only thing gluten exorphins do in humans is slow intestinal transit time (again, I recommend Chris Masterjohn`s review).

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • I completely agree with Horace’s response. Say you don’t have celiac disease? Fine.

          But does that make wheat your best choice? No. It is still NOT a nutrient-dense food. Period.

          Why displace vegetables, seafood, meat, health fats & fruits with something that is neutral at best? Plus, most wheat products contain sugar & industrial seed oils.

          Gluten or not, there are so many better food choices.

          Sara wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • @Karl – High Blood Pressure isn’t noticable in most people either.

          Blimey, Mate wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • @Karl

          LOL, yes. I meant to say “gluten-containing” foods are nutrient-barren.

          You make some good points. I hope this conversation will continue. I’ll be watching with interest.

          Eating a primal/paleo diet has worked for me, and my health has markedly improved. My cognitive function seems to improve when I eat this way as well– especially whenever I experiment with ketosis. I suppose I’m curious to know specifically WHY it works so well for me, rather than the conventionally “healthy” low-fat diet I used to eat. When I eat wheat or other non-primal foods, old health problems or brain fog tend to resurface. I feel quite certain that this isn’t simply a psychosomatic “GASP, I ATE OFF PLAN” sort of thing, though what it is in particular that makes me feel off is difficult to say. Could be the artificial colorings or ingredients that sometimes accompany wheaty foods. It could be the nasty fats sometimes found in them, or some other agent hitherto unidentified.

          I’m certainly not too proud to admit I’m wrong. If gluten isn’t the big bad we’ve all made it out to be, then that’s cool. Sticking to one’s biases in the face of knowledge is delusionalism, at best. But then that begs the question; all of us who report improved health eating this way and living this way… I mean, we can’t all be frauds, can we? There’s something to it, even if I can’t fully quantify it. I’m not Celiac, but when I eat wheat, I tend to have my worst days. Perhaps it comes from eating too much of it, or it’s some other ingredient in said foods, rather than the wheat itself.

          Horace wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • (PS: Erin
        – forgot to mention that what is valid with regard to the skin problems also goes for the “reproductive issues”: Those are specifically linked to CD, too.)

        Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • They may be overstretching the link to gluten itself, the article does state that as a possibility. However, they may not be over stating the issue with wheat itself. Wheat isn’t the only grain containing gluten and gluten isn’t the only thing in wheat. More and more it seems like wheat itself is the problem and while some every here and there may be survivable, when you consume something that damages the body as a stable that builds up over time.

        Erik wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • Here’s an idea, all you naysayers–I personally don’t give a crap!!!
        I have no interest in living a million years– like the Sardinians or whatever friggin group that suspiciously falls under your so astute correlation-is-not-causation radar–all the while on my lofty, ivory toilet.
        Is it a fad? Yes. Do people with eating disorders incorporate into their disordered thinking? Sure. I have anorexia and I have no problem telling you that after eating truly normal primal food out of normal cycles of hunger, I find it harder to abuse this particular restrictive eating plan than any other. But to each their own–I won’t condemn something that saves lives for the sake of those who refuse to be accountable for their own recovery. It’s hard, but my self destructive behavior is not anyone’s choice but my own. Whether it be because I just ate a pile of croissants and I know I will be sick for a week, or because I am choosing to eliminate yet another food group in my never-ending quest for a better will power high.
        And as for the subpoint that eating a whole grain diet is curative, let me anecdotally dispel that mental diarrhea as well. I grew up with an amazing stay at home, whole foods loving, vegetarian, plant growing, cook everything from scratch, mother, and yet, I have had these same horrible digestive and correlated syndromes since infancy. My mother has an impossible time accepting that anyone who does not have celiac would not thrive on a grain based diet, but I assure you, eliminating ALL grains but corn has been the only solution I have found. Not to mention, not all of us are from supereuropeanindustrialized gene pools. I am mixed blood, and I have seen more than enough proof in my native community to believe the common sense notion that European foods are frequently poisonous to those lucky colonized souls among us. You’re an ecstatic, pasta shoveling, Methuselahn Mediterranean? then good for you. The rest of us did not choose the colonial dysmorphia nor the distortions of the green revolution nor do we need an endless parade of scientific justifications for living as is natural to the majority of the world’s population, pre-domination–or as I like to call it–THE ULTIMATE FAD–the recent, modern, civilized post-colonial and deeply traumatized Western lifestyle. Don’t even think you can separate all these hyperbolic dietetic micro-environments from cultural imperialism, they are one of many techniques in a long series of handmaidens to subjugation Yep, so glad we caught on to the brilliant fad of development. Ugh….

        Read more: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/no-alcohol-challenge/#ixzz32TONomP1

        Honolulu Wampum wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • Karl,

        I love your comments on here and believe you hit upon a wonderful point when discussing the ability to “counteract or even reverse (sensitivity) by way of manipulating the microbiota/microbiome…”

        In other words, by restoring the gut to it’s healthy balance of good and bad bacteria, possibly through the supplementation of probiotics/prebiotics or naturally fermented foods in the diet.

        There are, in my practice, 2 other body systems that are heavily related to not only gluten tolerance, but tolerance of other foods as well:

        1. The (Anti) INFLAMMATION SYSTEM – in short, the better this system functions, the more tolerant an individual will be of gluten or any other food sensitivity. The better their acid/base balance, the better they can regulate the inflammatory effects of gluten and other food sensitivities.

        2. THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM – recognition of and response to inflammation is carried out through endocrine-immune communication. The healthier the adrenal-thyroid axis, the better an individual will tolerate gluten and other food sensitivities.

        Like you, Karl, I too am hesitant to “point the finger” at any one cause of human illness. Although, if you had to point one finger at one cause modern research would suggest that INFLAMMATION is the culprit. So perhaps more emphasis should be placed on the link between Wheat and Inflammation, and Inflammation on Chronic Disease processes.

        In terms of certain individuals being sensitive to wheat/gluten and others not being sensitive (yet or maybe ever), it seems to be a matter of INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT.

        The wheat/gluten is an external factor entering the body’s internal environment. Whether some individuals are sensitive to a substance depends more on their individual INTERNAL ENVIRONMENTS than the substance itself which is equal across the board.

        Dr. Mickey G wrote on May 27th, 2014
    • Amen to that. I have a friend with PCOS and IBS who’s overweight. Just had a miscarriage. She did a GF diet and her stomach issues went away but it was “hard” so she stopped. My brother in law has horrific sleep apnea and is overweight with IBS but refuses to change his diet. It’s disturbing how people won’t make changes to better their health.

      Jamie P. wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • So true!! I think people will look back at it one day like they look at trans fat now.

      Lindsay wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • If I could ‘like’ this post 1000x, I would…

        Meichel wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I don’t understand why non gluten-free people are so bothered by it, either. I have never met a person that said “I feel worse after removing gluten from my diet.”

      Kathleen wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • Now you have. I threw up, I lost all my energy and I bloated like a blimp.

        Batteries wrote on May 23rd, 2014
        • Loss of energy is something that makes sense to me, you changed your diet so you changed what your body was used to processing so of course it can be tiring. But what you are describing with the other two symptoms sounds like an allergic reaction and/or intolerance. Usually those symptoms occur because of something introduced into the system, rather than lack of something in the system.

          Kathleen wrote on May 23rd, 2014
      • Perhaps non gluten-free people are so bothered by the gluten-free “fad” because removing gluten challenges their belief systems in an intense way. (Keep in mind, this is just an idea, one that I’m not sure can be easily tested… though it makes sense to me.)

        A lot of people who can’t “give up” glutenous/wheat filled foods, are typically trying to give up foods that provide a huge source of comfort combined with feelings of closeness and community.

        Think about family get togethers as a kid and what you would have had to eat there. Pretty much all the food that I was exposed to included wheat, sugar and/or dairy. Three common food items that a lot of people have a hard time letting go of. Getting together with my family was tough for the first few years after switching my dietary guidelines. I felt as if I was missing out on an enjoyable experience and had to do some emotional work before I felt okay with letting go of foods that realistically made me feel terrible.

        In addition to the emotional and cultural aspects of wheat/gluten, saying that wheat is bad for health is completely tearing apart the current system in place. Our government subsidizes wheat (plus corn, soy, rice and dairy)* and lobbyists/big agriculture (and by proxy, the government)** have been shoving propaganda in our face by way of the USDA for years.

        *http://pcrm.org/health/reports/agriculture-and-health-policies-unhealthful-foods
        **http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/invented-food-pyramid/

        Cait wrote on May 24th, 2014
        • I have been enjoying this thread, but this right here is it. Thanks for your insight in regards to our deep-seated emotional attachments Cait. It often goes unnoticed!

