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Is Gluten Sensitivity Real?

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is gluten sensitivity real, is gluten intolerance real
Sources of gluten can cause episodes of intolerance for those who are sensitive to it. istock.com/ChristianJung

You’ve probably seen the recent glut of sensational headlines in the media proclaiming that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is some kind of widespread collective delusion—simply a figment of the imagination of anyone who claims to experience it.

These stories point to a new study which found that a group of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were not sensitive to gluten. (1) The researchers who performed this study had previously published a paper showing that IBS patients were sensitive to wheat, and that removing wheat from their diet led to an improvement of symptoms.

Gluten sensitivity: real diagnosis or collective delusion? Read this to find out. #glutensensitivity #gluten #foodintolernance

However, in this new study, the authors specifically isolated gluten and found that there was no difference in symptoms between the patients eating high-gluten diets and those eating low-gluten diets.

This is a significant finding, but to claim that it proves that non-celiac gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist is both inaccurate and irresponsible. It’s a great way to get clicks and generate attention, but it’s an extreme distortion of what the study actually found.

Why This Study Doesn’t Disprove Gluten Sensitivity

First, this study examined the effects of gluten in a specific population: people with irritable bowel syndrome. Even if it is true that gluten sensitivity is no more common in people with IBS than in people without IBS (which is premature to conclude on the basis of a single study), it does not overturn the large body of evidence that links non-celiac gluten sensitivity to a variety of health problems ranging from allergies to schizophrenia to autism spectrum disorders. (2, 3, 4, 5)

Second, this study does not suggest that people with IBS—or anyone else with gluten sensitivity—should feel free to start chowing down on wheat. In fact, it suggests the opposite. For the first week of the trial, all patients were put on a gluten-free diet that was also low in FODMAPs (a class of carbohydrates present in wheat, as well as other foods).

After this lead-in period, the participants were assigned to one of three groups: a high-gluten diet, a low-gluten diet, and a placebo. Those on the high gluten diet were given 16 grams per day of purified wheat gluten; those on the low gluten diet were given 2 grams per day of purified wheat gluten plus 14 grams per day of whey protein isolate; and those on the placebo diet were given 16 grams per day of whey protein isolate.

The majority of participants experienced a significant improvement of symptoms during the 7-day gluten-free, low FODMAP lead-in period. But there was no difference in symptoms between the high gluten, low gluten, or placebo groups during the subsequent treatment period. In other words, patients did react adversely to wheat, but they did not react to isolated gluten.

This of course suggests that something other than gluten in the wheat was causing the problems patients experienced. We now know that there are several compounds in wheat other than gluten that could be to blame. These include not only FODMAPs, but also agglutinins (proteins that bind to sugar), prodynorphins (proteins involved with cellular communication), and additional proteins that are formed during the process of wheat digestion, such as deamidated gliadin and gliadorphins (aka gluteomorphins). (6)

Another possibility is that both the placebo and low-gluten groups were reacting to the whey protein. Whey is >99% casein- and lactose-free, which is what most people who are sensitive to dairy react to.

However, it is certainly possible for people to react adversely to whey, and in my experience this is more common with patients with digestive problems. If some of the “placebo” and low-gluten patients were, in fact, sensitive to whey, then that would invalidate the results of the study.

How to Find out If You’re Sensitive to Wheat, Gluten, or Both

This study showed that for people with IBS on a low FODMAP diet, eating isolated gluten does not cause symptoms. But one might ask: who cares? Do you eat isolated, purified gluten? Do you know anyone who does? I doubt it. People eat wheat—not gluten. And as both this study and numerous other studies have demonstrated, there are several components of wheat other than gluten that cause problems.

In practical terms, this study still supports the idea that patients with IBS should avoid wheat, because it contains FODMAPs and possibly other compounds that make them feel worse. What this study does tell us is that it’s possible that IBS patients may be able to tolerate other non-wheat products that contain gluten, presuming they are low in FODMAPs and other compounds that they may react to.

Here’s the best way to determine if this is true for you:

  1. Remove all gluten-containing foods and products from your diet for 60 days.
  2. At the end of the 60 day period, cook up a bowl of barley, eat it, and see what happens.
  3. A few days later, eat a piece of wheat bread.

Barley is a gluten-containing grain that is low in FODMAPs. If you react to it, that suggests you’re intolerant of gluten or other gluten-like compounds. If you don’t react to barley, but you do react to the wheat bread, that suggests you are intolerant to something in wheat specifically.

You may be able to safely consume gluten-containing products other than wheat—though it’s worth pointing out that many of these products (primarily grains and processed foods) would not be foods you should be consuming regularly anyways.

Is “Non-Celiac Wheat Sensitivity” a Better Label?

If there’s an important takeaway from this study, it’s this: non-celiac wheat sensitivity may be a different clinical entity than non-celiac gluten sensitivity. The former would be used to describe patients that are intolerant of wheat, but are able to eat other gluten-containing foods without symptoms. The latter would apply to patients who are sensitive to any food or product that contains gluten, including wheat.

In fact, this distinction was originally proposed by researchers in response to another study which found no effects of gluten in patients on a low FODMAP diet. (7)

Please share this article with your friends if you think it might help clarify this issue for them.

361 Comments

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  1. Like you said, this doesn’t address extra-intestinal reactions to gluten. Drinking Starbucks tea sweetened with barley makes me sick (headache, fever, nausea, but not necessarily IBS symptoms)

  2. being gluten sensitive or wheat sensitive doesnt rly matter. if ur wheat sensitive, due to the bastardization of wheat, u’ll probably have troubles with rye, barley and corn too (corn is horrificly been made bad also). and to add more joy to the equation, ur body will probably misinterpret dairy also as bad.
    i wouldnt eat wheat or rye; not worth it. barley i miss but im lowcarb anyway so ive gotten used to very little carbs at meals…i know how to make a meal work now, without carbs. ive been doing 1/2c of oats 4-6 times a month, i could give that up but i dont think it’d do alot.
    the real hard thing is DAIRY…no cheese on even my fake pizza?!? no butter, no cream (i eat high fat)? no YOGURT?
    im not comfortable with eating none of the best bioavailable, most highly-utilized calcium FOR HUMANS on the planet. but if it would make my thyroid system work again–>i rly think about this…

    • I cannot eat gluten, dairy, oats, eggs or cane sugar without some kind of unpleasant symptoms. In addition, I am mostly vegan — I choose to eat no meat! I do have fish and seafood occasionally. So how do I manage? NO PROBLEM! Interesting you seem to think so highly of dairy as a calcium source. IMHO, that is propaganda from the dairy industry, and not true. There are MANY other excellent sources, such as all greens, soy milk and many more (look it up). I use Daiya cheese (many varieties), soy yogurt, soy or almond milk, coconut ice cream and Earth Balance margarine. My daily menu starts with a fruit smoothie made with raw almonds and coconut oil in addition to frozen fruit, coconut water, vanilla and a splash of OJ. Lunch is a green salad with a protein like quinoa, beans or tofu. For dinner, there is usually a main dish of beans, dried peas, lentils or tofu, a starch like a sweet potato, plus greens. My diet is rich and varied, and I do not focus on what I cannot eat — I focus on all the wonderful foods that I CAN eat! Life is good and I feel great!

  3. Food sensitivities are definitely real, perhaps maybe misidentified in some people, but absolutely real and not an isolated issue of food sensitivity but a piece in a health puzzle. It is much more complex than just being gluten (or dairy or nightshade etc) sensitive. I feel better when I don’t eat gluten, dairy, corn or nightshades but my gut is problematic and healing so that seems to be expected. I also have explored the genetic components of some of my health issues. I pay attention to my body, I want to be healthy and no doctor or study knows more about how I feel, or what is real for me, than I do. I don’t think there is a cut and dry answer to any of this but I think that deeming something as “not real” or a fad when for those suffering with very real and painful health issues is not only unhelpful but doesn’t seem to accomplish much. What exactly wil disproving the reality of gluten sensitivity do for these researchers?Encourage more people to judge other people for having issues that aren’t so easily fixed? There are tons of people suffering from vague, unidentifiable issues that a lot of traditional doctors don’t seem to care about because they are not diseases that can be treated easily because they require the functionality of a person to be viewed as a whole and not in parts. So let’s just give them one more reason to tell someone it’s “all in their head.” Sounds great.

