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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 21 2014

Does Gluten Have Any Effect on Non-Celiacs?

By Mark Sisson
354 Comments

WheatThe 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.

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354 thoughts on “Does Gluten Have Any Effect on Non-Celiacs?”

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  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.

    1. 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.

    2. …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…).

      1. “…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/

        1. 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.

        2. 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).

        3. GMO wheat does indeed exist. Numerous field tests have been conducted with GMO wheat, but none is currently being grown commercially.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. @ 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?

        3. 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).

        4. 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.

        5. @Karl – High Blood Pressure isn’t noticable in most people either.

        6. @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.

      3. (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.)

      4. 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.

      5. 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: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/no-alcohol-challenge/#ixzz32TONomP1

      6. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.”

      1. Now you have. I threw up, I lost all my energy and I bloated like a blimp.

        1. 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.

      2. 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/

        1. 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!

        2. 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 . . .

    5. 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.

  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.

    1. 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! 🙂

  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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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.

        3. 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….)

        4. @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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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!)

      3. 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!

        1. 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.

      4. 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.

      5. 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….

    1. 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.

  4. 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?

    1. 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. 🙂

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

    4. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. Karl,

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

        1. 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.”

    5. 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.

      1. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 🙁

        1. I also went on the iodine protocol at the same time, I think it was a combo of those things.

    2. 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

      1. Thank you for your help. I will definitely check out that website…Have a great day!

    3. 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.

      1. 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!

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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

    9. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. +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:)

      1. +++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 …

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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?”

  11. 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….

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    1. I had so many symptoms, seemingly unrelated, before I went gluten free, as well as ketogenic (more or less ketogenic).
      One symptom was brownish coloration under the arms, and in the leg-groin area (whatever is the correct term?).
      It’s all gone now. Normal skin colour everywhere!
      Skin tags in arm pits are almost gone too.
      Normal stools. First time for a few decades.
      Bloating gone. As well as having to get rid of all those gasses, of course.
      No more bleeding when on the loo.
      No more “hemoroids” (which wasn’t, I know realise).
      No more bleeding gum, and poor teeth in general.
      No more feeling queasy in the morning.
      No more itchy skin, and unexplainable allergic reactions.
      No more hayfever!
      And I lost about 66 pounds of weight as well.

  15. 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….

    1. I had a similar experience…Why do people get so upset about this?

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. “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.

    2. 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.

    3. IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Basically its lots of digestive/bowel distress and the doctor doesn’t know what’s causing it.

    4. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

    1. 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….

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

    1. 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

        1. Oh dear: you might want to edit that comment to remove your email. :-/

        2. Admin: please remove above for me. I have connected with Ben. Thank you.

  22. 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

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  26. 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 🙂

  27. 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.

  28. “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.

    1. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

    1. 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.]

      1. 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…

  33. 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.

    1. 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.

  34. 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.

    1. if you can’t eat rice, potato, oats, corn, or diary….then what is left to eat? Just meat and vegetables?

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

        1. 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.

        1. Is that a question or an answer? Yes, everything on a Paleo diet more or less, depending on your strictness and personal food sensitivities.

    2. 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.

  35. “Doing lines of isolated gluten powder” – lol, Mark!

  36. 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

    1. 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?

      1. 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….

        1. 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! 🙂

      2. 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.

        1. 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!

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

        2. 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!

      2. 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.

        1. 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!)

  37. 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!

  38. One biggie that was missed in this list…OBESITY. Pretty much every food that contains gluten triggers a massive insulin response. I am T1 diabetic, and if I eat any amount of gluten-containing food(especially wheat) I need to bolus a huge amount of insulin to keep blood sugars stable..and the blood sugar/insulin response is the same for everyone, diabetic or non-diabetic.
    Since insulin is the driving force behind fat gain, this is exactly how people become obese.

  39. I would LOVE to see research into the relationship between gluten/wheat consumption and infertility and difficulty in conception in women.

  40. PCOS is another disorder that is helped by going wheat/gluten/grain free. Took way too many years (about 30!) to finally get the diagnosis, and I suffered with IBS, anxiety, skin problems, hair loss, lactose intolerance, etc until I changed my diet.

    I did test for celiac and dermatitis herpetiformis, but results came back negative…the thing is, the gastroenterologist didn’t take enough samples and the dermatologist tested the skin tissue improperly, so those results should really be considered inconclusive. What I did get confirmed is that doctors considered my case to be one of hypochondria which I had to battle until I finally saw a practitioner who listened and recommended a strict elimination diet.

    I really wish there was a definitive blood test, it would make being on the diet “more legitimate” in others eyes, and stop my own questioning about whether the diet is trully worth it.

  41. I don’t have any gut issues, but when I eat any gluten (including GF oats), I just fall asleep. And for the next 10 days or so it is hard for me to function because I fall asleep constantly. Driving is a nightmare. Even if I go to sleep as soon as I get home from work, in the morning I’m so exhausted I can barely shower and get ready for work again. At work I’m hopeless because every time I sit down, I fall asleep. I’ll fall asleep right in the middle of conversations.

    I had these symptoms before and the doctors never really took me seriously about it, diagnosing sleep apnea or just “get more sleep”, or depression.

    Finally a nutritionist put me on an elimination diet and discovered I couldn’t eat gluten. I was 57. My family doesn’t believe me and keeps asking, what about the other years? Why would you suddenly become allergic? I don’t know, but as much as I miss bread and pasta — and junk food, there is no way I would consciously eat gluten: the price is too high.

    1. I didn’t have gastro issues, but I had moderate to severe asthma for most of my life (over 40 years!) and I got rid of it suddenly when I tried a trial run of no wheat. I felt much better even in just 24 hours. Now I can breath like a normal person without any medication at all! My asthma is 99.5 percent gone and same with pollen allergies. It’s been about a year now of clear breathing. When I lay down to sleep, that weight on my chest is gone. It’s so wonderful to breath so easily! At first, it was hard to give up because it’s so addictive and I craved it, but over time, I lost my addiction. I’ve found I can have some now an then with no apparent side effects but I rarely bother with it. As someone else mentioned here, just because you don’t feel anything overt doesn’t mean it’s not hurting you a bit. Also, now that I’ve lost the addiction, I now I realize, it doesn’t even taste good. I used to like the taste of the bread and the like but now they taste like cardboard or paste. Even the storebought cakes taste like crap. Only home cooked deserts have any decent taste. I am thinking most people are addicted to wheat which alters their tastebud response to it, just as smokers like the taste of their cigarettes when addicted but nonaddicts hate it.

    2. You might want to check out the work/research being done by Alessio Fasano. (Google him and all sorts of links come up including some videos of his lectures and an interview with Chris Kresser that has a transcript included which you can probably e-mail to your relatives.)

      One of his research items involves 2 women in their 70’s who developed gluten/celiac issues in their 70’s after not having had any symptoms/problems up to that age. He has the same questions about these 2 older women as your relatives are asking you – why now at this age and not before? Interesting question and he has some interesting theories, but apparently it can and does happen. Hope this helps and good luck!

  42. There are tons of nasty things in wheat – it’s not just gluten. In my own case, I found out that I am highly reactive to gliadin (lab result score 29 out of a possible 30) and dropping wheat from my life was literally miraculous. And FAST, too; results right away. But everyone does not have that result. What scares me is the people who are now eating this stuff yet seeming to be okay with it – where will they be in ten or twenty years?

  43. I had a gene code test done to see if I had any of the celiac or (more likely) gluten sensitivity genes. (Enterolab.com, if interested) I have 2 genes for it (so, one from each parent), and both are of the “03” variety, which allegedly magnifies the affect, or “personality”, of that number gene. In 3’s case, that’s autoimmune disorders, arthritis, thyroid issues, infertility, and possibly some others. But I was diagnosed with the ones I can remember, hence the testing (didn’t have digestive issues as much to tip me off). I put more effort into being GF and got off my thyroid meds and naturally conceived a perfect baby boy who is now almost 2. I recently did the gene test for him, knowing he’d have at least one gene for gluten sensitivity from me. He has 2, which means my husband has 1 or 2. It really doesn’t change anything other than the fact that I’ll be doubling down on my efforts to keep gluten out of his diet in order to decrease long-term negative health effects, and it also is making my husband question whether or not he should get more serious about keeping it out of his own diet. In short, good information, and the naysayers can’t exactly argue with known isolated gene codes for sensitivity and celiac now, can they? Self-experimentation counts for a lot either way. That said, you’ll never know what you might have avoided as far as damage to your long-term health if you simply avoid something that even seems to cause you ill effects, even if it’s “just” bubble guts. Good luck to all! 🙂

  44. When I went Primal just under a year ago, my lifelong battle with IBS nearly disappeared. If I get off track with being mostly GF, aggressive eczema on my shins comes roaring back, as does bouts with IBS. It’s immediately correlative- like, 3 slices of pizza = up all night with gut pain and legs flare up the next day. Niice. When I back off of gluten/wheat/starch, I am good to go. The only thing I can’t seem to figure out is Meniere’s/vertigo, from which I suffer greatly for a 37 y.o. very fit + active female. Hit me up with any advice- it’s all welcome! 🙁

    1. I’m following the autoimmune protocol (the paleomom.com has very comprehensive info) which is a modified paleo. In a couple of months if my menieres hasn’t improved I’ll add in low FODMAP eating as well.

      I have lupus, fibromyalgia, pleurisy and psoriasis also 😛 I sound like a train wreck! I notice an immediate improvement on AIP as far as the pleurisy and psoriasis go, but so far zero improvement with my ears/balance.

    2. C. Clark, your vertigo could be caused by coffee. Years ago, I got such a bad case of vertigo from an extra-strong cup of coffee-shop dark Columbian coffee that I had to go home in a cab. It hit me so hard and made me so instantly ill that I could barely stand up. I literally could not drive myself home.

    3. My brother, who is a Type 1 diabetic, developed Meniere’s disease a few years ago. He had allergy testing (can’t remember if it was ELISA but it was not traditional allergy testing) and was told to avoid dairy. He is much better when he does, and hasn’t had the drop-in-your-tracks attacks and days of what he calls the “whirlies” in several years, although he is still suffering some hearing loss.

  45. very misleading and lackluster studies behind the new headlines. My impression is that these new gluten studies are more about click bait than actual science.
    The main issue to me: The studies focused on just gluten extract. But we don’t eat gluten, we eat wheat, we eat barley, we eat rye etc..
    All those other compounds in wheat like amylopectin and the lectins along with gluten and things like gliadin all relate and cause the issues.
    A true removal study would be at least 2 months off “gluten” and then introduce it back in to observe any symptoms.

    1. Seitan – it’s isolated wheat gluten, used as a protein source/meat replacer ,esp. by Buddhists, widespread in Chinese & Japanese cuisine, possibly other Asian cooking as well, and used by Vegans & some vegetarians here.

      1. They used a purified wheat gluten in the study which in either case I’d be pretty sure that the majority of the test subjects normal gluten consumption would not be based around but primarily from wheat and grains.

      2. So they used seitan in these tests? Interesting… I have a vegetarian sister and I buy that for her, in the form of these alarmingly delicious fake meats.

        1. I don’t know what the researchers used – probably lab-grade gluten extract, not supermarket seitan – my point was simply that there is more real-life consumption of pure – or nearly so – wheat gluten than most people realise : many people DO eat gluten by itself, possibly pure enough that the other wheat effects are negligible.

          I would not be surprised if isolated grain gluten is not just used in breads, but may be being used in a number of products that are “Hi-Pro”, but not explicitly “Gluten-Free” (< 20ppm, that is).

          This study is interesting in that it may help (by exclusion) precisely parse out some of the triggers for IBS. It does NOT generally exonerate wheat.

    2. I agree, I read the study… they didn’t test the (about 30) participants for anything first or afterward, they based everything on symptoms self-reported by participants and only followed-up with a few of them, and they used dairy proteins as a replacement for gluten- most people who are sensitive to one are sensitive to the other. It was a ridiculous “study”.

  46. Way TMI but I lived with chronic constipation for years. I stopped eating wheat/gluten and problem solved. Plus it’s like crack. You eat one goldfish and bam the whole package is gone. I don’t need a test or study to tell me that it’s bad news.

  47. I get a mouthful of canker sores when I cheat for a few days in a row…other issues – gas, stuffy nose and migraines.

  48. Almost 4 decades of upper respiratory infections, allergies, congestion, army of doctors, OTC, RX, and equipment (neti pot, humidifiers, air purifiers) all ended when I went PB/Paleo. I took a photo of all the “stuff” on my bathroom counter, posted it on FB, and threw them all away and never looked back (wish I kept the photo). Doctor’s office was concern I wasn’t taking my meds. 3 years drug free and thankful.

  49. Something in wheat causes my rosacea to flare and flare badly. A lot of people (including two dermatologists) have told me it’s all in my head or it’s a “coincidence”, but after four years of abstaining and then re-testing it, I do not doubt the connection. I often wish my reaction was something internal and not a bright red rash across my FACE that takes days to subside.

  50. I am SO GLAD you wrote this! I saw the headline of the new study, and just for a moment, thought I might be crazy. I experienced a huge improvement in my health from going mostly gluten and dairy free. I was using the 80/20 rule to allow myself a weekly pizza or chicken sandwich treat, because I’m addicted to them and can’t seem to let go completely.

    Well, last week I had a reaction to cucumber juice that caused an unfortunate series of biochemical events that led to a 3-day gluten and dairy binge. I thought I would die. My heart was racing and pounding, I had chest pains, a 2-day headache, and stomach cramps that took me to the floor – literally. I haven’t had that since I had my gallbladder removed in February. As long I stay mostly clean eating, I’m fine, but if I eat too much, it feels like it’s killing me.

    I hate it when studies like this come out. They don’t study the whole picture, but most of the people who read about it don’t realize that. I have shared this article everywhere. People need to know!

  51. Gluten-free and grain-free make a huge difference in my asthma. I’ve been tested for celiac and I’m negative. But every time I eat wheat for a few days (like holidays or vacations), I’m wheezing.

