Should you go gluten free?
This is a question that many people have asked themselves, either because they heard people praise the gluten free “diet” or they have friends who have tried a gluten free diet and feel better. I wrote an article for My Life with Food Allergies recently that addresses this question: should you go gluten free even if you don’t have celiac disease? I included some research citations in the full article, so check it out here.
Speaking from experience, I have had great results with going gluten free. I have IBS, interstitial cystitis (bladder ulcers), food sensitivities, fatigue, and mild depression, so I need to make sure my nutrition is excellent.Several years ago I started doing some investigating into my diet to see what was causing so much of my problems. Eating the same foods every day, combined with certain medication contributed to gut problems, along with having giardia when I was a kid (I think that started the gut problems for me!). It was a perfect storm to create an oversensitive GI tract complete with leaky gut and resulting food sensitivities and intolerances. Fun times!
I got some blood allergy testing done (skin tests never showed foods), so I was able to eliminate most of the offending foods, so not all of my health improvements have been solely from going gluten free. I also cut out other foods I was sensitive to, such as soy, eggs, beans, yeast, and others. I have even gone grain free for periods when my seasonal allergies were out of control, and I noticed a positive difference with that change, too. For me, changing my diet to gluten, soy, egg, and yeast free (and occasionally grain free when my allergies are crazy) has helped with joint pain, fatigue, brain fog, bloating, gas, water retention, and other health problems.
As I mention in the article, some people are very divided on this topic of non-celiacs going gluten free. Some critics claim that most of the results are from improving their diet overall and that results are purely anecdotal. But there are plenty of people (like me) who feel that eliminating gluten has made a difference in their health. Doctors are great tools to help us feel better, but they cannot know exactly how you feel – only you really know how you feel. Listen to your body: if certain foods make you feel icky, try going without them for a while and see how you do.
In short, if you have health problems and chronic illness (like arthritis, depression, GI issues, etc.), it may be worth trying a gluten free diet. These days I am about 99% gluten free, with the occasional cheat item. I don’t have celiac disease, so this isn’t quite as big an issue for me, but “cheating” on a gluten free diet is NEVER recommended for someone with celiac disease – just don’t do it!
A gluten free diet also isn’t a quick weight loss fix. Remember to focus on whole foods first: gluten free cookies are still cookies that still have lots of sugar, fat, and refined ingredients in them.
If you’re still not sure if you want to go gluten free, check out these other great articles from my blogging friends:
- Who should be on a gluten free diet? by Jill Conyers at Fitness, Health & Happiness
- Gluten Free Myths Debunked by Rebecca at Sunshine and Strength
- My Gluten Free Journey by Lindsay Cotter at Cotter Crunch
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a physician. This post is my opinion and should not be used in place of medical advice. Please read responsibly 😉