HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Gluten Free... Overblown, by a lot?

Reading the Wikipedia article on Gluten, it says about 0.5 to 1% of people are adversely affected by gluten.

But around here in Toronto I see whole sections devoted to gluten free items, all way more expensive than normal items, and clearly catering to a larger market than 1%.

So what gives? Is it just trendy to pretend to be medically affected by this?

I don't get it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. we'll it is overblown in my intestines for sure! just took the blood test today for celiac; i def have an intolerance for wheat; don't understand it's prevelance though

    1. I've thought the same thing for awhile now, so I'll be interested to read the responses to your query! And BTW, the gluten-free bandwagon seems to be global. It's everywhere here in the US and I see it in 3rd world countries (where I volunteer regularly). My volunteerism involves malnutrition clinics, so the presence of such foodstuffs piques my curiosity immensely. PS by using the term "bandwagon," I'm not being critical of those with legitimate requirements to avoid gluten - it's just that lately it seems ubiquitous and I share the OP's curiosity.

      1. I've noticed comments now and then on recipe sites that say things like, "I didn't know oatmeal was gluten free!".

        It makes me wonder if the uneducated masses equate carbohydrates with gluten. And you know how they love low carb diets.

        12 Replies
        1. re: jmcarthur8

          Funny thing is that oatmeal isn't gluten free by Canadian standards, but is in the US if it fits under the classification of a pure, untainted oat. Then again, even if you don't have the gluten to worry about, oats are potentially problematic if you have Coeliac disease and consume much of them.

          1. re: thatwhileifound

            The issue with oats isn't the oat grains themselves, but occasional stray wheat kernel. Wheat plants can easily grow in an oat field, especially if wheat and oats are rotated, or neighboring fields have wheat. A farmer would have to take special care to keep his oat field wheat free.

            Once harvested, it would be difficult to separate wheat kernels from oat groats.

            note BRM's description of their GF oats.

            1. re: paulj

              Sorry, I phrased things badly: I know. You also have worries about cross contamination during sorting, cleaning, processing and packaging stages as well.

              Canada still counts oats as not applicable under the term gluten free though. The general suggestion is that this is on account of both worries about maintaining trustworthiness of "pure" oats and because there are still some debates going on about avenin in oats and how it will affect those who are going towards a gluten free diet due to Coeliac disease.

              General suggestion if you have Coeliac disease is to still minimize your consumption of oats regardless of whether you've got ones that show minimal to no gluten parts per million upon being tested.

              1. re: thatwhileifound

                A GF supplier talks about Canadian packaging restrictions, as well as 'certified gluten-free oats'.

                1. re: paulj

                  Ha, I was just linked to that for work reasons! It's a good post from the position of a brand who definitely has a lot of passion over the subject... and an equally strong reason to want oats marketed as gluten free. Being a government agency, the CFIA won't budge until they're certain and they've got a clear way of dealing with the subtleties that they see as problematic... Or until no one really cares anymore and they decide to do it then because no one will be watching anyway.

                  Here's a very quick blurb on the largest complicating factor for oats from a different brand:

                  I think I heard Australia also has a similar policy to Canada on GF labeling, albeit not as intense. The big worry is that by saying "Gluten Free," there's risk that consumers might take that as "Coeliac Friendly" and the government hasn't been entirely convinced of that yet.

                  1. re: thatwhileifound

                    Australia's labeling laws are amongst the best on the planet - more stringent than Canada. In order for something to be labeled GF there, there literally must be no gluten in the product. Here in Canada disclosure of a product being produced on the same line as wheat, for example, is voluntary. However, if there is gluten in a product, it must be labeled (except for alcohol). In Australia I believe they test to and allow to 2 ppm which is almost undetectable; in Canada it can be to 10 ppm and other countries up to 20 ppm.

                    I can get certified GF oats BUT found out recently I cannot tolerate them. Some of us with celiac have reactions to the gluten that is found in oats in the same way as to other (bad) gluten. Sigh...I loved my oats and now cannot have those, either.

              2. re: paulj

                I did not know that, paulj! Thanks for the information.
                I've been making gluten free dinners and desserts for a friend who is truly allergic to wheat products. Last night was an apple crisp with oatmeal in the topping.
                I'll have to ask him tomorrow if he had any effects! The oatmeal box had no GF label.

                As far as the oatmeal comment that I cited earlier, I really did not get the impression from the content of that particular comment that it was a health issue, but rather a dietary choice.

            2. re: jmcarthur8

              The uneducated are bellying up to the bread aisle, not low carbing. Eating more like steers on a feedlot and it shows.

              1. re: mcf

                Atkins and South Beach are two of the very popular low carb diets. Quite a few people I know have been on those two diets.
                This is not the same things as a low carbohydrate lifestyle, like yours, mcf. What I referred to upthread is the fad diet that makes some authors a pile of money, but doesn't necessarily make the practitioners of the diet much healthier.
                You've made your aversion to carbohydrates quite clear on many threads here on CH. Your opinion is duly noted.

                1. re: jmcarthur8

                  I have no aversion to carbohydrates, I load my plate full of carbohydrates. Just not starches and sugars.

              2. re: jmcarthur8

                That reminds me of a peanut butter campaign years ago that touted the stuff as "cholesterol free." As if peanut butter could have cholesterol even if it wanted it.

                1. re: monfrancisco

                  There's a lot of that because many people don't bother to educate themselves as to what is in their food, so when a fad diet of x or health warning about y comes around, they don't know any better making it easy to use that sort of trick marketing.

                  Think of how often you see breakfast cereal marketed as fat free.

                  it's also a reasonably easy matter to lie on your label, I've seen stuff that says no trans fat when the nutrition facts said it did have trans fats, they got around that because you can put that label on it as long as the trans fat is below a certain amount per serving (more to the point, though, the serving size was unrealistically small which lets them abuse that)

              3. I think this may be fueled by the popularity of books like "Wheat Belly" which seems to be on bestseller lists all over the place.

                1. Id say about 10% of the guests that come into the restaurant I work at claim to have celiac. They are definitely ruining it for the people who actually do have the condition as I generally dismiss everyone who makes the claim as a PITA fad dieter abd send evil thoughts their way!

                  Sucks for cooks and sucks for people who actually have celiac.

                  From a cooks perspective, there is a huge difference between someone requesting a gluten free meal for diet reasons and someone requesting gluten free because they have celiac. When someone claims celiac or food allergy it is a HUGE ordeal to make sure that nothing that was ever even near gluten or what they were allergic to is anywhere near the vicinity of their food. Knowing one grain of flour or one crumb of a peanut could make someone very ill or kill them requires a VERY special level of attention that I of course don't mind giving to people who really need it.

                  34 Replies
                  1. re: twyst

                    That is really depressing, and is part of the reason I am still so uncomfortable eating out, having been diagnosed with celiac disease over a decade ago. My distaste for being labeled a "fad dieter" is so strong that when I do eat out, I will often order something that "should" be gluten-free, without actually revealing my need for a gluten-free meal, and take my chances with the cross-contamination. This is obviously not the best choice for my health, but your post illustrates exactly why I do it.

                    As for the OP's question, I think you you could ask the same thing about any special diet, or alternative diet. Vegetarianism, for example. For the majority it is a dietary choice, not a medical necessity, so should we say vegetarianism is overblown?

                    My own suspicion is that people asking questions like this are really looking for justification in dismissing people on gluten-free diets as fad dieters, hypochondriacs, or whatever. Anything but people with a legitimate concern. I mean, really, why do you even care if it's "overblown"?

                    1. re: MelMM

                      "That is really depressing, and is part of the reason I am still so uncomfortable eating out, having been diagnosed with celiac disease over a decade ago. My distaste for being labeled a "fad dieter" is so strong that when I do eat out, I will often order something that "should" be gluten-free, without actually revealing my need for a gluten-free meal, and take my chances with the cross-contamination. This is obviously not the best choice for my health, but your post illustrates exactly why I do it."

                      You really have celiacs, you should have no reservations at all about letting the kitchen know you have an issue. Any restaurant worth its salt is going to take care of your request cheerfully and you should never know that it was the slightest bit of an inconvenience. We may get upset with the tickets in the back that come back "gluten free, no rice sub pasta", but we do realize that there are people out there with a real condition. It sucks that we look with some suspicion, but in the end any good restaurant is going to get you what you need and you are never going to know how much extra work it took.

                      Im now working in a very high end tasting menu only restaurant, and would like to say that when going into places like these everyone's night can be made a lot better if the restaurant is notified of any dietary restrictions beforehand.

                      1. re: twyst

                        Oh, and just a word of advice to those with celiacs when it comes to restaurant dining. Unless you are at a really high end place with a reputation off the charts, anything that goes near the fryer needs to be off limits.

                        Most places don't keep a gluten free fryer, so even a well intentioned inexperienced cook may throw something "gluten free" into a fryer that has some flour in it.

                        I would say that would have to be the most common way Ive seen contaminated food almost go out. For instance, a place I used to work used to serve blistered shishito peppers, just peppers dropped in hot oil for about 40 seconds with no batter and served with gluten free dipping sauce. I saw a few new servers try to sell this app to a table that was "gluten free", and they had no idea what they were doing was dangerous.

                        1. re: twyst

                          That also goes along with anyone with a seafood allergy; not all places have shellfish free fryer. Beyond that, I have been in more than one kitchen where everybody (cooks, chef, front of the house, etc.) pretty much stops giving a shit once they get in the weeds. A busy restaurant is unfortunately, not the place you want to be if you have dietary concerns.

                          There's also a lot of ignorance on both sides, unfortunately. The example I like to use for this is white sugar: I have seen white sugar added to 'vegan' food and even used by vegans, because most people don't know that some refineries use bone char in their refinement processes (not all of them, but there's no requirement to state either way). It's a similar matter with gluten free stuff, a lot of people don't know what gluten is or what it's in, so cross contamination happens all the time.

                          Also, it is important to state that you have an allergy or other such condition that makes consuming something hazardous. If you simply say you don't want X in something the kitchen simply won't put that in your food, but the other ingredients my have touched it. When the kitchen is busy, it's not worth our time to make sure something hasn't touched your food that you just don't like the taste of, so you often need to specifically bring up that eating that ingredient could have health consequences so care is actually taken to avoid cross contamination.

                          1. re: Bryson

                            but ONLY if eating that food will REALLY cause medical consequences.

                            You don't get to pull the allergy card just because you don't like it.

                            1. re: sunshine842

                              A good point. I see a lot of "self-diagnosing" these days. Allergies that aren't allergies. Gluten "sensitivity" that isn't really celiac disease. The sad thing is these folks give people who really do have the given health challenge a bad name.

                              1. re: jmckee

                                No, I don't think they do ("give people...a bad name"). At most, the public perception of the seriousness of a disorder is diluted a bit. I expect most people who do not have issues with gluten (real or imagined) just don't think about it much.

                                "These folks" are merely a minor distraction. "People" are responsiblr for their own good names.

                                1. re: jmckee

                                  I agree with your last sentence, GH1618. No disrespect to those who actually have such an ailment, but it also seems that "gluten-free" has perverted to become a symbol of higher status, sort of in the same vain that buying "organic" or being a vegetarian are now the new, hip ways to eat.

                                  1. re: Dinermite


                                    (and "in the same vain" actually works better in this context than "in the same vein")

                                    1. re: Dinermite

                                      Ultimately, having more Gluten-Free items at the store is awesome, but it does seem to be a bit worrisome lately.

                                      Even items at the store that tag "Gluten-Free!" on the front need to be checked now. I keep running across things tagged "Gluten-Free" on the main label, but the back will have a warning that the item comes from a "facility that also processes wheat, egg, milk, and soy", in various combinations. I can't recall any that said "Gluten-Free" and warned of "shared equipment with products containing wheat" though, I'm not sure if those are out there.

                                      I tend to consider the warning of a facility that also makes wheat, etc, items to be covering bases in case of accidents, and I will still take the risk thinking that any cross contamination levels would be very low, but many others would not want to take that risk. It's a little scary how much everything needs to be checked.

                                      1. re: felis_naiad

                                        Indeed, my very sensitive celiac wife cannot eat a huge number of foods that are made on shared equipment.

                                        It isn't that the equipment is necessarily contaminated -- but there may be wheat flour in the air which causes a problem.

                                        Years back I wondered if my wife's sensitivity was party psychological -- then shortly after we started dating she accidentally got about 2 small crumbs of wheat bread in food and was sick for 2 days. It isn't psychological for her.

                                        1. re: conate

                                          "...but there may be wheat flour in the air which causes a problem."
                                          I have to explain this to people all the time. It's also a problem in restaurant kitchens where they make bread, pizza, and/or pasta from scratch - those teeny gluten-laden flour particles float in the air and land in/on everything.

                                          I sympathize with your wife as I am also that sensitive. It makes dining in restaurants and other people's homes extremely difficult, and requires extreme diligence when purchasing ingredients for your own cooking purposes.

                                        2. re: felis_naiad

                                          We don't buy GF bread at all. We also buy the flours by the 25 pound sack. My wife's bread has Chia seeds in it, too as she likes them. The INGREDIENTS for the bread costs close to $3 for a 1 pound loaf.

                                          And we do not buy organic flour. Admittedly the chia alone costs about $1 but even so...

                                  2. re: Bryson

                                    "A busy restaurant is unfortunately, not the place you want to be if you have dietary concerns."

                                    Thank you, thank you for this. God almighty, if you have dietary concerns or allergies or just think you have, I urge you to stay home.

                                    I have friends who have adopted (___fill in the blank___) food issues, and if it makes them feel better, and they're willing to go through the extreme amount of food preparation that makes their lives better in their eyes, well, my hat goes off to you. But don't expect us to invite you over for dinner, I can't assume that burden.

                                2. re: twyst

                                  I will say that in a high-end place, I always do notify them of my condition. At places like that, I have been consistently treated very well. The more mid-range places are the ones that make me the most uncomfortable.

                                3. re: MelMM

                                  op here, I just got curious tonight, typed in "gluten" into google, found the wiki page, read it, and it says 0.5% to 1%. Then I thought of some of the (mostly upscale) grocery stores that have large sections with a wide variety of gluten-free items. They're clearly servicing a market larger than 1%! Just doesn't add up.

                                  On that point, the people with Celiac may love that 9% of people. Imagine how many extra choices they have because of the extra buying power. Surely they won't have to go as far to find what they're looking for, and have a greater variety to choose from. They're being subsidized by other consumers!

                                  If people are choosing this out of choice and not medical necessarily, I'm just curious why? Is the food seen as being "better" ? Is it like "organic plus" ? I just don't know.

                                  My diet consists of peanut butter and jam, chicken, candies and large handfuls of chocolate chips. I love bananas in milk with sugar too.. Goddamn I love that! I'm nobody to talk shit about someone else's diet. ;) Truly just seemed like an anomaly worth asking about.

                                  1. re: SocksManly

                                    If I had the choice I would NOT choose GF products. They are far inferior IMHO and ridiculously expensive. So, I nearly always make my own goods. I go for intrinsically GF stuff, anyway - no need for processed. It is not recommended that those without intolerance and celiac go GF. If so, you need to see a dietitian to ensure you are getting the required nutrients and so on. Celebrities are doing it to lose weight. That is crazy - many celiacs GAIN weight when going GF because they go wild on the processed food they normally would not eat because they panic and are unsure what to do in the beginning. That happened to me, too.

                                    1. re: chefathome

                                      I'm like you, I prefer to eat food that are naturally gluten free, with a few exceptions. I buy GF bread to have toast with my eggs or to have a toasted sandwich. I would never consider eating it untoasted as it seems very dry. If you have a recipe for GF bread that tastes normal untoasted, I would love if you would share it. It tried making GF bread that supposedly was AMAZING and let's just say it was anything but that.

                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                        As most GF breads (commercial) are so unsavoury I have toast less often and make much of my own bread. It is so dry about it being dry and crumbly! :( Have you tried Kinnickinnik Soft Bread? It even says on the packaging that it doesn't need to be toasted! It's the best commercial bread IMHO. I have made so many recipes and only a few are fairly good. Will post a couple for you...

                                        1. re: chefathome

                                          I have Kinnickkinnik White Bread in my freezer right now. Is that the same thing? Under the name it does say that it is soft. I've only had it toasted so I will have to try it untoasted.

                                          1. re: dmjordan

                                            Is it new? The old bread is really bad - the new a huge improvement. I believe it came out last spring. It is not wonderful but about the best commercial I've had.

                                            1. re: chefathome

                                              I've only been eating GF bread for about 6 months so I'm not sure if it's new. After being diagnosed and seeing that GF bread was $6.00 a loaf, I refused to buy it. I finally gave in when my craving for fried eggs with toast became too strong. I'll have to try it untoasted.

                                              1. re: dmjordan

                                                GF bread is insanely expensive. The most I have seen it for was $10 for one loaf!!! (I didn't buy it.) I don't think I want to know how much it costs to make some of the ones I do.

                                                Though K bread is fine untoasted I still do usually toast it as I like the texture (or have grilled cheese or whatever). K also makes great fresh baguettes. Well, great for GF. One of the biggest reason I like to make my own (and there are many reasons) is so I can slice it thickly for Welsh Rarebit, French Toast and so on.