    Fairly sure I’ve got leaky gut, based upon the months of strong antibiotics I had to take for daily sinus headaches and fatigue leading up to sinus surgery about 7 years ago. Oh, and multiple cycles of antibiotics for a tooth infection that my dentist tried to fix about 5 years ago. So, yeah, I think wheat causes my gut to bloat, but so do a lot of things, so it’s difficult to isolate.

  52. I tested negative for celiac disease, but against my doctor’s advice I went wheat & gluten free anyway. Not only did my chronic digestive upset subside, within a few days my constant brain fog, difficulty concentrating and depression cleared up. I felt like a new person… Alive, aware, and energetic.

    It is amazing to me the severe impact that wheat or gluten has on my well-being. I was terribly overweight before, with crippling depression and exhaustion. It was a constant struggle to get out of bed and to work, let alone exercise and cook my own meals. Antidepressants didn’t work; forcing myself to exercise only made my symptoms worse. I was barely 30 and thought life was over. It sounds dramatic, but is true.

    When people mention it’s all in my head, I say absolutely. When I eat wheat, my head gets so foggy and slow that I cannot think clearly or function. Definitely in my head.

  53. I have no health issues and generally feel pretty good.
    I tried the 30 day challenge (no grains, dairy, alcohol, etc.) two times, because after reading so many bad things about grains, etc. I could not believe that I could not feel the difference.

    But it seems that people like me exist that are not affected by grains, dairy etc.

    Think this point needs to be made.

    I keep junk food out of my diet and that seems to be sufficient for me.

    1. Michael and Karl, presume you are well aware of the difference between acute and chronic expression or development of disease &/or other health problems. I believe that we are seeing a spate of people reaching their 60’s and developing symptoms of problems such as Type 2 diabetes, and I note some similar personal anecdotes on this blog describing similar pattern….

      As several people have suggested in posts here, just because you aren’t seeing acute symptoms doesn’t preclude the possibility that you could be slowly but steadily developing auto immune issues, wearing out your pancreas, and a whole host of other potential nasties thanks to a chronically inflammatory diet…. Just sayin’….????

  54. Personally, I have no real symptoms when I have a little gluten. I do feel not so great when I have a lot but even that is dubious since a LOT of gluten usually coincides with a LOT of sugar. (best birthday cake ever) But does that mean I should chow down on bread? I don’t think so… I mean, why? The only redeeming quality it has taste wise is that it can be crunchy. Nutritionally, it’s inferior to actual real foods. I don’t buy gluten free bread for the same reason. I don’t buy gluten free treats much either. Eliminating the obvious sources of gluten takes out most of the food that we KNOW is bad for us. So why not do it? That’s how I feel about it.

  55. I just finished 10 weeks on a totally gluten-free diet. I was most interested in weight loss and relief from joint pain. Here’s what I found:
    -I lost no weight whatsoever, even being careful of what I was eating.
    -There was no change in my joints.
    During the past week, I went back on some wheat and have noticed absolutely no difference. Does this mean I am not gluten sensitive and a gluten free diet is not helpful in my case? People have commented that gluten is just bad for everyone’s digestion. Is this true, or are some us lucky enough to tolerate gluten in our diets?

    1. Sandi,

      since most of the scientists who research the (potential) deleterious effects of gluten agree that said effects are not a universal phenomenon, and seeing as several healthy, long-lived populations do consume gluten, I wouldn`t worry too much.

    2. Were you just avoiding foods that contain gluten or were you doing a strict Paleo/Primal experiment? A person can go gluten free and still stuff their face with high sugar-high carb processed snacks, therefore leading to less weight loss than expected… Paleo/Primal would take out all of those snacks and replace them with natural honey or maple syrup, and fruits and veggies, and humanely raised/grassfed/pastured/browsed/organic meats.

  56. Even if you don’t believe in the gluten connection to various diseases/disorders, what would it hurt to go gluten free for 30 days? Thirty days just to see if you felt better? It’s not a lot to ask. People are so afraid to give up their beloved bread/ pizza/pasta…….etc. The researchers WANT to prove that gluten sensitivity does NOT exist, so people can have the excuse to continue their crappy diet of processed garbage.

  57. Thanx for addressing this Mark. I struggled with both stomach and reflux problems aka heartburn, hayfever, joint pain in fingers and knees, etc. I was eating bread and cheese everyday at my work but it never really gave me a fullfilled feeling, taking more sandwiches until I did some research. Began to take salades in a lunchbox. I am very happy to say all is gone. I ate pizza last holiday, drank beer, had some toast…. had the worst attack of hayfever ever! So no cheating for me…..

  58. Not to disregard the gluten issue, but don’t you think that all the perservatives, dyes & God knows what else companies put in processed canned, etc. food, have something to do with all these diseases & disorders? I have seen evidence in my own family when they don’t eat fresh.

    1. For years I thought I was lactose intolerant until a couple of years ago when I had the opportunity to try non-homogenized milk from grass-fed cows. The guy at the creamery said that lactose intolerance skyrocketed when the “supermarket” homogenized milk became available nationally. Since then I’ve found a local source of this sort of milk and also use grass-fed butter and cream. No digestive issues whatsoever. The only time I have an issue is when I eat … Kraft string cheese. I don’t like cheese that much so it was easy to give up. I also have no reactions to locally baked bread but Cthulhu help me if I eat supermarket bread. Fresh and local, that’s my mantra now.

  59. Of course its a fad–that’s what we do with any new dietary idea; this year, putting ‘gluten-free’ on the label is good for sales, next year it will be something different. That’s what the some of nay-sayers are thinking of.
    But it’s not *just* a fad, of course–there is science behind it, too.

  60. I read the book ‘Wheat Belly’ some time ago and it really gives a good in-depth explanation of the dangers of Wheat and Gluten. I wish I read it before I was sold on the bull that the western world health authorities started calling food ‘healthy whole grain bread’ etc.

    As a middle age man I tried that stupid raw vegan diet for a year, that made me almost type 2 diabetic. Then I heard about living on meat and greens. I have done that for almost a year I cut out all wheat products and other carbs. I am slim again feel healthy and love the paleo diet.

  61. For those interested particularly in the link between autism and gluten, where you wrote (somewhat tongue in cheek I know) “Oh, that’s just a large, admittedly well-documented and externally-verified compendium of anecdotes, you say”, there is actually a lot of serious research now available.

    The University of Sunderland’s Autism Research Unit here in the UK developed to such an extent that it led to the establishment of ESPA Research, which now continues the work. Their research includes “studies examining the use of gluten- and/or casein-free diets for people with autism and related conditions alongisde the discovery of biological entities that may provide insight into any underlying metabolic conditions including best- and non-responders to various interventions.” and the website contains links to details of their recent 2-year randomised-controlled trial of a gluten- and casein-free diet with children with autism spectrum conditions.

    I need no convincing of the wide reaching, as yet fully understood link between various conditions and gluten. I am coeliac, my Father died from cancer caused exclusively by untreated coeliac disease, my Brother has coeliac disease – so a genetic “issue” with gluten (or a natural one) has definitely been handed down to me. Furthermore, one of my sons has coeliac disease, 3 out of 4 sons are on the autistic spectrum, the other has asthma, and my husband has 2 types of arthritis – which both respond positively to the removal of gluten from his diet!

    We are both now eating a much more “primal” diet, and have just started moving our children over to it to (4 of us are already 100% gf). We are expecting them to see the same improvements in health that myself and my husband have seen.

  62. I developed eczema 6 months ago. I’m 44. It moves to different parts of my body. It’s not terrible to look at if I don’t scratch but it itches almost 24 hrs a day and it is just becoming unbearable. I had patch test don’t which turned up nothing. The Drs never seem to think it could be food. Has anyone experienced itchy skin and going off gluten and having it clear up?

    1. Definitely giving up gluten has helped and mostly eliminated eczema which I have had all my life. I have given up or as near as possible on all grains. I find any more than a very small portion of rice gives me extreme bloating. Not worth it and if i need some starchy carbs I go for a small amount of potatoes always with plenty of healthy fat. Other benefits are the whole digestion/elimination process which works much better and the unexpected bonus of much better mental outlook and clarity. For me it’s not a fad after five years but part of a healthy lifestyle. Increasing healthy fat intake is also key as this is what now gives you the feeling of satiety instead of feeling full but bloated after grains with all the side effects.

    2. My son got relieve from his eczema after he went gluten free, but effect was not immediate – it took about 6 months to get the noticeable improvement, but each time when he eats slice of pizza or drink a beer, eczema is back, and it takes about one month to clear. However, there are other foods besides grains which could cause an eczema flare – citruses, strawberries, hot spicy foods, alcohol, smoked meat and fish.

    3. Check out the blog “Respect the Microbiota” – he and his readers have had good results with supplementing with lactobacillus plantarum to clear up eczema – and I believe his diet is also mostly grain free. There is a connection with a healthy gut and eczema – worth looking into if you suffer from this (I don’t, but his blog is still interesting!)

    4. Going GF made my eczema disappear- my docs said same thing (no link, you’re overthinking it, here are 1 mill creams, steroids, etc.). I will say stress seems to contribute to bad bouts of eczema for me, too, tho!

  63. I have never been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. Probably, I would pass the test as gluten tolerant. However, since I went gluten free my joint pain has disappeared. If I accidentally eat some gluten, I will develop skin symptoms the next day (rashes, pimples). I simply didn’t notice it before, I had thought it was normal…
    By the way, selling grains is an incredibly big business, it’s a very powerful lobby, hence the obsession about stopping the “gluten-free fad.”

    1. That is what I was thinking. Us rebellious people who won’t just shove anything in our mouths are cutting into their bottom line. Apparently we must be stopped. Also, gluten free products don’t offer companies the profit that some think they do. The cost to produce them in separate facilities is higher. Additionally alot of it is made in Canada or Germany, so the American companies that sell them don’t see the margins they do with the high gluten dwarf wheat products grown and processed here.

  64. The media is out of control with this. They are constantly undermining the case that we try to make for why we cannot eat gluten, and why it is bad for humans in general. I went primal a couple of years ago (lost 20 lbs) after already having gone gluten free due to celiac, but I would LOVE to have a chocolate croissant or sourdough bread every once and a while. Why would I sacrifice these (at least once and a while) for an imagined condition? I get so angry every time they bring on some ‘expert’ – I use the term loosely – to say that is all just in our heads! By the way a friend of mine did an experiment and found if you make sourdough from scratch and let it ferment the old fashioned way for the right amount of time the starter eats up all the gluten. Good luck trying to buy it that way though. 🙁

  65. I have been gluten free for two year. When I eat wheat my joints in my hands hurt and my arms hurt. I also sleep better and I have more energy in the day. Dont have to take that afternoon nap anymore.

  66. I knew my daughter was gluten sensitive when she was an infant and I was breastfeeding her. If I ate foods containing gluten for more than two days in a row, she would throw up after nursing, and that was the only time she ever threw up for the two years she nursed. I made the connection when she was about four months old, and tried my best to avoid gluten as much as possible after that. Now, as a 7-year-old, the limit seems to be about the same for her. A little gluten one or two days in a row seems to be tolerated, but that third day is clearly over the line for her system.

  67. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s a couple of years ago but since going mostly-Primal (and GF), my thyroid numbers are approaching normal – without meds! – and my antibodies came up negative last checkup.

    I also find that when I get accidentally “glutened,” I get more migraines, I have more thyroid symptoms (I haven’t found anyone willing to do a thyroid panel right after these, so no objective numbers for when it happens – just how I feel), and I get achy joints. Ditto when I have nightshades.

    Came up negative in a celiac screen, but I was lucky enough to find a doctor who’d even do a blood test; nobody’s done an actual biopsy, but as far as I’m concerned, what would be the point? I know how I feel off and on gluten.

    (FWIW, I also figure it’s not wheat per se, because I don’t get these symptoms when I have GF beer made from wheat, like Omission.)

  68. Interesting how people dismiss gluten free as something that would just fad away in a few years.

    Actually this happens with a lot of things. I really don’t think anything processed by humans, especially something that has to be made with a bunch of artificial chemicals and additives, should ever be in our diet. But it is, and sadly we’re seeing the effects now. It’ll only take so much time for us to realize that most of these foods we see and buy from grocery stores are part of the cycle that leads us to various health problems!

    One thing is for certain…we will not give up showing the right way of diet and fitness!

    Great write up, Mark! Thanks!

  69. MARK, any reason you didn’t list Autoimmune Diseases, like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma, and about 80 others as possibly being caused or exacerbated by gluten?

  70. grass grows all over….but the animals that eat grass taste better

  71. I am Brazilian and our food is very rich in gluten, testing Darwin’m running out gluten and felt my stomach dropped a lot and have gone to the bathroom more, than when as pasta, breads, cookies, I’m feeling good, I felt weak at the beginning, but now it seems that the body is aconstumando. What is interesting is that I did a test after 7 days without gluten, I spent a day eating bread and biscuit and pasta and the result is diarrhea, then percerbi that in just 7 days my body had gotten used to being without gluten .

  72. After going wheat free, my 20 year routine of 4 daily insulin injections was no longer needed. My endo said that after 6 months into it, I was making insulin again. It’s been 2 years now since I’ve been insulin-free, and although I know it’s anecdotal evidence, I’m still very happy I decided to try eliminating wheat from my diet..

    1. Wow, that’s an amazing story, glad you figured it out. I have diabetes on both sides of the family and have had symptoms for years such as excessive thirst, feeling bad/urgent hunger three hours after eating, brain-fog, fatigue, low energy level, etc. I quit eating wheat for about 4 months and didn’t notice any positive changes. Then I started resistant starch and got rid of all the symptoms mentioned. Now, if I eat wheat I get super tired, lethargic, and foggy-headed the next day…the more wheat the worse it is. My theory is that I needed both changes, to stop eating wheat AND to get resistant starch to improve gut biome functioning in order to feel healthy again.

  73. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 20 years ago and have taken thyroid med since. Went gluten free 2 years ago and after about 4 months GF, asked my dr to check my thyroid antibodies. They had returned to normal which really surprised him. I was able to cut back on my thyroid med a bit but not totally and did switch to Armour dessicated pig thyroid. Feel much better than on the synthetic thyroid meds, Synthroid and Cytomel. Someone else mentioned the great thyroid site, StopTheThyroidMadness. Outstanding source of thyroid info for those interested!