          Alexis wrote on May 26th, 2014
        • Cait, I think you are onto something here. Even though my parents and I started eating a primal diet at about the same time, we struggled (and still occasionally do) with the removal or radical ingredient shift of the traditional foods we associated with key family gatherings. Some of the members of my extended family that haven’t changed their diet seem to struggle as much as we do, when we don’t partake of a traditional dessert (or pass over their stuffing at Thanksgiving, etc.).

          And that’s not even touching the whole big agg/government issue . . .

          Heather wrote on June 1st, 2014
    • I was one of those people who would complain about those health Nazis telling me what to eat. That was 25 pounds ago, heartburn up the #@_$, and inflamed knees I could rarely walk on comfortably. I don’t even know why I even listened to people like you, all I know is that I’m glad I did.

      victor wrote on May 22nd, 2014
    • Well said!!!

      Gary wrote on May 23rd, 2014
  2. I don’t have celiac, and I can definitely tell when I eat something with gluten. Going gluten free is one of the best things that I have done for myself and my family.

    Wade wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • On the lighter side….

      My wife and kids don’t miss riding in the car as they roll the windows down after I eat wheat-containing products. Coworkers have begged, forced, and cajoled me to eat cookies and other office treats; they no longer offer me anything containing wheat, LOL!

      Thanks to going primal, I learned to wield wheat like a weapon – a weapon of (g)ass destruction! :)

      Tom wrote on May 23rd, 2014
  3. Since gluten affects permeability of the blood-brain barrier as well as intestinal permeability, I’d say WE ALL have a gluten sensitivity. Something worthy of consideration in adding to your list would be Alzheimer’s. Gluten loosens up the blood-brain barrier gate, letting excess sugar into the brain, thereby causing Type 3 diabetes…otherwise known as Alzhiemer’s. Continuous ingestion of gluten in foods such as sugary breakfast cereals, frozen waffles/pancakes, those Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, donuts, and breads throughout ones life would suggest a link between gluten and Alzheimer’s.

    Okay–now I’ll stop making mental leaps.

    Wenchypoo wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • What might be “worthy of” your “consideration,” Wenchypoo, is that
      a)several of the “Blue Zone” populations, which boast a very low incidence/prevalence/death rate with regard to Alzheimer`s/dementia in general, regularly consume gluten-containing/cross-reactive grains, and that
      b)several “Mediterranean diet” intervention trials (utilizing, among other things, “whole grains”) have resulted in significantly improved blood sugar regulation and inflammatory markers – so maybe, just maybe, “foods such as sugary breakfast cereals, frozen waffles/pancakes,those Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches, donuts,and breads throughout ones life” owe the bulk of the damage they do to more than (just) the gluten they contain – like – oh, I don`t know – sugar, trans fats, hyperinflated energy content combined with hyperpalatability, lack of fiber/antioxidants/prebiotics/….just a thought.

      Karl wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • I don’t know if it’s intentional, but your writing comes across in a very condescending manner, and your replies do not appear to be helpful but instead read like you’re trying to make a fool of the initial commenter. This is a community that works to help each other, not tear others down. Please consider that when replying to other posts, and adjust your online tone accordingly.

        Stacie wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Stacie,

          I am sorry that my acerbic “tone” offends you, and that you find my comments unhelpful; I do, however, have my reasons for expressing myself the way I do. Allow me to elaborate: I happen to know several very nice people suffering from long-standing eating disorders, with whom I regurlarly “compare notes” on all things nutrition-related. Said people do very well on a flexible “Paleoish” template that incorporates “treats” in moderation, and have established via several “whole 30s” that “Paleoing harder” does not only fail to improve their health one iota, it also induces massive cravings. Nevertheless, they constantly battle the urge to control themselves more strictly – and that situation is not exactly improved via stumbling upon comments on articles like this one by “crusaders for the cause” blinded by confirmation-/selection-/survivorship-bias and drunk on semi-digested PubMed abstracts who delight in impressing upon people in all-caps that “THE MEREST TRACE OF GLUTEN (or FRUCTOSE, that`s just as popular) WITHIN A FIVE-MILE RADIUS IS GONNA KILL YOU – AND YOU MEANS EVERYONE – DEAD AND MAKE KITTENS AND PUPPIES SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST! Whenever one of my ED-stricken friends reads something along these lines, they start to panic about gluten doing “undetectable damage” that will cause their body to suddenly break down years or decades from now (even though there is exactly zero credible evidence in favour of the idea that gluten consumption causes long-term damage to people not afflicted by CD/NCGS) , and catapult themselves into a vicious circle of restriction and bingeing for days or weeks on end. Consequently, I am trying to establish a counterpoint, and I prefer a rather caustic “tone” because I feel that this dilutes the “visceral impact factor” of hysterical, fear-mongering statements such as Wenchypoo`s more effectively than dissecting them in a less, shall we say, “spirited” manner. Still, you are probably right about me having failed to properly walk the fine line between “biting” and “demeaning”. Mea culpa. I will try to express my criticism more appropriately in the future.

          Karl wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Most of the documented, long lived cultures of the world have whole grains containing gluten as a staple: wheat, barley, buckwheat etc. The Okinawans traditionally were fairly gluten free (white rice), except for soy sauce which often has some wheat. Gluten and wheat consumed moderately but in true whole grain form, in combination with organic fruit and vegetables, wild and /or locally raised animal proteins, fresh air, altitude, exercise, family bonding etc, are consistent throughout many healthy traditional cultures. On the other hand, lots of people do not feel well eating wheat and gluten products and there is no reason they should feel compelled to do so just because Sardinians live to 100 without much dementia and stone grind their bread. The Ikarians seem to drink a liter of wine per day but that does not work for everyone either. The diet seems to vary between healthy cultures, but the emphasis on family, happiness, and a place in society for elders appears ubiquitous. In our society with so many choices, perhaps the best tactic is to experiment and eat what makes you feel best.

          wade wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Karl, buckwheat is not a gluten grain, fwiw.

          PJ (RightNOW) wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • wade,

          “…lots of people do not feel well eating wheat and gluten productions and there is no reason they should feel compelled to do so just because Sardinians live to 100 without much dementia and stone grind their bread.”

          I didn`t say they should – u straw manning, bro.

          “In our society with so many choices, perhaps the best tactic is to experiment and eat what makes you feel best.”

          Agreed.

          PJ(RightNOW),

          “Karl,buckwheat is not a gluten grain, fwiw.”

          You are right, of course – but declaring buckwheat a gluten-containing grain instead of a pseudocereal wasn`t my idea – that`s on wade; if you could be so kind as to reread my comments and wade`s…(reading comprehension, duuude….)

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • @Stacie, if Carl or anyone else for that matter opposes this site’s general viewpoints that is a positive thing and represents a healthy environment for discussion. There are too many sites where one might question the topic because of lack of knowledge or disagreement and get drowned out with people wanting to preach to the choir. If something sounds condescending it typically signifies disagreement and nothing more. Personally I think Carl’s a little long winded put probably speaks to my short attention span more than anything.

          victor wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • While I agree with some of the gist, you come across as way too self-impressed. Further, your lengthy, arrogant spiel with lack of paragraph breaks is more than I want to bother with.

        +1 to Stacie.

        Shary wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • Shary,

          seeing as you can bring yourself to say that you “agree with some of the gist” even though my writing leaves you with the impression that I am a pompous jerk who doesn`t know how to express himself concisely and in a socially acceptable manner, I guess I can conclude that I at least managed to get my point across semi-coherently, and that said point may have been worth making, however much my misanthropic ramblings may have detracted from it. (In my defense: I`m an Aspie.)

          Thanks for your feedback. (See what I did here?I`m improving already!)

