Should You Go Gluten-Free?

By Kristin Ohlson, July/August 2009

Whole grains are good for you. So why are so many Americans giving up wheat, rye and barley? Should you?

"I am a vegetarian whose blood sugar was creeping up past the normal range. (Type 2 diabetes, here I come) Several friends who had been on medication for years for type 2 CURED their disease by going completely gluten-free. I joined...

Can Going Gluten-free Help Diagnose Celiac Disease?

Of all the misconceptions about gluten-free diets, the most dangerous is that you can self-diagnose celiac disease. If you go gluten-free, the antibodies that doctors screen for in the blood disappear. You may need to go back to eating gluten for several months to be properly tested.

“If [people] walk into their doctor’s office after being on a gluten-free diet, we can’t diagnose,” says Lori Mahajan, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic. “If they’re off doing the diet on their own, they might not do it properly. They’ll keep increasing their risk of malignancy.”

So, if you think you might have celiac disease, schedule a visit with your doctor but keep eating bread and pasta until she tells you to stop. If you don’t have celiac disease, continue to enjoy your wheat, barley and rye—and maybe try a few of the lesser-known grains that people with celiac disease can enjoy. Many are great sources of fiber, protein and trace minerals. Teff, anyone?

Kristin Ohlson writes about food, science and travel, among other things, from her home in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

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