    I also was on acid suppressing meds for 40 years! Got scoped numerous times and every GI doc told me it must be “stress gastritis” and happily wrote me a scrip for two Nexium per day! Before that came out, it was Prilosec and Protonix, and before that, Zantac and Tagamet, and before that bottles of Mylanta… Without these I had horrible heartburn. Who knew (back then) it was all those wonderful whole grains I was told to eat! It took a couple of months of slowly weaning off Nexium to be drug-free but I am so, so thankful I hung in there and did it. Now if I eat anything with gluten, even a little, I get bad heartburn. It is not worth it.

    I don’t know if I’m celiac as the dr said I’d have to eat gluten for two weeks before I could be tested for it or the test is not reliable. I would never go back to eating it just to find out. I know what it does to my body and I live quite happily without it, or any other grains. Thanks, Mark, for the great post today!

  74. Went off all grains and starch 8 months ago. Within 1 weeks time I knew I was getting better 🙂 No fibro pain whatsoever! Gastrointestinal problems gone. Off all meds and sleeping well. This has changed my life!!

  75. I want to throw out a personal experience with Einkorn. It’s an ancient ‘biblical wheat’ and is supposed to be a ‘safe’ kind of wheat. In the name of science we bought some einkorn pasta to see what would happen. I’ve never had any stomach pain reaction with regular wheat, ever. Einkorn WRECKED me. Horrible stomach pain for hours, then lots of reading of magazines in a small room. Not good for me at all. Other members of the family had severe hunger the next morning. Einkorn is 100% ‘off the list’.

    Tried some Kamut (another ancient wheat) pasta from Trader Joes to see how it worked for us. Seems about the same as regular wheat; maybe a tiny bit less reactive. Haven’t added it to our regular diet but will eat a few bites on occasion.

  76. I get monthly allergy shots, and when I was originally skin tested for allergies, the biggest reaction I was to grass pollen.

    Since grains are grass, I figured I would try eliminating them. And what do you know, my allergies improved. I was also one of those who had to run to the toilet if I had grains after I eliminated them.

    But I often wonder, is it gluten, or could it be the pollen? My guess is pollen, because I’ve seen how irritated & inflamed I get from pollen.

  77. I’ve been tested for celiac which came back negative, however when I eat too much wheat I get IBS symptoms, foggy brain, terrible joint pains especially in my right knee, anxiety and depression. I also recently linked it to waking in the morning with a feeling in my hands like they are both swollen and about to burst, even though they look just fine. Gluten intolerance, or wheat sensitivity, whatever it is, definitely exists.

    1. “I’ve been tested for celiac which came back negative…”

      Have a Cyrex Array 3 test run. I’ll bet you’d be positive on that.

      Or just avoid wheat, rye, barley and other high-glycemic grains with similar problematic proteins, including oats and rice.

  78. I have been dairy free for many years due to digestive issues. Two years ago, I decided to try a gluten free diet in the hopes that I would be able to tolerate dairy as a result. That didn’t work out for me, but what did happen was my blood pressure, which had been borderline, dropped to normal and the swelling in my ankles disappeared! I also had more energy and “brain fuzz” cleared up. The brain fuzz clearing up was important as alzheimers and schizophrenia both run in my family. That was enough to keep on it.

    Six months later, I decided to go grain free. Almost immediately, I had even more energy, allergies and sinus headaches disappeared and I lost 50 lbs over the course of the next year. My daughter’s cat still makes me a bit wheezy if Im around him more than a week, but hay fever and environmental sensitivities are gone.

    Along the way, I gave up legumes, convinced this time that things couldnt possibly get better. But they did. I dont have to rest after a meal anymore. I feel light and energetic almost all the time and while I eat much less than before I started on this path, I am much more active and alert.

    The food I buy does cost somewhat more, but in the end I consume so much less that the grocery bill hasnt changed all that much, not that it would matter.

    So all in all, Im not interested in whether there is such a thing as gluten intolerance or not. This works for me and is now beginning to work for my husband.

    He has eliminated grains and legumes, but at this point has kept cheese, (lots of it), in his diet. He has lost 12 lbs since early February and while he has had two colds since then, (they were going around the office), he recovered quickly from both. I didnt catch either cold and I wonder if all the cheese made him more susceptible. 😉

    Since going grain and legume free, he no longer needs antacids, a persistent cough has disappeared, he no longer has sleep apnea and if he snores, it no longer requires a swat team to investigate the disturbance in the neighborhood. Now he only snores a bit when he has a cold.

    Along with weight loss, he reports more energy and a general feeling of improved well being. He also no longer has those “senior moments” that were beginning to creep into conversations. We are both alert and engaged and very often cheerful!

    While we both take a variety of supplements, neither of us takes any prescription or otc medications, (unless he has a cold).

    I will spare you all the details of how this has affected our libidos. 😉

    I have to thank my very dear friend, who suffered terribly from fibromyalgia and regained her life by going paleo, for gently and persistently nagging me to try this. Now Im a crusader for the cause.

    Paleo

  79. When I stopped eating grains as an experiment, my whole digestive system from end to end immediately started to work right again. I felt better. I had more energy. I even lost a few pounds. Now I can tolerate small amounts of grain without reacting, but if I eat more than that, I see the effects right away. Don’t know if I react to gluten, wheat, grains in general, or the processed foods that contain grain. Don’t really care! It’s actually easier to just (mostly) not eat them than to obsess about which/what/when. Does anybody care whether I eat grains or not? Hardly anyone even notices.

  80. Even though I’m from Colorado, I subscribe to the simple idea that grass is not meant for humans. Don’t smoke it, don’t eat it. There is nothing in rice or wheat or other similar grains that can’t be replaced with a natural clean food that can be digested. I’m not gluten sensitive but watched athletic performance, blood chemistry, exercise recovery, libido, and digestion all improve after giving up grains. I’m not waiting for “nutritionists” to catch up to what my body has told me works. Most of them are still stuck on food pyramids and the “calorie is a calorie” mindset that belongs in the dark ages.

    1. “Not waiting for nutritionist to catch up”….Well put!

  81. I’ve been gluten-free with an occasional slip-up for about two years now. I find I get brain fog/depression/fatigue/ sometimes with headaches and muscle aches for 1-3 days after eating wheat or just gluten. The symptoms are worse and last longer with more gluten/wheat eaten. It took about six months of being gluten-free before my body had healed enough that I could actually detect and isolate that these symptoms were from eating gluten. I also get similar symptoms from eating dairy, sugary foods or other grains, so it may not just be a gluten issue, although I did have myself tested last spring and I tested positive for both dairy and wheat allergies.

  82. I test patients in my chiropractic clinic for nervous system stressors and one catagory is food sensitivities. I break up wheat into specific types and isolate gluten in the testing also. Often I have found patients with no gluten intoleramce but with different types of wheat being a problem. Those people also may test positve for other grains llike oats, rice and soy. It is because their gut is so beatup that any grain is a source of inflammation.
    With that said the gut must be well to make use of other nutritional therapies aimed at other problems. For instance nutritional substances for the spleen, joints or liver have little benefit since they are poorly absorbed or assimulated.
    All along they may have no clue their gut was the culprit becaus ethey did not have indigestion, cramps, diarrhea, or constipation. (Then again they may think one bowel movement every few days is normal).
    Recently my golf friend took my advice to get off all dairy (except raw milk). In the first few days for the first time in years his arthritis pain diminished significantly. Each day was better and he’s anxious to play! I think I’m going to lose money on this deal as he is good but always was playing hurt.

  83. I’ve gone gluten-free a while ago and it’s the best thing I did – back then I hadn’t realized that my on and off joint pains were caused by gluten. So the great “side-effect” of changing my diet to gluten free was that from basically one day to the other the pain was gone and that was that.

  84. I have been gluten free, for the most part since 1996 as I what I thought was severe anxiety (told by a doctor), was actually an allergic reaction. After an elmination of wheat and dairy, I realized my symptoms were quite serious when I introduced wheat back in: lightheaded, tingling tongue, difficulty breathing, pressure in my head, deep ear pain (I had chronic ear infections as a child), itchy chest….

    When I got pregnant in 2007, I found that the reaction had disappeared well into my pregnancy. However I did end up with Gestational Diabetes. I continued to “enjoy” my new found freedom from those symptoms. However, 2 years ago started a whole different set of GI symptoms, stomach pain (it was thought to be my gall bladder, which after tests and a scan we found it was just fine)….so I quit wheat again. So 18 years later, I finally see a possible connection to my wheat intolerance or whatever you want to call it, and diagnosis of PCOS.

    I never really went crazy on the GF products the first time, they were FAR too expensive and not great tasting. Though I have tried them now….they are not the healthiest options and I prefer to just keep it simple.

    IT MAKES ME ABSOLUTELY CRAZY when I see these ridiculous articles about people that are GF it’s all in their heads…Trust me I heard it ALL over the years, and for anyone else that is unsure of their symptoms….the only science you need is by trying elimination and introducing it back in. TRUST WHAT YOUR BODY IS TELLING YOU!!! No need to listen to anyone else that thinks you are ‘faking it’ whether it’s your friends, family, restaurant server, co-workers, etc. If you feel better not eating it that’s all that matters. The industry will conduct studies and have nutritionists speak on their behalf about the “risks” of eliminating a food group, of course they will have to send out reinforcements to protect their industry, as sad as their approach is…they have only $$$ signs at sake. This is YOUR health!

  85. Wheat really affects my ADHD son. If he has no wheat, he is a completely different kid. When I eat wheat/gluten I get achy joints, mood swings, migraines, digestive problems. My husband gets gout and achy muscles and joints. It is truly amazing how much better we feel without it. We are still finding benefits, since we have only been gluten free a few months, and a few weeks paleo. Loving this forum – thank you all for sharing your experiences!

  86. I started eating Primal just over 2 years ago, and noticed a HUGE difference in my GI health once grains/gluten were no longer a part of what I ate. No more debilitating cramping, gas, no more heart burn! The longer I’ve been gluten free, the less it takes to effect me in a negative way, so definitely makes it a lot easier to avoid “cheating” – I really don’t want to pay for it later!

  87. When I eat wheat my feet swell up like a toad. My joints hurt and I feel miserable. Since I have started eating Paleo I have noticed a big difference in bowel habits and I don’t feel miserable any longer. I did slip up when my husband passed away and I paid dearly for it, my feet were so swollen that I could barely walk.
    So it does make a difference.

  88. Just yesterday, I decided to go primal/paleo. I have several problems…major depressive disorder, PTSD, ocular migraines, perpetual runny nose, lactose intolerance, obesity and the biggest one – fatty liver disease. What made me make this decision is that I was diagnosed with a fatty liver just prior to having my gall bladder removed. Things went okay after that until recently. My liver is hurting just as badly as before my surgery. When I ate a whole wheat sandwich yesterday, I felt so bad that I almost canceled an outing with a friend. I did some research on fatty liver and one article I read by a doctor said to cut out all sugar, corn syrup, and grains. Immediately I knew what I had to do. Today, I have begun my new way of life, and I know that it will take a little while before I understand everything I need to do (I have a TON of reading before me!), but I don’t relish the idea of all that the fatty liver complications implies, so I must make this work if I am to survive. All the posts here have been very encouraging to me and I am looking forward to living a healthier life.

    Another thought just came to me…my son was diagnosed with ADHD. I took him to get an allergy test done. He had food allergies a mile long. His most reactive were grains. I modified his diet from all processed foods and eliminated grains. His ADHD improved immensely and I had asked the day care and his friends to please respect his diet and not give him anything that he was not supposed to have. I always knew when he had eaten a no-no because I was peeling him off the ceiling! I KNOW there is a link between food and ADHD!

  89. I would say I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. When I am eating wheat I get bloated and my stomach hurts all day long. When I don’t eat wheat that doesn’t happen. I just removed wheat from my diet for 6 weeks and lost 6 inches off of my stomach, mostly from the bloating. But, I don’t have celiac. hmm, there is something to this for sure!

  90. On a different issue, I’ve suffered from migraine for 50 years, since going primal 18 months ago my migraine became less frequent and now if I stay off wheat I am completely migraine free. Is it the gluten which helped caused my migraine?

  91. I have a boy with multiple neurological disorders including right hemisphere deficiency, autism, ADHD, and anxiety. There are many food based substances that affect his overall functioning. We tried gluten/casein free diet along with Feingold program with dramatic improvements in his functioning. The combined diets were so close to paleo that he and I converted and we saw even more improvement after dropping the grains.
    Research shows that about 80% of kids on the autism spectrum have abnormal gut flora and this leaky guys. I think my kid still has a leaky gut even after hes been 99% GF for 3yrs bc when he gets a dose of naughty treats he gets a glazed over look in his eye, is less responsive, more irritable, and starts stimming more. (Stimming is slang in the ASD community for self stimulators behavior such as spinning and finger flicking). The gut brain connection is STRONG and is clearly evident in those with neurological deficiencies.
    Paleo hasn’t cured the autism but it has helped alleviate symptoms and put my kid in a higher functioning state. If you have kids on the spectrum read dr. Martha Herbert’s book called the autism revolution. She points out many external factors that you can control to help these kids.

  92. I think when looking at the “longest-lived healthy populations on this planet”, like the Sardinians and Ikarians, who do consume gluten-containing/cross-reactive grains, you MUST look at how they prepared those grains.

    I believe Mark as done at least an article or 2 on how the preparation of the grains one consumes changes how the body digests it.

    So, I don’t think you can say that grains eaten by those groups that contain gluten, or other inflammatory components, “proves” that there’s nothing adverse done to the body when consuming them, when “how” one prepares those grains has a significant impact on their digestability.

    If those cultures are fermenting and sprouting their grains before they eat them, then that’s a far cry from what we eat in Western nations most days.

    It’s always about context, and the bigger picture. That’s what I love about MDA–always providing *all* the science and facts, and not just the sensational story of the day!

    Thanks, Mark, for this post–I just knew you’d have something to say on this latest topic!