                                      2. re: chefathome

                                        You are more comfortable in the kitchen than 80% of the populace. Plus a sudden diet shift dictated by necessity and not by choice is a big deal.

                                        It could be a child who suddenly can’t have their cherished Spagehttios or perhaps it’s a busy accountant that just wants to bring in a “no-fuss” sandwich for lunch at work. Maybe the High School star basket ball player doesn’t want to stick out in the lunch room and just have a ‘normal’ meal like everyone else. Taste, meal occasions, and comfort in foods are very personal and should not be looked down on. Perhaps it’s weird to someone’s niece that Auntie Beth never eats pizza with the rest of the family and it sticks out to her.

                                        Gluten-free options were created and are still developed for individuals that want to not be reminded of their diet intolerance every time they sit down to eat.

                                        While other’s feel the fad diet reduces legitimacy to the food intolerance, I feel it instead it brings commercial interest in developing and providing to those who really do need it with options.

                                      3. re: SocksManly

                                        First off Wiki shouldn't be the do all end all when it comes to attitudes about protecting your guests health!! Wiki is wrong, the national celiac association number is 1 in 133 people with many many more undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed. So its much higher than 1%.

                                        As a waitress & bartender of over a decade I understand that attitude, especially at 7pm pn a weekend...BUT flour, wheat, beer, soy sauce, rye, barley & a list of other cross contaminated ingredients will cause me not only to get a migraine with my friends causing us to leave early but vomit either in your facilities or the parking lot (is there a bigger insult to a chef) then be bed ridden in pain for days. As a result I not only tell all of my gluten free friends & blogs where t sick (ensuring others won't eat there) but also honestly tell friends/family concerned about canceled plans where I got sick too. Its the age old food poisoning scenario sick will tell 100+, happy will tell 10 max.

                                        Food & reputation are your business! Why intentionally harm people because "they are just another pain in the ass" when it ultimately harms your job & bottom line? Funny thing about this disease is many of the GF trash talking, garbage eating, over weight chefs I know are being diagnosed. Farm to table gaining in popularity & healthy eating FINALLY gaining steam over the same old fried crap.

                                        This isn't a fad, its poison. If you're not going to take my food as seriously as a shellfish allergy (which I also have) please just send out a box of rat poison, at least that tells me what I am honestly having for dinner!

                                        1. re: thetxlady

                                          I think you should re-read my response. Nowhere did I say that we DONT send out safe gluten free food when requested. I work in a james beard winning restaurant and we take our reputation very seriously. We of course take every precaution for every food request we get. It doesnt mean that when a big chunk of the population claims to have a food allergy that they dont it isnt a pain in the ass. We dont have "gluten free" menu items and dont advertise to be gluten free, so every dietary request is handled on a case by case basis. When its common for an entire table of young women claiming to have celiac disease to come in, its quite clear that many people who are simply following a gluten free diet for weight loss are claiming to have celiac.

                                          I understand to people who have never worked in a kitchen how it may not seem very different to say you have celiac vs saying you are eating gluten free, but trust me, a huge amount more time must be taken to feed someone who has celiac than to feed someone who is eating gluten free to lose weight (which is why most people are doing it according to the numbers).
                                          If you want to be mad at someone be mad at the legions of people running around claiming to have a medical condition that they don't.

                                          1. re: twyst

                                            But some people are legitimately gluten-free and NOT celiac- are you saying I should lie just to be taken seriously? I think most people who genuinely live GF, realize the difficulties of preparing GF food (when you're not used to it), and so (as another poster said) tend to order items that are "naturally" gluten free and keep their fingers crossed. If I get glutened, I will have stomach cramps, brain fog and bloating. Believe me, if I could eat all the wonderful delicious food on your menu I would. Being GF is a pain in the a**. But most of us who live this way do it because we feel like hell when we don't. And yes, it drives me crazy too when I am at a catered lunch and a GF pizza has been kindly ordered for me, and all sorts of people swarm it and say they "should be" or "are trying to go" GF. I still don't totally get the vitriol though. Oops- just realized this post is a year old- oh well!

                                          2. re: thetxlady

                                            "First off Wiki shouldn't be the do all end all when it comes to attitudes about protecting your guests health!! Wiki is wrong, the national celiac association number is 1 in 133 people with many many more undiagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed. So its much higher than 1%."

                                            I completely avoid wiki, but I found some numbers from the mayo clininc that are interesting and are very relevant to the OP

                                            "1.8 million Americans with celiac disease, but about 1.4 million people with the condition may not be aware they even have it. On the flip side, about 1.6 million people in the U.S. are on a gluten-free diet even though they haven't been diagnosed with celiac disease."

                                            1. re: twyst

                                              So you trust a news report, but not Wiki?

                                              The relevant Wiki quote is
                                              "Between 0.5 and 1.0 percent of people in the United States are sensitive to gluten due to celiac disease, which constitutes an abnormal immune reaction to partially digested gliadin.[17][18]"
                                              The citation in NIH
                                              " More than 2 million people in the United States have the disease, or about 1 in 133 people.1"
                                              (which in turn cites a 2003 journal article).

                                              CBS is probably quoting this Mayo press release
                                              citing in turn an article by some of their researchers.

                                              Am J Gastroenterol. 2012 Oct;107(10):1538-44; quiz 1537, 1545. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2012.219. Epub 2012 Jul 31.
                                              The prevalence of celiac disease in the United States.
                                              Rubio-Tapia A, Ludvigsson JF, Brantner TL, Murray JA, Everhart JE.

                                              From its abstract: "The prevalence of CD in the United States was 0.71% (1 in 141),"
                                              Those are essentially the same numbers as given by NIH and Wiki.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                "So you trust a news report, but not Wiki?"

                                                I trust the mayo clinic and they were the source for the news article.

                                                And yes, I actually do trust news agencies more than wiki. Wikipedia is a terrible resource for many topics since the general public can edit entries to fit their agenda. I realize this happens in the news, but at least news agencies have some accountability.

                                                1. re: twyst

                                                  Wiki is like Mayo Clinic, TV and print news and medical journals; unreliable, often wrong and needing verification.

                                                  Many Wiki entries are very informative, accurate and the best have citations so you can evaluate the evidence yourself. It can be a great starting point for baseline info, but one must always do due diligence, and going to medical web sites and going no independent analysis leads to bad info just as much.

                                      4. re: twyst

                                        How the hell can just 10% of customers saying they have Celiac be ruining anything? Either you can make gluten-free safe food or you can't. Your restaurant SHOULDN'T claim to provide it if the cooks don't care to make it.

                                        It's the horrible and terrifying attitudes like this that keep many of us too scared to go out to eat. And how exactly are we supposed to prove that we "really need it"? Is there a special code word I should use when I cave in and go out to eat with friends, so that I can request gluten-free and actually receive it? Is there some special thing I can say that will keep me safe and not "dismissed as a fad dieter" so I can actually not be made sick by careless jerks??

                                        1. re: twyst

                                          You have people come in and specifically request a "gluten free meal"? As someone who really has a gluten issue, I kind of resent that kind of attention and demand placed by those with these issues - upon everyone else. I think it's better to take the responsibility to know what you can and cannot eat and order a meal without inconveniencing someone else. It's okay to ask if a gluten free bun is available for your burger, or gf bread for toast, but to expect a cook to make a totally gluten free (pure) meal in a restaurant is, in my opinion, kind of self absorbed and slightly obnoxious.

                                          1. re: cmoorecole

                                            I find that a number of restaurants are willing to take the time to make gluten free food. In general, they have had some experience with a friend or family member who has had problems with gluten. There are many different reasons someone might not want to consume gluten at any moment in time. But, to claim that your food is gluten free when it is not, is really obnoxious and could harm someone. A much more honest option is to state that you have gluten free products but the kitchen does not meet the standards for gluten intolerance.

                                        2. I have been diagnosed with celiac disease and rarely eat out. When I do, we go to the higest-end places that we used to frequent before my diagnosis. Prior to our dining, I contact the restaurant and speak to the chef or manager. Usually the chef can make something appropriate for me if given advance notice. Unfortunately I almost have to grill the servers because you can never be too certain of your safety. However, I am very discreet and do not wish to draw attention to myself.

                                          Most places we go to do not even have deep fryers. One does but it is only used for fries. Strictly because the chef's wife has celiac disease so he is very aware.

                                          Believe me, I would not choose to be medically affected by this and it is unfortunate that it has become almost trendy. I actually believe the number to be higher than 0.5-1.0%. I have done tons of research about it. Strains of grain are different now than they used to be. They are so often GMO which affects the DNA, etc. Awareness is greater. People now are armed with the questions to ask their doctors. It is estimated that for every one person diagnosed with celiac, at least one or more individuals are walking around not having a clue they have the disease.

                                          19 Replies
                                          1. re: chefathome

                                            "Most places we go to do not even have deep fryers. "

                                            Wow, I'm not sure Ive ever seen a kitchen that didnt have a fryer in it. Even in the tasting menu type places Ive worked the fryer gets quite a workout frying garnishes/kale/dessert elements/etc

                                            1. re: twyst

                                              We only frequent a handful of restaurants, though, and most are in Croatia where the restaurants do a lot of grilling. We only go to about five in Canada that I trust implicitly.

                                              1. re: twyst

                                                Out in the Hamptons one time, my husband made me walk out of three restaurants in a row because they didn't have a fryer to make fries with his steak. We ended up at a pizzeria and I was not happy.

                                                This was years ago though, although I am SURE they are all over the gluten thing now.

                                              2. re: chefathome

                                                Please dont' take offense, I'm truly curious.. How bad can something be if people don't even know they're being affected by it?

                                                Why do you have to be so careful, while other people with Celiac live normal lives eating whatever they want? At least that's what I'm getting from what you wrote, tell me if I'm wrong.

                                                If there was a harmless spider in my hair, and I didn't know about it, things would be just fine. But if I knew the spider was there, I'd go ape shit trying to get it out of my hair.

                                                What is someone doing to themselves or their bodies who has celiac and eats whatever they want? I guess that's what I'm trying to ask. :)

                                                1. re: SocksManly

                                                  The symptoms of celiac are often very similar to other GI problems, and may be disregarded as just a little indigestion when mild. The big deal is that ongoing gluten exposure can cause several chronic diseases, including intestinal cancer.

                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                    I have a dear friend who at the age of 50 was first diagnosed as Celiac, then as having Crohn's, after a lifetime of illness, discomfort, and misdiagnosis. Because of the lateness of her diangosis, she's having a really difficult time adjusting and has a lot of really bad damage.

                                                  2. re: SocksManly

                                                    All celiacs should be as stringent as I. They are doing themselves serious harm, even if they are not feeling ill. About half of those with celiac are asymptomatic which is called "silent celiac". That could be the case with some. Others? I have no idea except they are NOT taking this horrid disease seriously. They obviously do not care that though they are not feeling ill, they are causing serious damage to their gut. What happens is the villi in the small intestine lie flat and no longer absorb nutrients. So, you can imagine what can happen. Fingernails and tooth enamel can weaken, people become malnourished and can either gain or lose weight, you can have infertility issues (I had several miscarriages, no children), neurological issues can arise (one friend of mine when accidentally ingesting gluten, stumbles and walks into walls), it can cause insomnia, migraines...there are tons of symptoms.

                                                    I was technically a silent celiac but realized after a year or so that I thought certain symptoms were just normal but they are not. My tooth enamel is now strong. No more migraines. No longer losing hair. Those I know with silent celiac had no clue that they were just living with symptoms their entire lives and many of those symptoms are not obvious.

                                                    1. re: SocksManly

                                                      I'm the person you are talking about! A little over a year ago at the age of 46, I was diagnosed with celiac. I had an endoscopy done for another reason and while they were down there they knew from the appearance and condition of my intestines that I had celiac disease. I asked the same questions that you did. How could I have this and not know it? I heard that people with celiac get very ill from the tiniest bit of gluten. I went into the doctor's office with a food journal showing all the times I ate gluten without adverse affects. I was ready to prove him wrong! Turns out that I am asymptomatic. I don't feel physically ill when I eat gluten but it is causing damage to my intestines. So there are probably a lot of people like I was, just eating anything they want, not realizing that they have the disease.

                                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                                        Yours seems to be a typical story. The reason I discovered I had celiac is that my sister who is gluten intolerant asked me to get tested as it is genetic. So, I went, not even considering it was possible as I felt "fine". My shock was unreal when my doctor informed me of my diagnosis. No wonder so many go undiagnosed! And it seems my other sister has it (tons of symptoms) but she does not want to know so she is getting tested and she is an RN who knows better! Many are in denial.

                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                          Shocked. That's exactly how I felt when I was diagnosed. Does your sister (in denial) still eat gluten?

                                                          1. re: dmjordan

                                                            Yes, she does, as do her four children and husband. One of her sons is 6 and only weighs 37 lb and always sick. He dreads eating because he gets so ill. His grandfather on my BIL's side also has celiac so my nephew's chance of having it is high. Poor little boy. His doctors are stumped and none has checked for celiac yet...

                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                              That's just awful! Wouldn't you just love to kidnap your nephew for a few weeks so you could feed him right and prove that he can't have gluten?

                                                          2. re: chefathome

                                                            Why is it important to know you have celiac if you are unsymptomatic. I don't mean to be disrespectful here, but I am interested in knowing what difference having that diagnosis made for you. Do you eat differently? Do you feel different?

                                                            1. re: chicgail

                                                              Knowing is certainly a benefit. Because even without knowing about it, even if you're unsymptomatic, the damage can be quite bad, whether you can feel it or not. As others have said, the symptoms vary a little from person to person, and are often misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and a list of other things. And some problems go on unnoticed, until the results of the problems get to a very bad point.

                                                              I was raised like anyone else in this country with a diet full of breads. Rolls, sandwich slices, flour tortilla wraps, pizza, breakfast cereal, etc. In my early 20s my chronic fatigue and list of other constant, unexplained medical bothers had worn me down so badly that I went to several doctors and had several tests. But I think the doctor didn't even know much about my results, because they didn't tell me much of anything and I didn't understand what it meant. I tried adjusting my diet, but quickly gave up because it was expensive, and difficult, especially at that time when my boyfriend had toddlers from a previous marriage and we had to feed all of us. I lived 7 more years constantly tired, worn down, vaguely ill, until I was once again out of resolve to keep dragging on and went to see more doctors and see if they would tell me the same things or not.

                                                              I developed lactose intolerance from the intestinal damage. I picked up the book "The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free" by Jules Shepard and finally learned what things can happen. I had to adjust my diet and see if I could recover. I feel like I really, really screwed up, because I had 7 years of damage I could have avoided if I'd understood. If I didn't think that foods I'd been raised on must not be hurting me much, since I wasn't falling over immediately from them. If I'd known how wrong that idea was.

                                                              Having been on GF for about a year now, a number of issues have improved, but not as much as I'd like. As I understand it, years of damage will take years to feel better from. It really sucks. Anyone who actually manages to gain awareness of this issue should be very careful. It's sad that people who don't know they have it go on as "normal" and suffer more damage, but there's not much that can be done about that. Meanwhile, like someone who stops drinking and then can't drink as many as they used to, I lost whatever tolerance growing up on breads gave me. I have had days when I caved in, like when they've had Dunkin Donuts in the breakroom at work, and become very sick within a few hours. The pain and sickness now experienced are a higher motivator to keep away from gluten at all times, but of course that brings a lot of worry, especially when eating out, knowing that you need to be so careful.

                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                If you have celiacs disease you need to be followed, you can have nutritional deficiencies for example.

                                                                1. re: chicgail

                                                                  Why is it important to know you have celiac if you are unsymptomatic.
                                                                  Because for someone with celiac disease, gluten exposure can lead to a host of other autoimmune disorders and debilitating conditions including thyroid disease, organ damage, osteoporosis, infertility, various types of cancer, and neurological impairment.

                                                            2. re: SocksManly

                                                              "How bad can something be if people don't even know they're being affected by it?

                                                              Why do you have to be so careful, while other people with Celiac live normal lives eating whatever they want? At least that's what I'm getting from what you wrote, tell me if I'm wrong."

                                                              Their lives are not so normal as you might think. Not always, certainly. Even without knowing about it, the damage can be quite bad. As others have said, the symptoms vary a little from person to person, and are often misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and a list of other things.

                                                              I was raised like anyone else in this country with a diet full of breads. Rolls, sandwich slices, flour tortilla wraps, pizza, breakfast cereal, etc. In my early 20s my chronic fatigue and list of other constant, unexplained medical bothers had worn me down so badly that I went to several doctors and had several tests. But I think the doctor didn't even know much about my results, because they didn't tell me much of anything and I didn't understand what it meant. I tried adjusting my diet, but quickly gave up because it was expensive, and difficult, especially at that time when my boyfriend had toddlers from a previous marriage and we had to feed all of us. I lived 7 more years constantly tired, worn down, vaguely ill, until I was once again out of resolve to keep dragging on and went to see more doctors and see if they would tell me the same things or not.