  4. Just as Gretchen said no one eats isolated gluten so IMO the study is pretty useless. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, Arthritis, Diverticulosis, Ciguatera and Lyme’s disease and previous to acquiring all of the above i was already sensitive to cow dairy protein. Ditching grains 6 months ago was my last resort before undergoing a colon section recommended by my gastroenterologist. Thanks to 30 days of clean Paleo done in November 2013 the suicidal stomach pain I endured subsided. What i have found is that when i stick to the paleo diet 100% of the time I am fine and when i inadvertently consume small amounts of wheat (or dairy) at a restaurant or someone’s home I am fine because my gut is strengthened by my clean paleo regime. However if I start eating a bunch of wheat and cheese like I did when i was on vacation in Europe last January all my symptoms return with a vengeance after a few weeks. They don’t necessarily return immediately or a day or two after.

  5. It is frustrating that there are so many questioning if gluten sensitivity is real. The reaction I get from eating gluten is very real. My reaction lasts almost a week with joint pain, major brain fog and extreme exhaustion along with the typical digestion issues. I have Hashimoto’s and the first thing they say when you are diagnosed is to go gluten free regardless of what your celiac test says. I resisted for 2 years and had no improvement with my Hashimoto’s until I removed gluten completely.

    • I also have Hashi’s and removing/adding wheat didn’t affect it at all. Just saying.

  6. I stopped eating wheat to see if it helped migraines. I had no change in migraines but my mysterious facial rash disappeared. After going gluten free for 2 months I tested it by drinking 2 beers. The rash came back with a vengeance. Now that my gut health has improved I can have the occasional cookie, but still prefer to give the gluten a miss. I still wish I could get the migraines under control, though.

    • Laura–it took me a year and a half to resolve my migraines. But nightshades, high FODMAPS and sugars (in any form…even too much fruit) seem to trigger them. I am presently eating a low FODMAPS, AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet (very restrictive) and am finally symptom free. I’m also treating SIBO. Sorry if this is TMI, but it has taken a long time to figure this out. Hope it helps.

  7. Symptoms are not a good way to judge gluten and other sensititivies. Whole wheat lectins can be worse than gluten for some people, especially those with type O blood. I’d go with various related testing cross-referenced vs. symptoms. Tissue transglutaminase 2 antibodies are especially relevant.

    • True, Carol. I will be getting a blood panel test done, but if it doesn’t comes back positive, I am not going to start eating the stuff that is making me feel like absolute crap again. No point in that. I am getting all the nutrition I need, even with cutting out the wheat products. I am not going to follow some government food chart that said to eat grains for a balanced diet, when I know that something in wheat is the culprit. Best to stay clear of the food items that hurt me and make me feel miserable.

      • “I am getting all the nutrition I need, even with cutting out the wheat products.”

        Hell yeah….I’ll say. Wheat products are nutrient-sparse foods anyway. There is nothing in grain products in general that you can’t get more of and more efficiently in many other foods. Let’s look at this from an evolutionary perspective. Our extremely successful ancestors would have very rarely even bothered with wild grains. The amount that one would need to gather to be able to make something of any caloric and nutritional value coupled with the amount of time and effort involved in the processing would have made it a poor choice. Nutrient-density far greater than in grains exists in both the plant and animal kingdom in so many other sources.

        • I should amend this. There is much proof that our ancestors world-wide did in fact consume grains, but it was in much less quantities and these ancient wild heirloom grains contained less gluten and was much more nutrient-dense.

  8. More research is needed! I am curious to see follow up studies that include affects on mood, arthritic conditions, skin issues, rather than just the emphasis on GI symptoms. (And I think those studies are already out there, done by other researchers such as Alessio Fasano at Harvard according to a well gluten-versed friend of mine.) Also included should be the different types of gluten that are actually in all grains- even the ‘gluten free’ grains; all grains have some kind of gluten! I feel best with no grains at all… Is it just the FODMAPs?

    Taking a look at Glutomorphins should also be considered…. A real close look at the villi and micro villi and nutrient assimilation.

    Not to mention all the other disorders and conditions like other autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia and Hashimotos that are relieved on a ‘gluten free’ or especially no grain lifestyle. Perhaps ‘gluten intolerance’ is more of an umbrella term, if you will.

  9. I did a 12-week elimination diet of all wheat, dairy, eggs and nuts. Then after 12 weeks I re-introduced each of these foods one at a time per week. The first week I reintroduced dairy and I didn’t experience gut pain or bad issues. Just annoying mucus in the nose and throat and of course coughing about an hour after I ate it. I had the same thing happen with eggs. I had no adverse reactions to the nuts. When the fourth week came along, I introduced the wheat back and that is when I got massive indigestion, heart burn, stomach bloat, and acne started showing up on my face again. It took about 48 hours to feel somewhat normal again. I drank a ton of water and flushed my system out. Studies like the one Mr. Kresser wrote about really annoy me. I don’t need a blood test to tell me I am sensitive. 12 weeks following a paleo style diet was enough to tell me what makes my gut and system happy.

    • I completely agree! Since when did our government start dictating us to rely on blood tests and doctor’s advice over listening to our own bodies about the foods we eat?

      The fact that so many people are talking about this to me is proof. If there wasn’t an epidemic of autoimmune diseases and obesity we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  10. I stopped eating gluten about 5 month ago. About 2 months ago I went to a birthday party and i just COULDNT pass up the delicious Brazilian birthday cake…I know I am weak. Well I didnt notice a difference in my belly but the next day I woke up with a cough, and a cough…not sick cough but it was an annoying dry cough…it lasted almost 2 weeks. I couldnt figure out why and then it clicked. So i tested again after the cough stopped. I had buckwheat pancakes at IHOP. Next day same cough ..OMGH that was IT for me. No more gluten. Not even corn and I can only do very very softly cooked white rice once in a blue moon (rice makes me bloated)

    So I might not be celiac but I do show an adverse reaction to gluten….

  11. I have reacted to both barley and wheat so I figure I am sensitive to gluten. I did not know a product had barley in it until I went back and reread the label when I was in the middle of a reaction. I also showed high antibodies to gluten in an Enterolab test.

    I also wonder about the wash out period during this study. My obvious reactions last 5-7 days. I have heard that the internal inflammation can last a few weeks. I don’t think they waited long enough before switching between diets.

  12. Great article Kriss. I have had a lot of friends and clients asking me my opinion of this new research. They’ll be reading this article! Cheers.

  13. Rather than a bowl of barley, why not a Guinness? (I know, beer isn’t low FODMAP.) That is the occasional gluten I will have–if I’m willing to deal with any FODMAP issues. Anyway, I think gluten intolerance is real, but I notice the most improvement eating low-FODMAP and Paleo.

    Thanks for this article!

  14. Why isn’t anyone reporting that this study was funded by a bread company? (Weston)

    • Way to go Kevin! when my daughter sent me the original news article last week, I looked for the same thing: who funded the study. We, collectively need to stop thinking that all scientific research is designed to improve our lives. Always check to see if there is a vested interest behind the study.

    • This is exactly how I feel Kathy!

      It’s just annoying that things that start off based in logic and reasoning (like gluten free diets) slowly appear to become more and more like a “fad”.

      Which leads to a lot of venom and unnecessary attacks on people who are smart and use logic when approaching their diet.