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • So what I’m taking out of your statement is that Blue Zone people can live even longer sans the wheat. I’ve read somewhere that 120 is how old we SHOULD get. Can’t wait to get those folks on the phone and give em your good news!

        victor wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • Victor,

          that is certainly possible, but not necessarily plausible, because “acculturated hunter-gatherers,” who, as Mark once wrote, one “might even say” are “essentially Primal, eating and moving traditionally while enjoying access to modern medicine,” merely live to about 70, on average (and that number is conditional on including only those who reach middle age into the calculation, thus eliminating the usual confounders) – and considering that “degenerative deaths are…few/heart attacks and stroke appear rare, and the bulk of deaths occur when the person is sleeping and….free of obvious symptoms or pathology,” it seems unlikely that this is due to a lack of “modern medical interventionism”. Consequently, it appears unlikely that the hunter-gatherer diet optimizes (healthy) longevity. From a theoretical standpoint, that isn`t necessarily as strange as it may appear at first glance, considering that evolution ultimately selects for overall reproductive fitness, which, given the high extrinsic mortality rate “Grok” had to contend with, may very well have favoured the optimization of early survival at the expense of geriatric thriving (up to a point; I am proposing a mild version of antagonistic pleiotropy, essentially). Under modern conditions, a different dietary pattern – like that of the “Blue Zoners” – might theoretically boost longevity, possibly at the expense of factors that aren`t as crucial in an environment boasting a substantially lowered extrinsic mortality risk (it might, for example, provide less protection against infectious disease – after all, there are theories linking higher blood cholesterol to said protection).
          To sum up: While it is certainly possible that the astonishing longevity of the “Blue Zoners” is attributable to confounding factors (like genetics) in its entirety, the notion that an “ancestral” dietary template (universally) optimizes longevity is anything but a foregone conclusion. Only significant breakthroughs in the realm of nutritional genomics will be able to provide a definitive answer, I think.

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • Thanks for your explanation (further down this thread, which prevents me from replying directly). When I said I agree with some of the gist of your comments, I am saying that pinpointing, demonizing, and eliminating gluten as the cause of all health issues falls disappointingly short for many people. It may help to some extent, depending on degree of sensitivity, simply because one is also eliminating a host of other allergens/irritants that are often present in gluten-containing foods.

        Shary wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • Karl, have your ED friends tried a strict LCHF diet? Lifting the levels of healthy Saturated Fatty Acids such as in Coconut oil, butter whilst reducing Carbs might help….

        Also, not sure how it would go but I have found Intermittent Fasting to be an excellent tool – who knows, it might help to “jolt” them into healthy eating patterns???

        Good luck with your efforts to help them achieve better health….

        Lewis wrote on May 22nd, 2014
  4. Who sponsored that gluten study I wonder? The Pillsbury Doughboy?

    Groktimus Primal wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Hahaha!

      Liz wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • You’re pretty close, it was funded by George Weston Foods, the largest baking company in Australia/NZ. http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085%2813%2900702-6/abstract

      Meesha wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Ding ding ding ding! FTW!

      Actually, George Weston Foods sponsored the study. And they run…guess what? Bakeries.

      Doughboy indeed, but two different kinds of dough.

      Always, always follow the money.

      kitINstLOUIS wrote on May 29th, 2014
  5. I have gone gluten free in the past, and currently have a very small amount of gluten in my diet as part of personal experiments. I’ve noticed no difference between the 2 (that’s not to say it isn’t doing anything to me). Could it be possible that gluten affects different people to different extents? Could a small amount of gluten have no significant effect on the health of some people in the same way a small amount of gluten can have very serious affect on others?

    Craig wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Yes, that’s absolutely possible! And I think that’s the point of this article—-nobody should say that “GLUTEN IS BAD FOR EVERYONE!” just as nobody should tell someone that they are “stupidly following a fad diet” or “imagining their gluten sensitivity”. Sounds like you are one of the lucky ones who does not have an intolerance but I applaud you for taking the time to experiment with your health and see what works best for your body.
      I don’t have serious gastrointestinal distress (sometimes a minor stomach ache) when I eat gluten but I feel like I can’t think strait for days afterwards and I also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which is a condition where my body attacks my thyroid. Many believe that those with this condition have an intolerance to gluten. We are all different and have our own reasons for making the health choices we do. :)

      Juni wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • I also have Hashimoto’s and have been Paleo for 2 years, there has been NO improvement in my disease. Nor have I gotten any of the touted benefits of losing weight, having more energy or improved blood tests.

        apelia wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Hi Apelia,

          In many cases there is much more to it than just going “Paleo”. It also depends on how far your disease has progressed and what your body responds to. With any auto-immunity there can be multiple and many triggers including environmental toxins like parabens in your make-up, etc. The body is very complex and there are many contributing factors. I would research auto-immune paleo protocol, you can only get better by giving your body a chance work as best as possible. Many people continue the need to use medications based on the progression of the condition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help manage it as best as possible.

          Brent wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I’ve been using to 80/20 rule to give my self a weekly pizza treat without any problem. However, if I eat too much gluten or dairy during the week, I have episodes where my heart races and pounds, chest pains, and severe abdominal cramps. So yes, I believe it depends on how sensitive the person is to gluten. I’m not saying eating even a little bit of gluten isn’t doing some damage, just that we don’t notice it as much with a lower dose. Think of it like a drug or alcohol. One drink won’t do much, but two or three will.

      Toni Dawn wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Craig,

      judging from the observation that several of the longest-lived healthy populations on this planet (Sardinians, Ikarians,…) do consume gluten-containing/cross-reactive grains, it would appear that you are on the right track.

      Karl wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Karl, while I have no problem with a healthy skepticism, you are leaving out a very important, ahem, ingredient. I am a little surprised it is not mentioned here, although perhaps Mark has covered this earlier. The fact is, you keep bringing up these ancient cultures who have long thrived with generous amounts of gluten in their diet, yet you do not bring up, or ignore, the fact that the gluten/wheat they are eating is different from the gluten/wheat we(in America)are eating. The modern methods of big agribusiness wheat has changed the very structure of the wheat that this country is eating.
        Author and preventive cardiologist William Davis, MD, says it changed when big agriculture stepped in decades ago to develop a higher-yielding crop. Today’s “wheat,” he says, isn’t even wheat, thanks to some of the most intense crossbreeding efforts ever seen. “The wheat products sold to you today are nothing like the wheat products of our grandmother’s age, very different from the wheat of the early 20th Century, and completely transformed from the wheat of the Bible and earlier,” he says.
        Intense crossbreeding created significant changes in the amino acids in wheat’s glutenproteins, a potential cause for the 400 percent increase in celiac disease over the past 40 years. Wheat’s gliadin protein has also undergone changes, with what appears to be a dire consequence. “Compared to its pre-1960s predecessor, modern gliadin is a potent appetite stimulant,” explains Dr. Davis. “The new gliadin proteins may also account for the explosion in inflammatory diseases we’re seeing.”
        It is interesting that if you go to old world cultures, even Italy, or Germany in areas where they have not been influenced by modern methods, and eat their product, most people will have no reaction. Please keep this in mind in the future.

        EastD wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • East D,

          aaah, the “modern wheat-conundrum”….while it admittedly provides a plausible hypothesis to explain at least part of the (relatively)recent population-wide exacerbation of grain-related health maladies, the currently available data most certainly do not cement an iron-clad causal relationship; in fact, the consensus among the researchers “in the trenches”at this point in time appears to be that even modern wheat does not cause significant problems for the majority of people – maybe even the “vast majority,” if Dr. Alessio Fasano is to be believed (and that guy isn`t exactly known for “gluten denialism”). As I already wrote above, the “fervent grain haters” like Davis really distort and oversell this stuff – large parts of “Wheat Belly,” Davis`overhyped tome, are a complete disaster from a scientific standpoint, which is why even some of the Paleo-sympathizers/proponents with a reasonable degree of science literacy – ie people “in the know” who are primed to be enthusiastic about his message – can`t bring themselves to endorse said tome wholeheartedly (have a look at Chris Masterjohn`s review – even though he concedes that the “core hypothesis” presented in the book is interesting, his firm rejection of many of Davis`more extreme specific claims, albeit very mildly phrased, is very clear – , or at Emily Deans` comments – she is pretty much completely dismissive (apropos Emily Deans – her rather terse and less-than-enthusiastic-sounding utterings on the topic of one Dr. Perlmutter`s “Grain Brain,” whose subject-matter is pretty much smack dab in the middle of her field of interest/area of expertise, is also rather intriguing, in my opinion). All in all, William Davis` core tenets are too intricately linked with quackery to be taken all that seriously, in my opinion – at least for now.

          Karl wrote on May 22nd, 2014
    • I’ve been gluten free for approx. 4 months and have had amazing results with joint discomfort.I was told I needed carpal tunnels 5 months ago and since gluten free have had no pain.So no surgery.I’d say that was a good thing.

      Denise wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Hi, Denise, off topic on g free, but castor oil applied topically to wrists is amazing for alleviating/removing carpal tunnel symptoms. I’ve got narrow wrists and they play up if I overexert with fine muscle work, castor oil literally lubricates the canal so you don’t get the inflammation because the friction is reduced/removed. Worth trying.

        Eadie wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Glad to see someone mention this. I too have discovered that wheat causes me joint pain, most noticeably in my fingers. The effect is slow — I need about 6 weeks wheat free before the pain is gone. I am not convinced the problem is gluten either, but will experiment in the future out of curiosity.