    1. I don`t contend that epidemiological observations “prove” anything either way, because they can`t – after all, correlation does not equal causation, as people around these parts are fond of emphasizing (this also applies, however, to the links between gluten consumption and the maladies described above, which do not constitute “ironclad…causal relationships,” but imply “hypotheses still to be proven,” as Mark writes). Still, data such as these do suggest the tentative hypothesis that at least some people do just fine with (some) gluten in their diet (that may indeed conceivably be the most benign when processed in a traditional manner), which is bolstered by Mediterranean diet intervention trials resulting in improvements regarding blood sugar and systemic inflammation (among other things) – and, by and large, these trials did not even involve “fermenting and sprouting” of the grains…

  93. Thanks for this post. I remember this study being discussed back in November, but for some reason it has resurfaced in the media.

    I definitely have non-celiac gluten(/wheat?) intolerance, and my personal reaction was very similar: what does it matter if it’s the gluten or FODMAP fructans in the grains? If you stopped eating them and got better, are you now going to add in carbohydrate-depleted wheat gluten?! Unfortunately, there are quite a number of people who are totally resistant to the idea of gluten being harmful to non-celiacs, and I walked right into an argument with one on social media.(http://www.reanderthal.com/2014/05/17/yes-im-crazy/)

    Thanks for collecting all of this info on the effects of gluten (or wheat fructans?) on other conditions. It’s nice to have the information all in one place.

    Of course, I’m going to try to avoid convincing anyone in particular. I think it was Sally Fallon who said nobody can be convinced to change their diet by someone else, they have to come to want it on their own.

    That was certainly the way I hooked my folks…

    Thanks again.

  94. Anemia. 3 years worth of persistent anemia no amount of iron supplementation could cure. Wasn’t even making a dent. Blood tests every three months and the numbers either went down or maintained. Docs were perplexed and I was on my way to the hospital for blood transfusions. Late night google forays led me to the suggestion that gluten sensitivity might interfere with iron absorption. I’m old enough to remember the 90s low fat, high carb, and sugar free fads. I’ve tried everything from Pritikin’s to macrobiotics to raw vegan and I’ve paid the price after many year’s worth of soy burgers. Experience has taught my cynicism but with nothing left to lose and options drying up, I gave this crazy gluten free thing a try. Next three month blood test and my numbers were up. Finally. I was shocked. Just eliminating gluten (read: wheat), mind you, I continued eating rice and dairy. Yes, I was one of those rolling my eyes at the gullible, trendy paleo fools. I apologize. You were right.

  95. I was diagnosed with IBS probably 15 years ago. My symptoms disappear when I am gluten free. I have arthritis in my thumbs. It almost completely disappears when I am gluten free. I have found alternatives to those products which contain wheat and I am quite happy. This is not a fad to me.

  96. I went on a low starch diet to get rid of GERD as I did not want to be on a PPI forever. But it was not until I completely removed wheat/gluten from my diet that the heartburn completely went away. A couple of times I have cheated and had something with a trace of gluten in it and it hasnt affected my gut so that makes me think that its more the wheat. But I am scared of the “silent” effects It may be having especially because I have autoimmune thyroiditis (hashimotos) which is linked to gluten. It doesnt hurt me to be completely gluten free so I do it. And my health feels amazing now. Oh, also lost 15kg (about 30 pounds) which did not hurt!

  97. I went gluten and sugar free in February. Since then my migraine-related vertigo has cleared up to the point I was able to go off the prescription medication for it. I experimented with no wheat, no sugar, and neither. While all three combinations affect me, it is both together that really rocks my world!

  98. a note on the study at hand: I think it was flawed, in more than one way. When the test diets were introduced, those given whey protein responded just as badly as those given gluten. The group given whey protein was still following a low FODMAPs diet, which seems to exonerate FODMAPs (in this case).

    The authors also detected an order effect, which reduces the validity of a crossover study.

    I’m not doubting that some people experience a genuine reduction in symptoms by eliminating gluten-containing foods… I’m just saying this wasn’t the study to prove or disprove NCGS.

  99. I have a friend who’s psoriasis is only a small speck of what it was with the elimination of gluten. It took her awhile to figure it out.

    Around age 50 I started to get joint pain and occasional indigestion. Eliminating grains has eliminated those problems.

    1. I think I did not state my previous comment well. To be clear, my friend found that eliminating gluten made her psoriasis go away. I think she still has one small spot on her hand where previously it covered her arm and hand.

  100. Mark – This newsletter really rings true for me. For over two decades I have suffered with uncomfortable bloating, inconvenient & sometimes embarrassing gas. After visiting a naturopath and then doing a lot of research, I am now following the primal diet. I have never felt better & my body looks like I’m 18 again (I’m 40 now.) My friends can’t believe how great I look, but for me, I am so happy to not have constant issues with abdominal discomfort.
    Thank you for your consistently well thought out & researched newsletter. It’s a priority in my Inbox!

  101. I’ve been eating mostly paleo for about a year and a half. I’ve had very low vitamin D levels for about 10 years (at least) and have struggled with inflammation and pain for decades. Recently my doctor told me to go gluten free while taking vitamin D, saying that the gluten might be inhibiting vitamin absorption. The switch has been relatively easy as I wasn’t eating much wheat. I’m only in my second week. Does anybody else have any experience with Vitamin D absorption and gluten?

  102. To answer your question, I have had fibromyalgia for many years. When my daughter was frequently ill as a child (ear infections among other things) we had her tested for food sensitivities and while I got tested at the same time, her test came back positive for gluten and mine came back negative.
    There was no way I was going to be eating gluten foods in front of her though so I joined her in her elimination diet and within days, my pain, fatigue and brain fog disappeared.
    We both did go back to eating gluten foods after 6 months and did very well for awhile but I found myself recently giving it up again-this time, the results are less than remarkable. I think this is in part because I need to be more strict with my diet as I am not being as diligent as I was when I needed to feed a growing child and also because I just found out that I also have Hashimotos so I am no longer dealing with a single disfunction and so need to make many more changes.

  103. There is NO WAY IN HELL a person diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes can “reverse” their disease. The child/ren in question are very likely in a long honeymoon stage. These kind of blatant statements are infuriating to parents of kids with Type 1 and to adults living with Type 1. Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder where the cells that CREATE insulin are DESTROYED. What in the hell is the connection to gluten? Come on, get real. If it were that easy, we’d know about it by now. If those parents are not feeding their kids carbohydrates, they are treating them exactly as patients were treated back before the 1920’s . . . before insulin was developed. And guess what? They eventually withered away and died.

  104. Lyme Literate Medical Doctors (LLMDs) are now advocating a diet free of gluten and sugar for patients who suffer from Lyme and other tick-borne illness. I follow these instructions. Within a day I noticed an improvement, and within a week I noticed a GREAT improvement in my symptoms – particularly the joint pain. This is now standard practice for all properly-treated Lyme patients. I wonder if some of this problem can be linked to the heavy spraying of herbicides on so many of our grain products – especially wheat, corn and soy – due to the increase in use of GMO products. New studies have found that glyphosate is present in our meat and poultry as well as our grain supplies. There is a plausible hypothesis that the glyphosate causes certain changes to other chemical processes in the body, which in turn causes inflammation. (I do not remember the details.) Or possibly the GMO changes in the plants we and our meat supplies eat have caused an increase in inflammatory disease. I would be interested to hear from anyone who was using non-GMO wheat and then quit. Did you also experience an improvement in your symptoms?

    1. I may be mistaken but I don’t think wheat has been genetically modified in this country. As I understand it, the wheat producers are against GMO wheat because they can’t sell it overseas.

  105. Going 90% GF was a major step in my lifestyle revolution in keeping the weight off and improving gut function. Particulary in the areas of absorption and waste processing! I think we all harbour mild FODMAP sensitivities that grains induce.
    As MDA suggest in other posts, preparation is the key as I believe the causal links to phytic acid is instrumental in the in the way our bodies process gluten etc.

  106. One year ago I started gaining weight uncontrollably, and the more I worried about it the worse it got.

    I gained 20 lbs in 2 weeks, and my blood pressure which was always 90/60 jumped to 200/100, and my cholesterol went to 280 from always being 220.

    I found a chiropractor who specialized in thyroid disorders and I thought maybe I had a thyroid condition. He found a wheat sensitivity. As soon as I cut the wheat from my diet, all my numbers went back to normal. I am still holding onto 10 lbs, but I am working on losing that as well.

    Wheat is everywhere, and when I accidently eat it, I begin getting that pressure headache. As long as I stay away from wheat I am fine.

    The way wheat is processed, I do not think anyone should be eating it, regardless of a sensitivity or not.

  107. I suffered for years with plantar faciatis and did cortisone shots,all kinds of therapy ice packs,stretches, arch supports,tape etc. I decided to go primal because I saw the great results a friend was having with weight loss and energy etc. shortly after going primal( gluten free ) I noticed my foot pain decreasing rapidly. I have been pain free for the most part. The only time I have a relapse is when I eat glutin.
    I am done with glutin.

  108. Funnily enough, we’re experiencing relief from all those ‘symptoms’ listed above by following GF FODMAPS – and because we’ve just been diagnosed with MTHFR – the reason behind all the other issues listed.

    We’ll remain FODMAPS and will now continually test and re-balance our bodies as we go.

    I don’t care if people believe or not – my son is almost ‘normal’ (and not autistic but certainly affected by IBS, Fibromylagia and fatigue at 7 YO) for the first time in years. He was severely affected by a minor operation and under doctors guidance, continued to suffer for years. These same doctors sent him to a psych when I changed his diet and he improved – they thought it was all made up. Thanks to a wonderful Failsafe Group, we found MTHFR via Google research and Pub Meds and continue to go it alone with minor supervision by an open GP. I wish folks would put as much energy into research as they do into reporting guff :).

  109. I’m three weeks into a gluten free diet (I should have done years ago) for IBS and gastroparesis. I tested high on one celiac antibody, but it’s not IGA so I’m not diagnosed. That being said, I can’t argue that my mood is better than it’s been in a long time. I still have some gut issues, but haven’t had diarrhea or as much bloating compared to a month ago. Even if it’s the reduction of a major FODMAP giving me relief. It’s like Mark said, it doesn’t matter if it’s gluten or a FODMAP. I needed relief!

  110. When I cut down on wheat (from three times a day via SAD to one or less) at age 40, my life-long crippling anxiety attacks stopped. They were devastating – something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. They were almost hallucinogenic, but with a major diarrhea component. They struck out of the blue, though usually in food related venues, like restaurants, since I was a toddler. I remember being slapped and spanked for not eating when one would descend upon me. I have not had one such attack in the 17 years since. I gave up wheat (except for the rare bit of artisan bread) five years ago, and would not go back, but the most dramatic results were just from cutting back. Amazing.

  111. I do think there is something to this. It’s all about levels of tolerance on a spectrum. With years of IBS I have been confirmed non-celiac, but I definitely have intolerance to Gluten. It used to be jut gut related, but has also moved into other symptoms like facial eczema and increasing my anxiety. I also see I direct relation after eating a large amount of gluten. When travelling in Europe I slipped back into eating process foods and wheat, and came back with very bad eczema all over my face. Removing gluten did the trick. I find I can now eat a small amount now and then (soy sauce etc.) but if I eat The wrong thing (like 3 slices of normal pizza I thought was Gluten free) I can feel nausea for week, Bad cramps and bloating, eczema and heightened anxiety.

    I have found less refined sugar also improves bloating too.

  112. My 9 year old boy’s severe anxiety and related OCD have all but disappeared after changing his diet to STRICT gf (as opposed to MOSTLY gf…)

    We were at the point where the school had suggested home-schooling him instead, he just could not function in the classroom. Now it’s like a 180 degree change from 2 months ago, he’s a happy, confident, contributing, social member of his class again! And home life is so much easier too…..OCD is immensely stressful on the whole family.

  113. Hippo’d page 3 to respond to the eczema sufferers…I never got tested for anything, but I have had severe eczema since I was a baby. Giving up grains was the only thing that made a difference. Wish it didnt take 35 yrs to figure out, but here we are. When I gave up grains and went Paleo 6 or so yrs ago, my skin stopped itching and healed, I stopped getting migraines and sinus infections, and dropped 15 lbs, too.
    I have a strong family history of allergies of all kinds. No one ever suggested that wheat/grains might be the problem. I still seem to react to “gluten free ” grains, so I generally avoid them. I just had a brutal semester that led me to some pretty shitty food choices, and wow, I feel like shit, and I need to lose 15 lbs, lol. Back to meat, seafood, veggies and fruit!

  114. If I eat rice or wheat I get significant asthma in my lungs, inflammation bloating body-wide especially in the joints, and if it continues for awhile I also get like-to-kill-ya acid reflux (GERD) and “seem” to become allergic to the weather, the moon and stars, and everything else.

    This can happen even when the gluten is a minimal amount of something being used in a canned soup, a specialty drink or possibly to hold together a fast food burger patty. Though of course it is a stronger response when it is outright bread or rice I’m eating (and its status as ‘whole grains’ vs. pizza crust matters not at all). Ditch gluten in all forms and I am magically healthy of those things.

    Now, it may be that it isn’t “really” gluten but rather, wheat and rice. Good luck finding wheat and rice without gluten, and since I appear to be reacting to all the gluten sources I find, apparently good luck finding gluten without wheat and rice.

    The reality is that the news media arm of corporatism has been trying to say “gluten intolerance is JUST A FAD” for a long time now — playing down celiac as being an incredibly obscure minor thing — this study, however valid, is simply being used as a new prop for promoting that same agenda.

  115. Looking at the original report, and the critiques of this report, as they emerge around the keto/LC/primal/paleosphere, I’m seeing flawed design, confounding factors, and massive media misinterpretation, i.e. almost stereotypical modern mainstream nutrition “science”.

    If if were Big Grain®, and wanted to generate a report making it appear that gluten-bearing grains were perfectly safe to eat, it’s exactly the sort of thing I want to see published. This may not represent the intentions, or the funding, but it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a USDA nutrition quack.

  116. In addition to the GI symptoms mentioned above my face breaks out like a 15 year old when I eat gluten/wheat of any kind. I spoke to a dermatologist who said it is completely unrelated but when I DON’T eat those products my skin is clear like the 43 year old that I am. She’s wrong – at least about my body system.

