Holly Strawbridge

Going gluten-free just because? Here’s what you need to know

After being confined to health-food stores for years, gluten-free foods have become the latest food fad. Supermarket aisles abound with products proudly labeled “Gluten free,” and many restaurants now offer gluten-free options.

For people who can’t tolerate gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, this abundance is a blessing. But lately it’s become hip to go gluten-free. Based on little or no evidence other than testimonials in the media, people have been switching to gluten-free diets to lose weight, boost energy, treat autism, or generally feel healthier. This doesn’t make much sense to Dr. Daniel A. Leffler, director of clinical research at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

“People who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice. They’ll simply waste their money, because these products are expensive,” says Dr. Leffler, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

How gluten causes trouble

People with celiac disease can’t tolerate gluten, not even small amounts. Just 50 milligrams of the protein—about the amount in one small crouton—is enough to cause trouble. In people with celiac disease, gluten in the bloodstream triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to other problems like osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures.

A related condition called gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can generate symptoms similar to celiac disease but without the intestinal damage.

Not long ago, celiac disease was diagnosed by a process of elimination. Today it can be identified with a blood test for the presence of antibodies against a protein called tissue transglutaminase. A biopsy of the intestine confirms the diagnosis.

Going gluten free

Avoiding gluten means more than giving up traditional breads, cereals, pasta, pizza, and beer. Gluten also lurks in many other products, including frozen vegetables in sauces, soy sauce, some foods made with “natural flavorings,” vitamin and mineral supplements, some medications, and even toothpaste. This makes following a gluten-free diet extremely challenging.

If you’re determined to go gluten-free, it’s important to know that it can set you up for some nutritional deficiencies. Fortified breads and cereals have become a major source of B vitamins in the United States. Although breads made with white rice, tapioca, and other gluten-free flours are becoming more common, they are generally not fortified with vitamins. This can be a problem for anyone, but it’s especially worrisome for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. They need vitamin B9, more commonly known as folate or folic acid, to prevent birth defects. Taking a gluten-free multivitamin-multimineral supplement is a good idea for anyone trying to avoid gluten.

Whole wheat is also a major source of dietary fiber, which the bowels need to work properly. “The average American diet is deficient in fiber,” says Dr. Leffler. “Take away whole wheat and the problem gets worse.” It’s possible to get the fiber you need from other grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, or from fruits, vegetables, and beans, but you’ll need to make the effort.

If you think you might have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it’s best to see a doctor before going gluten free. Once a person has avoided gluten for a while, it becomes difficult to establish if he or she has celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or neither.

There’s one more thing you might consider doing: keep your dietary choice to yourself. The more than 300,000-plus people in this country with celiac disease have to follow a gluten-free diet, because the tiniest taste of gluten will trigger debilitating gastrointestinal discomfort. It’s time consuming, expensive, and restrictive. “It’s a gigantic burden for those who have to follow it,” says Dr. Leffler. “They get frustrated when they hear how wonderful this diet is.”

Comments:

  1. Bradley

    Hey, have you actually tried this method yourself because i’ve suffered from acne for ages… so im wondering if this actually works? Bit skeptical!

    Thanks,
    Bradley

  2. Richard

    Pfft, I went gluten free and I grew 3 inches, increased my IQ points (I’m now just below average) and reversed the aging process.

    When are the these idiots at “Harvard” going to realize the real geniuses are random bloggers on the internet?

  3. Food Coaching

    Very nice information.,. this is very nice post i found so useful information from this post…..you put very beneficial info here!

  4. david jackson

    Tom…Harvard would not have let you in anyway. you do not possess the open mind one needs to learn and master a subject.
    I bet you really wanted to go as otherwise you wouldn’t be reading their publications…..sorry you never quite made it…..Tom.

  5. Mitch

    This was not a well thought out article. In fact, there are no real facts, other than clumping together ‘fads’ as a generally bad idea.

    Well played Harvard, don’t let the facts get in the way.

  6. Drae

    Dear Harvard Health Publications Blog,

    Did my previous comment on the Paleo diet somehow violate your rules about comments that do not relate directly to the contents of this post? Was it commercial in nature, contained objectionable or inappropriate material, or otherwise violate your Privacy Policy? No?

    Were my comments about the science behind the Paleo diet not part of a healthy dialog or otherwise unreliable?

    I fail to understand why Harvard would engage in deleting comments that are not in violation of the commenting policy and I find it more than a little disturbing that this institution would engage in undermining intellectual discourse.

  7. Danielle

    I am 23 years old, in perfect health, and am very active (workout 6 days a week.

    In an effort to optimize my health, I decided to try 30 days wheat-free. Since I was not looking to lose weight and I needed enough energy to complete my workouts, I opted to keep my caloric intake and overall diet the same by simply replacing my normal wheat based foods (pasta, bread, etc) with non-wheat foods (rice, potatoes, corn).

    I HAVE NEVER FELT BETTER! More energy, sleeping more soundly, no more food cravings, no more headaches, and my stomach magically started shrinking (with no reduction in calories or carbs)

    I have not become deficient in any vitamins, minerals, fiber and iron, and anyone who claims whole wheat is an “essential part of a healthy diet” has obviously not tried a healthy diet without it.

  8. MARGE

    DISAGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Malinda

    First off, this article is appalling! Keep your dietary choice to yourself???? Wow! That is just rude and the author of this article is clearly misinformed. My son should have been diagnosed as autistic but instead a wonderful friend told me about the neurological effects of gluten so I changed my son’s diet and I saw an immediate and very drastic change in my son. My son is now 12 years old and has almost perfect scores in Math and Science. He has never been diagnosed with celiacs or even a sensitivity but I know that it effects him. Also I have endometreosis and I discovered that gluten causes more pain and heavier bleeding for me. When I eliminated gluten from my diet I didn’t even have to resort to pain meds. Gluten free diets are not fads. I tell every parent I know with learning disabilities, or behavior issues to try going gluten free. One hundred percent of parents who have taken my advice have seen a marked improvement in their children. I’d say that is pretty good evidence. Maybe it’s because our wheat is being so distorted genetically that our bodies can no longer properly break down the proteins. My son, the science whiz, told me he found a documentary that showed that DOG DNA has been introduced into the genetically modified wheat.
    I also cannot count how many people I have helped at the gym who have been struggling to lose weight and just can’t until I let them in on the secret that gluten may be their issue. Guess what? Every single person who has followed my advice has begun to shed the pounds and most of it from their middle section.
    It seems to me the author is just spouting her own agenda instead of the truth. Keeping your dietary choice to go gluten free may be robbing someone of the chance to be finally free of a few of their health concerns. I encourage everyone to share their dietary choice of going gluten free. Maybe then more people will become educated and people will have some hope in dealing with health concerns and hard to shed pounds.

  10. Patricia

    Wouldn’t it be great if we actually had the choice of eating wheat! Since it is no long available due to the arrogance and resulting stupidity of the big ag/big institution/ corporate greed driven “science” departments. What a shame when an institution that could add to the important and relevant information of a situation, becomes subservient to corporate interests.

  11. Diana

    Everything Dr. Davis said wheat does to a human, it’s done to me. I never felt better not eating it than I do now! I have an entire list of symptoms that has disappeared because I’m off it. Humans weren’t even meant to eat grains, if you’d do your anthropology research, instead of being so pompous you’d agree with him! You all remind me of the first surgeon who thought it would be safer to wash his hands before operating on a patient …and lost his license to practice as a physician from the AMA. HA!

  12. ScienceGal

    Lol, these comments are hilarious! You wheat haters get soooooo defensive about your scientifically misinformed diet and you treat William Davis like some religious idol. It’s like some scary cult. If the good folks at Harvard even have time to read your drivel I bet they are laughing their arses off. Keep them coming, folks!

    • ScienceGal

      Yep, still laughing! You’re talking about “Frankenwheat” and I’m the looney? You just keep telling yourself that, Diana. And come up with a different argument because the whole “shill for BigAg” thing is getting really old and just shows you can provide no substance to your arguments.