        My mother was skeptical of the wheat-free approach, and then she started recounting the number of people in my family tree with arthritis. Of course, the causes could be complicated, but I am intrigued by the possibility of a familial wheat-sensitivity.

        FWIW — I do not eat low carb, just no grains except white rice, as per the Perfect Health Diet protocol. I will experiment with all the grains when as symptoms disappear.

        Alice wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • Karl,

        Do you have an alternative theory for the rapid and significant increase in Celiac disease in modern society?

        Lewis wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • It’s not just celiac disease, it’s every other autoimmune disease as well, at least those that can be measured via antibodies, that’s increased.

          Unfortunately, there’s no way we can even count the number of variables in the last 60 years that could be responsible for the rise in prevalance of these disorders. Many of the chemicals that have been unleashed on us, such the stuff used in fracking, are under patent and “can’t be disclosed.”

          kitINstLOUIS wrote on May 29th, 2014
    • I personally find that it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with gluten, but rather overall carbohydrate consumption. Therefore cutting out wheat is beneficial.

      allisonK wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • Absolutely right. I can eat an entire package of linguine without digestive issues, but the carbohydrate load is a path to type 2 diabetes. There is nothing in the nutrient profile of grains and legumes that are not found in meat and fish at higher qualities and without the glucose.

        Comparing traditional diets to modern diet is futile. A peasant working 10 hours days and eating grains to survive because they cannot afford the meat that the upper classes thrived on does not suggest we should eat like this.

        So what if an individual can eat wheat? The questions is should we, is it an optimal choice?

        People eating plant based diet throughout history and the world longed for, wished for every day to provide meat for their children.

        Michael wrote on May 22nd, 2014
  6. My husband and I had this argument last night. Can’t wait to send him this!

    Stacey wrote on May 21st, 2014
  7. What about Thyroid issues? Has anyone with these issues tried going gluten free? I just got some blood tests that reported a Hypothyroid…I’m still waiting on more results to come back but in the mean time I’m trying to go strict Primal/Paleo.

    Irene wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I have found personally as well as by input from those with Hashimotos (a autoimmune thyroid disease) that those who go gluten free can significantly lower their antibodies, and if the damage has not gone on too long, can reduce the thyroid issues.

      Lora wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • I commented above that I have seen no improvement in my Hashimoto’s after being Paleo for 2 years. That includes no reduction in antibodies. :(

        apelia wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • I also went on the iodine protocol at the same time, I think it was a combo of those things.

          Lora wrote on May 22nd, 2014
    • I was diagnosed hypothyroid at the age of 7. As far as the gluten goes, I cut way back on my wheat intake a few years back but still ate some wheat. I didn’t go gluten/grain free/paleo until just a few weeks ago and I can definitely feel a difference in my energy levels.

      p.s. There is lots of good info. regarding thyroid on stopthethyroidmadness.com

      Happy One wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Thank you for your help. I will definitely check out that website…Have a great day!

        Irene wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • There is definitely a link between gluten and thyroid issues. Two years ago I decided to remove gluten from my diet after reading “Wheat Belly”. After a few months, my thyroid started functioning better than it had in 30 years. While I’m still on some medication, it is a lower dose than it used to be. Since I had made no other changes in diet or lifestyle, it seemed logical that the removal of gluten was the link to a better-functioning thyroid.
      I’ll be interested to see if you have the same results.

      Heather Lennie wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • I’ve been Paleo/Primal/Crossfitter for over a year now…so you can imagine my frustration when this issue came up…so I’m thinking I have to go stricter on my diet now and TRY to find a solution without meds…I will add Wheat Belly to my reading list…Thanks!

        Irene wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Yep same story with my mom. She’s has had hashimotos for most of her life and the only time the endocrinologist was able to lower her T4 med was after a year of eating paleo/ removing wheat. The scientific literature on pubmed says that celiacs should be evaluated for hashimotos and vice versa. The incidince of celiacs in the overall population is about 1 % but 4 % among those with hashimotos. I suspect it’s even higher, since many doctors do not test or inform their patients about polyglandularautoimmunity. Since hypothyroid patients also have a higher risk for diabetes, I think wheat and grains should be avoided simply on the basis of being high on the glycemic index.

        Maria wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Finding out that a piece of bread (white or whole grain) has a similar high glycemic index score as a candy bar was shocking to me…how have they kept that info under the radar?! Wheat has just about as empty calories as sugar.

          Energy! wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I have hypothyroidism from Hashimoto’s and I have been gluten free with occasional slip-ups for “experimentation” for a few years now. I feel like I get really foggy headed when I eat gluten. If I have just a little, I don’t feel it super intensely but if I eat pizza, I feel like a space case for days. I can’t tell how much it affects my thyroid. I didn’t see any major improvement or a lower dose of medication because of it but I know people who have.

      Juni wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I am hypothyroid and have grain-free (Primal) for about 5 years now. No problems associated with the lack of grain – actually I increased my ability to exercise as my “osteo-arthritis” disappeared within 2 days of going grain-free. Turned out it was just swelling in the joints due to grains, rather than a symptom of old age. I have been wheat/gluten free for around 10 years, and overall there have been more improvements than draw-backs. I have lately been attempting to add a small amount of resistant starch back into my diet, in the form of raw, organic, gluten-free oats. That has been problematic, and I can only marginally tolerate 1/4 cup once a week or so. My gut bacteria love this (better cognition, improved blood sugar), but I still have bloating. So it’s all a balancing act, and reacting to what your body is telling you.

      Kate wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Check out the Paleo Mom (the paleomom.com) for info on the autoimmune protocol. It’s a pared down version of paleo that is for people with autoimmune disease.

      Hannahbelle wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I have Hashimotos and have been gluten free for 3 years. No more joint pain and tons of energy. I didn’t know I was intolerant until I stopped. Now if I have a slice of bread or soy sauce etc. my stomach is in pain with extreme bloating. It’s easier to do than you think. The world is going gluten free so options are everywhere.

      Mick wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Hi Irene

      I have an underactive thryoid and Hashimotos. I have been on medication for the last 22 years. I dumped sugar, grains, dairy and legumes about a year and a half ago. I was really overweight with all kinds of aches and pains along with all kinds of allergies. To date I have lost 5 stone and I feel so much better, increased energy, substantially reduced allergy symptoms and most amazing the almost daily headaches are a thing of the past. I have known for a long time most grains including grains with gluten like wheat were a serious problem for me. However, I have to say the biggest plus along with dumping grains is dumping sugar, it really is toxic. I hope this helps a bit. I forgot to say I lowered my cholesterol levels substantially also

      Mitzymel wrote on May 22nd, 2014
    • After going for 4 months gluten free, fruits free, alcohol free, strict paleo diet, my antibodies levels went close to 0. I didn’t lose a pound for these months, but my body definitely looks different. I think that my body needs time to balance hormones first, and then it will change – when it is healthy again.

      Ana wrote on May 22nd, 2014
    • You might want to check out http://theclothesmakethegirl.com . She has been using paleo and other food and diet protocols to treat her thyroid issues and has a lot of posts about the different things she has tried.

      Molly wrote on May 22nd, 2014
  8. I had very painful ‘heartburn’ and gastroscopically-diagnosed GERD. I have also a health-care worker background. I did not want to forever be dependent on acid
    suppression–an ABNORMAL gastric environment and also NOT without side effects from the medication taken. I quit wheat several years ago and within three days heartburn became lessened and was gone totally in two weeks. It may not have been the gluten but something in wheat caused my GERD. Early this year, I had a terrible yearning for my beloved adult beverage-scotch so had two drinks in my favorite pub. Later that same evening I had a mild case of heartburn. I eat an occasional slice of garlic bread or freshly-baked yeast bread and end up with itching. It may not be gluten, but it almost seems that I have become more sensitive to something in gluten grains. And the all-over itching is as bad as bouts of heartburn. I’m done with whatever ”IT” is.

    MJBrady wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • After going gluten free, I eliminated the acid relux I’d been suffering for years. I was then able to quit the proton pump inhibitors, which had given me osteoporosis. My daughter quit having digestive symptoms after quitting gluten for a couple of weeks, but she’s unable (unwilling) to give up bread and other carbs so she’s back to feeling unwell most of the time.