      1. Hmm… Interesting suggestion. It doesn’t look like Papulopustular rosacea, actually. It’s really good old fashioned acne. I sincerely appreciate the suggestion, though. I think it’s my body trying to find an outlet for the toxins, so to speak, so it rolls with GI and skin eruptions.

  117. I noticed that wheat flared my GERD about 25 years ago. I mentioned it to my doctor and he had me tested for celiac. While I awaited the results, I read up on celiac and was terrified at the prospect of giving up gluten. My results came back negative for celiac, so I went about my life eating “healthy whole grains” and popping various medications. My father died of esophageal cancer, so I just figured heartburn was in my genes. I also dealt with IBS, acne, and various other unpleasantries.

    About 12 years ago I commenced the Atkins diet to lose weight and my GERD went away. Just. Like. That. My acne pretty much cleared up too.

    A month ago my husband was visiting (long story, but soon we’ll be in the same state again) and we ate every meal out. I ate anything and everything. My acne flared up for approximately two weeks after that. I’m 49! Sheesh. I also had some heartburn.

    I do not know if it’s gluten or something else in wheat, but I don’t care, and don’t know why anyone else would care that I avoid it. I eat very well (bar that one week-long aberration) and try to stick to nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods. Why do some people seem to feel threatened by that?

    I never tell anyone how to eat because I can’t stand when people try to tell me how to eat, but if asked sincerely I will tell them I “eat clean” 95 % of the time, and prepare most of my meals at home from real food. I don’t really worry about carbs or portions; I just stay away from wheat, sugar, and processed stuff most of the time.

    I do get comments that I look good for my age and that I’m lucky to have a “good metabolism”. I’m new to my area so people don’t know that I’ve lost 25 or 30 pounds since January 1 by returning to eating primally.

  118. Don’t worry about the study. They ignored yeast overgrowth in the digestive tract as a connection. And he may be wrong again. Does it really matter?

    I decided to start tracking all youtube illnesses reversals. I am going to put them here: https://sites.google.com/site/ketoenergy/ FYI: There is no sales of any kind on the site.

    I am finding endless troubles with WHEAT and WHITE SUGAR. If you look at the Denise Minger conclusion of the China Study, she found Wheat had a super high link to illness.

    I am from Denise Mingers world, and I am shocked at the number of people that reverse illnesses being yeast and sugar free. Nothing to do with raw. I am ketogenic, but I track any keto related group.

    I like the illness reversal video’s where they give DETAILS. It is not PROOF, but maybe can help reversing an illness if you want to do the doctors treatment too. I was shocked when I found out that cancer can’t feed on ketones.

    ***** For all the illnesses I have had, and all the illnesses I have tracked, please stay on this diet. If you find you need inspiration, read Marks blog. If you feel alone, look around. Do you really want to be diabetic like all those people around you? *******

    BIGGEST CONVERSION PROBLEM:
    If you find you get some nasty flu like symptoms for 3 days, with sore joints, 30-60 days after being on this diet, it is the yeast die off. It is pretty nasty. Don’t give up. It goes away and never comes back. Some will not have the problems. You can buy an M.D. yeast book if you want more information on yeast or candida. Some that do a candida elmination diet, then eat a McDougall diet, and it does not work anymore, and they they make nasty youtube videos.

    -Trent

  119. Oh…I know when I have eaten something that contains gluten. I get to hang out in the bathroom for the rest of the day. I was feeling awful all of the time and I had constant stomach pain and all the lovely extras that come along with it. I was told about all these things that I needed to do that would make me feel better and the one thing that worked was to reduce my gluten intake. The less gluten I eat, the better I feel. AND I also used to have these little calcified bumps on the back of my arms and legs, but the longer I go without gluten the less of them I have…My delusions are really grand!

  120. I found MDA about 4 months ago. Within a few days of stopping grains my joint stiffness went away. I no longer need albuterol to run (jog) in warm humid weather. As a primary care doc I have found myself frequently recommending ancestral lifestyle to patients. I explain to them that we all are participants in an N=1 experiment, but giving up the processed junk can’t hurt. My staff laughs every time I give a patient a recommendation to visit a website, because it is usually the MDA site; but sometimes it is freetheanimal.com or other worthy sources of info just to keep them on their toes!

  121. dear karl : buckwheat is indeed not a gluten grain. my error. feel free to substitute rye if you wish. however, the other facts remain the same. tx

  122. How can beer not be mentioned in all of this?! If we’re talking about whether wheat or gluten is the problem for us IBS sufferers, that’s the dividing line right there. Like Mark, I’ve given up alcohol for long stretches but I find I do better with beer (moderate consumption) as part of my diet. Wheat, I cannot eat a bite without repercussions.

  123. There are several interesting aspects to all these posts and points of view:

    1) Why exactly does eating wheat and wheat products become such a temptation? Why do some people have feelings that things made with wheat (cakes, pizza, donuts, etc.) are somehow irresistible and, dare I say it, addictive? Maybe the answer is BECAUSE many people have that kind of reaction to the proteins in wheat? Wheat is not just a lump of gluten. It contains many different chemicals, if we want to think of it that way. Going gluten free may be a problem, but I do not know if people become “addicted” to gluten, or “crave” some other part of wheat. But something is going on here.

    I propose this not as just some idle speculation, but based on years of going wheat/gluten free and reading comments from “gluten free” people who say they know better, but somehow they gave in to an urge, or a craving, or a temptation to have a pizza or some such thing, and now need some motivation to return to their gluten or wheat free diet. Maybe for some people this urge to have wheat is easily overcome, but for many others apparently not.

    Personally I do not crave any wheat products, but clearly many people feel otherwise.

    2) Why do we have some of the posters “defending” wheat? Clearly many people simply cannot tolerate wheat, or gluten, in any amount. Does that mean that no one should eat wheat? Clearly it does not. Much more significant is the proposal that many people have a much lower level of damage from wheat and gluten, damage which is neither painful nor uncomfortable, and thus not immediately obvious. But still there is some known intestinal damage from wheat, and wheat does not appear to be beneficial. Even the suggestion that wheat plays a role in Alzheimers should be of concern to reasonable people.

    How many reasons do you need not to eat wheat?

    If there is a counter argument that some “groups” that were known to eat wheat were also known to live a long time, simply saying that proves very little. We do not know if the wheat then was the same as it is now, and we do not know what other factors might have moderated the effects of the wheat. It is surely worth some study, but it cannot be of much use in light of current knowledge and the current situation.

    People are omnivores, and it seems to me that clearly in extremis, meaning near starvation, it would be better to eat wheat and live than die of hunger. Wheat is sort of like emergency food. But who is currently in such an emergency?Being hungry is not the same as actually starving. Or maybe, in such an actual emergency, one’s body would be better able to deal with the various chemicals and components in wheat?

    1. Richard,

      “But still there is some known intestinal damage from wheat,…”

      There is currently zero credible evidence proving or even implying that wheat/gluten “damages” the intestines of people who do not suffer from celiac disease (NCGS and wheat allergy may cause intestinal symptoms, of course, but they don`t do “damage,” sensu stricto – which is why biopsies are so crucial for CD diagnosis). (hint: transient increases in intestinal permeability and “intestinal damage” are not the same thing; also, (transient) increases in intestinal permeability are not automatically/necessarily a bad thing, just as (transient) decreases are not automatically a good thing; similarly to the “insulin makes you fat”-narrative, the whole picture with regard to this rather intricate dynamic flux system appears to be much more complicated than it seems to be at first glance).

      “Even the suggestion that wheat plays a role in Alzheimers should be of concern to reasonable people.”

      Sure it should – if the currently available data supported this contention even tentatively. They do not: Both current (!) population data and prospective cohort studies(/meta-analyses thereof) demonstrate that a “Mediterranean” diet pattern which utilizes gluten-containing/cross-reactive grains is associated with a reduced Alzheimer`s (and Parkinson`s) incidence (as well as reduced cardiovascular, cancer and overall mortality risk) in a dose-dependent manner (the better the adherence, the lower the risk); add to that the fact that Mediterranean diet interventions routinely result in better blood glucose control and less systemic inflammation,(in fact,in a (relatively) recent meta-analysis on type 2 diabetes management that included RCTs lasting at least 6 months,the Mediterranean interventions led to better improvements in glycemic control than the low-carb interventions (Ajala et al;2013)) and the wheat/gluten-Alzheimer`s hypothesis really doesn`t have anything of substance to support it at this point – sure, one can dig up associations in “SAD-populations” – but in this context, gluten/wheat is probably just a marker of junk food consumption.

      “How many reasons do you need not to eat wheat?”

      A single good one would be enough.

      “If there is a counter argument that some “groups” that were known to eat wheat were also known to live a long time, simply saying that proves very little.We do not know if the wheat then was the same as it is now,…”

      These “groups” (several of the “Blue Zoners”) still are known for their, by and large, stellar longevity and health. Now. Today.
      If modern wheat does indeed appreciably damage the majority of people (who do not suffer from CD/NCGS/wheat allergy), the data fail to demonstrate it at this point (your average Mediterranean diet intervention trial doesn`t exactly utilize soaked and sprouted heirloom grains….).

      “…and we do not know what other factors might have moderated the effects of the wheat.”

      Again – present tense. Also, this assumes that wheat is inherently damaging for a majority of people/everyone, which is far from proven even with regard to the dreaded “modern wheat” varieties, as described above. In addition, similar reasoning applies to the dietary patterns based on all those beloved “acculturated hunter-gatherers” – who, as Mark once wrote, are “essentially Primal,” partaking selectively in the wonders of modern medicine while continuing to eat and move traditionally. Interestingly, these shining examples of Paleolithic health only make it to 70 before dropping dead, on average – and that is conditional on reaching age 45, ie controls for infant and adolescent mortality -, whereas the “Blue Zoners” tend to live their healthy lives at least a decade longer – so maybe a semi-vegetarian diet that includes grains and legumes is the pattern that really optimizes “healthy longevity” for many people …this is meant to be understood as (slightly) tongue-in-cheek, of course, – the “Blue Zoners” may just have lucked out in the genetics department – but the point remains that everything in the realm of nutrition is so riddled with confounding factors that no one can confidently say which diet(ary pattern) is “best” at this point, so I am not sure which “current knowledge” you are referring to that apparently makes studying the effects of wheat consumption and separating said effects from the influence of confounding variables basically superfluous by now.

      So, why would someone defend wheat consumption when it clearly isn`t necessary, you ask?
      Because there is no reason to avoid wheat-containing foods one likes (in moderation) when there is no convincing evidence that these foods damage anyone who isn`t afflicted by CD/NCGS/wheat allergy, and because restriction that isn`t medically necessary can be a damnably effective pretext with regard to maintaining pathological behaviour patterns for people with certain eating disorders/completely derail their efforts to establish sustainable healthy eating patterns, thus severely limiting their quality of life(as I described in another comment above).

      So there.

      (Needless, to say, if one does notice one`s health changing for the worse as a result of wheat/gluten consumption, avoiding it is an entirely rational endeavor, in my opinion – though it may still make sense to try and improve things by “tweaking” one`s microbiome, of course, provided that one doesn`t have CD.)

      1. Karl

        So, in your view, in order to reject eating wheat I would not only have to prove damage to the intestinal lining, it would have to be more than transitory? Would cumulative be significant? Or are you proposing some sort of hormesis?

        And hunter gatherers only lived at most to age 70, so their diet proves little or nothing? When you state misleading “facts” like that I question the legitimacy of anything you say.

        There is no doubt that the present day is certainly the best when it comes to average life expectancy. Is that the result of, or despite, the current diet?

        There is no doubt that the creation of farms and farmland and land boundaries and the division of labor, etc., have greatly advanced society, increased population, and have provided abundant “food” for almost all. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the comparative nutritional value of the various foods, and despite their contribution to society in general, it creates no individual or personal debt to grain-based carbs or any duty to eat them.

        Grains are not some ancestral food in the sense of a hundred thousand years. Mice and birds are well adapted to eating grass based seeds, but that does not mean that people are. And yes, people are omnivores. In such a paradigm I think it would be more proper to show that things which can be eaten (such as wheat) are essentially or absolutely harmless before proposing that eating them in any amount is a good idea. You have not shown that at all. You don’t even come close.

        But what is the point of your post anyway: that it’s ok to eat wheat? It’s up to you in terms of what you choose to eat. About all the rest of us can do is review the literature and reports and see if there is some consensus, as well as considering the logic of certain contentions. I know of no “primitive” (Paleo…) society based on grain consumption. I know of no exclusive or significant benefit conferred by wheat consumption. Until you have something like that to show your argument is very weak. But what you choose to eat is up to you.

        Finally, as an attorney and somewhat of a student of the nature causation, proof, and truth, I find your arguments worse than unconvincing. This is not a case for moderation, not in any sense. Now, again, if you want to eat wheat, it’s up to you, but your posts verge in irresponsible in terms of the larger message.

        1. Richard,

          wheat does not inflict damage on the intestinal lining of people who don`t have CD, transitorily or otherwise – nobody has “proven” anything of the sort, as of yet; of course, avoiding wheat/gluten is sensible for NCGS/wheat allergy sufferers, but neither their intestinal nor their extraintestinal symptoms are the result of a damaged intestinal lining, sensu stricto – that was my point (increased intestinal permeability does not a “damaged intestinal lining” make – that claim is simply factually wrong).

          “And hunter gatherers lived at most to age 70, so their diet proves little or nothing? When you state misleading “facts” like that I question the legitimacy of anything you say.”

          What I wrote is based on a study by Gurven/Kaplan(from 2007):

          “Longevity Among Hunter-Gatherers: A Cross-Cultural Examination”

          Said study concerns itself with the life expectancy of present-day hunter-gatherers; it is them I wrote about, not “Grok” (you might have noticed me using the present tense – again; for some strange reason, you seem hell-bent on temporally relocating every single scenario I describe). Can we extrapolate Paleolithic life expectancy from these data with cast-iron certainty? No, but doing so probably constitutes the best educated guess we can make – certainly Mark seems to think so, judging from the blog post I already mentioned and quoted from (its title is “Just How Long Did Grok Live, Really? – Part 2”; I forgot to mention that):

          “…the few remaining hunter-gatherer…populations…represent the most promising window into what life actually looked like and how long it lasted for our ancestors…”

          “From age 45, the mean number of expected remaining years of life is…24.6 for…acculturated hunter-gatherers…”

          “You might might even say the study`s acculturated hunter-gatherers were essentially Primal, eating and moving traditionally while enjoying access to modern medicine.”