      IMO it stems from seeing people buy things like gluten free cookies, cake, etc. and people attack that because just because you’re eating those things doesn’t mean you’re eating healthy.

      So then they go after a larger group of people, like you and me, who know an experience the benefits daily.

      • Let’s get one thing clear. It is not average normal people out there that are attacking gluten sensitive individuals. These folks doing the attacking are somehow connected to the corporations that are selling the wheat and the aspartame and the vaccines and the cell phones. They are being paid in some discreet way.
        A normal person doesn’t search on the internet and spend his time attacking what we all know to be real.

        I suffered from aspartame poisoning for several years until I cut it out of my diet and I have never believed any of the horse hockey that these paid trolls are spewing daily all over the web.

    • I am the same way Kathy! I don’t care what people say. I know my body. I am my own personal study experiment. I know what makes me feel better! I envy those that can eat anything and it doesn’t affect them whatsoever.

    • 3 days into a gluten free diet I lost all my aches and pains, my IBS symptoms and best of all my crippling migraines suffered through 50 years, so I’m really sure what I need to do, no experiments for me.

      • Awesome!

        When I removed wheat from my diet, my skin cleared up, the bumps on my thighs and the back of my arms have cleared up. The stomach pain has subsided as well as the bloating feeling along with indigestion and heartburn. Before I removed wheat, I was having really bad GERD attacks on a weekly basis. It is no fun waking up choking so bad you can’t breathe.

      • That’s amazing Gillian, I love to hear stories like yours. Well done, I bet you feel like a different person?

  15. Most of us don’t have ANY observable symptoms when we eat wheat and/or gluten. But this does not necessarily mean it isn’t causing damage. Are there any objective ways of determining if this is the case?

    • ” But this does not necessarily mean it isn’t causing damage.”

      Einstein asked:

      “Is Schreodinger’s Cat alive or dead ?”

      “What might be is a an abstraction
      Remaining a perpetual possibility
      Only in a world of speculation.” T S Eliot

      Sláinte

      • What he’s saying is, just because you don’t feel pain, doesn’t mean it isn’t causing damage to your digestive tract. My crohn’s symptoms were pretty quiet (i.e. no pain) for 9 years. Then, wham, the pain came full tilt because of a blockage. So, the question is real, and I understand it.

  16. I react to even the grains that are supposed to be gluten-free, like corn and rice, so I think my problem isn’t just gluten sensitivity, but lectin sensitivity–beans also cause me problems.

    The Paleo diet was a real gosdsend for me–now I know of a whole population of people who eat like I have to. For years, I thought I was one of a kind.

  17. “Do you eat isolated, purified gluten? Do you know anyone who does? I doubt it. People eat wheat—not gluten.”

    Actually, some of the low-carb breads include gluten as an ingredient. In Joseph’s pitas, it’s the second ingredient, after water. However, they also include some whole wheat, so it’s not gluten alone that one is eating, albeit relatively more.

    • Some people do, and it’s very aptly named. It’s called seitan (I pronounce it Satan, and I’m sure that’s insulting to the guy in the red suit as even he wouldn’t eat that stuff).

    • Seitan is also made out of pure gluten and water. Two years ago, when I started out as a vegetarian on Atkins, I made it twice but had to stop because it gave me heartburn.

  18. Want to become gluten sensitive? Eliminate gluten for 60 days, and then try to eat it again. Your body will react violently. Bingo, you are now gluten insensitive. Is that what you wanted?

    • I’m not sure what the purpose of this comment is, unless it’s a typo (in?sensitive), which in that case demonstrates a lack of understanding about how the immune system functions. The idea of pulling a food out of your diet is to allow your immune system to recalibrate. Once it does and you add the food back in and you react poorly, that tells you that you that you have some kind of issue with it. If you keep eating it, it may be that the reaction goes away because your immune system is back in overdrive, which causes all sorts of other issues that we tend to just assume are ‘normal.’ Please don’t be one of the masses making fun of people who are genuinely trying to uncover the causes of their health problems (rather than just suppressing them with conventional medicine) by suggesting that people want to be gluten (or dairy, or FODMAPS or nightshades or whatever) sensitive. It’s a tough road, made more so when people are mocking you.

      • I prefer to steer clear of wheat completely. Although I don’t always react to it straight away (other than some minor bloating and gas) over time, with regular consumpion, my collections of symptoms return and worsen: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of bowel control, pale stools, numb patches of skin, migraine headaches, sleep problems, chronic fatigue, repeated infections, vertigo and so on. I spent two years house bound due to severe CFS type symptoms before trying out the paleo diet and have tried to reintroduce wheat several times with disasterous results each time.

        As someone with Celiac disease in the family I’d rather not bother eating grain produce much at all. I asked for a blood test for celiac but I was already on the paleo diet and gluten free at the time and it came back negative. Whether it was accurate I will never know as I am willing to do a gluten challange to take another one in order to find out.

        My drs kept putting my symptoms down to anxiety and depression. I thought the issue was dietary.

        I love the paleo diet and it has worked wonders in regards to reversing the majority of my health problems. Even my blood pressure is back down to normal and at one point it was slightly high.

        I am also overwieght and have a family history of diabetes type two so it may help with that too (I am not yet diabetic myself as far as I am aware..I just have a family full of digestive (diabetes, IBS etc) and autoimmune disorders such as celiac and rhematoid arthritis).

        I don’t think my issues are in my head and I would prefer not to upset the apple cart again by adding gluten grains back in.

        • Do you find yourself losing weight following Paleo? I’ve only been Paleo for a month with some hiccups here & there, but I don’t feel like I’m losing anything. I’m sure I’m being impatient but it’s kind of stressing me out. lol

          • First of all, congrats on taking the first step toward better health! Second of all, this article is not about losing weight. But you can’t expect consistent results by being inconsistent. Give it more time and stop hiccuping. Commit to it. No more excuses! Have a great week!

          • You need to reduce your carb intake. When you increase your healthy fat intake, which you should, your weight will stay~ the same or even increase if your carbs are too high. Some people need to really lower those carbs to ~ 50 grams per day, some lower (while you are aiming for weight loss). If you are doing resistance training, you will add muscle weight (good!) while you are losing fat, & your clothing will become more loose (even @ the same weight). If you haven’t started weight lifting it is time to do it! Start moderate, & focus on proper form to avoid injury, bad habits…Then increase your weight. Aim for heavier weights that don’t require you to sacrifice good form in any way. Here is were a couple of personal trainer sessions may help, or a good book on weight training. You will get there!

            • Yikes. I don’t think reducing carbs is a great idea. Maybe finding out what the carb tolerance is instead. Vlc can slow down the thyroid… TAlk about not wanting that issue.

              • You don’t feel reducing carbs is a good idea?? Yikes yourself, most North Americans drown themselves in carbs every day.

                There no essential carbs that I’m aware of.

                • Amen… Whether it’s a figment of my imagination or not, all I know is that after having IBS for all of my adult life (gradually getting worse and worse), it has now pretty much completely gone after cutting out grain products.

                • It can be a really bad idea as carbs are a great quick energy source, especially for athletes. The term hitting the wall refers to when you completely run out of carbs and start burning just fat as energy (not as good as it sounds) if it has ever happened to you, you will know what I am talking about. I personally am very active and reduced my carbs, I got really sick.

              • Carmen, GG doesn’t state carb intake, but too high carbs are often why people don’t lose weight. Yes, vlc (very low carb) Can negatively affect thyroid, which is why you don’t necessarily do it forever. David is also correct; there are no ‘essential carbs’. The benefits of low carb veggies & fruits (like berries) is in the phytonutrients…present. Even if you ate a lot of meat & no carbs, your body will still convert some of that meat into carbs. But, you don’t want to miss out on the nutrients in veggies & fruits. Want to see the evidence? Read “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. He is the foremost researcher on ancestral diets. It is a bit of a dry read, but the science is laid out clearly. I trust Cordain and Kresser because their info is based on evidence based science, not hype.