    • Amanda

      Science Gal: “the truth about science is that not everybody believes, but it is the truth” Do you call science the pharmaceutical commercials on TV? you need to read real science…like Wheat Belly!

    • Scott

      The proof is in the pudding, my dear.

    • Jan

      Thank you for reminding me of the religious implications……I used to view corn as the “anti-christ”……but after reading “Wheat Belly”, it has now been replaced by wheat…..followed by corn and sugar!

    • Ken

      Let me preface this by saying I love wheat. I have also seen the results of close family members removing it from their diet. You call yourself “ScienceGal” and then put a juvenile comment like this out there without any kind of backing? Not only is it a sad pathetic comment that makes you look like you are about 12 but I question if you are not the original author of this sad little article in the first place. You, like the author, are attacking words like “Frankenwheat” and “fad” instead of arguing the results or against specific aspects of the science behind the lifestyle. I have been researching “wheatbelly” for months now, trying to find intelligent arguments against the life style but alas all I find is articles like this and mentalities like ScienceGal’s. It is ridicules that you feel the need to attack people who’s lives have been changed by wheatbelly. Of course they are going to be defensive. I am guessing that many of them are concerned about the affects of not eating wheat and they also research negative affect only to find biased opinions thinly masked as science / research.

  13. Laura

    There’s a lot of ignorance here.

    I’d say most people who are voluntarily going gluten free are following a whole foods diet so all that processed stuff you mentioned (for ex. frozen vegetables in “sauce”) need not apply. This whole foods diet also tends to be heavily plant based, so a lack of nutrients is also a non-factor.

    Fiber is not a problem either; this article itself mentions some of the many ways we can get quality fiber: brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, etc. without gluten.

    Honestly this article seems to have a limited (western) view point of diet in general. Does my gluten free diet take “a lot” of effort? I’d say no, not any more than eating healthy in general does.

    The argument this article makes is akin to being against a low sugar diet just because you don’t have diabetes.

  14. Boundless

    Actually, there is a real:
    “here’s what you need to know”
    about GF: Almost nothing on the GF aisle at the store is fit for human consumption. It’s largely high-carb junk. That oversize GF label might bring relief from acute wheat reactivity, but your diabetes, atherosclerosis and acne aren’t going anywhere.

    Glycemic metabolism has been a 10,000 year old mistake made by the majority of human cultures, and is now spinning out of control thanks to dwarf hybrid wheat (which contaminates a huge fraction of prepared foods), fructose (HFCS), low fat insanity and lesser missteps in diet. The future, if we are to have one, appears to be aggressively low carb, perhaps often ketogenic.

    Just look at the trend charts for most ailments, such as Type II diabetes. T2DM is not just at a historical high, and not just rising, but accelerating. Yet, switching to a low-carb diet halts it, prevents it, and can often reverse it. Conventional dietary advice has utterly failed to correct such trends. The question that needs to be confronted is: are the official diets contributing to the problem, perhaps even causing it?

    Please stop parroting the industry line on B9, which is only in wheat flour (not in “whole grains”) because it’s added to it. That parrot only appears to be standing because its feet are nailed to the perch.

    Yes, going low-carb grain-free very-low-fructose paleo is a bit challenging at the moment. This is a temporary transitional situation. The immediate and long term health benefits are easily worth the modest extra effort.

  15. Linda M.

    Shame on Harvard for allowing this sort of bad research, bad advice, overall wrong article to be posted under their name. Holly is ignorant of all the research done over the past 10 years? Holly is ignorant of actual statistics? Holly thinks people reading this newsletter are airheads, random in their choices of food. Honestly, I am astonished to see this article under the Harvard banner. Shame.

    • brian w

      Absolutely correct. I’m in academia, and have come to realize that Harvard is now more about legacy than knowledge. They should be ashamed of this article. I have recently investigated this topic in depth. There are hundreds and hundreds of studies conducted over the last fifteen years that show the dangers of eating a diet high in glycemic load, and a diet with grains as its staple is unaviodably such a diet (and wheat has special problems that things like rice don’t). The people that advocate for such a diet are just the messengers who have put the science together succinctly for the masses. Holly obviously hasn’t done her research.

  16. rockit

    I will start with a quote; ” This blog aims to provide reliable information as well as healthy dialoge…”. Yes, this is the disclaimer for this actual blog site!. Missed that whole “reliable infomation” part, but I am sure Ms. strawbrains and her bosses are hearing the “healty dialoge” part.

    I am suprised that for someone who uses the title of “executive editor”, has no journalism or writing skills. My college professors would have torn this piece of simple-minded illogic one-reference sourced article apart(and I went to a State school).
    You dont need to spend extra money on expensive gluten free foods; eat rice, meat, cheese, fruit, potatoes, corn, vegtables,yogurt, nuts, hummus, etc. TONS of healthy good food out there. The biggest issue comes with big gatherings(work, birthdays, etc) centered around eating sandwiches, cake, cookies etc and you just have to have the spine to say “no thanks”. Go out to eat at any restraunt; just refuse the bread basket; order steak, fish, chicken, vegetarian with rice, potatoes, vegtables. Pass on beer; drink wine!
    Shame on the Harvard nameplate being used for a simple dismissal of a concept that could better many peoples health. I am sure you can find a better use for your endowment money than paying this women to shill the opinion of one professor and five minutes of internet research to support his conclusions.

    • unterderlaterne

      while you are at it, do not eat anything *white*: potatoes, rice, pasta and of course any bread . It is best to go grain free, only have 1/2 cup of brown rice or Quinoa(a seed). Avoid tapioca flour, cornstarch and white rice flour. You will loose weight easily and improve the cholesterol level.
      I can not believe that I paid money for the Harvard Health News letter once. I have lost respect for that institution.
      I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and for the first time in 25 years could I be without my horrible medications .

  17. JohnG

    Holly, do you have a response? You did not hesitate to write your article, will you provide us with your rebuttal? Personally, I don’t see how you can stand behind your article anymore. You should give this lifestyle a try for 30 days and report back to your readers on how it affected you. I would be truly surprised if you elected to allow wheat (or any whole grain) back in to your diet.

  18. mcannon

    Veeeery interesting….

    An article with similar content was recently published over at FOX news…. “Why you shouldn’t go glutin-free” …

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/03/12/why-shouldnt-go-gluten-free/

    It would be interesting to find out who’s doing the funding for these types of articles. Big Agra? Big Food? Big Pharma?

  19. Elizabeth

    Dr. Leffler’s assertion that a gluten-free diet is expensive, time-consuming, and restrictive and a gigantic burden is subjective and perpetuates a huge lie that only benefits Big Food, Big Pharm, Big Med. It is less expensive to stop buying crackers, cereal, and pasta products. Time consuming? I don’t think so. Meat and vegetables, salad, easy, easy, easy. Restrictive? Again, just my opinion but check out the gorgeous produce in abundance. It’s not that hard. I’ve saved so much money on all the meds, ointments, doctor’s office visits, missed work days, Tums, etc. There is no down side to living gluten-free for the many people who do so every day. Perhaps the down side is for people like Dr. Leffler and Ms. Strawbridge who perpetuate and profit from the lies they tell, claiming them as facts. Sorry, but nobody is buying it anymore. The truth is out. I would never keep quiet about such truly wonderful news, and I would never consider taking advice from someone who tells me to keep my choice to myself. Absolutely not. But, perhaps Dr. Leffler will take his own advice and keep his opinions to himself as they are not even helpful to his own patients who suffer from celiac disease. Try some encouragement and positive thinking, doc. The choice to eat well rests on all of our shoulders, not just those with celiac disease. It might be in how you look at the wonderful opportunity before you. Dr. Leffler, the glass is half full, not half empty. Pass it on to your patients and stop being Dr. Downer. Life is very good. Read and understand what all the happy chatter is about. You might just learn a few things.

  20. Dwyn

    What is it with the media? I continue to read articles like this one stating the lack of science available to go gluten or wheat free. I’m no medical expert but it doesn’t take much to find real, quantifiable science. This article is written by someone who is either poorly informed or no longer bothers to research articles before putting them into print.