          Now, given that the acculturated hunter-gatherers the study examined appear to be a decent proxy for “Grok,” and “essentially Primal,” the usual confounders with regard to life expectancy are effectively accounted for; this notion is bolstered by observations regarding cause of death:

          “…Gurven and Kaplan show that “degenerative deaths are relatively few, confined largely to problems early in infancy.” Heart attacks and stroke “appear rare,” and the bulk of deaths occur when the person is sleeping and are (sic) free of obvious symptoms or pathology.”

          If we take that into account, it seems pretty unlikely that a higher degree of “modern medical interventionism” would drive the aforementioned life expectancy of approximately 70 years (which ,once again, is corrected for infant/adolescent/early adulthood mortality) substantially upwards.

          So – if the life expectancy of peoples who allegedly do “everything right” is, on average, at least a decade lower than that of the similarly healthy-appearing “Blue Zoners” with their, by and large, conspicuously “Paleo-deviant” dietary patterns, questioning the – as of yet unproven – hypothesis that the dietary pattern we adapted to during the Paleolithic must confer maximum healthy longevity is not necessarily far-fetched:
          For one thing, recreating the “Paleo Picture” in this day and age involves not only the “canvas” that is our “average genome,” – which may or may not remain substantially unchanged – but also the “easel” that is our “evolutionary milieu” – which is most definitely markedly different today (one important factor is a substantially lower extrinsic mortality risk, but there are myriad others) -; and may thus very well yield distorted results due to a completely different return on investment of the multitudinous (epi)genetic trade-offs unwittingly made by Grok.
          (I am, in essence, proposing an antagonistic pleiotropy-hypothesis here; see also my response to “victor” earlier in this massive comment thread).
          Secondly, the discussion about our pace of adaptation to dietary changes has so far largely failed to take the microbiota into account – after all, the microbiome accounts for approximately 90% of “our” genes, and bacteria adapt rather rapidly, as everyone living in this age of widespread microbial resistance to antibiotics is painfully aware; intriguingly, recent research demonstrates that certain upper GI critters appear to be able to degrade gluten (and other (alleged) “antinutrients”) (Eirik Garnas recently wrote an article about that, I believe).

          To sum up, it may very well be that the “Blue Zoners” thrive “despite” their diet, and that confounding factors (like genetics) explain their exceptional longevity in its entirety – but that notion is anything but a foregone conclusion at this point; in fact, it is merely one as of yet unproven hypothesis of many.

          “And yes, people are omnivores. In such a paradigm I think it would be more proper to show that things which can be eaten (such as wheat) are essentially or absolutely harmless before proposing that eating them in any amount is a good idea. You have not shown that at all. You don`t even come close.”

          As I tried to explain at length above, your “a priori paradigm” – namely, that any evolutionarily novel foodstuff is guilty until proven innocent – is fundamentally flawed. But even if it weren`t – what do the multitudinous Mediterranean diet RCTs which utilize gluten-containing/cross-reactive (whole) grains (and meta-analyses thereof) and routinely produce (substantial) improvements “across the board” with regard to objectively measureable health markers provide if not a resonable degree of certainty that this dietary pattern is benign for people who don`t suffer from very specific maladies (like CD/NCGS/WA)?
          Sure, you might argue that the positive elements of said pattern simply outperform the negative elements with regard to their effect size (possibly only in the short term), thus confounding the results, and claim that a “Paleo/Primal diet” would work even better – but that could only be proven by large, methodologically sound RCTs, which, as of yet, have not been conducted (there are a bunch of, by and large, short and small studies on the, for lack of a better unifying term, “Cordain Paleo model,” which basically suggest that it works about as well as any diet built around “un(/minimally)processed food” and a decent protein intake).

          “Finally, as…somewhat of a student of the nature causation (sic), proof, and truth, I find your arguments worse than unconvincing.”

          Right back at you.

      2. Karl,

        First, there is no need to eat wheat. It has no known therapeutic value.

        Second, there is no need for a “defense” on avoiding wheat. Wheat has no feelings on the matter, and no vested interest. Farmers and agribusiness have an interest.

        Third, I am not sure what you are arguing in favor of. You are free to eat all the wheat you want. If other people report feeling better by removing wheat from their diet, how do you propose argue against that? (I am not sure why you feel the need to argue these issues, but your posts are unnecessarily contentious.)

        It is not reasonable to assume, or argue, that all or most, or even many of the reports of people feeling better by avoiding wheat and gluten are false. Yes, you can personally discount the reports as anecdotal and “unscientific” but you have to recognize the potential truth of the claims. Even if you argue that the reports are “unscientific” that does not mean the reports are false. And it seems odd and misguided to believe or argue that unless a person gets seriously, painfully ill from eating wheat, and has a test to prove it, until then to that person wheat is (or should be assumed to be) entirely benign. It is entirely likely that there is some continuum of damage here, and that there may be some few people who are entirely able to digest wheat and eat it with no adverse consequences.

        In terms of your contra “Paleo” arguments, those aren’t working for me. Most of the comments from people that are anti-wheat are related to how they feel soon after eating wheat, or the next day, etc., and are not even indirectly related to longevity. My understanding from reading about various ancestral peoples is that birth related deaths are high, infant deaths are high, death from trauma is high at all ages, but that those who make it to age 45 or so tend to live a long time. (What I did find amusing was a report I read that in one society people often died at about age 80, by being speared to death by others who got so annoyed by them. It’s something to think about.)

        Finally, it’s not just gluten, although it may be mostly gluten. Wheat has a lot of stuff in it. The books on the deleterious effects of grains and wheat may make exaggerations, but that does not mean the core element is entirely false.

        In terms of the cautious approach to the issues by various doctors, etc: that is their nature and the nature of the business.

  124. I gave up processed foods, refined carbs, startchy carbs and grains, and refined sugars about 2 years ago, and just concentrated my diet on meat, fish, veg, fruit, eggs, some dairy, a little olive oil, nuts and seeds. I didn’t know about the paleo or primal diet at the time, but I considered myself relatively healhty, just the occasional cold/flu but at least 9 months of the year I had hay fever like allergies and sinus congestion. After a year on the diet I had more energy, felt better overall, lost a lot of body fat, and didn’t get sick once. However my allergies and sinus congestion persisted, not at the same severity as before but still there constantly in the background numbing my sensations, so I decided to go on a whole food plant based vegan diet and started eating grains again. I stuck with it for a month, but by the end of the month I had arthritis like pain in all my joints, and I was so fatigued that I struggled to walk up the stairs, I had brain fog, and came down with my first migraine, quickly followed by a flu that lasted almost 3 weeks. I went back to my grain free diet with the exclusion of dairy, and got back to my new ‘normal’, and also discovered that eliminating diary also cleared up my sinus congestion, and for the last 9 months I have been allergy free, expect when I tried reintroducing dairy to double check it was the culprit. I would like to experiment with kefir and raw milk products to see if they have the same effect on me. I’m also experimenting with eating more healthy fat including coconut oil and saturated animal fats in my diet, although I have found that I’m probably one of those people who doesn’t feel too good with a lot of fat in their diet, it upsets my stomach and I have vomited a few times and felt nauseous when eating oily foods such as mackerel, sardines, and cakes made with coconut oil and coconut flour. I’m not a celiac, and I’m not sure whether its gluten or just something in grains in general, but there is obviously something in there that causes inflammation in many people’s bodies. Attacking gluten is an attack on a very profitable industry, the grain industry, we should expect a lot of money to be spent on research to disparage gluten free diets, but the proof is in the gluten free pudding xxx

  125. This NCGS research is going nowhere until they start to sort out the sub-populations of people who react to the various components of wheat.

    Most studies on NCGS so far seem to involve people with digestive symptoms presenting as IBS. Symptoms could well be down to bacterial overgrowth because of the carb content of the wheat and probably have nothing to do with gluten.

    What about folks that have an immune response to eating wheat? I came across my gluten sensitivity quite by accident, my digestive symptoms are pretty minimal – I certainly wouldn’t qualify for any IBS study – but my anti-gliadin sIgA was through the roof.

    My symptoms when I do eat gluten – I’ve done a gluten challenge since to check for celiac – seem to be from my immune system kicking up a storm. Cortisol rushes when I wake up in the night and pains in my lymph nodes have got to have some link with immune activity, no?

  126. The hostility towards gluten and/or wheat-free diets is WEIRD to me.

    If somebody says, “When I eat bread, I get diarrhea,” there are plenty of sane human responses – like, “Oh, I’m sorry,” or “Ick, let’s talk about any other topic.”

    But “No you don’t?” That’s downright bizarre. I may not have a medical degree, but I AM the world’s leading authority on what comes out of my butt.

    This is an under-researched aspect of gluten sensitivity – how its absence from one person’s diet can trigger instant symptoms of snarkiness and smugness in another person, even a stranger thousands of miles away.

    1. Hilarious Bob — and so true!!

      It’s crazy. If you were to say, “Broccoli upsets my stomach” or “Pizza upsets my stomach” nobody would even blink. But if you say bread or wheat or gluten upsets your stomach, people want a doctor’s official diagnosis.

      When did people become incompetently unable to discern that eating a given thing, every time they do it, upsets their stomach or some other symptom? This requires a medical degree?

      How many times have I heard of someone telling their doctor that eating wheat actually makes them feel horrible, even pain and bloating and more, only to have the doctor conclude that they were not celiac (after testing) and then *insist they had to eat grains for their health* even while the person is telling them this makes them sick? If anything, I’d say there is a truly bizarre tendency of doctors to often be incompetently unable to even accept what makes a person sick in that way, let alone diagnose it. So that’s the last source I would trust to recognize gluten intolerance.

      The truly bizarre NEED of people to “defend” gluten is like a drug effect.

      How many people will defend their drugs, even the mild ones like pot or alcohol? A lot. When it comes to food, wheat — the ultimate drug in a way — seems to engender the same sort of defensiveness.

    2. “The hostility towards gluten and/or wheat-free diets is WEIRD to me.”

      It comes from several motivations:
      1. Ordinary people who don’t want it to be true, because they don’t want to change their diets (in part because wheat is addictive, and partly due to inconvenience).
      2. People who think it’s just a food fad.
      3. Grain industry insiders and their shills, who are deeply concerned about the bottom line, and don’t care about the health consequences.
      4. Pharma industry insiders who do care about the health consequences, and want to sell drugs to manage the side effects of a grain-based diet.

      “NOW, GLUTEN FREE!” actually is a fad.
      “gluten-free, of course” is not.

      Most of the GF products on the market are high-glycemic junk. There must be a huge number of clueless people eating this stuff, or it wouldn’t be out there.

      The makers of 99% of GF products are also either clueless,
      or know exactly what they are doing.
      I’m not sure which is more disturbing.

      1. At least part of the hostility is no doubt due to the ever-changing dietary recommendations over the years that many of us have tried to sort out (not realizing what hidden agendas have been behind much of it.) People have been told by authorities and endless advertisements that grains are good for all people all the time thousands of times, so it’s hard to believe it could be wrong, wrong, wrong.

        And as noted in the comment ad nauseum, there are groups and individuals who can eat wheat and live to an old age in perfect health. BUT, whatever the reason, be it bromides in the dough, pesticide residues in the flour, altered proteins in the dwarf varieties, or WHATEVER, there is something uniquely bad about wheat NOW. I don’t care what it is, just refuse to eat it again. I had no obvious symptoms prior to quitting but now if I eat even a small amount the next day am fatigued, lethargic, and have brain-fog. The hell with that!

        1. I should add that I did have fatigue, etc. before quitting wheat but that quitting alone didn’t solve it. Started resistant starch (RS) while off wheat and did solve my fatigue problem, but eating wheat brings the symptoms right back. It appears I needed both to quit wheat AND take RS. Just my experience for what it’s worth. 🙂

          I agree that wheat/grains are a high-glycemic bomb no better than sugar…which is probably why people are so addicted to it.

        2. “At least part of the hostility is no doubt due to the
          ever-changing dietary recommendations over the years.”

          Without a doubt that’s a major factor, and not aided by the continuing flip-flops on things like coffee and red wine, which seem to cycle between fountain-of-youth and insidious-poison on a regular basis, and exacerbated by an over-eager press always on the lookout for the food fright of the week, or magic diet of the moment.

          As it happens, I’m at the moment reading Minger’s recent “Death by Food Pyramid”, which lays out exactly how we got into the high-gly, low-fat, wheat-heavy, PUFA-heavy mess (egos, politics and industry lobbying, which the weak actual nutrition science wasn’t strong enough to withstand).

      2. I suspect that wheat is addictive, and I am curious about any research or information you have supporting your view. The urges and temptations people write about, in terms of cookies and cakes and pizza, etc., seem addictive in nature.

        I don’t have a problem with that temptation but many people seem to.

        Thanks

        1. “I suspect that wheat is addictive, and I am curious about any research or information you have supporting your view.”

          Actually, that’s the view of Dr. William Davis, who attributes the effect to the exorphins in wheat. I’ve seen no reason to disagree. His original “Wheat Belly” book has cites on that specific topic. He also discusses it in several blog posts, such as:
          http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/07/doped/
          “… People who consume wheat increase calorie consumption by around 440 calories per day, every day. …”

        2. As one who does have a problem with it, I would say it’s the combination of ingredients that’s addictive. For instance, cookies, cakes, pies, etc. all contain sugar, fat, and flour. Pizza contains flour, fat, and salt. For pasta lovers it seems to be that chewy, gooey, noodle-y thing–known as mouth appeal–which is a glutenous mixture of flour, water, salt, and egg.

          It’s kind of a case of pick your poison. I can pass on the pizza and pasta indefinitely, and I don’t care much for candy. But if I eat one single cookie, it’s pretty easy for me to eat a dozen of them. To define it even further, those cookies have to be made with real butter and sugar to be worth falling off the Paleo wagon for. Artificial or substitute ingredients don’t have the same appeal.