              • I don’t consider myself Paleo, although I did change my eating “lifestyle” due to reading an article on this wonderful website about the Paleo Diet and weight loss. The reason I don’t consider myself Paleo is because I don’t follow what is considered the strict Paleo diet. Plus, I don’t believe arguing about what one thinks humans ate or didn’t eat 15,000 years makes a difference. What makes a difference is understanding what about the modern diet and lifestyle truly compromises our health and living satisfaction; that eating traditions and customs may not be so traditional and may not have been what our recent ancestors bought, prepared and ate 100 years ago… That said, one doesn’t have to be diagnosed with Celiac or non-Celiac gluten intolerance to know what causes them to feel better or worse. The problem is that most humans ignore what makes them feel bad because of many varying reasons. For one, I don’t know anyone who drank down their first cup of whisky and exclaimed, “Wow! Delicious! I want another. And then said that they loved the sick feeling later on or the following hang-over… As for carbs. Maybe you don’t know that removing simple carbs is just that; removing simple carbs. And fruit and vegetables also offer your body’s carbohydrate requirement. One would begin the Paleo Diet or the Low-Carb diet due to consciousness. So, one should be conscious of the fact that reducing carbs and increasing fats and possibly proteins requires the increase of complex carbs (fruit and vegetables).

                As for lowering weight… Let’s say that the Paleo diet or the low-carb diet is for improving your health. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight is necessary for improving your health. So, I do believe that weight loss is a very important concern. But, shouldn’t be the only concern regarding changing your eating lifestyle change. Truthfully, it is incredibly difficult for me to believe that a person didn’t lose weight after removing simple carbs. I lost 22.5 pounds of fat in my first 8 weeks; the second 4 weeks without the opportunity of moderate exercise due to intense work. Those 4 weeks I also averaged maximally 5 hours a night sleep with nights of 3-4 hours sleep. Added to the physical stress, I greatly increased my animal fat and animal protein consumption and still lost weight. The only thing that is strange is that my cholesterol level remained the same (HDL dropped 4 points). But my triglycerides increased 30 points. Now, if triglycerides are formed in the liver from glucose from carbohydrates and I continued my no-simple carb lifestyle, why the sudden turn upward after dropping at least 100 points in the first month?

          • Are you losing inches? Some people fixate on the scale number and don’t pay attention to the other changes in their bodies. I’ve known many people who don’t go down many ‘numbers’ but are obviously more trim. Muscle weighs more than fat.

          • Track your food for a week, see how the protein, fat, and carb ratio is, it may be that you’re consuming too many carbs to loose weight. I’ve been Low Carb Paleo for two months and am down 14 pounds.

          • gg- several things can prevent weight loss. all, some or just one could apply to you.
            -thyroid disorder
            -not believing you can lose weight (our minds -are more powerful than we give them credit)
            – Eliminating these 7 foods results in rapid weight loss for most people. (not sure what you’re hiccups are and how often they occur….)
            1. soy
            2. gluten
            3. sugar
            4. peanuts
            5. corn
            6. dairy
            7. eggs

          • Kind of a late comment, but:
            I have lost 20 lbs from 3 months on at first strict paleo, then primal eating for the last two weeks (I reintroduced grass fed raw dairy and allow for “splurge” every once in a while now). I experienced a sudden and dramatic weight gain due to a change in medication last year and since going paleo, I have lost more weight than I did in months and months of “healthy eating” (whole grains) and extensive cardio workouts.
            If you are having trouble, I would highly recommend limiting your fruit and nut intake, and making sure you are participating in HIIT/Tabata exercises (sprinting, biking, etc) a couple times a week, and move around enough during the day (10,000 steps). Also make sure you are taking steps to reduce stress, like sleeping a full 8-10 hours in a dark room every night. Patience is key! This is all about reaching an optimal balance in our bodies…sometimes it takes a little longer for some people but if you are listening to your body’s needs, everything will fall into place. 🙂

        • So are you gluten free or just grain free? You don’t distinguish. Two different things.

        • My gastroenterologist sent me for a genetic (blood) test for coeliac. HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8. He said that I didn’t need to be eating gluten-containing foods for the test to be accurate. You could look into having these tests done.

        • People want simple solutions for complex problems.

          Does it really make sense that wheat would cause all of these disorders ? Does the research really suggest wheat is responsible for these type of symptoms ? Is is best not to read a ‘review’ of an article w/ it’s own bias, but to read the article itself.

          Does a ‘paleo’ diet make sense ? Is it sustainable ? Does it have GOOD scientific backing ?

          Fads come & go. Good common sense, moderation, eating a balanced/healthy diet, and exercising daily is the best way to go, IMO.

        • I was diagnosed gluten intolerant and non-celiac a few years ago – but to. ALL grains inc barley and oats. However I did gradually reintroduce some bread and gradually I have got worsened symptoms exactly as you describe but recently with painfully wind/faltulence so I went to DR. This Dr suspected due to my being a women, over 50 AND overweight that I might in fact have gallbladder problem which presents with all the same symptoms and nausea! A simple ultrasound later and this was confirmed I have gallstones which if untreated will continue to make me fatigued, feeling sick if I eat or not and cause horrid adverse reactions to both fatty food and carbs in general . So perhaps you should ask for a test! Mine was only diagnosed because my discomfort and sometimes pain, accompanied by nausea had got so bad that I sought a private physician to investigate food intolerance and she actually listened but suggested this possibility which BTW can affect slum people as well! I probably had the start of this earlier when the gluten intolerance was suggested and may have been able to prevent the stones from developing? Might be worth checking out. Best of luck .

      • My husband eliminated gluten for far longer than the 60 day trial to be supportive. He didn’t have a single noticeable symptom when he re-introduced it.

        To comment on the article. I think it is very dangerous to write this diagnosis off as a figment of a person’s imagination. I have found many Doctors that make this diagnosis simply because they refuse to do the recommended testing for celiac. My immune reactions are pretty varied but in short after 3 years gluten free, I regained my appetite control and am getting to a healthy weight, not to mention, I no longer have lung inflammation unless I am in a store or house with gluten for varied periods of time. If I inhale gluten, I get bleeding and mucus in my nose, have underactive thyroid symptoms, get raised, pus filled welts in the back of my throat, headaches and a myriad of other symptoms. If I accidentally eat it, there is even more trouble than the above symptoms.

        Two different Doctor’s diagnosed my two of my children and I with Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Why? They ran a blood test on one of my children, who was 2 yrs old, being seen on a monthly basis for delayed growth and behavioral troubles, OCD, anxiety and also constipation with varied bouts of diarrhea. I had already removed 99% of gluten from his diet at the point of the test and she assured me the test would show positive, even though he had 3 wheat crackers that week and no other gluten. Plus it is widely known the blood test ran is largely inaccurate at this age. He had also been mostly gluten free for 4 months and had already began to recover his growth and already shown a reverse his behavior concerns. She refused to initiate further testing and frankly after all the research I have done on celiac and gluten sensitivity and the effects on various systems in the body, I am unwilling to re-introduce gluten, to damage their bodies even further, to obtain the celiac diagnosis. My 12 year was never tested or seen for the gluten problems. The same Doctor diagnosed him based on the blood test of his little brother and his symptoms, elimination diet and subsequent growth recovery and reduction in neuro symptoms.

        I had a similar experience in which I had been mostly gluten free for a year before they initiated the blood test. Based on the results, they diagnosed me in a similar manner.

        Based on my research, I have an autoimmune response to gluten. Is this Celiac (simply the degradation of the celia or some other auto immune response triggered by gluten? I couldn’t say. I have such drastic, painful and debilitating symptoms from all forms of gluten like protein containing grains ie wheat, barley, rye, spelt etc… I would never willingly consume it again.

