Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wheat-Free: Why Not DIY?

Once again, the Wall Street Journal has run a (sort of) helpful article(1) on digestive issues--this time, on gluten intolerance, or what they should have called "wheat intolerance":

You've got abdominal pains, bloating, fatigue and foggy thinking. You feel worse after eating wheat or other foods with gluten, and better when you avoid them.

Add weight gain and rampant appetite to that, and that was me before I cut out wheat a few years ago, even though a previous medical test showed no signs of celiac. I stopped eating wheat to lose the 20 pounds I'd put on within a few years after I went back to eating the stuff. Indeed, I started slowly losing weight and feeling better. Wheat is an appetite stimulant. Later, I found out that humans have gone practically our entire existence without eating grains: there's no need in our diet for them. For millions of years, we lived on meat, roots, greens, eggs, fruits and nuts. But don't try this on your own! According to the article,

Experts urge people who suspect they have problems with gluten to be tested for celiac disease before going gluten-free on their own. Otherwise, with no gluten to react to, their blood tests will show false negatives.

That, and the experts won't collect their money:

The blood tests cost about $100; the gene test about $300, and the biopsy $600 or more.

According to the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, a lot of people who do better on a wheat-free diet have negative tests for celiac--those expensive tests would have simply sent them down a blind alley.

Having been wheat-free for almost two years now, the commotion about medical tests and the hardships of cutting out one food leaves me scratching my head. My own experience has been that it was easier to cut out wheat entirely than to cut back: I got more benefits from complete elimination, had no wheat products around the house to cheat with, and my desire for it is gone.

1. "New Guide to Who Really Shouldn't Eat Gluten" by Melinda Beck. Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2012.


Chuck said...

god forbid anyone take their health in their own hands. it is obviously much more dangerous to eliminate gluten and see what happens than to continue to eat gluten and pay for minimally invasive tests. ;)

Lori Miller said...

Ha! I like the term from dance: highjacking the lead.