    Personally, I will take all of the testimonials of real people (many in my own life) who have lived in pain for years, were overweight forever in Yoko diets and still felt terrible after years of going to doctors, over an article that cannot get basic facts straight.

  21. bg schlatter

    I have never really eating junk food or ingested junk drinks(soda). I prided myself in baking the best Whole Wheat breads with wheat germ and spelt flour. But I have horrible Rheumatoid Arthritis for 25 yrs. I have reconstructed shoulders and feet. My hands are totally deformed almost useless and so painful to use,.
    I was browsing through the book section and discovered “Wheat Belly” by Dr.William Davis”. I practically devoured that book in one day, I could not put it down! That was only 1 week ago and the inflammation in my joints is gone(no Warmth to the touch),the very active Rosacea that was turning my face bright red twice a day , has calmed down, actually I had not one single*flushing* of the face since cutting out all grains from my diet.
    My infusion of medication for my RA is coming up and I might just have to cancel it. I already eliminated the Methotrexate. Of course I still have pain in my joints that are already destroyed, but there is less of it. I just feel and sleep so much better . I just wished I had Dr.Davis’s book 25 yrs. ago!
    Bought the Wheat Belly cookbook from Dr W.Davis also , it is fabulous. Just had my lunch with Flax-wrap, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado , yarlsberg cheese and baked turkey and mayonnaise. What ‘s not to like?
    Ms.Holly Strawbridge I will shout my newly found discovery about GRAINS from the roof tops. Nobody in my circle of friends will be safe! There!

  22. Gale

    I always thought, because I have been taught, that whole grains are best for you. So years ago I switched to all whole grains, pasta, breads etc.

    I love bread, the taste and how addictive it is. ONe piece is not enough!! But I have noticed over the years how the weight is staying no matter what I do. I have noticed how bloated I am most of the time, how much weight I have put on, how uncomfortable I feel. I am irritable I am after a feast. I made my own bread!! :) Not celiac or gluten intolerant from what I know about it. BUT from MANY others and family as well who suffer from gluten or are diagnosed Celiac it has become important enough to me to read up as much as I can, being interested in health. I don’t expect the Doctors to always be up on every little thing that comes our way health wise. We have to take some responsibility in finding out what works and doesn’t and listen to our bodies.

    I found the book WheatBelly, and read it in a few days. So My husband who has allergies, dry eyes, and chronic cough that the doctors can’t find out what is wrong. After reading the book I decided to give this a try and find out for ourselves what is going on.

    First I got rid of alllll the wheat in the house, and sugar! Changed to baking the breads with almond flour,flax seed, and coconut flour, which are delicious by the way.

    We have enjoyed the change, and are looking forward to a healthier life style. This makes more sense to me than cutting out all fat, sugar and or meat, which I have also tried. Eating all fruits, vegetables, and olive oil, coconut oil, lean meats, along with the breads made without wheat are a much better choice.

    Feeling the difference, seeing the difference is the proof of this change.

    I suffere from headaches, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable and brain fog. ETC.

    I am already noticing the increased energy, sleeping better, less aches and pains. You can’t tell me this is not good for me. Nothing I have tried has worked before this. We take several supplements and eat well. Better now.

    I am saddened that educated people question normal people who are bright, and doing what they can to improve their health, when all evidence points to the negative by eating wheat. People who find out for themselves what their body is saying when making a change is I would think much better for everyone, health care especially, not mentioning being less of a burden to others when sick.

    Anyway, I am thankful, and feel blessed to have this knowledge and make the change. Thank you Dr. Davis.

    Maybe if they tried it for a three month period and see for themselves how much better they will feel they might become believers. Makes me very curious as to why they are so negative, when it has improved the quality of life for thousands.

    Blessings!

    • unterderlaterne

      Gale, I also was so proud of my homemade whole wheat bread with wheat germ and vital wheat gluten, milk powder and flax seeds, the one good and healthy ingredient, besides the milk powder. Well who knew. I wish I had not bought that expensive Zojirushi Bread machine.

  23. Sly Fox

    I’ve been wheat/gluten free for about 5 weeks. I started only because I wanted to lose excess weight. Within ten days I suddenly started sleeping better, eliminated joint pain and was satisfied after each meal. Also no more bloated but hungry after meals. I no longer eat fast food and do a lot more cooking. I lost 18 pounds in two weeks but now I’m having to learn to reduce the gluten free foods, they can be high in starches. I learned how to bake gluten free cookies and I’ve been eating a few too many. I have not been tested for celiac but it doesn’t matter, I am so much healthier and happier; no more gluten for me. I have tried a couple of times to eat wheat products and it caused bloating, stomach pain and a headache

    • unterderlaterne

      I have cut out all grains and starches. I adore the wheat belly cookbook by Dr.W.Davis. Fabulous recipes. Or go to Maria’s Nutritious and Delicious food, please google it. People love her wheat free bread.

  24. Mary

    Good advice will always result in word-of-mouth enthusiasm. The suggestion that people should keep their wheat-free happiness to themselves is truly sad. Should we all just wallow in self-pity? I don’t think so. My circumstance is like many others. I simply feel better and enjoy much better health when I avoid wheat. Yes, I could tell myself that I am the victim of bad genes or diabetes, or a weak stomach. But the truth is I do have a choice, and I am chosing health and to enjoy my food, wheat-free. There’s nothing wrong with that. And nothing wrong with sharing that good news with other people. Too late to play the “silence” card now. Because people, my doctor included, all want to know how I lost weight, kept it off, and defeated a life-sentence of diabetes. What should I say? I tell them I read Wheat Belly by Dr. Davis and it is a game-changer, available for less then the cost of one co-pay to my doctor who wasn’t helping me resolve my problems and who told me the same misinformation cited in this article about vitamin deficiencies and lack of fiber. What total nonsense!

    I could be offended by the endless aisles in the store devoted to wheat in all its forms, but I feel great to simply pass them by (gluten-free food especially), save some money, stop contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle, and move on. I know I can make better food at home anyway, and I’ll enjoy it more. Plus, I don’t have to buy diabetes meds, ointments and creams for rashes, antacids, or Spanx! Or a pricey gym membership. Or clothes to hide the ever-growing belly. Or hours of therapy to treat depression. And so on and so on…

  25. Linda

    I had allergy testing. Not allergic to wheat. I was tested for celiac disease, including an endoscopy and colonoscopy. No celiac disease. But the simple fact is, if I eat wheat, I have irritable bowel syndrome. If I don’t eat wheat, I have no problem. Even though solid evidence wasn’t there, my gastroenterologist was fine with me cutting out gluten. I take my B vitamins (and others). I have lost 30 pounds (much needed). This was the best thing I could have done. I now eat a whole foods diet – fish but no meat, no processed foods or junk food or soda.

  26. Nobelly

    ” keep my dietary decision to myself”. ????? Like you are keeping to yourself who funds your propaganda publication?

    I gave up wheat and consequently glutin because it was making me fat.

  27. jmk

    “Fortified breads and cereals have become a major source of B vitamins in the United States.” Fortified with what – spray on vitamins? And this is healthy? I’ve been gluten/wheat free for 5 months. Just had my vitamin B levels tested – they are at the high end of the normal range. Hmm. How can that be since I don’t eat “fortified breads and cereals” as a major source of B vitamins? The whole food industry is trying to kill us in exchange for higher profit. Things need to change!

  28. Mary

    I am not on a gluten-free diet, but rather a wheat-free diet. Prior to stopping my daily wheat binges, I was a type II diabetic. Now I am not. I was 20 pounds overweight and now I am not. I was suffering from depression, anxiety, skin rashes, thyroid problems. Now I do not suffer from any of these things. I tell everyone I can that giving up wheat has been fabulous and the best thing I’ve ever done for my health. If it’s trendy to be gluten-free, so be it. I’m loving the trend and I predict it to be a time-tested, growing lifestyle change. There are simply too many good benefits. I would never consider keeping all this good news to myself. Wheat-free living is on that scale in terms of the health benefits. It’s not an inconvenience to live wheat-free unless I count the frustration of dealing with the ignorance that surrounds this healthy life choice. I will continue to spread the word. And I continue to say thank you to Dr. Davis for his courage and keen insight into the many benefits of wheat-free living. His book is simply awesome!