        My point is that whether or not Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is a valid diagnosis on its own or not, it is the blanket the medical community is using for people that show a myriad of symptoms related to gluten and have the one standard blood test come back negative for whatever reason. It can be as short as a few months or can take many years for the body to degrade to a debilitating point with gluten. It is commonly known that from the onset of symptoms it is an average of 10 years before a person is diagnosed with celiac. I don’t believe this is simply because the Doctors aren’t looking for it. I think it may be more the case that the body takes time to degrade to the point of showing the small intestine degradation. I also think that people are so focused on one symptom (degradation of the celia) that they may be over looking other auto immune responses that may be showing up instead of this degradation (dermatitis herpetiformus comes to mind).

        It seems because of public awareness, celiac is the only diagnosis that is taken seriously with all others being written off. I think the name of the diagnosis needs to change or another broader diagnosis needs to be created to encompass other autoimmune reactions.

        Unfortunately, Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is the diagnosis made when the medical community doesn’t see the specific immune response to diagnose celiac or they are not willing to refer for further testing to a gastroenterologist or specialist, as with my older son who had 12 years of symptoms before recovery. It shouldn’t be the blanket diagnosis that it is however, since it is, it should be taken equally as serious as celiac disease.

        • Amen!! I have RA and gluten is the worst trigger by far. Went from walking with a cane to running three marathons in one year. My only change was gluten elimination. I don’t care what the blood tests say I am living proof some non celiacs have just as dramatic a reaction to gluten.

          • I tested negative for celiac about 8 years ago, but went on a GF diet anyway. I have Crohn’s disease, and even with strict GF diet, I still sometimes suffer with diarrhea. However, I had serious RA-like symptoms before the GF diet, and I do not have arthritis at all. After the GF diet, body-aches are gone, unless I accidentally eat wheat/gluten. The body aches I experience are quite intense.

            I also occasionally get a low-grade fever, and terrible chills. I used to attribute that to wheat/gluten as well, but realized with a recent severe episode that my reactivity was to MSG in large quantities. I am know very careful about MSG (and all the other ingredients in which MSG is hidden). It was scary — I was out of work for three days, just feeling awful!

            One more thing: The most important ingredient I have eliminated from my diet to prevent severe diarrhea is GUAR GUM! This is found in many ice creams, lots of pastries, and many GF foods (cake mixes expecially, and Glutino products). Guar gum is much worse for my bowel than gluten. The gluten/wheat makes my body hurt. The GUAR GUM is what upsets my stomach so terribly. Xanthum gum is not so bad…

        • Leanna- so well put! I had no idea that I had Celiac until I saw a new doctor who has knowledge in this area, and I had been an RN for almost 30 years and thought I was communicating well with my physician/s about my symptoms/history/family history. What if I had been diagnosed with gluten sensativity before it got to full blown “your in bad shape, you have severe Celiac, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, hypertension etc” ? There are 2 people in my world whom I am very concerned about also- my son and daughter. I don’t want them to get to the no turning back point. I wish I could have made a change in my diet way back when to avoid gluten so that I wouldn’t have suffered years with the challenges that I’ve had. Some people are very quick to jump to conclusions without having all the information, and it’s not just “lay-people”, but medical professionals too.

      • I just wanted to share my story. My husband and I, for a long time now have eaten a diet of organic, whole foods, lots of vegetables and fruit, grass fed beef, healing bone broth, fermented foods including coconut kefir, raw sauerkraut, etc. With that said, we do eat dairy, organic grass fed, also the only fats we eat are coconut oil, olive oil, ghee and butter from grass fed cows, hemp seed oil, flax seed oil. We went gluten free for an extended period, didn’t feel any different so we added back our bread which is homemade sourdough with a true wild starter, the bread ferments for 18 plus hours in refrigerator before we bake it, no problems with that. We do stay away from processed anything, do eat some organic grains, nuts and beans but we soak them in a way to reduce phytic acid and convert to phytase. I am 61 and my husband is 71. We are very active, bike, hike, run, walk, garden, I teach yoga and have a strong personal practice. Our minds are sharp. Blood tests good. We love life. I also meditate and teach meditation. Any comments?

        • Hi Marcia,
          Your sourdough bread and the way you prepare beans sounds very interesting. Could you please share some resources where I could get recipes or the cooking techniques? Thank you!

        • Marcia, your story is so very encouraging. My parents are your ages. Dad 71 & mother 61. Both have had open heart surgery, both diabetic and both with arthritis. Dad has crippling arthritis and removal of 3/4 of a lung in his late 50’s due to cancer. My mother calls me Sgt Carter bc I instruct them in eating . Mother just got out of being in the hospital almost 3 months w pneumonia & kidney failure and my dad was actually in the hospital the last wk the same time as mother. I’m a physical therapist in home health & about ran my body down driving 200 miles a day and staying st the hospital with them & gained 25 lbs. I keep saying it’s not fair that my parents are so sick and I’m not finished raising my kids yet. They’re agrees 14, 17, & 23. I’m gluten sensitive. Gluten keeps me in the bathroom, w a stomach ache, fatigued, & joints hurting. The Dr’s also said I have fibromyalgia. 10 yrs ago, the orthopedic Dr said I had degenerative bone disease. If Dr’s had their way, I would be on 3 different medicines full time. I’ve been on NONE. I instead decide to eat healthy and exercise. Now, w my parents having me on the run, I let myself go. Last week my parents went into a 21 day physical therapy rehab. So, I joined the gym, have lost 5 lbs. I refuse to be sick and in hospitals when my kids are trying to raise their kids. I think it’s selfish for people to not think of children, small or grown, when they treat their bodies Any ol way. People take better care of their cars than they do their bodies. Well, sorry I went on a soap box but I sure do admire you two for being so active and health conscious.

        • I love your comments about your lifestyle, very inspiring, and about sourdough bread. Sourdough is the only kind I buy and I’m trying to stick to a gluten free diet in a household of free eaters. I used to have my own starter and miss making my own bread. I am inspired and encouraged by your story. Your diet sounds a lot like mine and I hope to enjoy good health at your age. I’m currently 53.

      • Well said, Leslie. 🙂

        I wish people would be more understanding of others who are trying to improve their own health. I still deal with people who think I’m a freak for being 100% GF, even friends. Just encountered a brow-furrowed server at lunch yesterday when I asked if the brisket was GF (even though the menu states items can be tweaked). She made me repeat myself like I was talking alien.

        Anyway, eventually I just stop explaining myself and make my food choices silently.

        • I think it a bit much for a food server to know. Plus, with what I imagine is the typical demand (by impatient customers) it is much for the food server to go back into the kitchen and ask the chef or the owner (who probably don’t truly know what the question entails). If the restaurant doesn’t claim to be diet specific (Paleo or Gluten-Free or wheat free), I would avoid it for removing the risk of eating something you wouldn’t want to enter your body. Restaurants are businesses and businesses are created for making money with the most cost-effect and simple systems possible and why it is incredibly logical that the server wouldn’t know what you’re talking about…

          • I have a big wheat sensitivity. When I travelled to China, I asked every server to prepare my dish without wheat (through a Chinese language flashcard program on my phone), and never had one dietary issue.
            If I can get around China without knowing the language and not have a problem, I think a server can find out is there is wheat in a product.

            • That’s interesting, Austin. Does China use much wheat in its cuisine? I had the impression that less wheat is grown in China than rice, or other staple crops, but I haven’t done my research. I should do that now.

              What I do hear from travelers is that many countries outside the US “get it” when it comes to food allergies, and either have menu options that are free of allergens or can otherwise accommodate. I haven’t traveled much out of the western hemisphere, but when I did my experience was similar.

              The restaurant industry in the US however is clearly designed for mass production and consumption, and is slow to adopt to individual dietary needs, if it does at all. (I knew a few local restaurants that used to offer a GF menu, but have since removed it. I hope that wasn’t due to complains or lawsuits, but I suspect it was.)