                                                              I developed lactose intolerance from the intestinal damage. I picked up the book "The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free" by Jules Shepard and finally learned what things can happen. I had to adjust my diet and see if I could recover. I feel like I really, really screwed up, because I had 7 years of damage I could have avoided if I'd understood. If I didn't think that foods I'd been raised on must not be hurting me much, since I wasn't falling over immediately from them. If I'd known how wrong that idea was.

                                                              Having been on GF for about a year now, a number of issues have improved, but not as much as I'd like. As I understand it, years of damage will take years to feel better from. It really sucks. Anyone who actually manages to gain awareness of this issue should be very careful. It's sad that people who don't know they have it go on as "normal" and suffer more damage, but there's not much that can be done about that. Meanwhile, like someone who stops drinking and then can't drink as many as they used to, I lost whatever tolerance growing up on breads gave me. I have had days when I caved in, like when they've had Dunkin Donuts in the breakroom at work, and become very sick within a few hours. The pain and sickness now experienced are a higher motivator to keep away from gluten at all times, but of course that brings a lot of worry, especially when eating out, knowing that you need to be so careful.

                                                              1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. Very helpful.

                                                                1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                  I am glad it could be helpful. Thanks.

                                                          3. It's definitely starting its growth as a fad created by people self diagnosing themselves of things based on what they read, but... We can't say it'll die like a fad. The awareness hasn't reached a point to create an equilibrium state. In more recent discussions, especially when you're talking about people from specific ethnic origins, wheat intolerance is starting to be quoted at higher than 1%.

                                                            In the end, I don't see it as entirely bad. People need to diversify their diet. Gluten free needed to be less based around white rice. As GF has grown as a category, the recipes have changed and the white rice cookies of yesterday hold less percentage of the shelf. That's a good thing for everyone. Also, as the GF stuff gets better, they're not just targeting people with Coeliac disease anyway: They're hoping to convince people that their product tastes good enough to cross that market threshold so that other people will buy it too.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: thatwhileifound

                                                              I used to own a coffeehouse. I had a couple of regular GF customers I worked with to develop items they could safely eat. They helped me on recipes. So I got to the point where I'd add at least one GF item to the breakfast pastry options. We had a tiny kitchen with just one 6' prep table, so I could be pretty sure there wasn't flour around.

                                                              What caught me off guard and what lends credence to the "fad" part of this is that I'd put out a few GF muffins or whatever and other customers - who'd eaten a 'normal' pastry the day or week before would order the GF option. And sometimes I'd have nothing left to sell the regulars who actually had celiac. Eventually I started saving one or two for my regulars, but it was annoying at first.

                                                              Nut allergies were a completely different animal. If a parent said their kid had a bad nut allergy, I'd send them away with our apologies. We weren't and couldn't be as scrupulous on nut exposure.

                                                              1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                The funny thing is that the part that is marking it as a fad and as something that wasn't sustainable is exactly what larger brands in the natural market and some more niche small producers are exactly aiming for: Getting people who don't have the issue (and especially people who don't even claim or think they have it) to try the product and keep buying it.

                                                                Up until this last year or so, whenever I met with GF focused brands, the discussion really was built around diversifying the consumer base who'd buy their product. It's continued to grow year after year though to the point that this discussion isn't as apt anymore... But the whole idea originally and after the fad part dies away is still going to be trying to get people without gluten sensitivities to buy the product as well. Otherwise, the niche market isn't large enough to justify turning on the production machines.

                                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                  But were they ordering the GF items because they were GF, or because they looked tasty? I'm not GF, but have purchased GF items when they looked really good, or when I was curious about the product.

                                                                  1. re: mpjmph

                                                                    I'm very confident it was because of the GF label. Our pastry case was filled with plenty of stuff where these items would've ranked near the bottom in visual appeal. I could get a GF muffin to taste pretty good, but I could never get it to look like one of our regular muffins.

                                                                    1. re: mpjmph

                                                                      Gluten free baked goods can be quite to get right since gluten is what forms the structure of most bread items.

                                                                      Oftentimes they come out looking a bit flatter and don't always taste the same, so I doubt that does anything to improve the chances of someone wanting it.

                                                                      1. re: Bryson

                                                                        Agreed- my neice ( a celiac) experiments with lots of dessert recipes. Some of them are delicious, and others are pretty awful! She was diagnosed about three years ago, and she likes to cook, so she does pretty well. There are also a few restaurants nearby that she safely eat at. When we have our annual family vacation, we label the foods that are just for her ( butter, cream cheese, chex cereal). But- she still gets sick sometimes, and cannot always figure out the culprit!

                                                                2. Sadly, I think that may be a factor among the Too Precious types, which I've outlined and vilified here in the past. Maybe others are trying it out. It's a food fad, basically, and it will eventually make people with real gluten intolerance look bad because they'll be lumped in with he Too Precious Crew by restaurant staff.

                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                    This really annoys me as I have celiac disease and really expect to be taken very seriously. What next? A signed doctor's note and copies of bloodwork and biopsy results to show the chef? Shudder. I do NOT want to be lumped into that Too Precious category. Ugh.

                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                      I agree with you completely, which is why the Too Precious types piss me off so much. I have no food allergies or sensitivities whatsoever and am totally grateful for that.

                                                                      It's no different to me than taking up the last handicapped parking space because you're in a hurry and you have a borrowed, stolen, or fake handicap sticker.

                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                          Maybe people just need to ease up a bit on all that. I mean, yes, people who don't take it seriously really suck. People who give it a bad rep really suck. But overall, the more people requesting GF there are, the more likely we'll have something to eat when we go out. More demand equals more supply. The problem is with getting people and the chefs serving them to take it seriously.

                                                                          1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                            You have a point. My anger comes from people who claim various things to get their way rather than because it's medically necessary. It's sneaky, controlling, and dishonest.

                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                In no way do I disagree about the tone and the "Too Precious" label - however, I think that welcoming the fad dieters has the potential to greatly expand restaurants ability to properly address those who truly require GF food.

                                                                                Kosher restaurants currently fluctuate based on the interest of the observant Jewish community. However, should kosher become a fad diet (highly unlikely - but for the sake of argument...), then there's a business opportunity for more restaurants because there's a larger clientel.

                                                                                After the fad dips, there is a chance that you'll still have remaining a better collection of restaurants that are better designed to cater to that clientel, more organized in how they advertise to them, etc.

                                                                                1. re: cresyd

                                                                                  I would hope so, but I'm afraid it will have the opposite effect. So I guess we'll see, down the road, how it all ends up. :-)

                                                                                  I actually add gluten when I use my bread machine to increase the dough's rising. So far it works for us.

                                                                      1. I know no one who has a medical condition that requires them to be gluten free--and have known no one in my whole life of 60+ years who had celiac. I don't doubt that the disease occurs, but when someone has that I cannot offer them a kitchen/meal that will be totally gluten-free.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                                          My friend is allergic to wheat, poultry, peanuts and chocolate. No joke. And it's not a precious thing in his case. It's just what it is, and he doesn't make a big deal of it, he just knows what kinds of foods work for him.
                                                                          I've found that it helps that he's totally omnivorous. So he's easy to cook for. The no poultry thing is harder to satisfy than the gluten allergy sometimes!

                                                                          We eat at Mexican restaurants if we go out. That makes it simple.

                                                                          1. re: escondido123

                                                                            I did not know anyone with celiac for most of my life. Over the past ten years, however, 4 of my neices/nephews have beed diagnosed with celiac. Three kids from one of my brothers, and one necie from another brother. All of them were diagnosed when they were in their early 20's. We are wating to see if any of the remaining neices/nephews (8 more to come!) have this horrible disease.
                                                                            They all have restaurants they can visit, and all of them need to make phone calls when going on vacation to ensure they are safe. I am happy to brag that I am able to cook Thanksgiving every year, and have gf gravy and stuffing for them. Not sure why none of my brothers or I have celiac, but it seems to be hitting our kids hard. My neice is getting married in June, and she is so glad she found a venue which can accomdate her and her cousins- and a bakery nearby that will make her wedding cakes.

                                                                          2. All of these ridiculous food trends, fads, are such a bee in my bonnet! An "intolorence" is not celiac disease and an "intolerance" to milk nuts, whatever, is NOT an allergy. My father is a doctor, my sister a registered dietician, graduated with honours from Ottawa U. Trust your instincts and your well grounded research and don't get sucked into this latest fad. (Anyone remember the years of "low fat" and then the years of the "protein" crazes?) I wish more people would use the common sense the good Lord gave them! Eat well, without guilt, indulge every once in a while and be/eat happy!

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: joseenatalie

                                                                              I've never understood why people get upset when other people adopt fads as part of their eating habits.

                                                                              If pretending to be affected by gluten changes what someone wants to eat -- then so what? It's a free country! You can eat chocolate and they can eat gluten-free eco-farmed rice cakes.

                                                                              They might even really feel better because of their food selections. One does not have to have Celiac disease to have a sensitivity to gluten.

                                                                              If people who really have Celiac disease want to get mad at someone, they should get mad at people who pass judgement on those who want to avoid gluten, for any reason.

                                                                              1. re: calumin

                                                                                This is my take on it too. If you discover you have an intolerance (not a disease) to a food or food group, you certainly should not have to subject yourself to others judgements about it. I have a few friends and family members that are gluten intolerant (no celiac disease) but they still bloat up like a balloon and run to the bathroom after eating wheat. No fun. Not "precious".

                                                                                Oh, an one friend can eat a little wheat, but has a limit. When she eats at my house, I serve several items with wheat and several GF. She needs to decide how much she can tolerate. If she goes over that limit she shits her pants, I just need to trust her about that.

                                                                              2. re: joseenatalie

                                                                                You're right, intolerances are not allergies. But that does not make them any less real or medically important. I'm not going to go into anaphylactic shock if I eat soy sauce or miso, but I am going to feel pretty miserable for the next 8 hours or so. I have a friend with pretty severe lactose intolerance - not allergic, but almost any dairy will cause her severe GI distress. The same applies with gluten. There are people who have allergic reactions to gluten, and there are people who have other non-allergic physiologic reactions. Both are real,

                                                                                1. re: mpjmph


                                                                                  I won't go into anaphylactic shock if I consume cloves or star anise or flax, but I will be in severe pain and will have to be within 10 seconds, preferably 2 or 3, of a bathroom for the next couple of days. I may also pass out and I may end up in a hospital. And it will take me a week to recover from eating even the smallest amounts of those foods.

                                                                                  Sure, not anaphylaxis. But still, very serious.

                                                                                2. re: joseenatalie

                                                                                  "Indulge every once in awhile." That is precisely like telling those of us with celiac to ingest arsenic once in awhile. Or are you referring to those with intolerances? Because I also know those who seriously intolerant and do not want to go back to eating gluten for a few months (which is required for biopsies) as it will make them incredibly ill. My sister has not been officially diagnosed with the disease (it is genetic) but she has been diagnosed with intolerance. If she ingests even a minute amount of gluten, she is severely ill for usually three weeks. She refuses to go back to eating gluten for the biopsies.

                                                                                3. I did some googling, because I've wondered the same thing.

                                                                                  Found this: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04...

                                                                                  Interesting article, but the biggest thing that leapt out at me is that *science* really isn't sure what all the definitions are...so you have celebrities like Oprah and Gwyneth touting the detox of gluten-free, combined with some pretty nebulous symptoms, and no definitive tests...

                                                                                  ....so you get a lot of people doing some self-diagnosis, a few more following the celebrity paths, and doctors and scientists who are having a hard time defining the entire range of sensitivity...

                                                                                  ...and you get a lot of people who don't really know what the cause is, but it seems like a good idea at the time. Since NOT eating gluten won't hurt anyone, they're figuring it's better to just cut it out and see how they feel (which is not an entirely wrong decision, either


                                                                                  (this does not apply to medically-diagnosed allergies or celiac, by the way....!)

                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    "Since NOT eating gluten won't hurt anyone, they're figuring it's better to just cut it out and see how they feel"

                                                                                    See, that's definitely something no one should have a problem with.

                                                                                    One thing that bothers me is these celebrities saying GF is so healthy, and it seems like no one is paying enough attention. It's like with my friend's coworker who suddenly decided to buy all GF snacks for the healthiness. It's not right. GF is a great health choice if you're eating naturally GF, but processed snacks, things we like to have so we can eat like everyone else, like how we're used to, once in a while, are not always great. Replacing wheat flour often involves a mix that is starch heavy. It's nice to have, but eating that way all the time is actually quite a health risk.

                                                                                    1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                      Wait a minute.

                                                                                      At no time did I say that gee, we all ought to eat GF.

                                                                                      My paragraph (yes, the paragraph, not just the words you extracted) indicated that there's a lot of confusion -- even from doctors -- and that there's a lot more work that needs to be done on the science side.

                                                                                      What we cannot deny is that mankind has been eating gluten for a very long time...so we need to figure out why comparatively suddenly, it's causing a problem with people.

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        I never said that you said we should all eat GF. I was just trying to point out that you had a great point when you said people just want to cut it out and see how they feel. Others on here have been attacking self-diagnosed people or those who "don't need it", but I was just saying that you are right, some people just want to see how they feel. And no one should have a problem with that. It's personal, and fine.

                                                                                        The rest of my comment was simply my thoughts about the celebrities you mentioned, and their statements that make no sense to me.

                                                                                        1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                          " Others on here have been attacking self-diagnosed people or those who "don't need it", but I was just saying that you are right, some people just want to see how they feel. And no one should have a problem with that."

                                                                                          Really? People shouldnt have a problem with other people faking a medical condition? Saying you have celiac when you don't is a lot like getting in a wheelchair at the airport to skip the lines when you dont want to wait in line.

                                                                                          If people want to eat gluten free fine, but many are claiming to have a condition that they dont in order to get special treatment in restaurants that politely decline substitutions etc.

                                                                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                          GMO. can ingesting dna implanted pesticides really be harmless? it's not just gluten. the explosion in food allergies, food sensitivites, i believe can be attributed to manipulating our foods. when i was in school, there was no such thing as peanut allergies. all of my classmates ate pbjs washed down with milk. but today, peanuts are deadly and are outlawed at many schools.

                                                                                          why didn't previous generations have these issues and why are people in their 20s and younger the prevalent group suffering from these food reactions? could it be that the traditional tall wheat crop was switched out for the current disease resistant crop, that high-fructose corn syrup was introduced into our foods and that gmos entered our food-line in the 1970s? and that this generation is now presenting the results of these practices?

                                                                                            1. re: Vidute

                                                                                              GMO wheat can't be a issue. Those strains haven't made it out of the test fields. Even 'Wheat belly' admits that. Their complaint is with conventionally hybridized wheat.

                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                modern wheat is more genetically engineered than conventionally hybridized. the :mother" wheat, einkorn, which is still being cultivated, has 14 chromosomes compared to today's modern wheat which has 42 chromosomes

                                                                                                1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                  How long has that 42 chromosome strain been around?

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    quite a while. however, chromosome engineering is relatively recent, about 50 years. for example, suppressing a gene which restricts pairing to chromosomes that are alike so that structurally altered chromosomes can pair and, also, these structurally altered chromosomes can pair with the chromosomes of related species and genus allowing for allowing for alien gene transfer- grasses, corn, rice, barley, rye, etc.

                                                                                                    1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                      Does it make sense to talk about 'genetic engineering' thousands of years ago before genetic science?

                                                                                                      From the Wiki wheat article:
                                                                                                      "Wheat genetics is more complicated than that of most other domesticated species. Some wheat species are diploid, with two sets of chromosomes, but many are stable polyploids, with four sets of chromosomes (tetraploid) or six (hexaploid).[23]"
                                                                                                      (note the citation).
                                                                                                      einkorn is a diploid (2x7)
                                                                                                      emmer and durum are tetraploid. (4x7)
                                                                                                      bread wheat is hexaploid (6x7)

                                                                                                      "Wheat, for example, after millennia of hybridization and modification by humans, has strains that are diploid (two sets of chromosomes), tetraploid (four sets of chromosomes) with the common name of durum or macaroni wheat, and hexaploid (six sets of chromosomes) with the common name of bread wheat. Many agriculturally important plants of the genus Brassica are also tetraploids"
                                                                                                      Wiki, Poyploid article

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        but the common wheat grown for mass production has 42 chromosomes and has been diligently genetically engineered for the past fifty years with the emphasis on translocation of useful agronomic traits from alien species to common wheat. according to jcsbiologist.org , current research is focusing on aneuploidy, or inserting a single new chromosome.

                                                                                                        1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                          common wheat has had 42 chromosomes (3 pairs) for centuries.