  29. Janetoo

    I have Afib. I have had it for years and it is getting worse. I am breaking through all my medications and after a disastrous ablation, my Dr. wants to hold off before trying another. This is important, because intense exercise to lose weight will not work for me. I spent most of my life weighing about 102 lbs. with NO EFFORT. I ate cakes, pies, cookies, toast, bagels noodles, you name it, with NO effect on my weight. But, with middle age, came weight. And so, I changed my milk to skim, (I have always loved milk) and my everything else to low fat. I ate shredded wheat for FIBER, but I just got heavier and heavier. I tried exercise, but the afib got in the way of that. The last two years, with the worsening afib, I gained another 20 lbs. When I went into the hospital to try out the drug Tikosyn, I weighed 140. The day I got home four days later, I weighed 146! So, I cut back even more – I drank a 180 calorie protein shake (Special k) for breakfast, but I continued to eat shredded wheat everyday and changed to even smaller portions of pasta and rice and I switched from the occasional regular potato to sweet potatoes. My portions got smaller and smaller. I went to my regular Dr. in January and weighed 149. If I hit 150, I was going to feel defeated by my disease and my catch 22 exercise issues. I felt desperate. So, I started scouring Amazon and the internet for diets, mindful that my afib would not let me do boot camp exercise programs, etc. I found the books “Why We Get Fat” and “Wheat Belly.” As a result, I took the plunge and I stopped eating wheat and processed sugars five weeks ago. I have managed to walk on my treadmill, carefully only TWICE, but in spite of the lack of exercise, I have lost 12 lbs. so far. But there is more! I have had a goiter on my thyroid for 20 years. It was so pronounced, my Dr. used me as a guinea pig for medical students to understand how to feel and diagnose thyroid issues. The goiter, which was biopsied two years ago, was hard like a rock, calcified, but controlled by synthroid, which I have taken for 20 years. Often, I would absent mindedly rub my neck to feel the goiter, I kind of self check to see if it is getting bigger. The other day, I did this and low and behold, I can’t find it easily if at all. I am not ready to say it is gone, but it is much smaller – there is no other explanation for this after 20 years of remaining constant in size than the lack of wheat in my diet. Other benefits of this diet are becoming more and more apparent; I have suffered from arm and especially leg aches my entire life, since I was tiny. I would wake up in the night and take a pain reliever. THEY ARE GONE. I feel so great (aside for the afib – which I am working on with my cardiologist.) I no longer snack at work. NEVER. EVER. After lunch, I used to feel desperate for a snack by 2:30 every day – and I usually succumbed. I have not felt, sleepy or hungry in between meals for weeks. I have amazing energy ALL DAY LONG. My husband has diabetes and he has also lost weight and his blood sugar has been perfect! The book “Wheat Belly” has changed my life. Learning how to bake the Wheat Belly way is FUN. I had stopped baking completely due to the weight gain and the depression that went with it, which made me terribly sad. But, now, we are experimenting with cakes, cookies, pancakes, breads – all full of healthy almond flour and coconut flour and flax meal. We eat delicious blueberry muffins with 1.9 net carbs! I suggest that the author of this article and the article of the Time Magazine article try this for one month. I suggest they read ‘Wheat Belly” and other books on this subject. I suggest they do the same research all of those who have gone off wheat have done.

  30. Raphael

    Could you please post a response to Dr. Davis please?
    After all, people would like points and counter-points to get answered and hopefully you will agree that taking the time to do this with Dr. Davis is not time ill spent.

    He is ready to engage in discussion, have his work scrutinized. Are you?

  31. Allergist

    Gluten free food is much better for everyone. I have had experience with my son who develops an allergy to gluten. It’s better to take nutritious food. Thanks for this article.

  32. Miracle cure

    I gave up gluten and wouldn’t you know it:

    * My cancer was cured.
    * Have never had a pimple since.
    * I have become irresistible to the opposite sex!
    * I seem to be able to move objects with my mind.
    * My dead dog came back to life.
    * When I wake up every morning, there is $100 under my pillow.

    • Scott

      You’re overstating the case a bit, but if you have any of the 250 to 300 symptoms of Celiac Disease then giving up wheat could do you a world of good.

  33. Jen

    Holly and Dr. Leffler, this is a very good article by Dr. Mark Hyman MD which summarizes the problems with modern wheat for everyone, beyond just those with celiac disease. Please read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/wheat-gluten_b_1274872.html?ref=healthy-living

    A lot of rude comments here which I find is unnecessary, but I hope you’ve read them and get that people are upset and have had life-changing experiences when giving up wheat, gluten and reducing grains and carbs. And understand there is much more to this than you’ve claimed.

    I really didn’t like when you said: “keep your dietary choices to yourself.”
    That’s pretty ridiculous. When I share this information, such as the article above or information from Dr. Davis, people are shocked and so glad that they’ve gotten this information

  34. T J Huber

    Somebody has to be absolutely kidding! Reset y’alls clock to 50 years into the future. This is NOT the mid sixties. Who is sponsoring the writing of this kind of misleading information?
    Just one point: there are at least 3 million of celiacs. I was not diagnosed until I developed severe ataxia.

  35. Jenz2

    I’ve come to a realization that those who have worked and strived so hard to achieve so much, such as becoming a physician, scientist, and/or even attending the best medical schools (eg Harvard) tend to have this GROUP THINK mentality. They always had to do follow a strict protocol to achieve what they have, AND I think it molds them into people who tend to generally go with conventional ideas and people who don’t want to question or be open to new ideas…until ‘SOMEONE’ says it’s the right thing, or maybe something has changed. This is a setback for science and medicine, sadly. This article is a form of representation of this.

  36. Jenz

    How hard is it for people to eat whole, healthy food, instead processed, refined, starchy, modern wheat-filled stuff? It’s easy when you feel better and your appetite is decreased so much. B vitamins and fiber can be found in – in a real form – in many REAL FOODS. And it’s better when physicians encourage this, rather than saying how hard it is. Why do B vitamins and fiber have to be found in fortified bread? The GF foods are expensive, junky and probably don’t even taste that good, but you can certainly reduce or eliminate gluten without using that junk. Please look more broadly at this situation. There is so much more science and information available about the problems with modern wheat…not just for celiacs. Even the ‘best’ institution in the world can be wrong or not looking thoroughly at information, and science/medicine is always changing and learning more about what’s true. It’s disappointing to see this narrow interpretation of a very large problem (again problems with wheat and gluten consumption do effect many more than those with celiac disease; probably everyone is affected by wheat). We know whole wheat bread has a higher GI index than table sugar and that is just one small example of the problems with modern wheat.

  37. Elston Gunn

    “There’s one more thing you might consider doing: keep your dietary choice to yourself.”

    Huh? Really? This is the type of medical advice that the big brains at Harvard Medical School are dispensing now.

    So what, I should be embarassed that I gave up up Raisin Bran? Stay in the closet over the fact that I no longer eat Kraft dinner?

    Screw that. When ever I see some one and they say: “How did you lose 40 pounds? Why has your joint pain decreased by 95%? Why have all your skin conditions vanished?” I am going to tell them that I read Wheatbelly and stopped eating grains 3 months ago.

    I will also tell them to stop listening to idiots like Strawbridge and Leffler and start taking control of your health and well being.

  38. James Buch PhD

    I like your accuracy.

    You said…. ““There’s one more thing you might consider doing: keep your dietary choice to yourself. The more than 300,000-plus people in this country with celiac disease have to follow a gluten-free diet, because…”

    It is my understanding that “One in 133 Americans have celiac disease.” (http://www.celiaccentral.org/celiac-disease/facts-and-figures/)

    With over 300,000,000 people in the USA, there would be over 2,259,000 people with celiac disease.

    I hope that Harvard faculty know how to check their facts, or correct their errors once pointed out.

  39. Gregg Wilson

    “They get frustrated when they hear how wonderful this diet is”!?!? Once I eliminated grains/glutin from my diet I have never eaten such tasty and wonderful meals. Best move I’ve ever made.