              • good point Jeff. As for wheat in China, I imagine it has much to do with the region of China. As you may know or may have heard, Marco Polo supposedly brought pasta to Italy from China. I believe the history is a bit exaggerated or simplified, confusing China with Central Asia or the Chinese Empire at that time controlled much of central asia… In any case, wheat supposedly comes from the region of Afghanistan (Kazikstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, etc…) So, you should find substantial wheat products travelling through China.

                Austin, I commend you on your travels and your “guts” or determination… And how wonderful for you that you were received by respectful food servers. My passion and personal studies are international cuisine, food traditions and how food connects us through history and across borders… One thing you must consider when thinking about Chinese Cuisine and health is that the food servers were born into a very long history of “middle-class” Chinese extremely concerned about their physical and spiritual health connected with what they put into their mouths: the Yin-Yan of food or balancing hot and cold for preventing health inbalances (disease)… So, I imagine that the food servers are incredibly prepared to receive a concern or a complaint in China and wouldn’t disrespect the client for something they personally know is valid. As Jeff mentioned, the U.S. and “Americans” is all about market, regardless of health and about diversion or entertainment regardless of health… And I say, cook at home and be unpopular when you say you can’t go there or eat that… But, “American” lifestyle is all about “peer pressure” including within the incredibly new Paleo circles popping up in the upper-middle-class communities of the U.S. American culture is all about “The In-Crowd”… You are unpopular until what made you ahead of the times and unpopular became a middle-class fad…;-) Fortunately I’m a “Gringo” in Mexico, permanently unpopular changing my eating lifestyle to something that will never become popular here do to lack of information, lack of “democracy” and lack of resources… (not due to lack of money, popular misconception by “Americans” of Mexicans being poor. Mexico is in the top 15 wealthiest countries in the world, but with a horrible educational system and lack of true desire for progress and intellectual advancement…

                • its interesting that in america its acceptable for a server not to inquire from a chef who cooks your food as to what it contains,im irish and although it has taken some time the majority of restaraunts and even fast food outlets whether they be traditional irish chippers or a mcdonalds nearly all have a gluten free option and all servers will ask in the kitchen if you inquire and can always tell you whether or not something is ceoliac friendly or wheat free and will apologise if its not

      • Well said Leslie!

        Personally I have a sensitivity to all grains & FODMAPS. I mainly eat meat & veggies. I eat starch on occasion but my IBS & allergic rhinitis returns quickly. If I eat egg whites by accident, I get weird skin rashes within a day.

        I don’t want to eat this way. I love food, of all kinds. My friends would’ve considered me a foodie previously. But I have to eat this way for my health. I don’t absorb the nutrients from my food if my gut is inflamed, which causes a lot of problems down stream.

      • Leslie, there’s not doubt in my mind that you are, for sure, a very nice human being, because only a nice human being can answer Delilah’s moronic and stupid comment in such polite way.

      • Well said Leslie!!!

        I personally don’t know if I’m gluten intolerant or not. I choose not to eat it because of what “foods” (or food-like products) gluten is usually in. Personally, I see no reason to have gluten in my diet so I steer clear. Eating whole, real foods allows me to do this easily 🙂

      • Leslie is absolutely correct. This explains why I have had clients who have been vegan for years, or low fat for years… yet these people can add meat and butter (a no-no for low fat dieters) with zero problems.

        In other words, avoidance dis not make them sensitive to these foods.

      • I agree. I think his allergy test is a great idea, because I’m having a heck of a time trying to figure out what puts my intestinal tract into overdrive. And given that Crohn’s disease has taken over a foot of my small intestine, I need to figure it out.

        I started back on Atkins, because I want to eliminate ALL carbs for awhile and then try to figure out what is causing my issues. I’m not sure if it’s specific to gluten, or other things in wheat.

        I do know that the one time I drank beer 2 years ago, I was in severe discomfort! I don’t like beer and haven’t had one in years – but that day my friend was out of wine. That’s what first gave me an idea that I had a sensitivity or allergy of some type.

      • Totally agree very well said. We have to do what is best for ourselves and by doing this elimination can and will get us to listen to what our bodies are telling us. I know for years I have been suffering with various pains, bloating, gas. etc. and by doing this elimination of wheat has helped my immensely to be pain free without the pills.

    • Removing gluten from your diet doesn’t make you sensitive to it if you weren’t before. It just makes your sensitivity more apparent.

      This is the “clean windshield” effect. When your windshield is very dirty, a little extra dirt isn’t noticeable. When your windshield is clean, you notice a big splotch of dirt.

      I have many patients who remove gluten for 60 days, add it back in, and don’t notice a reaction. In fact, that was true for me.

      • Hi
        I truly am not trying to be argumentative, but I wrestle with the difference between “sensitivity” and “time to adapt”. If I stop taking fish oil for a while and then take what was formerly a normal dose for me, I burp and feel queasy. But if I take a smaller dose and gradually build up- no problem. I don’t think I am sensitive to fish oil, i.e., my body is stressed by it. But I do think I need to introduce it gradually.

        So, I struggle with understanding how to interpret (especially a relatively mild) negative reaction to a food after having eliminated it for 30 or 60 days. I know this is the whole theory behind elimination diets and that it’s been super helpful to some folks in finding real improvement in chronic health problems. I’m just not sure it’s necessarily conclusive.

        It’s not just an academic question for me. I have Hashimotos and have gone gluten free and then gone back to moderate gluten and can’t say I’ve noticed a direct negative effect. Of course, when I go through an energy slump I wonder if I had steered clear of gluten that would have been better…

        • @ Michelle: many/most functional medicine practitioners recommend 100% avoidance of gluten for life if one has an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s. You can read more about the reasoning behind this in some books: Why Isn’t My Brain Working? and Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal? both by Datis Kharazzian, Hashimotos Thyroiditis by Isabela Wentz, The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo, Grain Brain by David Perlmutter. These authors all have websites and blogs so you can Google them too to get instant info.

          • I have a cousin with Lupus and her doctor told her that removing gluten can help her autoimmune disorder greatly.

          • I love Brian’s products.. been using along time! Thank you Brian for all you do!!!!!!

          • Also, be certain that your fish oil is not rancid… the most frequent cause of burping, nausea and bad tastes.

        • That’s great Michelle. If you can eat it with out a problem then you don’t have to worry about it. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that gluten/wheat sensitivities effect everyone. I am unable to eat wheat, but I can eat barely just fine. Is it the wheat? Is is simply because its so highly processed? Is it because my GI is not healthy and I can’t digest it? I believe those answers will be different for each person. . We must take bio individuality into consideration as we are all unique. One man’s fuel is another man’s poison. So if you can eat wheat and gluten products and it doesn’t bother you then it should not concern you all that much. Believe me, if you have a reaction you know it. However, if you have thyroid problems I guess the other question would be….do you want to eat processed and refined foods? Most gluten and wheat containing products these days are so highly processed they can hardly be considered nutritious.

        • I have recently been diagnosed with Hashimotos. I am currently sub-clinical hypothyroid (TSH at 7.6, but T4 in normal range), take NO hormone replacements and also test positive for the antibodies indicative of Hashimotos. I decided to have a blood test to test for food sensitivities in order to be PROactive and gain control of Hashimotos before any symptoms could progress. Upon testing, I learned I am sensitive to not only wheat, but 24 other foods! The test does not specifically test for gluten. I do not believe I am sensitive to gluten because I do not have sensitivities to either barley or rye (both have gluten). It’s funny because everyone around me says, “oh, you have to go gluten free?” I say, “no, I just can’t have wheat during my elimnation…” They are confused 🙂 For what it’s worth, I highly recommend being tested for food sensitivities. I have been on my elimination diet for almost 30 days so far; I feel the best I have felt in almost 9 months. I will retest my TSH levels in July and I bet my numbers will be down!