                                                                                                          The principal development in common wheat in the past 50 years is 'dwarfing'
                                                                                                          which is the result of hybridization with ' a Japanese dwarf variety of wheat '

                                                                                          1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                            I think again there is a disconnect between reality & the idea GF is somehow healthier. GF processed foods are actually higher in carbs than their counter parts. These actually lead to weight GAIN, not loss.
                                                                                            The issue with "try it & see" is that not eating gluten is the only definative test for whether a wheat free diet is beneficial. Too many doctors, with too much ignorance will mis-diagnose or take the opinion that celiac can't be a disease because there isn't a prescription for it. Myself I have been diagnosed with cancer, MS, IBS, spastic colon, pancreatitis, hypochondria, prozac depression, fibromialgia, ostioparosis (at25 by just listening to painful bone symptom), had my gall bladder removed yet still was in pain, tired all the time & chained to a toilet. Even with endoscopy the reply was "you show signs of celiac but the only way to know for sure is try it".
                                                                                            So thousands of dollars in tests, pills & years of suffering...to hear "try it you'll like it". Is it any wonder that those wandering the wheat wasteland in pain told we are crazy by doctors would try something that might end the suffering the doctor says is all in our heads (yet mystically happening in our guts)?

                                                                                        3. I did not read all of the replies you have already got, but my 2 cents.

                                                                                          What Wikipedia articles states is true but that only talks about confirmed sensitivity and/or Celiac patients. The ground reality is lot different. The gluten products that we eat are a lot different than our forefathers, thanks to Monsato and their friends in Congress. The genetically modified food stuff, which is considered as GRAS, turns out to be not so accepted by many folks. There is no test as on moment that will pinpoint any stomach upset or any other issues to GM-food or gluten for that matter. It has been proved though that gluten has inflammatory properties (check out Pubmed)

                                                                                          If you talk with any medical professional, a lot of health issues that we suffer from are tied up to inflammation. Many of these folks, when went gluten-free, noted improvement in their disease/disorder. Hence it loosely ties to Gluten intolerance/sensitivity. And since there is no confirmatory test, no one can really prove it. But since the patients observed improvement in their condition, they stick to gluten-free products.

                                                                                          Thanks to our food supply, it is greatly contaminated with gluten and there is very little respect for folks who don't want gluten in their food supply. Someone may call it a bandwagon but IMO, it is not. Its just a time and your willingness to live a healthy life will get to to this juncture of food supply.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: vegiefudie

                                                                                            I agree with most of what you said, especially the Monsanto stuff. However, where I disagree is where there is no confirmatory test. There is. You can get bloodwork (expensive, not part of the regular bloodwork at your doctor's office) to see whether you are carrying the gene. This test is very specific. The "gold standard" is having biopsies done to see the villi. They should be straight but in us celiacs it is flat. However, as I mentioned above, one must go back to eating gluten (if they are not already) for three months before their biopsies. Many are not prepared to do that because they get so very ill. So, they are intolerant and not technically diagnosed with celiac (though I suspect many of them actually do have it). This is another reason I believe the diagnosis numbers are very low.

                                                                                            I attended a lecture where one of the leading celiac doctors in Canada told us that only 39% of biopsies are done CORRECTLY. She said very few doctors are trained properly in university and that she sees so many people who are not diagnosed beg for further biopsies to prove that they have a diagnosis of celiac. (Many celiacs go through life desparately searching for answers.) She herself does further testing to find that many do have the disease. According to her, usually doctors only take 3-5 biopsies of the small intestine. NOT enough. Consider how long that intestine is! She recommends 15 biopsies.

                                                                                            Up until recently, physicians in university/college only take one little class on celiac disease in their entire seven years of school. Many doctors give false information to their patients, sadly.

                                                                                            There is no "cure" for celiac but we must stricly not eat gluten for the rest of our lives to hopefully prevent further problems such as related cancers and auto-immune diseases and early death.

                                                                                            Sorry - this is not directed at you per se, just general info that hopefully will help people understand better. :)

                                                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                                                              This is the situation one of my family member is in. She can't get celiac disease confirmed because she refuses to eat Gluten that long for the test. Since going GF, she has never felt better and she can't bring herself to be that sick again. I don't blame her, but it causes people to think she is a "fad dieter" or "precious" as previously discussed. At this point, going GF works, regardless of actually having the disease or not.

                                                                                              Going GF is not easy. I am learning as much as I can so I can cook for my family and friends without fear.

                                                                                          2. anyone who has been on a GF diet, they can tell you it can be a PITA and i'm sure if they could eat normally they would. my sister who has had IBS and a thyroid condition has benefitted greatly by going GF. she was strict about it in the beginning and now incorporates some wheat within limits. i know she's not making her IBS up bc as long as i've know her (all my life) she's spent a great deal of it in the bathroom. my husband developed GERD and went GF for a year or so. it really helped him heal and resolve his issues. he's back on gluten now as well but when he has a flare up he goes GF until he's better. i know some kids in my son's preschool who have intolerances and are GF. my MIL who has never been GF (and refused to alter her diet) eventually had her colon removed from crohn's. the dr says prevention by managing a strict diet could have helped so i do think there's benefits to this GF thing and not only for those with celiac but those who suffer from digestive issues.

                                                                                            GF foods are highly processed and expensive. you can't just whip up a biscuit. you need xanthan gum and rice flour or combination of flours that make it difficult and you still get a bunch of rubbery balls you'll pass off as "biscuits".

                                                                                            if anyone is out there pretending to be affected by a diet consisting of gluten well, i say they've got issues. ask any of those actually affected by it i think they would love to go back to eating gluten. i also don't think it's so black and white. it's not either you have celiacs or you don't and you're just pretending. there's a big grey area where quite a few people fall into who benefit from a GF diet but not necessarily are diagnosed with celiacs.

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: trolley

                                                                                              You are so right. You definitely can't just whip up a biscuit without careful planning. You cannot eat out without careful planning. When I eat at others' homes I take my own food along to prevent cross contamination (PITA this past Christmas). Our home is GF. I had to purchase a new toaster oven (obviously). My husband is very good about it and extremely cautious as he wants so badly to protect me. He only eats gluten outside our home and brushes his teeth before he kisses me if he has consumed gluten.

                                                                                              Plus - many people would not consider this - whenever I dogsit I must wash my hands every time after feeding the dog because his food contains gluten. If I were to feed him, have him lick my hand and touch my mouth there could be trouble. You have to be cautious wherever you go. Tricky when we travel to foreign countries as well. Before we leave, I memorize the words for "gluten", "wheat", "barley", "rye", etc. and take along restaurant cards to show chefs in that language.

                                                                                              So, for those who wish to be completely gluten free, this is how we live every. single. day. of. our. lives. Not a lot of fun. However, I am now used to it and am a wonderful cook so at home it is no big deal. Just going out (goodbye food festivals and fairs, too!).

                                                                                              You are right about GF foods being expensive. Some flours I buy are $15 a pound. Imagine spending $150 on a 10 lb bag of wheat flour!!

                                                                                              1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                Ugh. My deepest sympathies.

                                                                                                But you reinforce an observation -- that those who are the most gravely affected by a food sensitivity are those who just quietly cope with it and try not to make a big deal (and wish it wasn't that way, but gracefully accept that they can't change it)

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  Thanks for being understanding! Many are not but that is mainly because they truly do not understand the disease. I didn't, either, until I was diagnosed. Anyway, I am trying to change things by helping to create awareness. We have an active celiac support group in town (there are over 300 diagnosed in a city of 26,000 and it is estimated that over that have the disease but are in denial or are not getting the medical help they need). We arrange for professional speakers, we approach restaurants (and have seen changes - YAY!), hold GF potlucks... When we have guests at our home, I have to go through the whole spiel about not allowing gluten here and so on (to those who are not careful in the least). We sort of have to be our own advocates. When eating at restaurants, I really dislike drawing attention to it but at the same time have no alternative but to question things. :(

                                                                                                  1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                    education is the key in all this in hopes of creating awareness. there will always be a percentage of people who will pretend to be sick or have allergies bc they are sick in the head.

                                                                                                    although we (my immediate family) don't adhere to a strict GF diet anymore, my son is anaphylactic to cashews and pistachios. along with that he's allergic to all other tree nuts and peanuts. there is barely any awareness out there and when we do find someone or an establishment that understands that my son can go into anaphylactic shock and then understands what that actually means, it's a relief so i can understand what you go thru and the need to be your own advocate.

                                                                                                    even his preschool teacher thought if she picked the nuts off of a cake that he could eat it. when you face this level of unawareness it's disheartening.

                                                                                                    a local pizza place has gluten free pizza's but they prepare the gluten free pizza's in the same area as the regular pizzas and share the same oven! whether they have the pizzas bc there's a demand or it's just trendy, i think it's a start.

                                                                                                    1. re: trolley

                                                                                                      You said it very well. I feel for those like you who must deal with life-threatening reactions. It really forces you to be cautious in the extreme. That is so sad about his preschool teacher. I've also heard of doctors who have said those with celiac can just pick the croutons off a salad. :(

                                                                                                      We also have a pizza place with pre-made GF crusts but there is no way I can eat there. Same scenario as you mention rife with cross contamination. But you are right - it IS a start. There will be a next step, and a next and so on.

                                                                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                        I should mention that a local Japanese steak/sushi restaurant recently bent over backwards to help me. We went with whole family including 4 kids under 12 (which can a pain) to Yamato in Wesley Chapel, FL (Tampa), for DIL's b'day. I brought my own bottle of Tamari, guessing correctly that like most Asian places in the US, their soy sauce was Kikkoman or similar. I figured I'd order a plain steak and white rice, and just enjoy the good times.

                                                                                                        When we arrived I explained my issue to our server, inquiring if their salad dressing was GF. She said it was not, but suggested YumYum sauce instead. A brilliant choice! When our chef came out (it's a 'show' restaurant), she asked if she could have my Tamari, explaining that another chef would prepare my meal in the kitchen. This was such an unexpected accommodation. A genuine kindly act.

                                                                                                        So in the end I had a seasoned steak, fried rice, great veg, and a salad. So much more than I expected. As soon as we got home, I logged onto Yelp and Urbanspoon to post glowing reviews. Things are indeed getting better. :)

                                                                                                        Again, the restaurant is Yamato, near Tampa. Got to give them props!

                                                                                                      2. re: trolley

                                                                                                        BIG +1 to you and chefathome!

                                                                                                        I've likely been GI for many, many years, but 2 yrs ago, after being really ill for 6 weeks (time spent mostly sleeping on the couch, because I had NO energy at all) a substitute doc at my clinic had a hunch, ran an allergy panel, and gluten sensitivity popped. 2 months later I finally felt great again and haven't looked back. Am I celiac? Dunno and don't care, I'm NOT going to make myself sick just to find out. GF keeps me healthy, and I applaud any restaurant that makes an effort to help. Eating out is getting easier and I'm happy about it.

                                                                                                        I've only had 2 restaurant meals in 2 yrs that have made me ill, and I sent them very nice letters explaining that I enjoyed my meal but had an adverse reaction, suggesting that it might be helpful to refresh the entire staff on safe handling. I've gone back to both restaurants and been fine.

                                                                                                        I suppose I'm saying that I'm happy to help (and visit) restaurants that are trying to cater to my sensitivity.

                                                                                                2. re: trolley

                                                                                                  One of my good friends is gluten free due to hypothyroidism. She's also vegetarian. What a pain in the ass to cook for. But she didn't choose to be sick so I cook for her anyway.

                                                                                                  Another friend is married to a woman who is immunodeficient. They pay $1000 per month for genetically engineered blood transfusions. She had a staph infection in the past which was treated with massive antibiotics which left her allergic to eggs and wheat. So she doesn't eat wheat.

                                                                                                  So I know two people that can't have wheat but neither are celiacs. But I also meet people who have given up wheat because of media stories that it is not healthy. The latter are definitely the majority.

                                                                                                3. I thought this was common knowledge. A medical expert summed it up not long ago in US media: Most people fashionably following "GF" diets have zero physical reason to (grain gluten was, after all, a major source of proteins in our ancestral natural diets -- it literally built some of our ancestors) -- while most people with real physical needs to avoid gluten don't know it.

                                                                                                  A diagnosed celiac neighbor did comment that a GF diet fad helps people like her, because it has expanded restaurant offerings.

                                                                                                  I've learned that nutritional discoveries enter pop-culture consciousness and acquire lives of their own, untethered to whatever real basis first prompted them. MSG, low-carb diets, gluten-free diets, sugar additives (incl. HFCS), GMOs, and other technical topics all are good issues of public interest, all had clear factual basis -- which is routinely lost, obscured, or spun, as they become nutri-fads. Their real basis proves not to be what many people want to hear, if it conflicts with their received notions.

                                                                                                  The issue with most MSG mention on online food forums isn't people's assertions, but their unconscious, unexamined presuppositions. Many of these people are unaware of even the readily learned, non-controversial biochemical basics within which the whole topic exists. Yet those basics utterly change the picture.

                                                                                                  Other demonstrable misconceptions currently attend high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and to see them, you must again do the unusual, and start with dispassionate biochemical basics. That comment should not be misunderstood to defend gratuitous sugars in foods, or high sugar intakes; and to the extent that HFCS stigma focuses attention to those perennial issues, I think that's good. But in public online discussions, I see people detaching HFCS both from the larger issue of processed-food sugars, and from basic sugar metabolism realities -- emotionally demonizing HFCS as if it were fundamentally unlike its main predecessor (sucrose), as if elimination of HFCS in favor of sucrose would fix most ills related to commercial sugar use. (Show me someone who sees no fatuity there, and I'll show you someone unaware that, for example, sucrose converts almost instantly to HFCS, i.e. to the same basic sugar mix as HFCS, once it encounters digestive fluids. But there's more, that's just part of the story.)

                                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                    The "medical expert" you quote is Dr. Drew, yeah the celebrity rehab guy, not who's opinion I want to base my life on. If you actually watch the interview he steam rollers the actress, talks over her, belittles & generally doesn't let the person he's there to interview talk over his personal opinions & agenda. Funniest part is she is a biopsey proven celiac...but he wouldn't know that because she never got to speak!!

                                                                                                    1. re: thetxlady

                                                                                                      thetxlady, I don't recall the medical person now, nor do I know if the comments you heard were the same I heard.

                                                                                                      But the comment was fully consistent with what my medical friends say, and with background in the standard reference book for working physicians that's in front of me as I write this. These sources' point isn't, at all, that there aren't people who benefit from GF diets. Medical understanding of reasons to avoid some grains has long included "malabsorption syndromes" even beyond celiac disease (a useful medical keyword there is "gluten enteropathy" by the way). It makes sense that many such people are undiagnosed, but also that casual self-diagnosis, or even feeling better from a major diet change, don't definitively pinpoint a cause.

                                                                                                      Though this thread often dwells on processed foods, gluten isn't a factor at all in many natural food sources if you cook them yourself. IIRC, rice and its derivatives (rice noodles, rice flour) are naturally gluten-free grain products, so the considerable Asian cooking repertoire lacking wheat or rye (or barley or oats) is, as just one example, available to people who can do their own cooking and therefore bypass the various adulterations and cross-contaminations at issue in commercial ready-to-eat food.

                                                                                                      Example of a non-celiac grain enteropathy: A friend has a type of wheat sensitivity, not celiac nor a classic allergy, but she (unlike celiac individuals) can avoid the symptoms by using alternative wheat strains or hybrids, such as spelt, in cooking -- and the large body of foods where gluten was never an issue, unless insinuated into them in commercial food processing.

                                                                                                    2. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                      What do you think of studies that certain forms of cancer grow faster when fed fructose than when fed glucose?

                                                                                                      1. re: ChrisOfStumptown

                                                                                                        Chris, I could point you to even more dramatic extreme-metabolism studies than that, and we could, as so many people do, have fun googling for many other online factoids appearing to support WHATEVER notions we cherish at the moment, without ever touching on the underlying biochemistry I alluded to above:

                                                                                                        1. Our healthy ancestors consumed glucose-fructose mixes in natural diets all along. Along with sucrose, more on which below, fructose and glucose make ripe fruits and veg's sweet. Apples, bananas, berries, pears, peppers, and onions for instance run 5-15% fructose-glucose mix (ironically higher, sometimes, than its concentrations in today's synthetic soft drinks) -- as anyone would know already, if they actually looked into this background. Therefore, anxieties over fructose per se should logically focus first on its widespread occurrence in fresh produce, and also ask why this wasn't a problem for our ancestors. (The reformist food writer Michael Pollan even stresses the merit of sticking to foods "grandma knew.")

                                                                                                        2. A common notion is that sucrose (e.g. cane or beet sugar) is somehow different from fructose-glucose mix like HFCS. Yet (again, basic noncontroversial background) sucrose consists of linked fructose and glucose and is not directly metabolized, it's first broken into fructose and glucose in the body, summary below from a chemistry-professor friend interested in food. Therefore, people consuming sucrose from either natural or processed sources are STILL absorbing a fructose-glucose mix, essentially the same as HFCS -- some of them just don't know it. Details:

                                                                                                        "Sucrose is hydrolyzed by the enzyme glycoside hydrolase, present in gastric juice in the stomach, whereupon glucose and fructose are absorbed through the gastric mucosa into the bloodstream (as glucose and fructose); any unprocessed sucrose makes its way down to the small intestine where it's hydrolyzed by sucrase and then absorbed into the bloodstream (again, as fructose and glucose). There should be no circulating sucrose as it shouldn't get absorbed by a healthy human. Fructose then gets phosphorylated and transported to the liver, whereas glucose goes wherever it wants to."