      PawPrint wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I started experiencing your symptoms a few years ago and, somehow, blew them off as ‘body changes.’ The itchiness, I finally noticed, was worst after a good session of drinking. In a two-year period, I had 3 ‘breakouts’ on my skin of itchy bumps that didn’t go away very fast and left scarring. I also had very noticeable intestinal issues. I finally went to the doctor, who, after many blood-/stool-tests/scopes, told me I was fine and to “eat more yogurt.” Great help that was. Long story-shortened, I went gluten-free for 6 months then found the Paleo diet and eventually tweaked it to Primal for the last 4 months. My skin is healed, I’ve lost 80% of the excess weight I had around my mid-section (probably 15 lbs just there), and my intestinal issues are significantly better. I still have some problems periodically, but I’d expect that for over 35 years of ruining my body to take some time to detox and return to a ‘normal’ state. Oh, and my wife (life-long heartburn sufferer), went gluten-free/75% Primal about a year ago and hasn’t had it since. All I can recommend is to take just 3 months out of your life to commit to a betterment of yourself. If you don’t see the full benefit of how much better your quality of life can be, by all means, go back to eating whatever. But I’m sure after 3-4 weeks you’ll be convinced.

      Nate wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • +1 with the GERD. I was sleeping upright on meds, and 3 days after going gluten free, I was horizontal, a week after no more meds. That alone will forever keep me away from these grains. But also no cracked and flaky skin, loss of belly fat, I will never be thin, but have a hip to waist ratio of .8 instead of 1.1, headaches largely gone, and a whole host of little niggles that I didn’t notice until they were gone. My husband developed sleep apnea, a bulbous bow (belly fat) and terrible snoring with shift and job changes over a few years. We removed most of the gluten from his diet, and these symptoms are largely gone or vastly improved. It’s still a work in progress but at least we can sleep in the same bed;). Everyone is different, we need to find our own way, and sites like this are such fertile ground for the what if questions. Thank you one and all for the input:)

      Heather wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • +++1 about the GERD. I kept trying to find a “natural” cure for acid-reflux, but the pain was bad enough that I also took daily meds for it. And I thought I was eating a really healthy diet at the time. Who would have guessed it was wheat causing my daily misery? Within a week of eliminating wheat, I was able to toss away the pills for good. This site of Mark’s has done so much to help so many people …

        Giblets wrote on May 21st, 2014
  9. I don’t have a particular diagnosis…but I notice the effects of both gluten and sugar (I know this hasn’t been about sugar) on my body. It can be subtle and build over time. Also going gluten-free comes with a period of “detox” that is marked by both headaches and migraines. However, once free from it I definitely have much, much fewer intestinal issues, migraines, and general achy-ness.

    Adelyn wrote on May 21st, 2014
  10. I don’t know whether it’s the gluten or something else in wheat, but when I eat wheat-containing foods I get severe headaches. It’s just better for me to stay away from the stuff.

    SmokeFan wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • My husband changed his diet to follow the wheat belly book guidelines mainly to loose weight. I joined in to keep him company. I regularly had bad headaches, which a range of medication failed to treat. However after a few weeks of no wheat I was completely headache free. I had a bran muffin at a friends house one day and within half an our felt a bad headache coming on. I avoided wheat again for a while but had a sandwich one lunch time when there was nothing else and again severe headache set in. Now I really try to avoid all wheat and its amazingly stopping headache in its tracks.

      Lisa wrote on May 21st, 2014
  11. Lately, I found I get a light case of BPPV (side to side dizziness) (altough a light case of that sounds like an oxymoron….ANY dizziness is not ‘light.’)…from grains. 3-4 onion rings, once or twice a month, no. ANY other form of grain: yes.

    All the more reason to eat even less of it.

    I have had eczema for years -off and on- from tomatoes. The location varies. Some times, I can go a few years without an episode. But does that mean my body isn’t internally reacting to the tomatoes at each consumption? HELL NO. I feel it’s the same way for ALL of us with grains, and sugar, and with processed foods. And frankly, the non-visible reactions are the scary ones.

    Gwen wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Yeah, that has been my feeling on it too. Just because something does not have an obvious effect does not mean it is harmless and not doing anything. On the flip side, there would be nothing left to eat if we avoided everything that’s ever been under suspicion. But wheat has no digestible nutrition and avoiding it also avoids lots of other processed junk food and empty calories, that plus growing research, suggests wheat is a good one to avoid.

      Eva wrote on May 21st, 2014
  12. Eating wheat and wheat products gives me terrible IBS. But I have been able to successfully eat a little barley and rye–these other grains make me feel bloated and lethargic, but do not provoke IBS. So…maybe “non-celiac wheat sensitivity?”

    Which is the preferred usage, “sensitivity” or “intolerance?”

    The Pooch wrote on May 21st, 2014
  13. Mark, you are spot on today….Well everyday to be honest…..Today’s topic could not be more top of mind for me….I have battled IBS for the past 25 years with the last 6 years being just awful for me. After doing an endoscopy and colonoscopy on me my gastro says you should try the FODMAP diet….I started it in March and I am a new man…..I eat absolutely no wheat/no gluten/no lactose and follow the FODMAP diet religiously….I cannot tell you how this has changed my life….I didn’t realize that my stomach was supposed to feel the way it does now…..Amazing….I am still relatively low carb (i.e. 125 or less daily). Ground flax seed has become my go to product to keep things moving…..Thanks for all you do….

    Joe wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I have been suffering from terrible IBS-D since I was 12. (I am now 32) the cramping gets so bad I want to vomit, I sweat, I get very pale, my eyes tear up and my legs get weak and tingly. I have been told I am neither celiac nor lactose intolerant, however I know how I feel after I eat these things, terrible. I went paleo and it has helped very much but still had bouts of IBS. I finally found out about low FODMAP foods. I have been following for a week now and am starting to feel so much better! Within two days I was sleeping better and haven’t had a headache all week I’m already spending far less time in the bathroom. So I feel as though maybe wheat and similar grains are the problem rather than gluten itself, but either way I’m not eating it! I’m trying to spread the word, The low FODMAPS diet seems to still be a bit obscure.

      Courtney wrote on May 21st, 2014
  14. As I went gluten free about a year ago (which was actually incidental to a high protein/low carb diet that I initiated at the time), my symptoms of IBS resolved within a week. At the time I did not understand that gluten was the culprit of my IBS symptoms (actually the GI doctor advised me to cut down on raw vegetables, which obviously was a total waste of time). I realized that it had something to do with wheat/gluten after researching the literature and reading a number of books. As Wade mentioned above, it was in fact the best thing I have done for myself and I have been feeling great ever since.

    vm4404 wrote on May 21st, 2014
  15. Going gluten free has cleared up constipation, depression/mood-swings, and PMS symptoms for me. In fact, I had a cinnamon roll on Saturday and I am currently experiencing 2/3 of my gluten symptoms. :( When will I learn!?

    It was easy: try gluten free and if there was no change after, say, a month, then no harm no foul.

    K wrote on May 21st, 2014
  16. I pretty much have an iron gut, and really have never noticed the difference when eating gluten. Even eating heavy amounts of gluten never has really affected me.

    However, what got me is I have tinea versicolor (a rash on your skin that is just ugly and has typically has no real side effects other than appearance). I started to notice that if I eat gluten for a couple of days the rash that is under the arm pits starts to hurt and become irritated. As soon as I cut out gluten the tinea versicolor stays but the irritation is gone, my body odor reduces and everything is fine. The irritation isn’t that bad, but it’s enough to sure make me wonder what else the gluten does in larger doses. So while I’m not truly gluten free every day, bread and any most other “obvious gluten” foods have been eliminated in my house.

    Michael K wrote on May 21st, 2014
  17. Someone posted an article on my FB timeline about this. I was really hoping you would address it. I try not to get into heated debates on FB but this topic sent me over the edge. Now, should I post this on her timeline or just let it slide….

    Kristi Horine wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I had a similar experience…Why do people get so upset about this?

      Juni wrote on May 21st, 2014
  18. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and SIBO a little over a year ago, I was already gluten-free but I needed to go grain-free (Paleo) and so was prescribed to do so by my doctors. I had some pretty bizarre things going on; I was hearing a disembodied voice, developing arthritis, had terrible insomnia, my thyroid and pituitary glands weren’t functioning correctly…basically my health was degrading rapidly, my body was starving and Paleo was my last hope (sounds dramatic, but it’s true). I didn’t hope to recover completely, but a year later I have recovered far beyond my expectations. I feel better than I can ever remember feeling and my symptoms have reversed. Just recently my constant grinding hunger finally disappeared. My doctors are astonished.

    CDye wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • We’re all pretty healthy around here and have been eating primal for about six years now with insane amounts of raw goat milk products, but when we eat the occasional pizza, beer, doughnut or bagel (hey, I said occasional) we’re STARVING the next morning. We’re never hungry unless we eat wheat.

      Greg wrote on May 21st, 2014
  19. What is IBS? Does anyone else know what that is? More info from author would be nice.