  40. robert

    I’ve been grain free for 9 weeks. Its propelled me into a healthy weight range and made several annoying conditions simply disappear. Im shouting it from the roof tops. The suggestion that i should ‘keep quiet about it is ludicrous. The reason you suggest that i should is equally so and certainly makes one wonder what your real reason could be.

  41. mom4x

    More anecdotal evidence- I know, I know, statistically annoying but nevertheless, true.
    My own benefits of going wheat/gluten free: No more acid reflux. My skin looks fabulous. Correction of hair loss. Correction of irregularity. More energy. Noticeable reduction in appetite. Improved mood/less anxiety.
    My childrens’ benefits: Elimination of daily headaches. Elimination of joint aches (which I previously attributed to ‘growing pains’). Better sleep. Improved ability to pay attention.

    I could go on, but here’s the deal, I don’t replace gluten with junk replacement carbs. We eat whole foods. I send the kids’ lunches with them and now they aren’t even interested in the school lunch because it is disgusting to them. So the savings in the school lunches, headache medicine, and TUMS, not to mention the improved quality of life, means following this way of life is not hard at all.

    • Ms D

      Ditto for us…we eliminated grains. Dropped 20 pounds in 30 days. Eating fresh whole unadulterated real food. Processed food is just evil.

  42. mcannon

    Ms. Strawbridge:

    Please give us links to the research you used to write this article. We would like to analyze that research ourselves. We may or may not arrive at the same conclusions you do.

  43. Drae

    Wait. You need bread/wheat in order to have healthy babies? Great day in the morning!! How did our species manage to produce viable offspring before the agricultural revolution?!

    The world may never know…

  44. Serenity Health Coach

    This article is not only wrong, it is blatant misinformation! Harvard Health had some degree of my trust until now!

    Did you know that whole wheat bread of today has a higher glycemic index than a Snicker’s bar? Glidens are the culprit and are in every bite since the Green Food Movement altered wheat in the 60s in order to increase wheat crop yields tenfold! Yield increased along with the glidens and thus the inflammation that goes along with the glycemic spike.

    Wheat’s contribution to obesity, diatetes and consequently HEART DISEASE is well understood to those who do their research! The answer is not to switch to gluten free bread and pasta, the answer is to switch to healthier grains like quinoa and eat less processed foods! Part of your misinformation is the scare that eating healthier costs more!

    That will be one newsletter that I now will cancel, you have lost your credibility with me.

  45. Tyrannocaster

    To me, the most telling thing about this blog post is not the misinformation it hands out – it is the complete lack of rebuttal to all the criticism it has received. This is very similar to what happened when the grain lobby reviewed Wheatbelly; normally, the posts on their blog get about, say, six comments. That one got 117. ( http://www.sixservings.org/2011/08/500/ ) Nobody answered the criticisms there and I suspect they wish they had never posted the review. Perhaps if they ignore the comments hard enough they will simply disappear, LOL.

    Anyway, this post does the same thing. Holly, if you have something to back up your claims, show it to us. Otherwise, your silence speaks for itself.

  46. Tom

    The AMA generates hundreds of billions of dollars on the fact that we are ill, and it is in their best interest to keep us that way. If there are simple solutions to improve our health, they will do what they can to discredit these ideas while hiding behind the cloak of “Modern Medicine”. If they don’t it will be difficult for them to make their Mercedes payment!

  47. Bo

    With due respect. This is a total BS promoted by big agri- business.

    1) Gluten is just one protein in wheat. There are over 10,000 others.

    2) The gliadin protein of wheat exerts opioid effects on the human brain that, via the tetra- and pentapeptide digestates of gliadin, stimulate calorie consumption: 400 more calories per day, every day. The effect is blocked by naloxone/naltrexone, opiate-blocking drugs. (An FDA application is currently pending for such an application of naltrexone.)

    3) The gliadin protein has been demonstrated (Fasano et al) to induce increased small intestinal permeability, permitting entry of polypeptide antigens into the bloodstream/lymph, suspected to be the first step in generating autoimmunity. (A serum test for the zonulin protein will be commercially available near-future. Dr. Fasano tells me.)

    4) Wheat germ agglutinin, a direct intestinal toxin in animal models, exerts disruptive effects on gastric, small intestinal, and colonic mucosa.

    5) Unique forms of alpha amylase inhibitors are suspected to be among the factors responsible for the explosive increase in childhood allergies and asthma.

    This all comes to a head in our time because agribusiness and agricultural geneticists have been busy changing the genetics of wheat, e.g., chemical mutagenesis (the purposeful induction of mutations using sodium azide) to create imazamox-resistant wheat (“Clearfield,” patents held by BASF, the world’s largest chemical manufacturer), now grown on nearly 1 million acres in the U.S. The quadrupling of celiac disease, for instance, is largely explained by the enrichment of the Glia-alpha 9 gene in modern wheat, virtually absent from the wheat of 1960. This is just ONE of the thousands of changes introduced into the genome of modern wheat in the cause of increased yield-per acre.

    To argue that wheat products are necessary for B vitamins and fiber and to ignore all the other issues that now surround modern wheat is, well, ignorant.

    Unfortunately, the readership of this Harvard publication and the patients of physicians like Dr. Leffler will be deprived of real insights into this phenomenon of agribusiness-altered wheat. To call this a ‘fad” is like calling avoidance of glyphosate-resistant and Bt toxin-inoculated corn (both products of genetic modification) a fad—it is obviously not; it is a rejection of the worrisome genetic changes introduced into crops to suit the agenda of agribusiness, while ignoring the health effects on the consumers who eat these products.

    People like Ms. Strawbridge help perpetuate the ignorance that prevails among healthcare providers.

    A serious medical site should not be a major source of misinformation.

    Sincerely

    Bo Z.

  48. Amanda

    A GREAT BIG THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE SPOKEN UP WITH THEIR EXPERIENCES AND INFORMATION!!!

    When my daughter was 4 years old she had various digestive problems. My doctor did a full range of blood tests including a celiac panel. Everything was negative so she was treated with meds. Eventually she needed more and more and more meds and had more and more and more problems, but still no diagnosis0. 4 years later I’d had enough watching my little girl suffer from a huge array of problems. We had previously eliminated various foods with no improvements so I decided to eliminate wheat and gluten even though the famously unreliable celiac panel was negative. Within a week we had stopped all meds for reflux, constipation, and the undiagnosed skin problems on her bottom. (Other problems she just lived with.) Within 6 weeks everything had cleared. Our doctor couldn’t believe it and was very upset with himself for not following up on the celiac blood tests even though he new they were unreliable. She has had trial amounts since then so that the doctor could have another celiac panel done. She wound up with bleeding skin lessions and in the ER for severe constipation. We are still waiting to get into specialists so do not have a firm diagnosis yet but we don’t really need one to know that my little girls body can not tolerate wheat.

    If everybody had just shut their mouth (like this author is suggesting)about the problems with gluten I may not have had the information I needed to know or have been comfortable in my decision to remove wheat/gluten from my 8 year olds diet and I’d still be watching my wonderful little girl suffer. So thank you to all who have spoken up. Please continue to spread your message and inform other people. I still don’t have a firm diagnosis but we do know that my little girl will never have wheat/gluten again.

    I can’t believe anybody with a health problem would ever want to hide the facts about the causes or treatments. I do believe it’s important to differentiate between the various immune responses to wheat, but not talk about it??? I really don’t think that is good advice.

    Again thank you to all who spoke up. And maybe I should thank the author of this article too because it sure has gotten people talking about their experiences.

    • pal-pip-wi

      Amanda: THANK YOU for sharing this heartbreaking story. I am a 54 woman who had a few weeks of slight trouble with my gut 2 months ago and THANK GOD found Dr. Davis’ book so I could begin my path to superior wellness.
      MY STORY NO WHERE NEAR COMPARES to what your little girl suffered! Yet, it has been life changing for me too.
      I have never been a litigious person at all, but hearing your story makes me wonder if this is a case for MALPRACTICE!! Those Drs and this Harvard “expert” are sounding even more than simply ignorant.
      Apart from that, we are seeing what happens when a grass-roots (no grain pun intended) revolution occurs when people take back the responsibility for their health and the health of the dear innocents like your daughter.
      Some folks just ain’t gonna be happy with that. Tough doughy pizza for them!!