                                                                                                        1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                          according to a study conducted by the university of southern california and oxford university and published 11/2012, in the 42 countries studied, the countries with the largest consumption of hfcs have a 20% higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes. details


                                                                                                          1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                            But does correlation necessarily show causality?

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                              if/until it's disproven, i'll abstain.

                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                How about this correlation between organic food sales and autism?

                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                  +1 sunshine

                                                                                                                  And do those countries consume more sugar in total? What about other dietary differences between them and the countries with lower incidence? What about obesity rates? Many factors could be in play.

                                                                                                                2. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                  I'm not at all surprised at that result, Vidute -- if anything I'd have expected more than 20% difference. The US has a notoriously high average sugar intake, one food reference even reported half of it is now "hidden" in processed foods that historically used little or no sugar at all (breads, salad dressings, even "plain" yogurts), and of course HFCS is the current industrial sugar of choice here for economic reasons. From the same physicians' handbook I mentioned to thetxlady above:

                                                                                                                  "Type 2 DM [diabetes] usually can be prevented with lifestyle modification. Weight loss of as little as 7% of baseline body weight ..."

                                                                                                                  But it's not clear how this speaks to the basic biochemical background I quoted above (known, public, and undisputed since before most people reading this were born). It's widely agreed that gratuitous dietary sugars promote obesity and other illness like DM. But people who fashionably reduce that big issue to a glib demonization of fructose alone are contradicting biochemistry fundamentals not subject to opinion.

                                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                    multiple studies show that the body processes hfcs differently than glucose and sucrose. just like the body processes cane sugar differently than beet sugar. too bad these studies weren't conducted years ago. but, for me, i'd rather err on the side of caution and avoid hfcs, not to mention manmade transfats. result: highly-processed foods exchanged for healthy, whole foods.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                      Yes there are differences in how fructose and glucose are metabolized. Whether there are differences between HFCS and sucrose, which have roughly the same proportions of fructose and glucose is less obvious. I've seen claims that beet sugar and cane sugar differ in taste or cooking properties, but I seriously doubt if there is a difference how the body processes these.

                                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                        sugar beets are gmo, sugar cane isn't.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                          So what? What, if any is the difference in sucrose from gmo sugar beets and non-gmo sugar cane? Sugar is highly purified, so it should be easy to identify chemical differences, if they exist.

                                                                                                                        2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          No, it's obvious that sucrose and HFCS are equivalent, once they reach the stomach, except for a possible small difference in the glucose-fructose proportions in HFCS. Sucrose is exactly 50-50, HFCS only approximately so. One molecule of fructose is exactly like every other — it doesn't know where it came from.

                                                                                                                        3. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                          Maybe I wasn't clear enough above, but I keep seeing these responses (here, as in other related threads) addressing points different from what I posted.

                                                                                                                          Agreed, highly-processed foods ARE a serious health concern. But when people fed pop-culture science notions (which are to information what junk foods are to nutrition) start imagining fructose is "poison" (though it's prominent in the healthiest fresh produce, which they probably eat all the time), or ignoring that table sucrose has the same metabolic fate as fructose-glucose mixes (because it's immediately broken down to the same thing internally), they are playing silly games. No wonder my professional scientist friends roll their eyes at most online discussions like these.

                                                                                                                          1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                            naturally occurring fructose, highly-processed high fructose corn syrup. really? the same?

                                                                                                              2. As someone who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in July 2012 (biopsy and genetic testing both positive), I can say that while I am happy that gluten free substitutes for certain things are available, I am dismayed by the gigantic amount of people who do gluten free for some made up histrionic food issues and don't actually have anything wrong with them. They make those of us with true problems look like idiots in the eyes of many, who think we're making it up for sympathy.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Lyricals

                                                                                                                  Take heart, Lyricals. As I mentioned above, a celiac neighbor had a very positive take on it: She is the beneficiary, even if some of the dieting is fad.

                                                                                                                  AFAIK, local restaurants (we are surrounded by restaurants, of many ethnicities) have simply responded to market demand (just as they might have highlighted "low-carb" items a dozen years ago) and are welcoming GF diners -- whether celiac, diagnosed or undiagnosed other gluten sensitivities (which certainly exist), people just trying it out, or people who "feel much better" on GF diets whether because those avoid gluten itself, or some other change incidental to the diet -- a specific grain allergy or whatever. The same way self-diagnosed "MSG sensitivity" has led some people to successfully avoid the actual cause of their symptoms (such as bean pastes) even if it does tend to obscure the real nature of the problem.

                                                                                                                  1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                    Thanks for posting this and yes HUGE thanks to your neighbor. I don't have celiac disease but am a close cousin ("short gut"). Yes, I totally benefit from this "trend".

                                                                                                                    I really and truly feel for those who are going through this. I have spent the last year post-surgery growing intestinal villi...and I hope to return to a "normal" American diet within this next year or so.

                                                                                                                    It's been...comforting? To read much of this thread. I do wonder (since this is a foodie site after all) if any of the folks posting have recipes or ideas for dining out? I could use these in the next year or so.

                                                                                                                    It's weird because I almost feel ~bad~ that I might only need these tips for 6-12 months. Again, I really feel for the folks who while be dealing with this for the rest of their lives. Especially those who loooove food and dining out.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                      When I was first diagnosed with celiac, my world fell apart. Seriously. Food is my life! I felt absolutely shattered. Thankfully that has changed with time. It is now second nature but dining out? That I still find extremely difficult because we cannot just be spontaneous - we must plan carefully. There are no restaurants I can safely eat at in town - the nearest city is three hours away so we go there every two months or so to eat out and food shop. Thankfully there are a few trusted places there.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Lyricals

                                                                                                                    Do you really care if you look like an idiot in the eyes of someone who isn't smart enough to know that some people lie about having certain medical conditions?

                                                                                                                  3. I forgot to mention earlier that according to many GI docs (one leading doctor, Dr. Connie Switzer, for one) there is a high incidence (30%) of false negatives on the regular blood tests (not the gene test which is accurate). So, many of those who have tested negative (i.e. my Mom who is always sick after she eats gluten but does not want further testing) are walking around not knowing they have it. This is unfortunate for those who are anxious to find out what has been causing their problems. I know of people who initially tested negative but months later tested positive (very, very few false positives). Many people are happy to test positive as they are relieved they finally have an answer and name to put to their dreadful symptoms.

                                                                                                                    1. I don't know if it's "trendy" per se but when I see things like broccoli and applesauce advertised as "gluten free" I'm concerned that maybe I don't know the whole realm of what's involved.

                                                                                                                      I was ordering a keg for a party at Total Wines one time and a guy came rushing in exclaiming that he needed a 6-pack of gluten free beer. The worker taking my order immediately directed him to the correct type and in what aisle. I was impressed. With not only that they (TW) HAD it but it was requested enough that the worker could cite him type and aisle location.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                                                                                                        Broccoli and applesauce advertised "gluten free" -- if they're products where it was never relevant anyway -- would just be standard astute advertising that plays to the latest trend.

                                                                                                                        The Atlantic Monthly's famous exposé article "The Cholesterol Myth" 20-odd years ago (explaining some basics: cholesterol necessary in healthy humans, people suffer horrible diseases if it's too LOW, most cholesterol being produced in the body anyway even if you avoid foods containing it) -- was illustrated by mock ads for cholesterol-free light bulbs. (Had little impact on either popular notions or the advertising that caters to them. The so-called Chinese Restaurant Syndrome with MSG, which was purely speculation in 1968, has since been relentlessly discredited, yet many people still haven't gotten the word. Processed food makers now play to this by just using other glutamate salts, then boasting "MSG free!" to the clueless.)

                                                                                                                      2. Call me callous (you will), but this whole movement is a fad. Sure, there may be a very few people that have a legitimate celiac disease, but the proportion of those affected by such an intolerance is not commensurate to the attention they recieve in the culinary world. I actually kind of tend not to patronize places that advertise gluten free options because 1. I consider gluten free to equal taste free, and 2. I don't like places to give in to current fad trends...

                                                                                                                        17 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                          For those very few of us, we are very glad to see more places advertising gluten free. It tells us where we can go out to eat, like other people get to. It sounds as if you'd rather we all stay home and leave you normal folks alone.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                            I wont call you callous- but will call you ignorant of the facts. I will bet you do not have an celiacs in your life. If you did, you would feel differently. Celiac is a serious, auto immume disease. If the celiac patient does not eat gf, yes they get physically ill- which can last from hours to days. But in addition to feeling physically sick, they are damaging their intestines, and losing the ability to absorb nutrients from their foods. Maybe there are very few- I know we have 5- so far, who have been diagnosed with biopsy. I am not sure why you are concerned if a restaurant caters to celiacs- and I hope you never have to deal with it. We have found a few restaurants where gf dining is possilble. My extended family vacations together every year, and have worked our menus to fit everyone- and certainly not taste free. If you take the time, it is possible to serve wonderful, tasty gf meals and desserts. It just takes some thought. And I do have to add that celiac disease is far from a fad.

                                                                                                                            1. re: macca

                                                                                                                              You are so right! I am thrilled to see more GF stuff on menus and signs. The first GF commercial for food I saw on TV (Chex) I actually cried I was so happy. Those who are unaware of the facts truly have no grasp on how difficult and serious this disease is. It is not easy to eat out whatsoever so when I see attempts made, it is a wonderful thing. Celiac disease is NOT a fad. Not even close. We deserve to safely eat out, do we not? (In response to MonMauler.)

                                                                                                                              You would not believe the amazing naturally GF dishes I prepare seven nights at week at home. Our guests would never know I eat gluten free (except for some baked goods).

                                                                                                                              1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                In response to chex, which except for wheat type made in a seperate plant has always been gluten free as have apple sauce, pork chops, peanut butter, brocolli & light bulbs. The point of listing foods as safe even when they have been all along is a security blanket to the newly diagnosed. The number of chefs that have removed rice or potatos from my meal "so it will be gluten free" shocks me...even "food professionals" don't get it, so how is newly diagnosed suzi home maker in the store with a pamphlet & google on her phone?
                                                                                                                                I have met more people newly diagnosed from talking to the crying person in the produce section than almost any other way. Someone willing to talk & walk them through this not that in the store is vital! This is a life changing forever diagnosis & scary as hell, I was told I miight have 8 different things including cancer & MS. Finding out I "only" had 6 auto immune diseases was actually re-assuring because now I FINALLY knew what was wrong.

                                                                                                                                1. re: thetxlady

                                                                                                                                  Just to clarify, Chex has NOT always been gluten free. Before they went officially gluten free, Chex cereals used the same Barley Malt Extract flavoring ingredient that regular rice crispies and store-brand Chex knock-offs still use. Barley and rye are the other sources of gluten that Celiacs cannot have.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                                                                    While I agree barley & rye are no-no's, I was assured by chex manufacturer 2 years ago that their product at the time met GF guidelines but could not yet be sold as GF because the plant was on the wait list to be certified.
                                                                                                                                    If your info is accurate I would think I would have been sick at least once in the 2 years I have consumed this product.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: thetxlady

                                                                                                                                      They probably changed the recipe over two years ago. I can definitely taste the difference between the old Chex and the newer GF Chex.

                                                                                                                                2. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                  Can you make GF foods in a standard kitchen? I know I would have to wipe down the kitchen before I cooked, and would triple check all the ingredients. But is this enough to serve someone with Celiac? I'm curious as my cousin has celiac.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                                                                                    Most definitely you can. And I do. As I mentioned earlier, my home is strictly gluten free for no chance of cross contamination. So, I had to replace porous plastics, wooden spoons and so on. However, I personally would not trust eating from someone else's kitchen unless I was doing it myself (which I've done). A few times I have literally had to watch every movement in kitchens to ensure no one touches the butter to the bread and then back in the butter, read ALL labels (contact the companies you are unsure of), etc. All this is a HUGE pain. A friend of mine tried cooking GF for me and had wonderful naturally GF ingredients but ended up using a scratched cutting board and had wheat bread cut on it without wiping it for another dish. That kind of thing is soooo easy to do.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                      I'd be so wary that the entire menu would be GF, and any wheat products stored elsewhere. My cousin even avoids tomato paste and a few other items. Basically, it's be a meal of really fresh food where I could be absolutely certain that it was GF.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                    My SIL makes wonderful gf desserts- though most of them do are not wheat based items to begin with. She makes a great trifle, and cookies with peanut butter, chocolate and a I am not sure what else- but they are good. And she has no celiacs (yet!) in her family.And after a few tries, I have made tasty fg stuffing and gravy. But you make a good po int- eating out is more difficult, and does involve planning. My neice is gettng married in June, and planning her honeymoon took some time- though finding a venue for her wedding was a bit easier.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                      Great! Many desserts that are my favourites are fortunately GF anyway such as Pavlova, Panna Cotta, Creme Brulee...

                                                                                                                                      Good for you for making stuffing. Your wanting to help is encouraging.

                                                                                                                                      Hopefully your niece has nothing less than stellar experiences on her honeymoon. Speaking of which (sort of), I am now the GF baker in our city. So, good can come out of these things most definitely. It is not my intent to paint a grim picture but a realistic one. It is not an easy disease BUT at least we can do something about it. :)

                                                                                                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                        We have a gf bakery nearby, too. And it is great, as they are part of the vendors at the Farmers Market in the summer. Noted your post about wooden spoons- I bought 4 wooden spoons at the dollar store, and used two of them at tgiving. I have two more put away for vacation.
                                                                                                                                        And you are right about watcing like a hawk. On Christmas Eve,my brother and SIL host. My SIL and her mom are fabulous bakers and dessert makers. Her mother said she would make a batch of gf cookies. She did- and packed them in the same container as the regular cookies. She just did not know ( no celiacs in her family). Of course, my SIL had plenty of other gf treats. Education is key.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                          I'll bet that GF bakery is very popular. Wonder if they make good bread?!

                                                                                                                                          You definitely cannot take your eye off the kitchen action for a moment. Actually, when we go to other homes (i.e. usually family) I take my own cutting board and strainer along. You just never know what gluten could easily be lurking from draining pasta. Or if someone uses a spoon to stir a few different things. Just some of the reasons why I cannot trust another's kitchen unless I am doing the cooking (and usually I get asked to, anyway).

                                                                                                                                          Your SIL's mother surely made a common error. I was diagnosed four days before a trip to Italy. It did not dawn on me to continue to eat gluten until we returned three weeks later and then go off it. Do you know what I did? Sounds laughable now but I had no clue at the time. My husband ordered fabulous minestrone with pasta. He picked out the pasta and I ate the broth!! I was dreadfully unaware. Turns out I likely had gluten at 75% of my meals on that trip.

                                                                                                                                          Education is CRUCIAL!

                                                                                                                                        2. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                          I was recently reading an old cookbook that had angel pie recipes in it. Basically pies made with an egg white meringue shell. They sounded delicious, and GF. I'd never heard of them before.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                                                                                                            Sounds like a variation on the Pavlova, a fruit and meringue dessert I wish were more popular in the US.

                                                                                                                                  3. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                    " I consider gluten free to equal taste free"

                                                                                                                                    Really? There are so many foods that are naturally gluten free. The first night I cooked GF, I announced it with a flourish as I set down my husband's plate. He looked at it and asked how this was any different from what we normally eat. It wasn't--salmon, vegetables and roasted potatoes are all GF. The problem is when you try a GF version of something that normally has gluten, i.e. bread, cake.

                                                                                                                                  4. Yes. Here's a link to a chart of the gluten-free diet trend compared to two other diet trends:


                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                      The full article is online

                                                                                                                                      Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification

                                                                                                                                      Looks like a good overview of the medical aspect of the subject.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                        You should have linked to the actual science based article.

                                                                                                                                      2. I'm not gluten-intolerant, but have someone in my office who, in the last two years, was diagnosed as being so. He used to be in such severe gastro pain that, once diagnosed and once he learned what to avoid, has vastly improved his life.

                                                                                                                                        And this website says 1 in 133 Americans are affected:


                                                                                                                                        1. Gluten sensitivity has become the next fad malady.

                                                                                                                                          The true celiacs (2) I know have been diagnosed by doctors. The "gluten sensitive" people (10) I know are self-diagnosed.

                                                                                                                                          My sampling is small (12) but it's like different fad maladies of the past. People have similar symptoms so it must be the fad malady, not bad diet.

                                                                                                                                          Previous fad madadies I remember - candida albacans, thyroid problems, sick building syndrome, chronic fatigue... etc.

                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                            Candida and thyroid issues are NOT fad maladies. They genuinely affect a great deal of people, and both of which are caused/exacerbated by the standard Western diet.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: wapfcat

                                                                                                                                              Not only that but those with gluten intolerances I know personally truly get extremely ill when consuming gluten. They are desperately looking for a diagnosis and answers and get very little help from doctors. As I mentioned above, there is a very high false negative possibility in both bloodwork and biopsies so what they have could be very real. If not consuming gluten (and these people are STRICT) helps, in my mind they are seriously gluten intolerant. They could have the gene and have not had it appear or be triggered yet. So, some can be almost pre-celiac.