    Caveman wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • “irritable bowel syndrome” It’s not good. I’ve been dealing with stomach issues for a week now because due to stress I’ve been lax on my eating (meaning I’ve eaten gluten). In addition to IBS, as I taught my fitness class this morning, I had knee pain that is always present when i’ve eaten gluten. I KNOW I need to stay far, far away, but man it can be hard sometimes. Not when I’m eating at home, but going to friends/parties/graduations, etc.

      Andrea wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

      DanaG wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There isn’t really a test or bloodwork that determines if someone has IBS; however, doctors typically diagnose it based upon symptoms. For people who have much bloating, gas, and usually constipation, the diagnose is typically IBS. People have found that going gluten-free has been very helpful with these symptoms. Other foods can cause issues also, such as onions, broccoli, dairy, etc. Each person has to determine which foods bother them. Taking a very good probiotic is also very important.

      Kim wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

      David wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Basically its lots of digestive/bowel distress and the doctor doesn’t know what’s causing it.

      Amy wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A fairly common abbreviation in articles about this type of issue, but I agree that defining abbreviations the first time they’re used is a good standard practice when writing any type of article.

      Catherine W wrote on May 21st, 2014
  20. I definitely have trouble with gluten and/or wheat and its relatives like rye. I gave it up except for a few cheats over 20 years ago. Until that time, I honestly thought gluten intolerance was hypochondria. Then a friend did an intervention. “When you eat gluten, you get a headache, have trouble breathing, complain of a stomach ache, etc.” I stopped gluten.

    Since then, I have cheated a few times and regretted it. Like Mark, I can have a few croutons, a sample at a grocery store, or a bite of sourdough bread at a restaurant. Since starting Primal, I have even eliminated those cheats.

    I recently had a big plate of gluten-free pasta (cheat). I wouldn’t do it every day but I felt fine.

    Harry Mossman wrote on May 21st, 2014
  21. I don’t have celiac or gluten sensitivity, at least not that I can tell. I don’t eat wheat on a regular basis simply because there are way healthier things to eat.

    Diane wrote on May 21st, 2014
  22. I have no gut symptoms, but I feel it in my joints, knees, especially. That’s a good enough reason for me to avoid it, right there.

    Jennifer wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I don’t really have any gut symptoms when I eat wheat/gluten either, but I too feel it in my joints. Mostly in my hands during cold weather. This past winter, despite it being colder than normal, the only time my hands ached was the three days after my husband and daughter talked me into joining them for lasagna and garlic bread….

      b2curious wrote on May 21st, 2014
  23. My mother has Celiac, diagnosed in her late 50′s after years of debilitating symptoms that nearly killed her. She also has had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis since her early 30′s. Her sister had endometriosis. I am hypothyroid and suffered from endometriosis and fibroids for many years, until surgery with a very good specialist took care of it. I don’t have Celiac, as far as I know, but I do much better on a gluten-free diet, and I suspect that there might be a connection between thyroid and other endocrine issues, and gluten, and that Celiac may be part of a continuum with these disorders. But I am not a medical professional. Have there been any studies about this? I’d love to know!

    Leela wrote on May 21st, 2014
  24. One of the first things my endocrinologist did when he first determined that I had fibromyalgia was to put me on an Atkins-style diet. The improvement was dramatic. I went from being bedridden to being able to paint my house in 5 months. Sadly, over the years, I’ve gotten lazy about my diet. I stumbled on MDA Primal and Paleo looking for new information on better ways to eat Low Carb.

    I did have some DNA testing done and discovered that the gene controlling glutathione production in my body is only minimally functional, so there may be some connection there as well.

    My husband has joined me eating Primally and his long-term eczema has cleared up (also a gut-related symptom) so even if it isn’t the gluten, it’s something in the wheat.

    DanaG wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Hi…I also have issues with wheat…i am presently taking an nrf2 activator that is found to up-regulate your own gluthatione production in your body…i have had remarkable results with it. be glad to share info with you, contact me if you’d like.
      Ben

      Ben Savoie wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Thanks, Ben! That would be great. You can reach me at danag@gryphix.com (work email, so please no sharing address).

        DanaG wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Oh dear: you might want to edit that comment to remove your email. :-/

          Catherine W wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Admin: please remove above for me. I have connected with Ben. Thank you.

          DanaG wrote on May 21st, 2014
  25. When I eat wheat, I can get very depressed…I had a very deep bout with depression lately when I slowly started to eat it again…am clean again and feel normal…the price I need to pay (Wheat and Gluten Free)is well worth it. I’m also more grounded.
    Ben

    Ben Savoie wrote on May 21st, 2014
  26. Hello folks,
    I’ve had basically chronic inflammation for ages.. can’t get a doctor to see that, but had recurring infections, felt run down, achey in muscles and bones sporadically, headaches, fever.. just about everything.. generally sucked..

    So I took it on myself to now fight ‘inflammation’, going gluten free, eating right, limiting coffee, drinking lots of water, basically going paleo.. what a difference..
    I actually have energy where I would drag around all day, and the workweek was way too long..
    It’s just awesome and I’d never go back.. thanks Mark for the update, keep up the good fight!

    John wrote on May 21st, 2014
  27. We went grain free when we started paleo a few years ago and lost a considerable amount of weight. My husband had an additional bonus from this and can tell when he had gluten because his sinus’ start acting up on him terribly. This even happens if there is a gluten type additive in his toothpaste, it’s crazy, but going gluten/grain free has been such an unexpected improvement in this.

    Q wrote on May 21st, 2014
  28. I have a pretty rock-solid stomach and never thought about going wheat-free for intestinal issues, but I cut out wheat about a year ago and suddenly stopped getting sinus pressure and headaches that had plagued me for years. All the ENT doctors I went to couldn’t figure it out and just gave me different nose sprays. Nothing really worked until I wasn’t eating wheat any more.

    I think it is something that might have built up over time, because I can have a little now (a wrap or some crackers) once or twice a week and be OK, but if I overdo it, I get the sinus headache about an hour after eating.

    I have never seen a study that links the two, but I can’t figure out any other cause for my lack of headaches any more.

    Mark A wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I had brutal “sinus” headaches from the age of six, migraines all my adult life, & going GF finally made them all but vanish. I get maybe 1 headache a month now at most. Yay!

      My joint pains that had worsened yearly since age 13 are also almost gone!

      I do have a CD diagnosis, but who knows if I would have tested positive back in the day– nobody tested me– but I sure know what feels good now. :-)

      Paleo-curious wrote on May 21st, 2014
  29. Same here. Took me a long time to figure out what was causing foggy head, depression, lethargy. No GI signs but realized I started to feel better when I was eating healthier. Currently doing food elimination trials and two days after stopping wheat, headaches GONE :)

    Elise wrote on May 21st, 2014
  30. After doing a 30 day elmination it became clear that wheat and other grains played a big role in my longstanding IBS. Other sugars/carbs as well, like fructose, but wheat gave me the worst symptoms upon reintroduction.

    Although gluten-free has become a trendy catch phrase, it’s still a way to avoid wheat when dining out and such, since gluten and wheat go hand in hand (regardless of what we’re actually reacting to).

    My dad has fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and gut issues, and I can’t help but think that wheat is a huge culprit for him as well. Hopefully I can get him to eliminate grains cpmpletely. There has to be a genetic link. Hoping to avoid the problems he suffers with.

    Michele wrote on May 21st, 2014
  31. “A 1966 study found that as wheat and rye consumption increased following World War 2, hospital admissions for schizophrenia also increased.”

    This is correlation – not even close to causation. This is akin to saying:

    As ice cream sales increase, the rate of drowning deaths increases sharply.
    Therefore, ice cream consumption causes drowning.

    Nick wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • I’m quite sure Mark knows that correlation is not causation, as does anyone who spends time thinking critically about nutrition and health research, which will be a large portion of MDA readers. He specifically says there is a “tentatively established link” between schizophrenia and wheat consumption and goes on to cite various studies that suggest this link *might* exist. He is not saying that this link is proven. If you think that’s the point he is making, then I think you misunderstood the essence of that paragraph.

      tkm wrote on May 21st, 2014
  32. Fibromyalgia and depression here, both unmedicated. I have been eating paleo/primal for about a year and a half, though I confess that I haven’t been SUPER scrupulous about gluten when it comes to the few prepared foods that are still in my diet (condiments, etc.) and cross-contamination in restaurants. Still getting far less than the average person, though. Both my fibromyalgia pain and my depression have improved tremendously. Depression is damn near non-existent now unless I screw up my gut with too much dairy, alcohol, eggs and/or avocados. My base level of fibromyalgia pain has gone from about a 4 on the pain scale to a 0 or 1 most days. I do still get flares from stress and certain types of weather, but I’ve learned to eat gut-healing foods and to get lots of rest and VERY gentle movement during flares, which keeps me from being bedridden for days on end. In fact, I can’t remember the last time my fibromyalgia landed me in bed. Huh.

