Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gluten-Free for the Heck of It?

On Monday, ABC Nightline ran a segment about the "gluten-free by choice" craze among this year's Olympians.  Apparently they "just feel better" when they go off gluten.  They say some benefits of the diet can include weight loss, feeling more energized, fewer aches and pains, and better sleep.  However, advocates of an elective gluten-free lifestyle admit there is currently no medical studies or literature to confirm these benefits.

That's not new to me.  While dealing with my fertility issues, I was told by several specialists that there wasn't much they could do for me because there was no medical literature on my condition.  Great.  We'll just move on without the literature.

During the discussion, the inevitable question was raised: were there any risks associated with a gluten-free diet?  The news crew even went to far as to suggest an elective gluten-free diet "could be dangerous."  Dr. Peter Green of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University was in the hot seat, and I eagerly awaited his explanation.  "A gluten-free diet is not entirely healthy," he said.  "Often it lacks fiber, and the manufacturers of wheat flour fortify wheat flour with vitamins and minerals."

. . . Seriously?  Is that it?  Eat more vegetables and take a multivitamin.  Problem solved.

I'm assuming the news crew didn't edit out juicier bits, and if that's the worst that can be said for going gluten-free I just might try it.  My sister is gluten-free for medical reasons.  We have already cut out pasta and most bread products because my husband and I are trying to lose at least twenty pounds each.  We already avoid processed food because of my newly-informed aversion to MSG, dangerous unsaturated fats, and carcinogenic preservatives.  It shouldn't be too much of a lifestyle adjustment.

So, with apparently nothing to lose, I will try a gluten-free diet for two weeks starting Monday.  If it can help me get through a night without at least three stress dreams, I'll be happy.


  1. In discussing various life issues with my doctor, your pregnancy troubles came up and she actually suggested that a gluten-free diet could help with that. Of course, if I refer you to her, she'll have you spending three hundred dollars a month on supplements and junk, so I say just experiment on your own. ;)

  2. I would definitely try it if you are up to it! I am so addicted to my gluten, but John is off all grains except rice right now and does feel better. I think we tend to eat more grains than we need; mostly they are just a source of calories. The important thing is not to just buy a lot of gluten-free junk food. That's an improvement for actual celiacs but for the rest of us, it doesn't do any good.

    I always bounce between gluten and no-gluten for the family. John eats it least (because he doesn't even like it that much), me the most, and Marko in-between. Whenever he has some issue I cut it out because I figure it can't do any harm, and it's so much better for all of his calories to be actual nutritious ones like meat and veggies.

  3. Not that I'm much into nutrition, though I am kinda getting there, it seems that if one is eating a decent variety of more fruits and veggies anyway, that the extra multivitamin might even be a bit superfluous.

    1. It would be if the soil weren't so depleted, or at least properly fertilized. Our vegetables aren't as nutritious as they once were. :(

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