                                                                                                                                              NOT a fad. I know there are those who eat gluten free to lose weight (bad idea) and also those who are gluten "lite", eating gluten when they want yet avoiding it at other times. This can be very frustrating to those of us who do have celiac.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                <<<<I know there are those who eat gluten free to lose weight (bad idea) and also those who are gluten "lite", eating gluten when they want yet avoiding it at other times. This can be very frustrating to those of us who do have celiac.>>>>

                                                                                                                                                I might be reading your comment wrong, I think the frustration should be on those that judge others...not on the person trying to make good food choices for their own body. This shouldn't be any different that people that "low carb" or follow a Paleo-style diet. They might ask for a sugar free dessert or "no potatoes" but they are not diabetics. It won't "kill them" if they eat a little carb or grain, but they might not feel so good either. Does it need to do observable damage to them before they should call themselfs "Gluten Free" or whatever?

                                                                                                                                                I think blaming people for following through with choices (that they believe their body runs better on) is blaming the wrong people. The frustration should be on people that want to *judge* others by what they order.

                                                                                                                                                If a cook or chef needs clarification on something, they should ask. Simply stating that "there are different levels of protocol for GF food preparation here, which one are you?"..should work. I know that my friends and family members that are Gluten intolerant would never dream of having the kitchen go through gymnastics to prep their food. They just want their food without gluten- and there really is no other way to say that.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                  Hear, hear!!! This is a great comment. I am appalled by the judgy comments in this thread. It's like the food-based version of harassing people who park in handicapped spots because they don't look disabled "enough".

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                    Yes... you have put it very well. I have celiac disease, but I am not about to judge people who are self-diagnosed, or who are avoiding gluten for whatever reason. It's their business.

                                                                                                                                                    If someone goes into a restaurant asking for a vegetarian meal, should they be quizzed as to whether their reasons are religious, medical, or "fashion"? Who cares?

                                                                                                                                                    Give people the benefit of the doubt that if they want their meal to be free of any specific ingredient, they have a good reason. Accomodate and move on.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                      I expressed myself badly then because I do not judge people making choices for what they believe to be right. On the contrary. What I should have made clear was that it is frustrating that people are judged on what they want to order. This has happened to me so I know what it is like. I know people who try different diets (I did that a few times myself) and do not judge them for it. Judgment is not my intention at all. As I've said, I truly believe there are those who are intolerant (undiagnosed or whatever it is) and it is up to them to figure out what is causing their problems. There are people who say they have celiac disease who unfortunately noncompliant. They can be "good" when it suits them but then sneak a doughnut here and there and then asking me why I can't. But that is often misinformation and a great opportunity for education. Sometimes not. Sometimes people cheat just because they want that croissant. Knowing a close family member who died of related cancer has made me concerned for those who do this (those who do have celiac, for example). I guess I feel so passionate about this as I have celiac and I know the seriousness of the disease. Those who are celiac who are "good" at breakfast but then "cheat" the rest of the day are only hurting themselves. And it can be a difficult diet to follow. I agree it is each individual's business and not mine. It saddens me, though, because I see people who do this and get so dreadfully sick and can imagine the damage it is doing inside their bodies. But you're right - we must live our own lives and not that of others, no matter what their choices and whether we agree with them or not. With me it is out of concern, not judgment, and I am sorry if that did not come across.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I thought I might have misunderstood. Your comments are spot on regarding "cheating" or being non compliant. Sympathy not judging is certainly in order in that regard.

                                                                                                                                                        My 22 year old daughter has a big issue of some kind with gluten, she has not been diagnosed yet.. Since she stopped eating it, her health is back! At the same time, it is hard to be a 22 year old college student following a restrictive diet when all your friends are going out for pizza. Being GF is not a fun "fad" by any means. She is in tears when she is tired of the same food and just wants to eat something "normal". She is learning how to cook now, but it takes time. When she "relapses" aka eats a bagel...she pays for it with severe abdominal pain and lives in the bathroom for hours (what a way to impress a date). It sucks. Celiac or not, she needs to be able to order something GF and have the kitchen respect her order and not be made to feel like she is a PITA customer. I think she is doing the best she can.

                                                                                                                                              2. Gluten is notoriously difficult to digest and can strongly irritate the gut, and this can affect people who aren't full blown celiacs. People following the SCD and GAPS diets also have to avoid gluten, both of which are therapeutic diets intended to heal your gut lining and to restore your microflora. Gluten messes with that.

                                                                                                                                                Given what we've done with GMOs and the excessive hybridization of wheat, I'm not shocked at all that there actually is a rise in gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. GMOs demonstrably irritate the gut, disturbing one's ability to digest food, which would definitely mess with one's ability to digest something like gluten.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: wapfcat

                                                                                                                                                  " GMOs demonstrably irritate the gut" - who demonstrated this? Which GMOs are you talking about? The most widespread GMO crops are corn and soybeans. What do those have to do with wheat?

                                                                                                                                                2. I know that about 1 out of 100 have celiac disease, but for the most part I believe that a lot of yuppies are always looking for some outside influence to blame their own shortcomings on. In a couple of years they will forget about Gluten and find something else to blame.

                                                                                                                                                  1. A friend has a gluten allergy; for her it's no pretense.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I wish I could eat wheat again. I had undiagnosed lyme disease for two years before they caught it. My antibiotics didn't really work and then I lost my health insurance, so yeah a lot of the time I am still sick.

                                                                                                                                                      I got a lot better when I started eating wheat and dairy. I used to love beer and baking bread. It took awhile to adjust, but now I'm doing OK. Eating out is just a lot of work.

                                                                                                                                                      On a positive note, my adult ADD/ADHD cleared right up when I stopped eating wheat. I don't know why, but I feel so much better. It was worth it.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I think we all agree that yes - some people are afflicted with celiac, which is a serious disorder - but it is also a huge and tiresome diet fad right now. People seem to like to toss the phrases "sensitivity" or "intolerance" or "allergy" around too much, which can make the real sufferers look like they're faking it.

                                                                                                                                                        There are things I try to avoid, but I prefer the much more general and less false "It doesn't agree with me." Because I don't want to say "It makes me fart."

                                                                                                                                                        Now I'm going to start a thread about my White Castles Sensitivity. WCS affects approximately 99.2% of all White Castles customers.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                          "It doesn't agree with me" is perfectly acceptable, as far as I'm concerned...I really, really don't want or need to know the details. (I've known a few people when, asked if they want *whatever*, will give you a blow-by-blow account of what happens. Yeeeaaaah...okay, so that's no, then?)

                                                                                                                                                          It's a very acceptable way out -- you're not being picky, you're not shunning someone's dish--- you're trying to avoid discomfort of some sort later. And that's cool.

                                                                                                                                                          We all have some food or another that we end up wishing we hadn't eaten, until we wise up enough to just not eat it.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Two part answer: yes, I think it's overblown by a lot, but if a dinner guest tells me they need to be (or want to be) gluten-free I will do my darndest short of sterilizing the kitchen to accomodate that person while keeping my thoughts to myself.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I am one of those people who avoid gluten. I have no official medical diagnoses, but I definitely have some kind of allergy or intolerance.

                                                                                                                                                            I get hives on my inner arms when I eat wheat, and experience unpleasant gastro intestinal issues, including being incredibly bloated and flatulent. Stinky enough to clear a room, and it was uncontrollable. This developed in my late teens/early twenties.

                                                                                                                                                            It took me almost 5 years to cut wheat out of my diet completely. Even after I knew what it was doing to me, I would "cheat" and just deal with the consequences.

                                                                                                                                                            I've spoken with my doctor and I don't want to submit myself to the tests. Why bother? A negative diagnoses to Celiacs wouldn't change my eating habits in the slightest.

                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: upsidedownorchid

                                                                                                                                                              The other issue with getting tested is that you have to be on gluten in order for the test to be accurate. most people don't want to be doubled over in pain or however it affects them, in order to get tested. my friends son would projectile vomit every 3 days or so and have serious GI issues (i'll spare you the details) until she figured out that it was gluten. she didn't want to put her then 2.5 yr old the agony of gluten just to test. the signs were clear and there.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: upsidedownorchid

                                                                                                                                                                This happened to a friend of mine too! It was pretty terrible for her. But aside from her and one person who I've met who had Celiac's, everyone else I know who stopped eating gluten did it because they "thought it wasn't healthy" or "wanted to lose weight" or for some other fad-ish reason. I ate vegetarian for a few years, and when I started eating meat again I was severely intolerant; but I'm not allergic to meat... I wonder sometimes if many people withhold something from their diet and then actually experience intolerance when they try to eat it again. I don't have children, but a colleague at work told me his son's school completely banned birthday treats for students because so many are allergic to nuts, gluten, dairy, etc. I can remember the handful of people I've ever met with a severe food allergy. It makes me think that a child got sick once, and a paranoid parent blamed it on something the child ate and withheld the food and then creates the intolerance. It just doesn't seem logical to me that somehow in the last 20 years the number of people with such severe food allergies has increased so dramatically. I'm not claiming that food allergies don't exist, and obviously, if a toddler gets violently ill from eating wheat or someone breaks out in hives after consuming bread there is something going on there. But until something like that happens, or a medical diagnosis occurs, I don't see the logic in withholding something from your diet.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bidnezz

                                                                                                                                                                  this is the thing about gluten. not everyone is diagnosed with turns out it helps them a great deal. for instance, many people with auto immune problems like lupus have benefitted from going gluten free or so i was told by a person that has lupus. her joints don't flare up as much and she is less tired and sick. the kids with allergy issue. it is estimated that 8% of kids in the US have known food allergies and that number is rising. at my son's preschool the new class seems to have more food allergies than the last.

                                                                                                                                                                  when i was young i don't recall anyone with a food allergy. we all ate whatever and then played outside. my child has major allergies to certain tree nuts and peanuts. i only wish i was making this up and was just being paranoid but sadly i'm not. i wish we could explore thai food together but that will probably not happen in his lifetime. some parents will withhold all legumes if there's an allergy to one type like peanuts. that's also sometimes a Drs order depending upon how allergic someone is. not all allergists practice the same too. we switched to a new allergist bc his theory is that if you can eat it then go for it, regardless of what the skin prick test says. our old allergist wanted us to withhold certain foods of the same family but i saw no point in it. more the better when you are already limited.

                                                                                                                                                                  so it's alarming how many kids now a days have allergies and i wish it was made up but i don't think it is. our allergist says it's alarming, surprising, and scary for him as well. he's seeing more and more kids coming thru his doors every day with inexplicable reactions to foods. the immunology dept. has always existed but the demand for it is now very high. once in a while you do get a paranoid mom who thinks her child is allergic to something but when you dig deeper they may not be allergic. and there's always going to be paranoid crazy people no matter where you go so nothing you can do about that!

                                                                                                                                                              2. According to this op-ed piece in today's New York Times, the incidence of celiac disease has quadrupled in the U.S. in the last 50 years. It's estimated to affect 0.6% to 1% of the world's population, which is up to 80 million, and that's just an estimate. For those who are interested in diet and disease rather than do-it-yourself mass psychology, here's some actual information. Among other things, it says that the incidence of celiac disease is not evenly distributed but can vary greatly in adjacent populations:


                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                  It's "prevalence," not "incidence." They are different measures.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                    They are different, but it's correct to say (as John Francis did) that the incidence has quadrupled, and the prevalence is 0.6% to 1.0% of the worlds population.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm glad you posted this. I was just going to recommend a book by the author of the article you cited, Moises Velasquez-Manoff - "An Epidemic of Absence." A good overview for the non-specialist of some of the more recent medical thinking on this topic. Briefly, the increase in auto-immune disorders in recent years in the developed world seems to have some connection to our public health triumphs over disease and parasites (not just bacteria but tapeworm, hookworm, roundworm, etc.). One of the more interesting books I've read in the last year.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                      I just read this article - and it was a really fascinating read.

                                                                                                                                                                      As a non-scientist reader, there definitely seems to be a link to prevalence of celiac disease related to the overall wealth and prosperity of a region. With that being the case, it definitely would seem as though the US and Europe would continue to see the rates rising.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                        You need to take into account reporting bias. There is more awareness of celiac disease today, and more testing for it, in developed countries.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I suspect that many people eating GF are doing so because it's hip right now. What worries me is that as a result, restaurants may not be as diligent in keeping GF food safe as they could be.
                                                                                                                                                                      My wife has Celiac. It has made cooking a challenge and dining out pretty stressful.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. ANNOYING, self-indulgent rant.

                                                                                                                                                                        My two cents worth.

                                                                                                                                                                        The fad/trend of so many people going gluten free is a mixed bag for those of us with Celiac disease. It's wonderful that consumer demand has created a wealth of new GF products. It's dangerous though, in that many people who are choosing to stay low or gluten free or who have wheat allergies or gluten sensitivities have created the impression that Celiac disease falls into this group. Being A Celiac is not an allergy. It's an autoimmune disease wherein our bodies see gluten as a foreign body which then triggers some truly dreadful health problems. The body turns on itself and attacks the intestine...specifically the tiny, finger-like villi which are responsible for absorbing nutrients. These become flattened or destroyed. Short term problems are bad enough, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, migraines, etc. But after years of this, malnourishment takes a toll. You absorb calories but not adequate vitamins and minerals. The result is chronic deficiencies which can leave a Celiac with joint pain, osteoporosis, hair loss including eyebrows, nerve damage, brain lesions, anemia, low oxygen levels, exhaustion and a whole host of other life destroying conditions. There is no cure and the only treatment is complete avoidance of wheat, barley, rye and usually oats. Until recently Celiac disease was seldom diagnosed as there were no blood tests to confirm it and doctors thought it was so rare they never suspected it. An intestinal biopsy is still considered to be the gold standard test.

                                                                                                                                                                        For young people or those whose disease is caught early the damage can be largely reversed with strict diet and sublingual and injectable vitamin supplements while the intestine heals. Accidentally ingested gluten even in tiny amounts can undo this process. For older people the damage may not reverse itself, but can only be stabilized. There is scant research or attention paid to it because you cannot tell a Celiac by looking and there is no profit to be made with medication or treatments.

                                                                                                                                                                        Many Celiacs suffer other autoimmune diseases including Hashimotos, in which the body attacks the thyroid gland and a dermatitis condition (herpetiformis) which causes such intense burning and itching that it causes a slew of other problems.

                                                                                                                                                                        The fact that gluten, especially wheat, may cause problems for people who don't have Celiac disease complicates things. I have been told by waiters, acquaintances and family members that "this won't hurt you it has such a tiny bit of malt (a barley derivative) in it." Yeah...OK. Most beers are off limits too.

                                                                                                                                                                        I buy very few special GF products as they are expensive and most taste like crap. And there are so many delicious unprocessed foods that have no gluten. For me it's the real pasta that I mourn....the Italian garlic bread...and SANDWICHES! It's unholy not to have sausage and peppers or meatballs on crusty bread. And I still dream of meatloaf sandwiches and pastrami or corned beef on rye. *sigh*

                                                                                                                                                                        I don't ever expect others to cater to my diet and I still cook and serve all my family's favorites. But this whole gluten hullabaloo has both helped and hurt us Celiacs.

                                                                                                                                                                        I did just make a killer batch of anise seed biscotti with almond flour. H e a v e n!


                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                          Just wanted to say thanks for posting this.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                            I appreciate your summary of this disease. It is a very serious illness.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Sometimes it is good to add gluten. For example, in pita pocket bread when want it to 'puff'.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: smaki

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, only if eating gluten _doesn't_ make you violently sick. Which is the problem that people with Celiac or gluten allergy have. So, for them, it's NEVER good to add gluten. They'll have to find an alternative recipe or do without.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. It is quite possible that individuals self diagnose.If an individual presents to their physician with symptoms that meet the criteria for celiac disease or gluten intolerance then antibody labs will be done.Celiac is confirmed via a biopsy.Many individuals may self diagnose themselves based on symptoms they feel they have.Auto diagnosis can be dangerous because the symptoms that an individual is experiencing may be related to another medical condition that requires diagnosis and treatment by a physician.As far as *gluten* free being a trendy fad it really seems more along the lines of consumers exercising their options to purchase and ingest what they view as healthy food. What harm is there in that?

                                                                                                                                                                              41 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                the harm is that when it is done as a fad diet, or it's "cool" to say you're gluten-intolerant, it dilutes the problem for those who actually suffer it, and lumps them in the "problem of the day" crowd. Crying wolf.

                                                                                                                                                                                The person who cries celiac or gluten intolerance, then cozies up to a plate of pasta makes a mockery of the folks for whom it is a painful and crippling disease (crippling as in it impedes one's ability to live a life without pain and disease)

                                                                                                                                                                                It's a bit like faking a limp to get away with parking in a handicapped spot -- it takes away from those who genuinely need it, even if there aren't any mobility-impaired people who need that spot right this minute.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                  Terrible comparison. Eating gluten-free or dairy-free or other special diets isn't a zero-sum thing like taking space in a parking lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The problem, as I understand it, is that those who need to avoid gluten didn't have a lot of choices in the food store. As gluten-free has become more common, the choices and availability have increased, not decreased. How is that bad?