    • ocanannain

      Yes, what I find most offensive in this article (besides the bad dietary advice) is this statement … “keep your dietary choice to yourself.”

      Wow… where do you begin… this condescending, patronizing superiority is so off-putting, I want to spit! So she thinks her readers are children?!? Sheeeeesh….

      I, personally, told my husband of my dietary choice (reduce carbs and eliminate all wheat) which he decided to follow as well. After a year, he now no longer has the severe GERD he’s been plagued with his entire adult life, has lost 30 lbs without trying, sleeps more deeply, has eliminated his psoriasis, has a much healthier lipid panel and excellent blood sugar, his migraines have lessened significantly, and he has gotten off 3 medications with no side effects.

      Best of all, he’s so grateful that I didn’t keep my dietary choice to myself.

  49. david potack

    I’m not a doctor just an ordinary 65 year old who has followed the ‘wheat free’ lifestyle for the past 16 months. I’ve lost 106 lbs, am completely free of my type 2 diabetes without any meds. [blood sugar 78-80 Ac1 4.35]. I suffered from colitis for fifteen years and my last colonostomy revealed that it’s gone. Assorted skin rashes visibly improved. These are my facts. The only difference was the diet and I now take Vitamin D3 capsules. Oh yeah, no more Crestor and my 115 cholestrol number i’m told is pretty good. Thank you.

  50. Pweber

    I have been wheat- free for over a year now & I will never go back to it. This article is ridiculous !

  51. donny

    Better eat wheat, because it’s fortified. Eggs aren’t fortified. Liver isn’t fortified. Meat isn’t fortified. Why? They won’t give you beri-beri, or pellegra, or even scurvy, as some non-fortified grain-based diets might. Honestly, the only benefit of wheat described in this article can be corrected with a multivitamin.

    Oh, but we should get our nutrition from our food, right?

  52. Drae

    Way to go, Holly! You’ve just diminished the credibility of Harvard. Just who paid for you to produce this joke of an article anyways?

  53. Ann C.

    I’ve been completely grain free (not just wheat) for 2 years. I’ve lost 35lbs, kept it off, and no longer have osteopenia, annulare granuloma (a skin rash I’ve had for 26 years), and asthma. I have no trouble from a lack of fiber – vegetables have plenty of fiber and I’ve eaten more of them in the last two years than the whole rest of my life put together! By getting all the cheap filler grains out of my diet and replacing them with unprocessed protein, non-starchy vegetables and fat I have never felt better in my life.

    I am so tired of writers babbling about matters they do not understand and have never tried for themselves. The article is nonsense, with one exception: gluten-free processed foods are,indeed, expensive. They are also completely unnecessary, like all other processed foods.

  54. Nancy M.

    Loads of research about gluten related, non-celiac diseases that never made it to your curriculum, apparently.

    Giving up gluten isn’t easy. I doubt anyone would do it “just because”.

  55. Tanya. Robak

    I’m shocked that Harvard is associated with (and would allow) these ignorant, uneducated claims to be made using their name. I wonder who provides the author’s funding?
    “…keep your dietary choice to yourself”? The last time I heard a similar comment they were trying to keep gay people from coming out of the closet.
    Get real.

  56. Mark LeBlanc

    Thats a TOTAL Lie !!!! I have been WHEAT FREE for 4 months and have LOST 45 POUNDS!!!! I feel better,,,sleep better,,,poop better,,,,think better,,,, EVERYTHING is better…. No more aches and pains,,, more ENERGY then I have EVER had…. Wheat is a POISON to your body…Go WHEAT free for 3 weeks… I DARE YOU!!! Then come back and tell me that you dont see and IMPROVEMENTS!!!!!!!!

  57. Brian Lain

    totally disagree with Ms. Strawbridge
    going wheat / gluten free has allowed me to stop taking insulin
    and put me on a path to curing my diabetes!

    • Jan

      Maybe that’s the point Brian…..perhaps Ms. Strawbridge and those she represents (mainstream medical practitioners, Big Pharmacy, Agriculture communities, as well as the junk food industry)……they DON’T want you off insulin! We’re worth much more if we remain fat, sick and drug dependent!

      • Drae

        Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! The medical profession and their friends in big pharma can’t make money if we’re not sick.

        Poor Holly. Her vested interest is showing…

  58. Matthew

    This article is sadly misinformed. We do not need genetically modified wheat! I do not have celiac disease, but I went wheat-free in order to lose weight and feel better. The first week was tough, but I quickly lost ten pounds and lost my cravings for wheat products. I now enjoy fruits and vegetables more than ever, and I feel great! Do not let those with a vested financial interest–such as the writer, apparently–convince you that wheat is healthy for you. It is quite the opposite.

  59. Amanda

    Holly the suppermarket is full of gluten free foods like all the vegetables, fruit and meats and seafood! Isn’t that what we are supposed to eat? Fresh and nutritious-delicious!

  60. flor

    must be an early april fool’s piece/industrial mouthpiece.

    gluten free: i got rid of severe asthma (muscle atrophy and lack of periods from excessive steroids inhalation), eczema, arthritis, fatigue, edema, food obsession, constant hunger/headaches, 20+ varying allergies including chicken eggs/seafood/casein/many fruits/produce. i could finally go out to eat again; gluten free is a cinch compared to a gazillion food allergies leading to asthma attacks.

  61. cj

    GO Wilson go,

    Article does sound like the author is a little dittsy and/or locking in her funding for research grants to be!

  62. The Pooch

    There exists a range of gluten sensitivity, from full-blown celiac disease to complete tolerance of wheat/gluten. As someone in the middle of this range, I test negative for celiac disease, and yet I experienced many positive health benefits when I stopped eating wheat. A wheat-free diet cured my IBS, and I also had improvements in sleep, allergy symptoms, energy levels throughout the day, as well as a decrease in appetite and an effortless weight loss of 20 lbs.

    Nutritional deficiencies? Humans ate little or no grains for ~95% of our existence as a species, so there is nothing nutritionally essential in grains. I eat vegetables, well-raised meat, and healthy fats with every meal.

  63. smgj

    When I stopped wheat i FINALLY got rid of 18 years of sinus problems… in the 2 years since, I’ve just had 2 short 3-days colds. I also lost edemas and a slight depression at the same time.

    And yes – I believe that the wheat (and possibly barly, oaths and rye) caused all this.

    It’s not difficult to replace the vitamins/minerals from wheat by eating whole foods (which would probably give more vitamins&minerals).

  64. oomiak

    I would like to respectfully request that the author of this article read the well-researched and documented book by cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, “Wheat Belly”… it won’t take you much time… and I believe you will be fascinated by what Dr. Davis has discovered in his research and clinical practice …. what do you have to lose?

    On another topic, the type of crowd-sourcing that is going on as a result of this article is one of the more interesting consequences of a growing and broadening internet. With SO MANY people reporting the same types of results from eliminating wheat, it is certainly worth looking into…. or, simply visiting Dr. Davis’ website, reading his posts, and the replies of so many people who have performed their own n=1 experiments and now no longer eat wheat.

  65. Healthy Skeptic

    I find Ms. Strawbridge shows a very revealing bias against healthy change!

    So I would ask her if she feels she is justified in quickly dismissing the testimony and experiential information provided by so many who actually now live with and who have so clearly benefitted from these changes. Isn’t it the least we can expect of scientists to test out their hypothesis before dismissing evidence out of hand? I would like to know how she plans to present her hypothesis and scientifically test her own claims? Isn’t that what she should be doing instead of slamming those who have proven to themselves it works and telling them not to share the (real) wealth?

  66. Margaret

    I love being wheat free! Shopping is easy. I just stick to the inside walls of the supermarket. I have lost a lot of weight in the past seven months and have never felt better. I don’t miss wheat -containing products at all. I never thought I could do without pasta, but I can. I use a lot of almonds for making pancakes and waffles. I grind them myself for almond meal. Who needs wheat? Nobody!