          • I have sensitivities “off and on” depending on the state of inflammation my body is in. I had many foods come up on a blood test during a highly inflammed state. After things calmed down, however, I found I did not notice any issues. One thing to keep in mind when you have an autoimmune issue (I have been dealing with Hashimoto’s for 8 years), is that not every day is the same for your system. Levels of cortisol, sleep, hormones, stress in the form of exercise, mental or emotional all play a part in the level of inflammation in the body. Translation: sometimes a body can “handle” some foods and on another day maybe not so much. I find that if I stay away from a particular handful I know make me feel bad, symptoms are usually at a minimum when I do get into something that my body isn’t fond of.

        • Michelle, I also have Hashimoto’s. One thing to keep in mind is that gluten is the main antibody trigger for Hashimoto’s, but it can take up to several weeks after an exposure for an attack to be in full swing, so it’s not always an immediate thing. The inflammatory cascade can last for quite awhile, however, so if you eat it once in awhile, you never quite get to heal.

          I never noticed any digestive or overt symptoms from gluten after eliminating it for months and then having a little. However, when I got the Cyrex gluten array done, I clearly reacted to gamma-gliadin and transglutaminses 2 and 3. This was after no intentional gluten exposure for years.
          My functional med. doc explained to me that every Hashimoto’s patient she’s had who got genetic testing has come up positive for the Celiac genes. That’s something to be aware of. Also, if you don’t really feel all that much better eliminating gluten, it could be because you additionally cross-react to casein. Once I found out I was one of those people and completely eliminated the casein, that’s when I started seeing more healing results (including much easier weight loss!) than I had been able to achieve before.

        • If you can eat it without it causing inflammation and bloating go for it. For me when I removed gluten/wheat from my diet I lost 7 pounds in days from the inflammation I was losing from not having constant irritation in my system.

          I think of all the Paleo websites in the world Chris Kresser is the most flexible with “If it works for you go for it.” But it truly does not work for many people and the best way to make that determination is to remove it.

          As someone who suffered from IBS for over 20 years I am extremely happy I gave up wheat. I do not have one-tenth the problems I had when I was eating wheat.

        • Many of use whose symptoms are significantly relieved by a gluten free (GF) diet accidentally do part of this experiment from time to time – we get exposed to wheat (or whatever that is excluded by the GF diet) and get sick.

          The idea of using barley is interesting. I might try this, although the consequences of being exposed to whatever it is that causes trouble are pretty unpleasant.

          Since I discovered that a GF diet helps (a lot), I’ve suspected that gluten is not the problem. One reason: the symptoms don’t completely go away. Another: the only known (to me) physiologically verified sensitivity to gluten gluten itself is Celiac diseas, and I don’t have that, per biopsy and blood test.

          • Just giving up gluten is often not enough to heal the problem created by it. You also have to work to heal the intestinal walls, which have been damaged by eating gluten (intestinal permeability). This is why you can still have symptoms and difficulties, even after stopping the gluten.

      • I had this happen to me when I cut out dairy to try and reduce mucus. Had been dairy free for a few weeks and then ate some mushrooms that had been cooked in butter. Ended up in hospital. Since staying dairy free a lot of health issues have cleared up that I did not even know were related.

      • Does temporary food removal cause food sensitivity? I don’t know for sure, but I think it is logical to assume that it could. Any research looking at this?

        Another thought is, if you remove a food because you feel it is a problem, then add it back and find that it is a problem, can’t it still all be in your head? Nocebo?

        Chris, did you and your patients remove gluten, or gluten containing grains?

        • I asked my doctor this very question, and he said no. If you don’t have a problem with gluten, you should not have a problem re-introducing it after period of time without. You most definitely would not experience what I do whenever I have even a trace of gluten: extreme nausea, sore joints, brain fog (as in, can’t think at all and have to stay home from work). We were not born eating gluten, but some of us were born with the ability to digest it properly and others were not. That doesn’t change when you stop eating it.

        • When I go all winter without watermelon, clams or lobster and then eat them again in the summer I don’t react to them. When I don’t have rice for a few weeks and then eat it again, no problems. Think about it, there are foods we do go months without eating and then have some with no consequences. Why would wheat be any different?

          • So, you know that people do not have trouble reintroducing other foods? Do you have any research to back that up? I would greatly appreciate if you would share it. How about when a vegan reintroduces meat, and has trouble digesting it? Does that mean meat is bad for them? Does that mean everyone may have trouble with meat. Of coarse not, right? They just need some Now Foods Super Enzymes, per Robb Wolf. Get that acid production going. But, wait. Why did they stop producing stomach acid?

            Personally, I think you are making broad assumptions based on your personnal experience, and your obviouse bias towards wheat.

            I don’t eat much wheat. And I think if wheat is a problem for you, you should not eat it too often either. However, that is a far cry from, wheat is satans spawn and it is killing everyone. I think, with time, the Paleo community will slowly fade back to the middle, with grain and gluten consumption. Just like they did with beans. Just like they did with fruit. Just like they did with dairy….

      • I just had some genetic testing done. I have MTHFRS mutations which makes me unable to process folic acid very well. About 50% of the population has this mutation to some degree and to them the folic acid, that is added to all white flour, is toxic. What if all these people that feel better when not eating wheat and/or gulten or grains have this mutation and it is the folic acid that is causing the problem not the grains. This gives you something to think about.

      • How about those of us with autoimmune disease (Hasimoto’s) that never had an obvious gluten intolerance, but are instead avoiding it per our doctors in order to help reduce inflammation?

      • Yes, Chris, I think some people may be confusing the term sensitive in medical practice when it refers to your body considering itself being under attack by substance (allergy) or at the very least simply not possessing the necessary arsenal of chemicals to deal with a substance (intolerance) as compared to when your body builds up a tolerance to a particular chemical.

        An example might be when one is a regular coffee drinker, quits for six months, then starts back up again. That person will notice extra alertness, speediness, wakefulness, focus, whatever. This is because as the person continues to drink coffee the brain makes many attempts from different angles (producing contrary neurotransmitters, etc) to make up for the fact that the cellular receptors for adenosine are being used up for caffeine. Without adenosine the brain has a difficult time moving into it’s rest phase so it needs to adapt in other ways.

        Then quit coffee for awhile and the brain will self regulate again as the adenosine receptors again begin to be used for adenosine.

        Start drinking coffee once again and your brain has not yet made all the adaptations necessary to make up for the fact that less adenosine is getting to the cells so you feel the full effect of all the caffeine.

        At no time, however, has your body suddenly configured differently to now consider caffeine an invader to be fought off nor has it suddenly lost the biochemical ability to deal with caffeine.

      • I wonder if you had made any changes to your diet that may have contributed to a healthier GI tract?
        I’ve removed all bread including xanthum gum GF bread for years, but last week due to a trip to the states and all the food rules found myself ravenous 7 hours after my breakfast and surrendered to a bun with cheese at a bakery. A whole week of spinal pain was all the convincing I need to recognize that my condition is not completely healed.

    • Ha. This a non argument. Remove spinach from your diet for 60 days, then reintroduce. It’s not likely you’ll react violently to spinach.

    • Your comment didn’t apply in my case. I went close to a year without any gluten whatsoever, (although its always possible I had some accidental exposure at some point), I was quite careful to avoid it. Last weekend to test whether I had become sensitive I had three quarters of a large pizza, and a few beers to wash it down, and felt fine. My body did not react violently.

    • I get so frustrated by these studies!! I can understand the annoyance of the “gluten free” epidemic that has taken hold, but to tell me that if test results don’t show me as gluten sensitive, means I’m NOT gluten sensitive? I have removed it from my diet, felt so much better in so many ways, then felt lousy after bringing it back? A Dr holding a piece of paper does not know my body better than I do. Thank you so much for this Chris. You have helped me in so many ways!!