    Kathy S. wrote on May 21st, 2014
  33. It would have been more interesting to see a study done testing Gliadin, the protien that is found in wheat, which I think is really the culprit.

    Krisha wrote on May 21st, 2014
  34. Pizza/pasta eating results – heartburn then bubbly stomach then trip to the bathroom then wheeziness/runny nose then skin rash. I have even had angioedema and asthma reactions from eating wheat. After going wheat free, I stocked up on different flours making breads, pasta and pizza crust using sorghum and other flours. Interestingly, I had similar symptoms. while not as severe as the wheat reaction, strong enough to forego all grains.

    bamboo wrote on May 21st, 2014
  35. About the article in spanish: It presents the clinical case of a 4 year old boy with autism. They had removed the dairy since very early age, but the doctors didn’t remove gluten because the kid gave negative when tested for celiac. The mother was gluten-free due to fibromyalgia so basically she insisted to get some more tests done in her child. After 2 years without gluten, the kid is amazingly healthy (and you can see the pictures there).
    It breaks my heart that some people insist in giving grains to kids with serious conditions like autism when they could get much better just for trying. Nobody NEEDS wheat to live. Nobody is gonna miss it, except the big companies producing industrial “food”.
    Thanks Mark to bring this information to the spanish speaking community, I am going to share it everywhere.

    Alma wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Thank you for the translation!

      Mark Sisson wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • The mother was gluten-free due to fibromyalgia

      If she had fibromyaglia, then she would have tested negative for celiac too, right? So doctors remove gluten for some non-celiac symptoms but not for others? They allow for intolerances and sensitivities for other foods like dairy, so why is there an attitude of celiac-or-nothing?

      [and is it just me, are there more test subjects in this thread alone than in many actual studies? You could almost conduct a metastudy just on the comments.]

      oxide wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Excellent point oxide. I find that taking the time to go through long lists of posts such as these is super valuable in terms of getting a feel for topics like this. Strength in numbers! Reading so many real life experiences that agree on specific points gives real confidence! Another wonderful legacy of the internet…

        Lewis wrote on May 22nd, 2014
  36. I am suffering right now! Three days ago I had 2 slices of pizza. I know better but I wanted the strip of bacon on the pizza and it was a social situation. I felt I couldn’t eat the bacon and not the pizza. Three days of heartburn, burping and sore joints. If only there was an antidote that worked well.

    Cindy wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Lots of water, sleep, probiotics, fermented foods, apple sauce, bone broth and gelatin. Also try having the Cyrex 4 panel done. Once I removed other cross reacting offenders, my reaction to gluten/wheat became far less severe.

      Stephanie wrote on May 21st, 2014
  37. After years of debilitating back pain and transient joint pain I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis at 28yrs old. After being told by a rheumatologist that there was nothing I could do in my diet to help the RA, I immediately quit seeking the advice of conventional medicine (pill pushers), and sought out a Naturopathic MD. One of her first suggestions was to remove gluten. This helped tremendously. I have never had any gastrointestinal symptoms and still don’t get them, even after accidental exposures to wheat/gluten. After 2 years of being wheat/gluten free my exposure symptoms are brain fog, anxiety, joint pain and headaches.

    I have seen even more improvement with the removal of dairy. I had the Cyrex 4 panel done and it showed that my body also reacts to oats, corn, millet, potato as well as cows milk and whey. I would recommend anyone who has found only a little success with a gluten free diet to have this test done. After years of gut damage your immune system may be cross-reacting to other foods in the same manner it would wheat/gluten.

    Stephanie wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • if you can’t eat rice, potato, oats, corn, or diary….then what is left to eat? Just meat and vegetables?

      Lori wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Pretty much and it’s a wonderful way to eat! Feeling and looking great! Sweet potatoes and fruit okay too in moderation IF blood sugar is an issue.

        glutenfreefor16years wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • It is very difficult to eat this way, and nearly impossible when dining out out. Cutting out all of these foods was a process, I couldn’t do it all at once–it was too much of a loss. I still crave potato chips and popcorn but feeling good and getting better every day is worth more to me than giving into a craving.

        There are ton of tasty options. I never go to a grocery store anymore they are filled with row upon row of food that I cannot–and you should not– eat. We shop at the farmers market every weekend. I eat a diet mainly consisting of local grass fed/pastured meats and eggs raised without antibiotics, wild caught seafood, fruits, vegetables, fermented foods, nuts, seeds and healthy fats (all organic when possible). I can still have rice but don’t eat it often because of the high arsenic content found in most varieties.

        I use green or ripe plantain as a substitution for my *forbidden* starches. It makes great crackers and tortillas, as well as being a great substitute for the starch in baking recipes.

        Coconut cream, milk or oil works well in place of cows milk, cream and butter, and I have found that I can still eat clarified butter or Ghee because the reactive proteins are removed in the clarifying process. I do miss cheese though.

        Stephanie wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Sounds like you have mastered the perfect diet! Don’t be to hard on yourself when you stray ( its inevitable) just get back up on the horse right away.

          RJ wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • ummm…everything on a paleo diet?

        Allison wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Is that a question or an answer? Yes, everything on a Paleo diet more or less, depending on your strictness and personal food sensitivities.

          Stephanie wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • Good for you! The results of the Cyrex Array 4 panel have been invaluable to our family as well. My husband (who is not Celiac) has strange reactions to gluten (severe neuropathy, mood changes/depression) and we’re still using the results of this panel to determine what foods he needs to avoid due to cross-reactivity. In other words, his immune system believes cow’s milk, gluten-free oats and corn are gluten as well so he avoids those and the quality of his life (and mine) has much improved. We do struggle to explain to people why he has to avoid those foods even though he’s not Celiac – we can’t tell people why this is happening because we don’t know either.

      CDye wrote on May 21st, 2014
  38. “Doing lines of isolated gluten powder” – lol, Mark!

    Megan Leonard wrote on May 21st, 2014
  39. Since going Primal (no gluten) 19 months ago, the following ailments have cleared up:
    1. Constant scratchy throat
    2. Weekly headaches
    3. toe fungus
    4. low immune function (colds frequently)
    5. wild cravings for sweets
    6. achy knees and low back

    High Energy wrote on May 21st, 2014
    • The same for me. I suffered from migraines multiple times a month, and now I get one so infrequently that I’m shocked at the pain. I had a regular headache so often that I had stopped taking OTC headache meds years ago, and I was surprised when I both got a “regular” headache and when my husband suggested a tylenol, and it worked. (My rare migraines are still only suffered through because while an Excedrin Migraine works to dull it enough to keep me from stepping in front of fast moving vehicles, only time makes them go away.)

      I used to get sick every few weeks and would be sick for days. Literally ever month, I was sick for at least a week of it. Now, I get sick for a day at the most, even when my household is sick for the entire week. (While I’ve been able to clean up my kids’ diet significantly, I’m the only one grain-free in my household.) I’ve gotten sick more from accidentally ingesting foods that my body rebels against on the occasions of eating out than from any other illnesses.

      I still constantly battle sugar demons, but it has been much easier for me to give up grains than sugar. I’ve done the 21 Day Sugar Detox and the Whole 30 a couple of times each, and I find myself feeling amazing after about a week of both, but sugar is my ongoing struggle. I have greatly reduced my sugar intake and try to partake of higher quality chocolate when I do indulge (high percentage of cocoa dark chocolate), but I recently had a severe sugar crash (such that I thought I was going to faint) from indulging in two hot chocolates at a restaurant.

      I thought I had cancer from constant bowel/stomach pains prior to going grain-free. I did a Whole 30 as a weight-loss routine, and it changed my life in so many ways. Terrible and constant headaches, incessant constipation, regular illnesses, joint pains, forgetfulness, poor quality sleep, ongoing depression, irregular menstrual cycle, acne, heartburn, and a host of other health-related problems that I’d had for so long I hadn’t even realized how much they’d contributed to my overall lack of feeling good until they were gone.

      Yes, I still feel like crap if I don’t get enough sleep, have too much stress, and eat too much sugar, but the quality of life I have today is far superior to what I was experiencing at 30, and I’m about to turn 40. I look and feel younger as well.