  67. Felicia

    This article is nothing but schlock!

    My husband and I went grain and rice free back in 2005. I’m not celiac (as far as I know) but I experienced IBS-like symptoms that were exhausting and debilitating which prompted me trying the wheat-free idea. Three days off of wheat and I felt SO MUCH BETTER! It turns out many of the physical issues I’ve had over my life are due to hypo-thyroid (I’m 55 and just got correctly diagnosed last spring- FINALLY!) including the gastric issues. However, getting off wheat and rice (all grains, really) made such a huge difference in how we felt that we’d never go back. Our blood tests are perfect as is our blood pressure. Doctors always say you must eat low fat, whole grains and get lots of exercise- and boy are they weirded out when I say, NO, entirely the opposite!

    We tell everyone who will listen about our grain-free food choices and encourage folks to try the same. It’s NOT hard, it’s way easy once you shop the outer aisles of the grocery stores! And it’s way cheaper, too! Not to mention feeling like you can go without eating for more than twenty minutes once you get into burning fat, not sugar, for your fuel!

    I suggest, oh, deluded writers, that you try out a grain-free diet for yourselves rather than just listen to us. The proof is in the pudding. :)

  68. Jan

    Ms. Strawbridge,
    I am both appalled and saddened by your promotion of the nutritional myths in your article…..the same myths that have kept our collective health in the dark ages. We have become a nation of sick, fat people listening to the rhetoric you spout…….well, not anymore! We are taking our health back and we’re doing it with a vengence as you can see by the comment section below. I wake up every day and thank God for Dr. Davis……because of his message, my husband and I are living our golden years in much healthier and happier bodies!

  69. Blueroan

    “The average American diet is deficient in fiber,” says Dr. Leffler. “Take away whole wheat and the problem gets worse.”

    News Flash: Fruits and Veggies are loaded with fiber. WOW, who knew!

    I’ve been Paleo now for about a year; I feel great, I’ve lost weight, and I’m as regular as a train scheduled. I don’t feel deprived at all and it isn’t an inconvenience. I go out to restaurants with my non-paleo friends and family and easily find things on the menu that work for me.

    As for keeping my dietary choices to myself for fear of offending someone with celiac, that’s hogwash! Would you argue that my avoidance of sugar will offend diabetics?

    Nice try, but no dice.

  70. Jenny

    Seriously? This article should be posted on The Onion website not Harvard Health. What a joke.

  71. Lisa Little

    No way. Have you really done your research? Do you realize what wheat does to every person who eats it? I am not allergic to wheat but I have stopped eating it. My entire family which includes myself, my husband, and two children under 12 are not eating wheat. We are doing fine. Is this difficult? No.

    I have been living wheat free since November 2011. It is now March of 2013. What has changed? My eczema, dry skin, and allergies are gone. My afternoon sleepiness is gone. My cholesterol, in spite of eating lots of meat and eggs,is normal. My triglycerides are lower than they were in November of 2011. My carpal tunnel symptoms in my hands are gone. My thyroid medicine (synthroid) has been lowered for the first time in 10 years. I have lost 20 lbs. I eat meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and nuts. I don’t have any lack of choices. In fact, I think I am a better cook now. I don’t have to rely on starches to make up the base of my meals.

    You want more information? Read anything from Gary Taubes, William Davis, Jay Robb, Robert Lustig. They will show you why wheat and other grains are not good for you.

    Passing fad? No. Just wait. This way of eating (wheat free, low carb) is not going away. For your health, try it.

    • cj

      Thank YOU, LISA

      I shared your comments with a friend in trouble; I hope she can read your joy of healthy eating and wheat free lifestyle!

  72. Melody

    One who’s prophecy is not based on experience has no business whatsoever reporting to the masses about anything. Experience is based on the senses. Taste, touch, smell, sight, hear…What I see, smell, taste, touch and hear as well as my perceptive intuition is all I have. You know, that thing called the 6th sense. In fact my intuition tells me that this author should be banned from cyberspace and any other form of communication around this issue until or unless she has experienced the gluten free life. Watch what you put out there. It is known to come back tenfold.

  73. Jeff McElroy

    The more I think about this article the more I think it has to be some kind of high brow satire piece about the current state of affairs in mainstream medicine and nutrition. This can’t be a serious article.

  74. None Given

    I have a better idea. You keep your opinions to yourself.
    Cereal grains have no legitimate place in the human diet.

  75. Janknitz

    “people have been switching to gluten-free diets to lose weight, boost energy, treat autism, or generally feel healthier. ”

    Well, we certainly wouldn’t want that, now, would we??? What a silly theory. There’s a growing body of evidence, not just anecdotal, that elimination of grains has all the above positive health effects and more. How about treating–perhaps curing–progressive neurological diseases like MS? See Dr. Terry Wahls.

    I am appalled at this article, as I am many other published opinions by medical doctors and registered dieticians who somehow imply that giving up gluten and grain products is dangerous. There’s absolutely no evidence of that. All the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in our fortified junk grains are available in REAL, WHOLE FOODS. No fake “gluten-free” substitutes need apply.

    It does not have to cost more. Think of the money saved not having to buy a cart load of “products” instead of produce each week. Because of blood glucose excursions caused by the carbohydrates in grain products, people find they have to eat as often as every two hours to avoid gnawing hunger and hypoglycemia. Off grains, blood glucose is stabilized, three meals of lower carbohydrate content are fully satisfying, and between meal hunger disappears. Vegetables with real butter are much cheaper than Oreos or cereal with “whole grains”. It’s challenging to eat out, but eating at home is MUCH cheaper and healthier, too.

    And it’s free to try. All it takes is a little self-experimentation. Eliminate grain products for one month. If one doesn’t “lose weight, boost energy, treat autism, or generally feel healthier” in that time, then all one has to do is start eating grains again. My guess is that the majority of people who try this will reap major benefits and decide NOT to go back to grains, but I hope if they decide that they crow it from the rooftops, not keep silent, since the whole world needs to know that it’s possible to feel better, lose weight, boost energy, etc. without listening to Harvard experts supported by the very companies that make the grains and products that have made them obese, depressed, and ill all these years.

    • pal-pip-wi

      “Off grains, blood glucose is stabilized, three meals of lower carbohydrate content are fully satisfying, and between meal hunger disappears.”
      THIS DESCRIBES MY EXPERIENCE EXACTLY.
      Off wheat & all grains now 8 weeks — I have NEVER in my 54 years experienced going 4, 5, 6, 7 or even 8 hours between meals without hunger & snacking snacking snacking.
      Do you hear me Ms. Strawbridge??? This is life changing for me and you are being dismissive. That doesn’t feel good.

      • Peggy Holloway

        She seems completely oblivious to or ignorant of the effects of insulin on human metabolism.
        My experience, exactly, as well. On a high-grain diet, I was constantly hyper/hypoglycemic and experienced painful, gnawing hungry constantly. On high-fat, no-grains, low-carbohydrate, I often go 12 hours without eating and never even think about food. I have biked for 75 miles on no breakfast and had incredible energy and no hunger.

  76. doreen

    wheat in particular has so many destructive properties…not just gluten. of course if you substitute with all the gluten free crap out there your blood sugar will skyrocket! eating unprocessed whole foods is the answer. grains in general do not provide anything you cant get from other foods and are not worth eating due to the myriad problems associated with them (too high carb…lectins/antiutrients….appetite stimulation….high blood sugar…..and many more)

  77. Carol B

    I am saddened at the position the writer of this article has taken; it is simply, indefensible. Humans survive, not thrive, eating grains, as proven by the fossil record and by the rampant vitamin deficiencies and health issues experienced by agricultural people the world over. I have been grain-free for over 2 years and specifically wheat free, no cheats, for the last year: I have an overall weight loss now of 70 lbs; my depression has lifted; my skin cleared up; no more gas or bloating; and every day I wake up energetic and happy, ready to face the day. I no longer binge eat, or eat compulsively, mindlessly. I eat only meats, veggies, nuts, seeds and healthy fats and have experienced first hand the benefit of eating as fits our genome as the organisms we are. Dr Davis is a practicing medical doctor and scientist, who observed improvements in his patients when they quit wheat; curious, he investigated. Isn’t this what trained medical professionals should be doing? Please do not let any outside lobbies influence how you conduct your science. A wheat free diet can be a very, very optimal way to eat as long as you stick with Dr Davis’ advice and eat only whole, single ingredient foods. To a layperson like me, this advice is logical, sensible, and based on my personal experience, WORKS. Thank you.