      • Hahahaha…I am familiar with the epilepsy community as I myself have the disease. Many people have the requisite two seizure diagnosis with negative EEG’s and MRI’s. I guess this means the seizure that they have and that people witness are all in their heads.

    • There are many foods that I eat only once or twice a year… But I don’t react violently just because they have been ‘eliminated’ for over 60 days! If this type of simplified thinking we’re true, we would all be in trouble when we eat the first cherries of the year, or the odd time we eat lobster, etc…

    • This isn’t true at all. I was on a gluten-free diet for two years due to some gut issues. After I healed I started eating wheat products again and DID NOT have any issues.

      • Laurel, your issues are completely different to the millions of others suffering with gut issues. Congrats on being healed as others continue to experiment and try to figure out what is going on with them. I find it interesting that millions and millions of people didn’t have these types of issues back in the years far before I was born. All of these issues are in fact to due our nutrition. Agriculture continues to be fabricated in labs. Strains continue to change (how fast we will never know). Seems like a lot for our systems to continuously try to re-adjust to. Who knows if my issues are grains or if it is the gluten in the grains. All I know is that I am sick and tired of feeling ill. As I am sure millions of others are. When I eat a diet absent of grains (period), I feel like a whole different person. If I eat a donut, bread (wheat, white, whatever), pasta, etc, it feels like absolute hell. I have the classic indigestion, heartburn, bloating, stomach pains, skin issues for a couple days or longer and it is getting really old. I used PPI drug Prilosec and it COMPOUNDED my issues. My entire digestive system shut down. My food WOULD NOT DIGEST. I started taking notes on EVERY meal I ate. All sorts of combinations of foods. Meals with meat, meals without meat, meals with grains, meals without grains. Meals with veggies, meals without veggies. And every other combination I could think of. I go to doctor with my findings. Tells me to try Nexium. I said “screw Nexium”. I am tired of masking the symptoms. I want to know why I feel like crap when I EAT FOOD!!! IT HAS TO BE THE FOOD!!! I give up. I go to a different doctor that practices conventional PLUS nutrional medicine. She spent 1 WHOLE HOUR with me (completely unconventional). She read my entire diary I was writing. She IMMEDIATELY said, “darling, you could be having issues digesting grains”. I was like “what”? She said some people just have a harder time digesting grains and that it could be the wheat or the gluten in wheat. She told me that the blood tests are not always going to tell you if you are sensitive. She said she believes in listening to our bodies, not medicating our bodies to mask symptoms. If a food bothers you, you remove it. Plain and simple. Another man’s fuel could be another man’s poison. She had me go on 12-week elimination diet. I took extensive notes. After the 12 weeks was over, I spent 4 weeks re-introducing the foods I eliminated back into my diet. Boy was that a challenging 4 weeks. It was the baked goods that did me in. Cramping pain, heartburn, indigestion, acne flareups. You name it. I just wanted to die. So Laurel, this is not a cookie cutter society in which everyone is like Laurel. Good day to you. You are part of this attack problem on people dealing with these very real issues.

    • The purpose of that comment makes total sense. Eliminate sugar from your diet for 60 days, then eat sugar. And I’m guessing you won’t feel so well. It’s not that people are mocking the “gluten intolerant”, it’s that we are skeptical of the fact that correlation does not always equal causation.

    • @Delilah – removing wheat or gluten from your diet for 60 days does NOT make you become gluten sensitive. If you react on the re-introduction of gluten / wheat, it means that you ARE gluten or wheat sensitive in the first place. This is true for any foods that you are sensitive too. Its called an elimination diet. This is because the body adapts (or rather limps along) with each small injury caused by the intake of the offending food. However over a long time, each small injury adds up to become chronic disease.

      I’m telling you this because I am a physician for over 14 years and that’s how our immune system works. If you want to know the details, for eg IgG related immunity, I can do too, if you prefer.

    • @Delilah: Your argument is flawed. Correlation does not imply causation. Yes, you do become “sensitive” to wheat if you cut it out for 1-2 months, but that’s not because you cut it out. It’s because you were already sensitive to it, and since you cut it out, your immune system started working properly again, enough to recognize wheat for what it really is: poison.

      Ponder this please: We traditionally eat figs, cherries, mulberries etc only for a few days a year. Especially for figs, they can be found fresh only for a month or so. For mulberries it’s only about 10 days. So if cutting down a food and re-introducing it would cause distress, it means that all seasonal foods would create that distress. But they don’t. It’s only glutenous grains and wheat in specific that does. Which means that something ain’t right about them.

      Not cutting down wheat because you’re afraid of how you’ll react if you eat it again, it’s like hiding behind your own finger (Greek expression). Be true to yourself and your body.

    • “Eliminate gluten for 60 days, and then try to eat it again.”
      Ok.
      Eliminate broccoli for 60 days and then try to eat it again. Or apples. Or cod.
      Guess what? Nothing will happen. Your body will not have lost or lessened the ability to deal with it. That says it all for me.

      So why on earth would I want to feel a litle bit shitty all the time (gas, diarrea, joint pain, depression, bleeding gums and so on) just to be able to digest wheat a little bit better than I do now? Because, sure, I react more violently now than I did before but feeling lika crap all the time was normal then. Now I only feel crap when I inadvertly eat wheat and that happens really seldom.

    • That response is just your body saying “HELL NO” Do not put that crap into me again. I just.. JUST.. started to feel GREAT.

    • What I want is to not suffer from crohn’s diease and avoiding wheat does that for me. I don’t care if other people don’t believe it. I would like to see them get a literal pain in their butt when they get exposed to even small amounts of wheat.

    • Hah, you could say the same thing about cigarette smoke. Go live in an environment with smokers 24/7 and you will cease to react to it. Go into a smoke free environment for 60 days, then go back to your 24/7 smoker’s environment. You will definitely find that you are ‘sensitive’ to smoke. But does this mean that smoke exposure is fine for you? That you only became ‘sensitive’ to it from your abstaining period? Of course not. Smoke is not good for us, and that’s why you react after being away from it. It’s the same with gluten. Why would you react to it at ALL if you’ve abstained from it if it is not bad for you? Most of us can abstain from fish or apples for 60 days and not have a reaction when we eat it again. That’s because those things are not bad for us. If you react to something violently after abstaining from it for 60 days, you might consider that it’s not meant to be in your body.

    • Delilah don’t you mean “gluten sensitive”? You may experience it differently, but every now and then I’ll go GF for a week or two with no ill effects after resuming.

      Key thing for me is that for the last 15 years I’ve tried to avoid WHEAT and have felt much better for it compared with the previous 45 years when I was oblivious to a sensitivity I didn’t recognise (I’d thought it was normal to feel that way).

      My conversion to a wheat-free diet was more or less fortuitous. No-one’s advice or opinion, not even mine, were a factor. Now the only advice I really listen to is that of my own body.

    • Delilah you are exactly right!! I can’t believe this article would actually say something like that. It makes it really hard to trust anything else that they said. The best way to see if you are sensitive to gluten is to GET TESTED. Stopping wheat will cause the bacteria that help digest gluten to start dying off… Giving you a gluten intolerance for the rest of your life. I have Lymphocytic Colitis and Celiac disease which are both treated with a gluten-free diet. I also cannot eat dairy. Please people I have been living with this restricted diet for about 3 years now, DO NOT GIVE YOURSELF A DISEASE. This is also the main issue with the Paleo diet… after about 3 months on it you can’t go back!

      • Oh, for Pete’s sake, Katt. That is a load of hogwash. LOL! Not trying to be mean, but you can’t just give yourself a disease like Celiac or even cause gluten sensitivity. You have to have a genetic pre-disposition for it. Wow, just wow!

    • Are you the same troll that hits up all the vaccine articles poo-pooing any one that questions vaccines, or aspartame, or cell phone radation?
      We’re all just a bunch of kooks right?
      The Medical-Corpocracy knows best for all of us.

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