                                                                                                                                                                                  If there really is a significant number of faddists - and in this thread, nobody has shown evidence that there is - you should thank them for increasing the market and making gluten-free products more attractive to food companies and stores.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                    who said zero-sum?

                                                                                                                                                                                    I was likening the two, because claiming you have a medical condition when, indeed, you have none (and no legitimate reason to think so) is asshattery.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Taking a handicapped space and faking a limp is asshattery.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Claiming you're allergic to a food when it's just because you don't like it is asshattery.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Claiming you have issues with wheat/gluten/sugar/carbs when you have had no medical basis to indicate such is equal asshattery.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm someone who once needed those special parking spaces, and who has seen someone fake a limp to take one away from me, and I think John Francis makes a valid point. It's not a good comparison.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                        A parking lot is a zero sum situation, and even more so the handicapped spaces, whether you used those words or not. Therefore it's legitimate to make a moral issue of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        My buying a gluten-free loaf of bread, whether I actually need to or just want to, doesn't mean you can't have one too. That is not a zero-sum situation and can't be made into a moral issue, no matter how hard you try.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John Francis


                                                                                                                                                                                          I think if you read the posts from those who are confirmed Celiacs you will find that we are all grateful for the increased product choice and public awareness. We also have zero problem with people choosing to be gluten free for whatever reason.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The issue is this: You are a wait staff member who is aware that there is another group of people asking for ingredient/prep information or special requests. You are not a Celiac expert. Jane Doe comes in, states she is gluten free for health reasons but ends up ordering something with a "tiny bit" of flour in it or pops a rye crisp or pushes aside croutons with her fork. You are left with the impression that, when I come in and ask a few gluten related questions or state I'm a Celiac and you forgot and put croutons on my salad it's no big deal. Worse, you may remember at the last minute and just remove the croutons before serving my salad. The result could be more than uncomfortable for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                          If you want to be glutin free but cheat a little here and there (and I would if I could) it would perhaps be more thoughtful to just choose wisely and not give the impression that you have a medical necessity.

                                                                                                                                                                                          There is no need for an "us" vs "them" attitude nor for those who are not well educated in Celiac disease (a state of affairs that sadly exists with many Drs.) to judge anyone's needs, motives or choices.

                                                                                                                                                                                          As a group Celiacs live in fear of getting accidentally "glutened" and are extremely grateful to anyone anywhere who just makes an effort to understand. The ultimate responsibility is of course ours.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                            LOL at being*glutened*...sort of like being slimed:)

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lillipop


                                                                                                                                                                                              Hee hee - That's exactly the reaction I had when I first heard the term. And it's apt too. I use it to describe the result of getting blindsided by gluten even when being careful. This happens a lot to newly diagnosed Celics. Most of us who went undiagnosed for years have multiple vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I was about 6 months into my new life style and seeing dramatic symptom relief in some areas. Then inexplicably I would feel as though I'd been hit by a truck..."glutened..." :-) Turns out some of the recently purchased vitamins had WHEAT as a filler!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the most colorful episodes of "getting it" was related to me regarding someone's neighbor. Seems this fellow was a very conscientious Celiac who was grocery shopping when a bored little boy riding in a nearby cart managed to open a bag, grab a handful of flour and gleefully produce a white cloud all over the man...GLUTTENED!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: John Francis

                                                                                                                                                                                            buying a gluten-free loaf of bread is certainly your option. Buy all you like -- if you like it, knock yourself out.

                                                                                                                                                                                            But please take a look at ItalianNana's explanation above for a far more well-stated explanation of the issues of crying intolerance when there is none.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                      don't you also have to be on gluten to get an accurate diagnosis? that was the issue for our 3 yr old friend of my son. he was not quite 3 at the time and would have GI issues and projectile at least once a week. once they got him off of all wheat and gluten his issues went away completely. they were going to test him but that meant getting him back on gluten and he was suffering so they skipped getting the official diagnosis. they don't know whether he has celiacs but he sure does better without it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                        That is what my daughter was told. She won't go back to Gluten even for the test. She just gets too sick and non functional. She just had a terrible bout with this when she ingested gluten at a friends house. She was craving a bagel so bad, she is young, she caved, she paid :(
                                                                                                                                                                                        It is a terrible problem for many people, celiac or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Here is my 2 cents or more....I am not sure how this "issue" about fads, intolerance of different degrees or confirmed diseases differs from diabetes? Some diabetics cannot tolerate even a tiny amount of potato or sugar and others are okay with a smidge of sugar without their glucose going through the roof causing real damage. Then there are people that low carb for their own personal health (not related to diabetes) maybe a fad, maybe weight loss, maybe they feel really sick after eating sugar. Who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                                        Here is the deal for me....why should we let the wait staff or kitchen staff "decide" which customer has a *real enough* medical issue with carbohydrate (or peanuts, whatever)? If ANY customer asks for "no sugar please" or "no gluten please" it should be taken seriously if that restaurant wants that particular customers business. I think customers need to feel that the restaurant is honest about making a claim to be sugar free, meat free, gluten free or peanut free, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                        No tests or labs required. NO consistency required either. IMO, they should keep personal and uninformed judgements out of it.They are there to serve you the food you request- and they should take those food requests seriously. If they can't do that, or want to decide if you are "genuine" or not, they should let you know they don't cater to special requests. Then you can go elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I also think customers have the right to "cheat" or decide to take a risk if they feel like it. It is their gut and their money. If they want a gluten free sandwich, that is what they should get.... then if they think they can handle a dessert with some gluten in it- then that is their right to order it. They are the ones suffering later.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If the restaurants just respect the request, then celiacs, moderately intolerants,health conscious consumers, and fad dieters alike will all benefit.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                          Given the NYT article mentioned upthread - it looks as though the prevalence of celiac disease is growing. So whether or not fad diets continue or change, there will just be a growing population that will want such restaurant sensitivity. Overtime, restaurants that are serious about being celiac friendly will advertise themselves as such and have staff trained - and others will flatly reject trying to accomidate those needs.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It reminds me a bit of vegetarian options in restaurants. Not that it's a health need - but the idea that cooking with animal fat or animal stock renders a dish not vegetarian was sometimes seen as a question that didn't "need" be answered with 100% knowledge. There was a learning curve for restaurants. Ultimately, some totally dismissed having anything be vegetarian, some opened vegetarian only restaurants, and others developed appropriate and fun options.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                            A significant part of the increase in prevalence is due to reporting bias.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                              Could you elaborate on this broad flat statement?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                I suppose what GH means is that since it is becoming better known generally, more people now are being tested and/or are realizing that it is what they have, in contrast to former times when just as many folks may have had it but just thought their gut pain was something else and lived with it. That certainly describes my wife, who found out a couple of years ago as the result of a colonoscopy that was being done for other reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                In other words, part of the "increase" is not due to more people having it, but more realizing they have it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's it. You have to quantify this factor before you can know whether the actual prevalence is increasing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes of course more people are being tested and diagnosed now. There was a time not so long ago that a Dr. might tell you that Celiac disease was so rare that it was foolish to consider it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just didn't understand how this translates to a reporting "bias" which implies something else to me. I had a tough time with my University Statistics course too. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Reporting bias" is not the correct term, as that implies a deliberate altering of the medical history. I'm not sure what the correct term is, but it is believed that about 3/4 of the cases of celiac are undiagnosed. There is clearly a bias here. In order to know whether the prevalence of actual cases is increasing, you have to go back to look at how prevalence was measured over time, and how it is measured today. As there is certainly more awareness of this condition in recent years, it won't do to simply count an increase newly diagnosed cases as reflecting an increase in actual prevalence. I'm not jumping to any conclusions about this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Here's a link to a report of a study which does look back, and which suggests that the prevalence may actually be higher:


                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Reporting to whom by whom? Is it a reportable disease? I am very curious because I did not realize that auto immune disorders were in the category that requires reporting to CDC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, I don't mean "report" in that formal sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Published studies and articles are also referred to as having "reported" data or findings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I understand that but in the context of his statement I ( as an RN) was questioning the category of reportable diseases. You are referring to data collection or self reporting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think most folks, in casual conversation, are referring to surveillance data or mandatory reporting, but maybe that's just me. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You are probably right. I am a tedious fact checker:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for helping keep us all on track!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Lillipop

                                                                                                                                                                                                                And good on you and your diligence!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "If they want a gluten free sandwich, that is what they should get.... then if they think they can handle a dessert with some gluten in it- then that is their right to order it. They are the ones suffering later."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Indeed, though a gluten free sandwich is not likely to offered in most places. And if this person does order gluten free for one course without making a false claim of medical necessity and then proceeds to have cake for dessert, that is their right. On the other hand, if someone claims to "need" gluten free then proceeds to eat it anyway, they are training uneducated wait staff to take gluten free with a jaundiced and potentially careless attitude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                      that part right there: " if someone claims to "need" gluten free then proceeds to eat it anyway, they are training uneducated wait staff to take gluten free with a jaundiced and potentially careless attitude."

                                                                                                                                                                                                      THAT is the crying-wolf, parking in the handicapped space and faking a limp thing that I'm talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                        No different than a fat person proclaiming to be "on a diet" then ordering dessert. It really is not up to others to police our foods or choices. Not up to the individual diner to be responsible or consistent for the benefit of the wait staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        We order the food, we eat, we pay. I suppose it trains the wait staff to be jaded against fat people or dieters, but (to me) that rationale just doesn't fly with my way of thinking about food and choices- obviously everyone thinks differently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hear what you are sayin'...and careless waiters are a problem. Especially for people with allergies. I just don't agree that how to deal with it, is by blaming the customers that are ordering the specialized food. It is not up to me as a diner to teach the waitstaff not to be jaundiced or careless with their job. That is up to the restaurant. I should be able to order whatever I want and not worry about what the waiter thinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I still believe that everyone would be better off if the restaurants took food restrictions and requests very seriously. No need to claim "medical necessity" to have the waiter or kitchen be honest about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                          but the problem is the crowd of idiots who claim medical necessity when there is none, and there are just enough of them to make life difficult for those who DO have medical necessity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                            well isn't that the case with a lot of things? there's always going to be people who'll collect unemployment or be on welfare when they can work. there's always going to be people who claim "allergy" but really aren't allergic. yes, they ruin it for the rest of the people who are truly in need or are allergic and even if the gluten free craze didn't happen those people will exist. they probably have an eating disorder which is sad. and even with an allergy or intolerance there is a 'spectrum'. my son is mildly allergic to egg so he can now eat it baked in a cake but not fried or scrambled. i know a child who can't even touch egg without breaking into hives. even with gluten there are those who have an wheat allergy or have an intolerance to wheat. then there are those with Celiacs. i just don't understand why it has to be black and white.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: sedimental

                                                                                                                                                                                                        has your daughter tried samis bagels?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        They are the closest I've had to regular bagels since going gluten free. Their chia bread is also pretty awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thank you for that link! She is a crazy for bread stuffs. I have tried baking her a few things, but she lives too far away from me. She is not a baker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Be careful with Sami's products. Gluten Free Watchdog (an independent Web site that tests products for gluten) has tested their products and found detectable levels of gluten even in the products labelled gluten-free. And many of their breads that do not have gluten-containing ingredients on the label are not labelled gluten-free, and those tested with even higher levels of gluten. I don't think the specific products you mentioned were included in the test, but most Sami's products had some level of contamination. It sounds like you have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease, and may tolerate these products just fine, but please do not go recommending them to people who do have Celiac disease, at least until we have confirmation that this bakery truly has the capability to produce a gluten-free product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I love Sami's bagels! So close to the real thing my husband eats them, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              On a related note, I buy Against The Grain pizza crusts at Nutrition S'Mart in Wesley Chapel. Hubs says they're the best pizza crust he's ever had. Ever. And this from a man who has no dietary restrictions. They really are that good! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes in order for the antibody test to be accurate there has to be gluten consumption.It is a devastating disease for children.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yup- and that is the worst part for many! Once the doctor gives a tentative diagnosis of celiac, a biopsy is needed. But- the patient has to continue to eat normally, as symptons go away quickly. That few weeks between appts is awful!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Some effects don't go away at all or may take years. Nerve damage that causes neuropathy for instance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Just ran across this article and remembered scanning this thread earlier. I thought I'd throw it into the fray. It's claiming 1 in 100 have celiac disease, which is the third or fourth different number on that stat I've seen in the thread.