          And, of course, this doesn’t even touch on the mental/emotional aspects of what we like to call “comfort” food. It’s a complicated ball of wax revolving around happy childhood memories and the foods we associate with those memories.

    3. I think this is one of the most profound and important posts in the entire comment section.

      “But “No you don’t?” That’s downright bizarre. I may not have a medical degree, but I AM the world’s leading authority on what comes out of my butt.”

      Trying to “defend” wheat consumption strikes me as utterly strange and incomprehensible, not to mention misguided. I am not aware of any health benefits that can be ascribed to, or require, wheat consumption.

      My view is that wheat has probably always been something that people could eat, in an emergency or as way to avoid starvation. And it probably started out being used to make beer. But just because people can eat wheat does not mean they should, or that eating wheat is a good, or even reasonable, idea.

  127. Every “body” is do different. My partner is on aip right now and she cannot tolerate broccoli air asparagus. But test came back low sensitivity to gluten. Go figure. She is obviously not having any but my point is you have to listen to your own body.

  128. NCGS is a real thing, despite what some people say. I have a testable immune response to gluten. When eating gluten I produce IgA antibodies at a rate that is 4-5 times above the normal amount for a positive diagnosis of gluten sensitivity. I don’t have any gastrointestinal issues eating gluten nor do I possess the genes associated with Celiac disease. I do get debilitating migraines and elevated white counts as well as increases in inflammatory markers. Remove the gluten and all those return to normal. Anyone who says that NCGS isn’t a real condition is fooling themselves.

    1. How lucky you figured it out. Most people who get a migraine or rash or sinusitis rather than asthma or arthritis or whatever just spend eons on drugs that don’t work, in misery. Of course, many with asthma or athritis do too, but the rather “prompt” element of those symptoms often makes the correlation more clear.

  129. This is a great article. Although i love science, where most science falls downs in relating the evidence to practical individual advice. Most people i have worked with report feeling better when not having gluten, or maybe its eliminating wheat that is their key. Either way it really doesn’t matter as long as an individual knows what foods react with them.

  130. I itch like crazy when I eat wheat. I can always tell when I have eaten something I shouldn’t. Heartburn comes roaring back. I am a believer in wheat free diets. I’ve also had Pcos since 1999. I have very sporadic menstrual cycles and nearly none for the last four years, despite being 32. I committed to the paleo diet and my cycles are becoming regular. I had two periods in two months for the first time in over ten years.

  131. How about this, response to gluten or not, drop the wheat to avoid the title wave of insulin it produces in EVERBODY’S body??. As an after thought to this, the next time you are faced with this stance by someone about the real or imagined effects of gluten ask them if they think “low fat diets” are good for there heart, that answer might give you an indication of the level of ” conventional wisdom” stored in their skull> just a thought.

  132. I have Fibromyalgia. I have been gluten free and Primal for 4 years with the odd lapse. It has not made a tiny difference to the Fibro or my M.E! The only thing that helps me is the weather. From May to September I am relatively well in the warmth and sunshine and from sept to April I am dreadful and mostly housebound. eating Primal/Paleo does make me feel good on the inside though and I am sticking to it for my health- to try and avoid type 2 diabetes/heart diease etc

    1. I have an acquaintance that has Fibromyalgia. She found relief with acupuncture. A treatment lasts her about 3 months. I don’t know what version of acupuncture she gets, however. If you haven’t explored that option it might be worth a try.

  133. Of course we should not eat wheat – it’s toxic. It’s also a grass and humans are not cows with a rumen. The gliadin protein in modern wheat causes intestinal permeability triggering auto immune disease. My child has type 1 diabetes and our whole family no longer eats wheat or any other grains. My child also has blood glucose, blood lipid and HbA1c levels of a non diabetic. If you eat poison, you are going to pay for it one way or another eventually. I found this out the hard way.

  134. I also did my own research. Spastic colon, constipation, bloatedness, and sensitive gums (weird) when I consume wheat

  135. Reading this post and the comments you can draw a few conclusions.

    1) Every body is different. We will have different reactions to wheat and gluten.

    2) Our gut’s reaction to wheat is more complex than current data can capture. We’ll get there eventually.

    3) Regardless, wheat is an anti-nutrient. If a person can tolerate wheat they should still be aware that the wheat is absorbing nutrients from other foods.

    Personally ever since I gave up grains I have found that I can’t even indulge in beer without irritating my gut. How I got by before I have no idea.

  136. I first learned about FODMAPS a couple of months ago when pain from IBS caused me to faint. I’ve eliminated grains, sugar, legumes and dairy from my diet, and not only is my digestive health much improved, but a chronic, undiagnosed cough I had struggled with for three years and a skin condition called tinea versicolor that I’ve had off and on for years have both been resolved. My blood pressure, which had been gradually climbing, is back below pre-hypertesion. One of the best things to happen, though, is I no longer feel terribly guilty when buying food. I make and consume bone broth every week and in a couple of days my first batch of fermented carrots will be ready. I don’t care what studies or skeptics say–I feel great!

  137. At 57, I pretty much could not squat or bend to pick up anything off the floor, or get anything from the bottom of my closet. Walking down a set of stairs was very painful. I had chronic headaches. My doctor said that going primal would cut out too many food groups but he agreed I could try it. I bought the primal books and started a grain free, sugar and starch free, legume free diet. I decided to be very strict. I cut out dairy, food maps, and everything processed. I was hoping to stop my headaches. 30 days into it, I caught myself sitting cross legged with one of our dogs on my lap. The change was gradual and wonderful. I can turn myself into a pretzel now. If I eat grain or beans now, I notice my hands get stiff and my fingers swell. I hike daily and stand op paddle board on Lake Michigan. Last June I was in a SUP 5 K race. I will be 60 in a couple months. I feel like I can do anything . My triglycerides are 64 and my HDL was 86 on my last blood screening. Things just keep improving whereas before I began this, they were going downhill fast

  138. I have read that Hypermobility Syndrome is a further evolved version of fibromyalgia. So, is fibromyalgia is an auto-immune disease, wouldn’t HMS be that also?
    No one at the HMS organisations can help me with this, since they are not looking at the root of the problem, but rather just treat the symptoms and shovel NSAIDs and other medication to stop inflammation.
    Please Help!
    Regards,
    Ellen

  139. Thak you Mark for this post and all of you for writing your experiences!
    You helped me a lot with them. 🙂

  140. There is so much cross contamination of wheat in other gluten grain products that to be safe we eliminated all gluten grains and then realized we were eating mostly crap – corn and rice starch etc.

    When I eat something by mistake that has wheat in it, in my mind I think gluten, I do not get stomach upset, but within minutes I get buzzing in my ears, my heart begins to race, I get flushed, my head pounds and a little while later I can hardly keep my eyes open or move my body. My muscles suddenly feel as if I am lifting hundreds of pounds each time I move. My son has a real problem with muscle weakness if he slips up.

    Eating corn actually makes me run to the toilette!

    I think the only people who really care whether it is gluten or just wheat that is a problem for people are the non-wheat grain producers! They are probably funding the research to ensure that people can still eat their products.

    Personally, we still will eat rice pasta for its convenience, but grains in general have gone the way of the DoDo in our house.

  141. The trouble with what they did in the follow up research was that when you have problems with gluten and you eat gluten it sets up an inflammation that doesn’t just go away. That’s the problem with leaky gut and it’s why you can’t “cheat” and eat gluten sometimes. So if they had these people for 7 days and gave them more or less gluten during that time, they’d feel bad. And one day of no gluten wouldn’t make them feel better. So unless they gave them no gluten the first day and then saw whether or not they felt ok, they couldn’t have an understanding of whether or not placebo was the effect they were seeing. And I don’t care whether or not people think what I do is fad or not. At 65 I finally feel great. I’ve spent my entire life with problems of colitis that they couldn’t cure. A few months into paleo and I felt good and it’s only gotten better. I lost my 20 postmenopausal pounds and now have a figure that any 35 year old would be happy with. Happy, healthy, strong, pain free. So they can eat their muffins all they want. I’ll take paleo any day.

  142. I nearly posted on this study on my blog. Boy…am I glad I didn’t.

    I don’t intend to comment on whether NCGS exists or not. My main comment is that the study in question CANNOT answer the question the way it (and the press) claims that it does.

    The study used “self-identified” NCGS subjects. The fact that these subjects were self-identified and willing to participate in a study is a prescription to select out for subjects with psychosomatic tendencies (or even hypochondria). People who self-identify and self-select for a study are, by definition, going to be much more prone to a placebo/nocebo effect. Even if this was appropriately controlled for (which it wasn’t), 37 subjects does not constitute enough statistical power to answer such a broad-based pattern.

    This study could be repeated with almost any self-reported illness such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lyme disease etc with similar results. Anything involving gluten is going to be even more complex because of the gliadin proteins involved that can attach to other antigens and produce symptoms even in the absence of gluten.

    All of the gluten free products are just as irritating as the fat-free Entemen’s pastries of the 90’s, but just because marketers have created a meme doesn’t mean that an underlying issue has been debunked.

  143. I would love to hear any thoughts on Gluten And Migraines?
    I’ve recently started getting migraines (at least 15 a month) I’ve tried everything except diet.
    Any studies or info on Gluten free -Migraine free?

  144. Just looking at the methods section of the abstract causes great concern regarding the efficacy of this study: 37 people did a 2 week reduced FODMAPs diet followed by 1 week on a trial diet (“high or ” “low” gluten, this one also had whey, or “control” which used whey only); this was followed by a 2 week “washout” period (which is not clarified – was this back on the reduced FODMAPs or no diet restriction at all?) then 22 people did a cross over period of 3 days when they ate either “high” gluten, whey or no additional protein.

    Besides several other issues going on here, I’d mainly like to point out the time problem. It is standard in Celiac testing – when the gluten reaction is medically measurable – to have the patient on an intentionally gluten-filled diet for at least 6 weeks before testing in order to make sure that the gluten has had enough time to cause a measurable reaction. It is also known that the relief of symptoms can take up to 3-6 months once gluten has been removed constantly from the diet and that every time gluten is added back into the diet it re-sets the clock. This is for Celiac, how much longer might it take to notice changes (positive or negative) in a less obvious gluten reaction?

    This is one of the huge issues with the study of nutrition; it is about long term patterns not short adjustments. These things cannot be easily measured in just a couple of weeks and we still do not fully understand all of the moving parts involved.

  145. I highly doubt I have a reaction to gluten, as it’s not a severe reaction. However, when my doc put me on a low carb diet, wheat and all grains went out the window. And I immediately felt much better. Bloating I didn’t know I had was gone. Heartburn gone. More energy. Knees stopped hurting. Lost 15 pounds. So maybe the low carb diet itself did the job. It helps other things. Maybe since I’m allergic to grass, I react to wheat and other grains, just as I do most fruit and most nuts, even though I have no food allergies (I just swell up in the mouth and throat when I eat these things). So the gluten thing is probably a non-issue, but there are other reasons grains could be causing problems.

  146. I think it is like many people have said for people who do not have Celiac Disease. It is trial and error. I went GF a few years back for 13 months. I checked every label before I put something in my mouth. I had heard it can take months to notice a difference so that is why I did it for that long. I personally didn’t notice any difference in my health. It was Christmas time so I figured I would start up again and add gluten containing foods to my diet…not a hard thing to do at the holidays. I thought I would at least notice a difference once I added it back into my diet and that I would feel bad or my usual symptoms would get worse. Again…nothing. On the other hand, this year my husband decided to go gluten free and immediately felt so much better and lost a 10 pounds (I didn’t think he had any weight he even needed to lose). Now I just need to figure out what my deal is. I am thinking dairy and have not gone that route yet. It may even be dairy AND wheat that will make the difference.

    1. Cathy
      Go dairy and gluten free.
      I am 48 and suffered chronic stomach pain for years.
      Gave up dairy first and symptoms improved. Not totally better. Then Went GF free. Am now now painfree, blood pressure droppedto low and had to go off my blood pressure meds. Now sits on 110/75.

  147. I used to have fibromyalgia. By a year into a primal diet, I no longer had symptoms. After 3 years symptom free, I tried grains again, but was strict gluten free. My symptoms came back. Now I’m back to strict primal and can’t wait to be symptom free again! I don’t know what it is but for me it is not the gluten. It seems to be starch.

  148. Through self experimentation, I found the following effects:

    Sugar – when I eat, loose energy. – feel “bad”

    Wheat – same effects as sugar, I eat minmal amounts in the form of “rustic” style breads.

    Rice – ineterestly, no effects. I eat white rice (not brown – had bad effects with brown).

    Glutenous white rice – Eat this now and then, no ill effects noted.

    1. Forgot to add – when I ditched wheat/cereals for breakfast, and replaced with Meat and vegatables/eggs – the difference was amazing. I haven’t touched ceraals or pastas for 3 years and don’t miss them a bit. I might have a slice of pizza every few months, and usually gets the runs as a result.

  149. I don’t care what people think when I say I’m gluten free. I went through all the tests and no Dr. found the source of my health problems. Stop eating gluten solved most of the issues for me even though I am not zeliac. People forget to listen to their bodies and just do what is good for them.

  150. It does! I am diagnosed with Aspergers, ADD, Fibromyalgia, but they also figured out I got celiac (hence the years of IBS they said was just to suffer it gladly, UGH!). How ever my husband hasn’t got celiac and his diagnoses: Aspergers, Depression and does complain about awkward pains he can’t explain. When I noticed he was increasing his gluten intake drastically I also noticed he was doom himself, not only everything he said was negative, the tone of his voice also extremely moanish. I asked him to be gluten free for at least one week. On day number 3 he came smiling out of his bed, no pains what so ever and way much more optimistic. Now every time he tries gluten he gets belly issues and his mood turns back to shoot at. Making us decide our household will be 100% gluten free, no matter what so called scientists will claim!

  151. Going gluten free (and dairy free) has put my Ankylosing Spondylitis into about 95% remission.

    If I’ve unwittingly eaten gluten, I’ll know within a few days when I get awful sciatica – due to gluten/wheat irritating the ileocecal valve and it’s proximity to the sciatic nerve.