      While I miss the convenience of bread and other grains, I do not miss how much older and less functional my body felt. My husband is excited at the increase in gluten-free foods and menus available at restaurants in our area (even though rice & corn bother me almost as much now; strangely, the longer I eat grain-free, the more the occasional accidental contamination hurts) because he thinks I feel deprived. Considering how much more adventurous my eating has become since going grain-free, I find that pretty funny! Yes, it’s hard when I smell freshly-baked bread or bake homemade waffles (non-GMO at least) for my kids, but it’s not as hard as doubling over in pain from some part of my body almost daily. I get more pain from poor posture than I do from my eating habits, now, and I truly feel like I got a new lease on life!

      Several of my SAD (standard american diet) friends bemoan how I’m constantly sharing paleo recipes online, but I have more friends who’ve gone paleo/primal/gluten-free/grain-free or some form of non-SAD and all of whom have received worthwhile health benefits from it. It frustrates me to no end when I read or hear of people who bash GF or variants because they don’t believe in it or think it’s hype or a fad or people wanting attention.

      My philosophy is this: if I’m cutting out processed foods that hurt me and replacing them with real foods (produce and protein, as I like to refer to it) who does hurt? How is eating foods that naturally contain the vitamins and minerals that are artificially inserted into processed foods make them less healthy than foods created in a lab? My blood work and physicals are far superior now than they were a decade (and 50 lbs) ago, and my doctor has had nothing but praise for my health improvements (she does also recommend paleo or at least GF for people experiencing IBS symptoms).

      Honestly, when I read an article the other day on IFLS (i f-in love science) about how gluten-sensitivity MIGHT not be legit, it pissed me off first and foremost and then kind of depressed me. I’d flirted with paleo a few years ago but had never fully given it a true effort, so while I lost weight (my purpose for following it), I never gave up grains enough to see that there were other benefits. The Whole 30 opened my eyes entirely because, while it seemed (at the time) impossible to give up bread forever, I could do it for 30 days without too much fear. I was not just impressed by my weight loss (and it was an impressive 25 lbs in that first month), I was blind-sighted by how much better pretty much every part of me felt. I had no idea I *could* feel that way. So when I read this anti-GF/anti-paleo rhetoric, it angers me that people who haven’t had the experience of a W30 (or other total commitment to not eating wheat/grains) might give up because of this pressure from family, friends, or strangers, and suffer needlessly because of it. Why does the internet (or talk show hosts, or B-list celebrities, or co-workers, or random strangers at a restaurant) have to care so much about whether I or you eat grains/wheat or not? Is it because they can’t stand the idea that someone else could give up something tasty & convenient but harmful and reap untold benefits that they’re not willing to work to get?

      peggy wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • Peggy, have you tried eating extra doses of healthy fats such as butter, coconut oil, Olive oil etc. when you have the sugar cravings? I have found that can help….

        Lewis wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • Thanks, yes! I am now an avocado fiend, and I love coconut anything. I am trying to break a lifetime cycle of emotional eating, and while I have made great strides in the last two years, I am not free. I’m pre-diabetic, so I try to be careful of my sugar intake (even before it started making me feel bad), but I have occasional periods of over-indulgance. I find that 3-4 weeks of eating just protein, produce, and fats gets me back on track and feeling great again. I make it a point to eat a larger-than-usual amount of healthy fats and drink plenty of water when I’m having my cravings, but sometimes the combination of work stress, life stress, and sugar cravings trips me up. Luckily, I had to eliminate dairy for almost a year while nursing my youngest son, and I have lost all interest in milk chocolate, so that’s 3/4 of my former sugar diet! :)

          peggy wrote on May 22nd, 2014
      • I have found great support for leaving sugar behind permanently at radiant recovery.com Radiant recovery is a program for sugar sensitive people and sugar addicts where food is understood to be a healing agent, not an enemy. Just stopping the sugar, like ‘just’ about any simplistic food advice is not the whole story. Leaving sugar behind is one of the parts of a much more holistic approach that leads to lasting healing. One of the most helpful parts is keeping a “your Body Speaks’ journal which helps in correlating food intake with physical and emotional outcomes. The RR community has a number of very skilled people who are more than willing to help interpretation of the symptoms the journal records.
        I have been ‘doing the food’ with RR community support for 15 years and left behind the depression, mood swings, immuno suppression, hypersensitivity and a host of other problems.

        Kath wrote on May 22nd, 2014
        • While I’m still very much a work in progress, doing a Whole 30 really helped me see, for the first time in my life, that food is simply fuel. It’s not a reward, a friend, a comfort, a punishment, a cause for shame or embarrassment; it’s not something to be feared or hated or loved. It can be amazingly delicious, and it can be barely edible, but it’s still just fuel. When I take a few moments to plan my meals and my schedule, I eat healthy, enriching, tasty food that nourishes me, and I have no need OR desire to snack or late-night binge because my body is satisfied. When I don’t meal plan or don’t have pre-made frozen meals (I love bulk cooking but do not love preparing to bulk cook), I tend to forage and binge, and my sugar cravings are always higher because it’s a quick fix. When I eat regular meals at scheduled intervals, I also make better choices throughout the day, but I work for myself long hours from home and often find that I’m so late on eating breakfast that I might as well wait until lunch, and suddenly it’s 4 pm, and all I’ve eaten is a few handfuls of almonds, and now there’s still too much to do before the end of the day. It’s all excuses, and it’s a relatively simple fix, and I know it, but it’s something I’m still struggling to prioritize.

          I have healed my body and my health SO much. I fully see that food can be a healing agent, just as consumption (or over consumption) of food can be hurtful. I will definitely check out that site! I’ve overcome so much in my quest for better health, but I always feel like this sugar thing will continue to overcome me. What I’m doing is better than where I was, but there’s definitely room for improvement!

          peggy wrote on May 22nd, 2014
    • Reminds me of my son this morning (who at 11 hears my preaching about being grain free) was showing me that he has “yeast” patches on his feet. I, of course, told him that he’s eating too many grains outside of our house, it turns to sugar which feeds the yeast. Eventually he’ll just stop eating all that junk food, well, some of that junk food from the lunch room. He tries to make good choices of veggies and protein but it is school food after all. Soon he’ll be taking lunches from home AND eating them.
      The biggest problem with him is that he’s very healthy (feeling) so doesn’t feel the “need” to eat better, sigh, ah youth…… this too shall pass.

      2Rae wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • What are yeast patches on his feet like? My daughter gets a terrible itchy rash on her feet, she is the only one in our house that eats wheat. Could it be related? She makes poor food choices too, not enough veggies and lots of carbs – wheat, grains and sugar. Makes me suspect yeast.

        Jodie wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • I have the same thing — an itchy red spot on the top of my foot and my wist — and it was diagnosed as eczema. By eating modified primal, I’ve managed to get it to heal up completely. I only get flare ups now when I eat a lot of sugar (dried fruit is my weakness!), dairy, or wheat.

          Yasmine wrote on May 21st, 2014
        • Jodie,
          Sounds like yeast to me. I eat fermented foods and primally so I don’t get it any more. However, there is an “anti-yeast” cream that helps calm his itchy skin but the root is the “sugar” which is grains and starch as well as sugar. It’s more of an issue if he has sweaty feet for a few days in a row too.
          The patches look like white flakey skin, sometimes it’s a bit pink as well. The itch is neverending. Before I when grain free I’d get them on my hands mostly in the winter. It would keep me awake some nights because of the persistant itch! RRRRRR That hasn’t happened for probably 10 years now. Eating well ROCKS!

          2Rae wrote on May 21st, 2014
      • That’s actually a skin infection, and not something caused by the digestive system? Probably caused by warm dirty shoes/socks (oh so common in boys that age), not bathing properly or putting socks on wet feet. Try cleaning his shoes, washing and drying his feet properly and apply Clotrimazol/Lotrimin or another anti fungal agent (your pharmacist may have a cheaper generic option) to remove the current infection.

        Batteries wrote on May 23rd, 2014
        • We have tried the creams but the only thing that worked was to cut back on the “junk” foods I mentioned above. He had clean socks and new shoes for the last bout, however, too much sugar was the trigger. We had two “different” things – new kid sitter combined with a nearby candy store – yeilded a yeast growth. It’s gone now as is all that candy that was consumed/and thrown awasy by oh, say, I dunno, a Mommy? (the throw away part, no consumption for Mommy!)

          2Rae wrote on May 27th, 2014
  40. Thanks for talking about this Mark. More info, more research is needed, for sure.

    It’s enough of a daily drag to navigate life avoiding gluten because any amount makes me very sick, but all the eye rolling and patronizing scoffing of gluten sensitivity in the media really pisses me off! Yeah, this is something I’m making up because it is so much fun! GRRR!

    Colleen wrote on May 21st, 2014

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