                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And for what it's worth, of the 1060 customers in our database, 11 have listed that they are not to receive wheat products. Not that these numbers mean anything in the real world, but it does seem to line up with the 1 in 100.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pretty much every stat cited in this thread for the prevalence of celiac disease is 0.6 to 1.0%. (including the OP)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. It's the latest diet fad. However, unless you're actually sensitive to gluten, it's twaddle. People are just looking for something to demonize so they don't have to face that the unromantic reality is that, to lose weight, 98% of us simply need to eat less and move more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LittleBlackCar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "... 98% of us simply need to eat less and move more."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A simplistic and thoroughly indequate solution to the obesity epidemic, much discussed in earlier threads on this site.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LittleBlackCar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When you are diagnosed with gluten intolerance through medical procedures, you are not faking it. You simply want to be able to eat and be comfortable, weight loss is on the back burner. Illnesses related to malfunctioning digestive tracks are not taken seriously enough, is it because it is a topic people are uncomfortable about? For the people with serious disorders gluten free products are great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LittleBlackCar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with your basic premise. 98% is no doubt high, but your statement is applicable to a large percentage of people, myself included!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I have a family member who suffers from Crohn's disease. She cannot eat any gluten. She was slipping away from us, got so painfully thin, until her diagnosis and diet change. I think it is great that these products are readily available even if they are more expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. EXTREMES DON'T WORK - balance is found in moderation whether it's red meat, glutens, eggs, carbs or any other "evil food of the week."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If we didn't waste our health eating excess refined wheat flours, biotech corn sweeteners (glucose) & heavily refined, denatured oils like rapeseed (Canola) we wouldn't be in such a mess in the first place. We are WAY off the map, nutritionally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I was diagnosed with U-colitis, and a relative with Celiacs - these are imbalances not 'diet norms.' You don't get Celiacs at age 30 unless you load up on excess white bread and pasta for several years ('cheap' foods which have a latent cost). We should ALL be able to tolerate moderate-gluten grains, and enjoy 5-10% refined high-glucose wheat flours in our grain consumption as a treat. It's called "balance in our overall diet".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sadly I think our 'civilized' diet has become increasingly artificial & the food industry (in its fiscal cleverness) has over-engineered our food ingredients to the point where they upset the normal balance of our bodies - diminishing the health that is our birthright.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Take your life's health in your own hands, get educated & be responsible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're all over the map there, but I'll just say that, in the absence of some proof, eating pasta doesn't cause celiac disease. If it did, it would be a lot more prevelant than in just 0.5 to 1.0% of the population.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some babies are born with gluten intolerance and they are not feed pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Didnt replay earlier, as I thought that the assumption that adult diagnosed celiac is from loading up on white bread and pasta was ridiculous. In my family, three of the celiacs ( all diagnosed in their 20's) were raised on whole grains, orgnanic, low fat diet. They ate very little prepared foods, and their mom was a great baker, who made a lot of their bread products. Two of them did not even care for pasta in their teens and as youngsters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And carolinadawg is correct, that the disease would be more prevelant than just .5 to 1% of the poplulation if diet caused the disease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the skeptism may come from the fact that people who are gluten free proclaim themselves so. For those with celiac a medical diagnosis has been rendered and the diet is not a fad. Saying the disease is self-imposed is really harsh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It may be harsh, but it is also ignorant. And the fact that he states:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "We should ALL be able to tolerate moderate-gluten grains,"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    just proves why so many people are leery of eating out, even when they let the server know they have celiac. It is incorrect opinions like this that make dining out a danger. I hope his relative wit celiac never eats at his house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agreed harsh was an understatement but it goes to what I previously semi-said there is ignorance on illnesses related to intestional disorders. Perhaps our discomfort with being open about the problem is part of the problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: JonasOftoronto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  First, one does not "get Celiacs." One gets Celiac Disease. That person is a Celiac. Two of them are Celiacs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Second, eating gluten does not cause Celiac disease. There is a gene that is responsible. One must carry the gene to have Celiac disease. Not everyone with the gene is a Celiac.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your facts are a bit murky.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Jumping in late. This is an excellent thread. I am irritated when people treat food requests as caprice, rather than necessity, so I go to lengths to explain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My mom, for example, lived with AFib (which, ironically, my H has, too). If I ordered a coffee for her and requested "decaf", more than once I would see the server pour a miniscule amount of decaf and top with regular, rather than waiting to brew a fresh pot of the (less popular seller) decaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Many people choose to have decaf. For my mom, 10oz of regular coffee could produce very undesirable cardiac symptoms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So I switched gears. I went melodramatic. I would say "Can I get a decaf for my mom, and be sure it's decaf--she has a heart condition."...and then I'd watch them like a hawk, again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can't watch manufacturing plants that add wheat filler to supplements, or watch kitchen staff. But you can hope that they "get it".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Great example of how restaurant staff do not give customers what they ask for, even when health conditions are involved. Bottom line is unless you can see your food made it may not be exactly what you thought you paid for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Once worked in a well known popular steak house and caterer. What goes on in the kitchen is beyond the customers wildest dreams. Well done order steaks get the worst piece of meat in the pile, spit on if customer too rood to servers, off floor if accidentally dropped, ... Moral is be nice to your servers if decide to go out and even then is not as good as you could have made at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My brother decided to go on a gluten-free diet as a matter of trying to improve his health/cut down on his weight. He did so as a result of reading a book about the way wheat in this country has been engineered differently in order to be harvested quicker, and this (according to the book) has microscopically changed the gluten in the wheat to be far worse for us. Suffice it to say that it made sense for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As a result, I can't argue with the consequences. He's down about 30 pounds or so, claims to have a lot more energy, and he's still eating well. It's been hard...*really* hard, since gluten is so prevalent in the American diet, and it also hasn't been inexpensive, which sounds about right, too. It has, however, been effective for him. It should be said, however, that this dietary change was *not* due to any allergy to gluten, nor was it a decision that he was required to make via a command from his doctor. It was just his decision to make, and he tried it, and it's worked out for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: boagman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whatever works is good, but the difficulty with understanding the importance of gluten to weight gain is that, in eliminating all gluten, other dietary changes go along with it. For example, a lot of wheat products have added sugar. Giving up the Danish for breakfast eliminates sugar along with gluten. Another thing those on a gluten-free diet should avoid: beer. If someone was drinking a significant amount of beer and gave it up in order to avoid gluten, you would expect it would be easier to lose weight just because of the alcohol and other components of beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure that this is a part of it, too. For what it's worth, neither my brother nor I drink beer, nor really does anyone in the family. Just don't care for the stuff. As you've said, though: the elimination of gluten can lead to the elimination of a lot of other superfluous things that we don't need, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm half-tempted by his idea, but it's no doubt an *expensive* lifestyle change, and I'm not rich by any stretch of the imagination.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: boagman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Great to hear about your brother boagman. I'm not as much impressed by his dietary choices as by what happens when one switches from "mindless" to "mindful" eating and living. Two thumbs up!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pedalfaster, you're right on the money. I honestly don't care *what* instigated the changes...just that he's being more mindful and it's helping him be healthier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. For the love of God, it is not "CELIACS." It is Celiac. Singular.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know the disease is called Celiac. When I am referring to multiple family member who have celiac disease, I call them :celiacs", instead of saying: : my three neices who have celiac disease". For the love of god, take it easy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            :) I was referring to the number of people in the thread who refer to it as "celiacs disease" or say someone "has celiacs." Unless the person in question has a bunch of Celiac Disease sufferers locked in a closet or something, it's incorrect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We might want to hold off on the pedantry until the general population has any idea what the disease even is...or maybe even has a little sympathy for the sufferers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hear you. I think the general population has heard about it a LOT lately though, I'd be surprised to come upon someone who hasn't heard of it at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. What do the medical journals say about population percentage and what do medical websites say about this health issue?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you for posting this, it is very informative. As well a notation indicates that testing for Celiac Disease should be done while on a gluten diet. I think this is important to point out to those who consider themselves gluten intolerant, put themselves on a gluten free diet as the disease can be missed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gluten intolerance isn't Celiac disease though. One can be highly allergic and would feel much better going gluten free. But a biopsy would not show the villi damage caused when a Celiac's auto-immune system attacks the intestine. If going gluten free brings increased health that's a wise course to follow even without a diagnosis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I applaud "mindful eating" as a part of living mindfully. Being in the moment is a joy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    <Gluten intolerance isn't Celiac disease though>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're absolutely right. Even though I've been diagnosed gluten-intolerant (blood test) I am 100% scrupulous about not using the c-word. "Gluten-intolerant" can be a mouthful sometimes, so I usually opt for "I can't eat gluten" but I think it's important that those of who haven't been diagnosed with Celiac don't claim we are. The treatment may be the same, but I think it's far better to take a moment to tell those who ask that I don't know, and likely never will, because I'd have to make myself sick again to find out, biopsy, etc...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So far, I've never gotten an eye-roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My concern is someone have the disease and not getting tested, choosing to eliminate the gluten only. If I had a disease of this nature, I would want to know. After your post I found this link, it is long but quite informative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it is probably the case that there are folks who are wheat or grain intolerant and folks who are celiac and that these can be two different problems/groups of folks, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. After probably 10 years or so of symptoms, I went gluten free about 4 months ago. I did get tested, but not until after being gluten free for a week or two, The test was negative. Maybe not eating gluten skewed the test results, maybe I had a false negative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am as sure as I can be without reintroducing gluten into my diet that it was causing my problems. I had the digestive issues; I had malabsorption; I had the beginnings of osteoporosis; I had dental issues; I had brain fog; I had balance issues; I had skin issues. Too soon to tell about the dental issues and the osteoporosis, but the other issues have improved anywhere from somewhat to dramatically. And I have lost some weight (good for me, as I am overweight). Also, I was diagnosed with a wheat allergy in childhood, back in the days when no one looked at gluten tolerance. I appeared to grow out of it, but it returned. Apparently that can happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My experience so far is that I can't eat bread, cookies, or the like. I had one very small cookie a couple of months into this, and I developed brain fog. However, I haven't totally cut out soy sauce, and I seem to be OK with that. Also, I can eat oatmeal with not discernible issues. I think there is a spectrum. While clear labeling is important, so the person with the issue can know what they are getting into by eating a particular food, the fact that I can tolerate something that will give someone else a migraine doesn't mean that I don't have an issue. And, if someone can tolerate a bit more than me, but not a "normal" serving, it doesn't mean that they don't have a legitimate reason to eat the way they do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some people may be calling themselves gluten intolerant to be trendy, but it doesn't mean, contrary to much of what I have seen, that the problem doesn't exist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And many people without the problem have no idea of what it entails. I have had reactions from "you can eat this; it's made with graham flour" to "you should eat this pastry, it's a celebration."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Lori D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did you know you can get gluten free soy sauce that tastes exactly the same as regular good soy sauces? I get the San-J Tamari GF soy sauce. It comes in organic or regular, but it is non-GMO for both. I love sushi, so I started carrying a bottle of GF soy sauce in my purse by using an empty mini-liquor bottle. (Had to pick one with a plastic cap, as I found out the ones with metal caps would leak.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brilliant idea. We don't eat out often; I've been bringing my full-size bottle of San-J (very good stuff) when we do. I always feel a little self-conscious doing it. Now I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it on my own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My friends get a kick out of it when I pull my miniature bottle out of my purse at the table :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You can also buy individual packets of GF soy sauce and San-J tamari.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd be afraid of exploding packets. Like that big ol' bottle will never leak, , lol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wish I'd thought of it sooner than I did. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have gluten free soy sauce at home. Where i am still eating regular soy sauce is when it is an ingredient in other sauces, or if I am eating at a Chinese restaurant where soy sauce is used in the cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I had heard of, but not seen for sale, the packets of tamari. Hadn't thought of using a miniature bottle; that is a great idea. I had been using the provided soy sauce at Japanese restaurants; I should stop doing that. Even though I don't think I react to it, since there is an easy way to avoid it here, I should.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lori D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There are so many things that are very hard to avoid-- like when frozen lunches decided their flavoring needed some standard soy sauce & we probably shouldn't eat it but maybe we could--, that it's great to take the easy stuff wherever you can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also have not seen any packets of GF Tamari for sale, but that's ok for me, the mini-liquor bottle with a plastic cap (the metal cap type leaked) works great for carrying the soy sauce, and I'm happy to avoid generating single-use trash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't mean to sound preachy or anything, so people should feel free to ignore this, but I've just been feeling so shocked by how bad things are in the world with single-use products and no one really even knows. I highly recommend the special "Bag It", which is on Netflix streaming and available somehow through iTunes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Are you referring to the "Bagit" recycling system and re-usable bags?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'd never heard of it, and when I googled it, I learned that there's a game called Bag It. I think that's what's in iTunes and Netflix. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll have to take a look at that. But no, I was referring to a documentary which is available on Netflix, and I'm not sure how the iTunes access works (do they do similar streaming now?). It explains a lot about where plastic goes and what is happening when we use plastic grocery bags and other single-use items. I really think they should show it in all High Schools and colleges, maybe start in middle schools. More info is at http://www.bagitmovie.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, I see. To quote the late, great Roseanne Roseannadanna:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Never mind." :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And thanks for the link. I love the variety of documentaries available on Netflix streaming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      OMG! Right you are, and how could I mistake one for the other?! I'll never forget her op-ed about "Russia's Vanishing Racehorces", truly inspired!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: felis_naiad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i have a friend on weight watchers who carries her own salad dressing in a mini liquor bottle. :) such a great idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Lori D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Is it possible that you're carbohydrate intolerant and not specific to gluten? I ask because those are all symptoms and signs of insulin resistance, too, IME.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I suspect the problem is specifically gluten. I am still eating carbs, but no longer have the gastrointestinal "distress" that followed wheat heavy meals. The other symptoms are improving since I cut gluten (but not carbs) from my diet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One of the results of being off gluten that proved to me that I had a problem is an improvement in blood work (vitamin D deficiency) after one week of being off gluten, after being found deficient and following doctor's instructions for one year to increase supplementation, with no change in the levels, even after further increases. I am due for blood work again shortly; it my Vitamin D level has continued to improve, that will show me that my malabsorption problems are diminishing or resolved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. I can't help wondering what would happen if society fell on really hard times so that ANY food was hard to come by. I suspect that some dietary "requirements" are a by-product of our affluence and incredible food availability.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure what you mean. By linking "requirements" and "incredible food availability" it seems to be that you're discussing foods people think they must have, rather than foods they must or choose to avoid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In times of famine people with severe food allergies, diabetics, etc. will die first, yes. They will eat something, anything, to keep from starving - even if their shellfish/peanut etc. allergy kills them within minutes of eating it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, if my choice were to eat wheat or starve, I guess I would eat the wheat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And I would get sick within a few hours. If I had to continue to eat wheat, the health problems that are clearing up now that I am able to eat things other than wheat would get worse, and the odds that I would end up with incapacitating injury from a fall would probably be pretty good, if you combine the ataxia that I was developing with the weakening bones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But that is probably a moot point, as it not likely that, even in a less affluent society, that there would not be alternatives to wheat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    With all due respect some people have legitimate health problems with their digestive system and they need specialized products, just like diabetics need their insulin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You appear to be referring to what may be called the "want-need" confusion, i.e. claiming a want is actually a need, mostly because it's there and you want it (I need a new handbag; I need a beer; I need to avoid eating x [even tho it's only because I want to avoid eating x, i.e. it's simply a choice and not truly a health requirement]).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You are correct that, while it surely is true that mere wants are at the root of many food choices that are portrayed as "needs," and much of the gluten avoidance that we are seeing these days fits into this model, it is also true that, as has been pointed out many times in this thread, there are also those for whom gluten avoidance is not a choice but truly a necessity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <You are correct that, while it surely is true that mere wants are at the root of many food choices that are portrayed as "needs," and much of the gluten avoidance that we are seeing these days fits into this model, it is also true that, as has been pointed out many times in this thread, there are also those for whom gluten avoidance is not a choice but truly a necessity.>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's a very nice and succinct summation of the controversy, bringing it back to (and answering) the OP's question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A lot of people would die. Diabetics, folks who have celiac might suffer terribly and starve, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. It is a PITA to be gluten free, and I don't know of anyone who is because of any fad (although of course they are out there along with all the other fad-ists). I do not have a formal diagnosis- I tried going GF for 2 weeks because I have GI issues and I was amazed at how much better I felt, so quickly. I realized it was not "normal" to feel bloated, tired and crampy (among other things)after every (gluten laden) meal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "...around here in Toronto I see whole sections devoted to gluten free items"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sure, but many just say "hold the bun" (duh)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How hard would it be to have a couple of packs of GF buns in the freezer available upon request? Especially the aforementioned restos that have gone to the trouble of creating a separate menu! Most GF'ers would really appreciate not having to eat their hamburger/sandwich with a knife and fork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: amsuka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've recently been able to enjoy gluten again, it seems my food sensitivity test was wrong. Long story short, after 2 yrs gluten free, doc now believes it was H.pylori.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've begun eating burgers with buns again, and have to say that I don't indiscriminately enjoy buns the way I used to. Case in point, Dude likes Wendy's new burgers, I'd been eating them with a knife and fork and thought they were the best of the fast-food, if one must forgo the bun. A few weeks ago we stopped in and I was very excited to order the complete sandwich. Imagine my surprise when I found I prefer it w/o the bun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But as to your point, some restos do offer GF buns. Frankly, most GF'ers I know would rather not, because the vast majority of GF buns taste like really dry cardboard. Why ruin a lovely burger with a crap bun?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DuffyH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wow. Thanks for sharing that. H. pylori is one of the most important discoveries in gastric ulcer management, and gets ignored a lot.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            People take antacids and proton pump inhibitors and don't realize that the acid in their stomachs is one of the things that keeps bacteria and disease from invading their stomachs. I'm NOT saying they should stop anti-acid therapy, just be aware.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But this is a semi-threadjack- sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Yes and no. I think the number of diagnosed celiacs is probably higher than 1%. There are some legit food intolerances to wheat that can be medically problematic. I have a diagnosed (by my allergist) wheat intolerance. It gives me an allergic reaction. Tiny amounts usually don't bother me but enough in something will make me ill for a good day and make my throat start to swell shut if it is a larger quantity. So when someone accuses me of faking I get a tad annoyed,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What I have read and there is some research that leans this way, is that the changes made to wheat strains over the years are causing more problems for people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There is also a fad of "wheat is bad" going around where it is used as the devil du jour of food. Remember when eggs were the devil because they were going to make you drop dead from cholesterol? So it is a bit of all of the above, an increase in actual medical problems, lots of pseudo diet-science stuff that is a bit of a fad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What solidifies in people's minds that wheat is bad when they try a gluten free diet for a while is they feel better. This could be due to actually having a problem digesting wheat or they happen to be eating fewer carbs and feel better due to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Food companies are all over slapping gluten free on anything they can. Much of the labeled gluten free food products are obscene in price. A box of "gluten free" pasta is $4. I can get a bag of rice noodles at the local Asian store that is 3x the size and costs $1.49.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It would be in your best interests to check the country of origin of those rice noodles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I think that it is really trendy right now. It is a fad diet as well I think. I do know one man who has to have a gluten free diet, and I do not envy him. But for a lot of people they do not need to eat gluten free foods, they just want to IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Why do you put so much stock in an article you found in Wikipedia? I suppose it was inevitable that people would come to think of it as the last word on anything, however, in reality, it is composed by anyone who wants to contribute and they can write anything they want. It is far more likely that there are very many undiagnosed cases of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. That's all I'm going to say, for now, but when people start up with the "trendy to pretend" crap, I do have a hard time keeping my mouth shut and my fingers still at the keyboard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: cmoorecole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Something wider about wheat issues is that there is some thought from doctors that it plays a role in inflammation in people with certain types of arthritis. So some doctors are telling people to stop eating wheat to see if it improves their arthritis symptoms.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So my question is, where is the research that shows how many people are faking food problems for the supposed means of getting attention? I am willing to believe there are some but it has taken on almost mythical proportions and people with actual diagnosed medical problems have to put up with a ton of crap including possibly people lying about ingredients in commercial food that is served.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most people look at me and have no clue of the laundry list of documented medical problems I have because many medical problems and diseases do not give outward signs. Or the outward signs are not obvious to someone without medical training.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: cmoorecole

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The thing is this, and it's not limited at all to gluten diets. I don't know much about literal "faking to get attention," but am old enough to remember a LONG history of fashionable dietary restrictions embraced by many without serious (even serious self-) diagnosis. It didn't just start with low-carb diets 15 years ago. It's human nature.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yet some people have clearly benefitted from these diets, and not just for the nominal reasons. There's a range of other wheat reactions, as blackpointy mentioned; allergic-type reactions, or other conditions that aren't celiac but that demonstrably benefit from avoiding gluten. I've known multple examples. So the fraction of people who can profit from wheat/rye abstention, even if not the majority, certainly exceeds the small number with celiac disease.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I mentioned earlier (when this thread was new) a celiac neighbor, delighted at the gluten-free trend, because it opened new products and restaurants to her. Around here, restaurants have been very supportive and accommodating (after all, they like to bring in customers!). We were editing a local restaurant directory and at her request, I marked all the places with substantial gluten-free offerings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. http://www.familypracticenews.com/sin...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Major finding: Five percent of hypothyroid patients who needed 125 mcg or more of levothyroxine daily in order to remain euthyroid proved to have previously undiagnosed celiac disease, a prevalence deemed high enough to warrant routine testing for the GI disease in that population."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. There's nothing to get. If you don't have to avoid gluten, then don't avoid it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Its just like when someone eats peanuts, for someone like myself, I get very very sick..that's all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't not eat, so companies are coming out with foods so we will have choices. Just like everyone else.