    1. That’s interesting…I’ve had almost no problems with sciatica in the last few months, never thought it could be related to stopping wheat. One more reason not to eat the stuff, (not that I was planning to!)

  152. Loved this article! I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis and my thyroid antibodies are higher when I eat gluten. By removing it, they are in the normal range. Since your thyroid controls others bodily systems it’s extremely important to have it working right.

    I have never been treated for Celiac so I honestly.don’t know if I have it or not but I know removing gluten helps me tremendously. I usually know within 5 mins of being glutenized b/c my stomach bloats out, I can’t breathe thru my nose and I get a rash. Most grains (except corn) cause the bloat so I know a primal diet is right for me.

  153. Hello Mark et al.,
    Sorry I am late to the discussion I just got to my email and found this post. I was diagnosed 25 years ago with Clinical Depression, and 10 years ago with Adult ADD. I have been on meds for about as long to counter-act these illnesses. In late Jan/Early Feb of this year I was officially diagnosed with Celiac disease and forced into a Gluten free diet. Since then I have cut most grains completely out of my diet (Occasionally I will have a gluten free cookie, or pizza). It took a good 2 months but like most of the respondents to this post with depression issues; mine have subsided substantially, and my attention and focus have increased exponentially. During the past 2-3 months I have greatly reduced the amount of anti-depressants I am taking, and have been able to completely abandoned the Adderall; there are even days I don’t take or forget to take the anti-depressants and don’t notice a difference in my demeanor or mood.

  154. Panic attacks are gone so I’ll take gluten-free. I’ve also discovered recently that eating potatoes gives me anxiety. I eat a high fat primal diet. I don’t understand why people argue about this topic.

    Grain Brain is a great book and now I’m on Wheat Belly.

    Oh yes, I don’t get stomachaches or headaches anymore either. I never fart anymore either, which is a plus. I haven’t been tested for gluten sensitivities and don’t feel the need, since eliminating it helped me so much I no longer eat it.

  155. I’ve been gluten-free for about three months. I’d been having some severe joint pain in my right hand, and that went away after three days GF. However, nothing else has changed. I still have frequent knee and leg pains, foot cramps, headaches, sinus issues, a chronic cough, and mild depression. I feel like going gluten-free has not improved my health and I’m not sure whether or not to continue a GF diet. I guess I should try eating a croissant or some udon noodles and see what happens? I’m wondering if sugar or dairy is my problem instead…

    My mother has fibromyalgia and is sick and in pain constantly. I keep telling her to try going gluten-free for at least two weeks, but she refuses to try, saying it’s “too hard.” How do you convince someone that gluten/wheat might be their whole problem? Half of her diet is Nutri-Grain bars and crackers.

  156. Hi, I think i owe this to Mark and the gluten-free diet. I had read the article Mark mentioned in his blog before I saw this blog and actually I couldn’t care less.

    I feel much better now although I am not totally gluten-free but let’s say I dramatically cut my gluten intake. I have much more energy, i have better hair and skin and I lost about 35kgs (about 77 lbs).

    So I guess I am and the thousands of guys around here are living examples that gluten is not for everyone and it affects the health of at least of considerable number of people.

    Science changes with time and one research no matter who did it should not change our view or decisions so rapidly towards or against something.

  157. People talk about either being sensitive to wheat or not sensitive to wheat. Eat it if you aren’t, avoid it if you are. But what if we are ALL sensitive to wheat? What if it affects some people early and violently with some symptoms and others more insidiously with others – what if a lifetime of wheat was responsible for Alzheimer’s? It might be that the lucky ones are those that find some sensitivity early and start avoiding it before it does some serious damage.

    I just saw a documentary about the Dow Chemical foray into New Zealand in the ’70s where they were making and selling 2,4,5,T and 2,4,D. The dioxins present in these products seem to have been responsible for much ill health in the workers at the factory as well as those people living in the vicinity of the factory. Goodness knows how they have been effecting the entire population of New Zealand since the spraying of 10s of millions of litres of it all over our country. It appears that the illnesses associated with these chemicals weren’t confined to just one type. The incidence of birth defects (like spina bifida) increased around the factory over the period. More people were dying of cancer, there was a greater incidence of auto-immune disease. Also it appears that there have been increases of these things through the generations, children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren of the workers and residents are having higher incidences of problems than the rest of New Zealand. Not all of these problems appeared early.

    It used to be that you were ‘square’ if you didn’t smoke cigarettes. Now you are looked upon as if you have a disease if you do smoke. So it will go with wheat, perhaps.

  158. Within a couple of days of starting a low-carb diet, I noticed I wasn’t constantly gassy anymore. I’d never before thought to associate it with any particular food, but apparently grains were the issue.
    I can handle small amounts of grains on occasion, though if I eat too much I get gassy or get stomach cramps, so most of the time I try to avoid them.

    I once tried low-carb bread and it gave me terrible stomach cramps. And when I looked at the list of ingredients, number two on the list was wheat gluten. Listed right after water. No wonder I didn’t feel well after eating it…

  159. I’ve been a diagnosed Coeliac for 22 years now so been eating gluten free all that time. I’ve tried Oats which are not contaminated with wheat but they just make me feel unwell. 18 months ago I was diagnosed with an hiatias hernia and given Lansoprazole to control the indigestion and stomach pains and told to take it for 6 weeks and than as needed. About this time I also went on a Paleo diet. After about 2 months I tried comming off the drugs, but after about a week my symptoms reappeared. It took being on the paleo diet for about 6 months before I was able to give up the drugs. Finding out that these particlular drugs can cause kidney failure helped me to be more strict with the Paleo diet. I’m not a fan of medication. The other benefit of being Paleo is I don’t suffer from unexplained bouts of diahorrea. I have also discovered that eating too many tomatoes give me mouth ulcers, which is a shame as I love tomatoes. When I complained to my gastro-enterologist about the mouth ulcers many years ago, he said what do you expect, your a Coeliac. The other benefits from going Paleo is I have lost just over a stone in weight and reduced my waist by about 5 inches. Eating any gluten free grains quickly puts on inches on my waist and fat on my stomach. I’ve just come off holiday where I’d eaten quite a lot of GF bread and noticed the increase in girth after a week. This winter is the first winter I have been free of colds and coughs. I also feel very well. As I’m 70 this is a real bonus.

  160. Tired of this study and the authors who cover it extolling the “scientifically sound” research, “extraordinarily rigorous methods”. Did they not read the study? Have they ever taken a stats class in college? 37 participants in one study in Australia is not proof of anything (nor was his first study). I’m sticking with the n = 1 approach!

  161. The new Australian study (an updated and more rigorous one, by the same researcher, Peter Gibson) shows that gluten-free foods have no effect on people who don’t have celiac disease. They reported the same symptoms with gluten-free as with normal food. Read the study yourselves rather than listening to Mark Sisson, who knows nothing about the topic but wants to sell you something. He’s just a former triathlete from the old days. A good one, but so what? He’s got a bachelor’s degree in biology, which allows him to use certain phrases believably to readers, but he doesn’t have the qualifications to claim what he does in this post. Ignore him, read the studies yourself, and you’ll be fine with Gluten. It’s a natural part of one of man’s staple foods. Stop listening to these bloggers who don’t know what they’re talking about. This guy really does not know enough about nutrition to be writing this stuff. He is not a trained scientist.

    1. “It’s a natural part of one of man’s staple foods.”

      “This guy really does not know enough about nutrition to be writing this stuff.”

      So, I guess we should all take the word of some anonymous guy on the internet named Paul who’s got no credentials of his own, right, Paul? You are just some guy named Paul, aren’t you? You tell us who to listen to, right, Paul?

      Now you listen to me, Paul. I got no credentials on my own, but I sure can spot an industry shill when I read it. Go tell your boss he wasted his money on you.

  162. Going primal is what taught me I had issues. I never realised how bad I felt, til I felt better. I learned rice doesn’t upset my system when I became so poor (again) that it was the main part of my food. When the money started flowing again I tried toast (normal wheat/white bread) and realized where the problem lies. I’ve been tested for allergies and found none, not yet tested for celiac because the test is expensive and I’d have to start eating wheat again for it to be accurate. I’m not sure I’ll ever bother getting tested. Im not currently primal so I don’t usually comment but I figured I’d chime in with my data.

  163. We have taken out wheat as of 4 weeks ago. So far my type 1 diabetic daughters numbers jave not lessened. I was hoping her blood sugars would have started to get better, I guess it will take some time. We have been eating pretty paleo. Was hoping for a quick change but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

  164. No word about leaky gut here? I am really surprised. Most people with NCGS are sensitive because their gut is permeable, which allows the gluten proteins to slip into the bloodstream, causing an immune response. This is why people with leaky gut are usually sensitive to foods other than gluten as well, especially dairy. When their bodies respond to these proteins in the bloodstream due to the leaky gut, it causes inflammation, which can manifest in many different ways, depending on the person (some examples are acne, migraines, fibromyalgia, general body pain, anxiety, depression, etc. etc.) Avoidance of the sensitive foods eliminates the symptoms, but the only way to heal is to seal up the gut, and then most or all of the foods can be gradually reintroduced. There is tons of research to back this stuff up (read the work of Chris Kresser and SCDLifestyle.com), but the mainstream medical and scientific community are totally ignorant of it.. which is why you get ridiculous studies like the one mentioned in the article.

  165. According to my food journal, I can draw a direct link between spans of time when I’ve been eating bread, pasta, etc. and feeling generally crappy – bloated, sluggish and other discomforts.
    I also discovered scrambled eggs don’t agree with me – any other preparation is fine.
    A lot of sugar gets me feeling tense and jittery.
    And too much booze… Need I say it?

    I don’t know how any of these personal observations would show up on a clinical trial, but my personal experience is proof enough for me!

    Kinda like the guy who goes to the Dr and raises his arm and says, “Doc, it hurts whenever I do this.” And doc says, “so don’t do that.” Pretty straightforward.

  166. For those of you questioning whether it is the gluten or something in the wheat, her out the FODMAP diet. Wheat has fructans in it. This may be the answer for some of you. Kate Scarlata and Pasty Catsos are 2 dieticians in the US who are trying other dieticians across the country in the FODMAP elimination diet. FODMAPS are groups of highly fermentable carbohydrates that bacteria will feast on and cause all kinds of GI distress and since wheat is in so many items, removing it will help many. When a person eats too many of these trigger foods, SIBO sets in and it is linked to many conditions discussed here also. The diet also helps Celiac, iND PATIENTS WHO STILL HAVE GI issues even when going totally gluten Fe or there IND is in remission. Many people can have coexisting conditions. Ex. Is Celiac or IBD Plus IBS. Monash University has done clinical trials on diet and many are seeing great results. Google FODMAPs and either of the dieticians I mentioned. They fete both trained by Monash Univ. Which is in Australia. It connects the dots on a lot of this.

  167. Don’t forget Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune problems… gluten has been shown to block thyroid, for one thing. The study everyone’s quoting to say gluten-free is BS is a very flawed study, btw. Also, there are blood tests you can get showing if you’re sensitive to wheat or to gluten itself. And GMO wheat has been found in US fields (where it isn’t supposed to be), Google it. The problem is that, beyond GMO experiments, wheat and other grains have been bred to have concentrated amounts of gluten and other proteins and sugars, and less of other nutrients (though some of that is from depleted soil). A lot of people’s ancestors didn’t eat gluten grains or at least not much. Most people’s ancestors did not eat gluten grains in the vast amounts most Americans are consuming today, either.

  168. Pretty sure I remember reading that the study everyone is using as “proof” that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is BS was funded/organized/somehow linked to BigAg and/or the wheat industry.

  169. I don’t get why it bothers people so much what dietary choices others make for themselves, or why it is their business. There is actual HATE going on aimed at people who eat gluten-free or follow similar special diets, even out of dire need. It is like that saying about being mad at someone else for eating a doughnut because you’re on a diet.
    Hashimotos, IBS, RA, there are LOTS of legitimate reasons and lab tests that support them… The good thing about the trends is that there are more options widely available for those w special dietary needs, and more awareness about them- which is really what a “fad” is, when people finally figure out what is hurting them and why. Do some research on ancestral, blood type, and body type diets and autoimmune stuff. I’ve been studying this from all angles for more than fifteen years. I’ve seen it work over and over. We all have different needs and that’s fine!
    BTW, the only danger in going gluten free or whatever is to the grain industry… Lots of other options for nutrition! If you’re malnourished while gluten-free, you are not thinking creatively about diet and are not buying enough variety of foods… it isn’t that hard.
    You can have blood work done to show what you are sensitive to, among hundreds of things they can test for, and it really helps. A lot of us figured these things out this way or through getting sick and having to do elimination diets, long before these things were trends or we had even heard of them.

  170. Can you have a wheat sensitivity and just have symptoms like post nasal drip, or itching in the throat, or some shallow breathing issues? The way I got diagnosed was I went to a naturopath who did muscle testing and found out when he placed wheat/gluten on my stomach and then muscle tested my arm, it went limp signaling I have a wheat sensitivity. Should I try cutting out wheat again for a month to see if the symptoms go away?

    1. I sure did. After about 6 months Primal (feeling great), I went to a 90th birthday celebration out of state and consumed 2 “too-good-to-pass-up” dinner rolls and birthday cake. Woke up next morning with severe headache and nausea. Continued “cheating” on the vacation and afterwards (it lured me back in) and developed stuffy sinuses, post nasal drip and a sore throat after few days. This lasted 6 weeks, with headaches sprinkled in. (2 strep tests negative, mono test negative). Long story short, every time I ate wheat it got worse (I kept a diary). Doctor said couldn’t be gluten-related because that shows up as digestion issues (wrong), so I’d eat more wheat. In the end I eliminated it and the problems all went away. My theory: the wheat/gluten caused an inflammatory hyper-reaction that a) swelled my sinus passages and b) created lots of extra mucus, which is the body’s attempt to flush away an invader. This caused post nasal drip, which caused the sore throat. After the 6 months Primal, the low-level inflammatory response I had probably been carrying around for years had stopped; so it over-reacted upon re-exposure. Sore throat is a seldom mentioned symptom of gluten sensitivity, but I googled “sore throat gluten” and found others who suffered from it.