  78. Jill

    Typo-free version!

    Guess what Ms Strawbridge – it’s become “hip” to doone’s own research, work out what’s best for one’s own body and ignore nincompoops who may have qualifications but not in the right area for one’s symptoms.

    There ARE open-minded doctors, nurses, practitioners and knowledgeable dietitians around who know why wheat is poison and are taking their clients off it.
    Maybe you should get some of them working at Harvard,
    or else write proper articles with actual scientific citations rather than attempting to be dismissive and blame “the media” for the gluten-free phenomenon.

    • george firewood

      brilliant comment said everything i was going to say in the least possible number of words you should be employed by harvard or maybe not you are to clever for that.LOL.

  79. Alex

    I started a wheat free diet having suffered from gastrointestinal problems most of my life. After a couple of weeks I noticed a difference. Now several months into it I know wheat has been my problem. Because the few times I slip and eat a piece of bread my gastro problems come back and with full force as a reminder of why I should not eat wheat.

    And though I have not lost much weight my pant size has dropped by 4 inches and hasn’t stopped. My exercise regiment has not changed at all.

    Going wheat free is not expensive. In fact it saves me money because instead of buying bread & pasta I’m getting fresh vegetables high in fiber and making stews. I’ve even started using Indian & African spices so I can avoid sodium.

  80. TOMJJ

    A poorly written article with a devastating conclusion with an agenda. I would like you to explain dear madam how I shed three meds (BP,Cholesterol, pre Diabetes) in 6 months all from one simple change in my lifestyle…….eliminating ALL wheat. And, along the way lost 25 pounds. As a lifetime athlete my Docs just kept shrugging their shoulders about my worsening condition……2 of them are Harvard grads. Just sayin’

  81. Loekie

    Wheat free is a liberation. You don’t need wheat. It only makes you fat and sick. All the things you need are in other food. I tell it to everybody. Because everybody should know it.

  82. Scott

    I suffered from severe bowel problems since childhood and saw many doctors but nothing they did helped. They told me their was nothing they could do and i had to live with it. In 1998 I got a computer and searched the internet with my symptoms. I found a discussion group where a man related the extreme symptoms he had when eating ice cream with a bit of cookie in it. He attributed these symptoms to the wheat. I didn’t put any stock in this but I thought it remarkable that this man had the exact same problem as myself. I decided to try going wheat free as I had done everything suggested to me to alleviate my symptons except for ingesting wormwood.

    After three days of no gluten my bowel problems were completely gone and they have not returned.

    They didn’t have all the gluten free products then that we have today so I never bothered to eat them. I just buy my own food and do my own cooking and consider it a delight and not a burden. Why would I consider it a burden? It’s giving me a life well worth living.

    Gluten free is no fad. It’s a matter of making a reasonable experiment and seeing if the results make it worth continuing.

    Thank you Doctor Davis, you are saving children from the years of misery I had to go through. I wish I had you for a doctor instead of the knuckleheads I had to go to.

  83. Sam

    Poorly researched article – Last expected from Harvard. If Harvard wants their reputation maintained, they should review such flippant drivel from some uninformed serf.
    The hundreds of comments above and thousands of experiences of real people will not substitute the poor advice offered.
    This article is a shame… Harvard! wake up.

  84. Shreela

    I had IBS symptoms, was tested for Celiac, came back negative, but the time that I avoided gluten/wheat caused much wanted weight-loss and after about 10 days my decades-long “hypoglycemia” symptoms decreased dramatically, so I mostly continued my wheat-free diet.

    PS: Just in case dropping gluten doesn’t “cure” your IBS, try a food-additive rule-out for about 4 days, then slowly challenge yourself with commercial-chemical foods every other day. I found I’m highly sensitive to carrageenan, nitrates, and oddly enough, Annatto (completely natural), and an unknown substance in commercial broths/bouillons. Even if it turns out you’re not sensitive to additives, you’ll be eating more nutrient-dense foods during the rule-out, so your body won’t mind too much.

    I’m sure Holly Strawbridge will write carrageenan is completely safe too, especially since food manufacturer$ profit so much from it.

  85. Rebecca

    I have celiacs and have never been offend by people eating gluten free because they want too. I realize that it is their body and the food they choose to put into it is more then likely the diet that makes them feel good . I would never count others money or tell them to stop eating a certain way just because they do not have a diagnose as celiacs. I realize from my own struggles with health almost four years with celiac skin that a dermatologist kept repeating that I was having a skin reaction to cleaning chemical , even when I told him at every appointment after the first I haven’t cleaned anything trying to rid my self of the rash that was covering my feet legs back arms hands. I really feel a person if suspecting gluten or wheat intolerances should not wait for testing, why suffer at the hands of doctor’s when you can find relief there is no meds and no risk health wise by taking gluten or wheat out of your diet. If it helps god bless and happy health, the real food will make sure of that. So you won’t offend tell me of your gluten free life and I will wish you all the best. This article is so off base, and the warning for pregnant women is so sad. Even women who are not gluten free they take prenancy vitamins which gives extra folic acid and vitamin B so really with veggies , fruit, meat and nuts/seeds you really will be a health pregnant women no worries, I was gluten free and all.

  86. Anne Franklin. (MargieAnne)

    I wonder if you will actually read and understand and accept all the comments.

    1. I am from New Zealand and have no axe to grind with you or anyone associated with Havard Medical School.

    2. I had a reason to stop eating wheat…. many reasons and none of them have anything to do with celiac.

    Over the years I came to realise I feel better when wheat free and I have fewer muscle and joint aches. In fact they disappear completely after a week free of wheat. I usually get severe stomach pain within hours of eating my first slice of bread after a period of abstinence.

    I was sliding heavily into the morbidly obese group. Cutting out wheat dramatically reduced starches and I automatically began to feel better.

    The results speak for themselves. Without counting calories or practising any other dietary restriction I lost 60 pounds in 12 months and am maintaining it with ease. I feel 100% better than I did when eating wheat.

    Three months into my wheat free lifestyle I read Dr. William Davis’s book, Wheat Belly. For the first time in my life, and I am now 74 years old, I understood why had felt so unwell mentally and physically for much of my adult life.

    Without wheat in my diet I no longer feel as though food rules my life. I do not have food cravings, and I eat well.

    You say being gluten free is expensive and restrictive. I have found it to be the exact opposite. There is a huge variety of food I enjoy and can eat until I feel satisfied and I stay satisfied for hours on end. My blood sugars stay stable and I am 100% mentally and physically fitter than 18 months ago.

    I am still overweight but I’m confident that fat will come off as I continue my current wheat free lifestyle.

    After seeing the change in me my husband is now wheat free. We look at our children, all adults, and wonder how different their lives might have been had known some of the consequences of eating a grain based diet when they were small.

    I am tired of people in positions that are respected and who speak with authority, telling us we should be eating wheat in it’s various forms. It’s time you looked with an open mind at the science behind Wheat Belly. This is not a stand alone book. There are many other advocates of living a wheat fee lifestyle and they have good scientific research backing them up.

    What would it take for Havard Medical School to take a lead and work on producing some research that is believable?

    With Respect
    Mrs. Anne Franklin.

  87. Shirley

    This is not a fad, Holly. Agribusiness better start thinking
    about what to do with all the wheat–maybe use it for fuel or building material? (And stop giving corn to livestock). Eliminating wheat and dairy has turned my life around. I’m now a size 2, my androgenic alopecia has stopped, my right eye had 2 red spots in the retina and I constantly felt the pressure. Only one spot is left and very tiny. The Dr. is befuddled as is my dermatologist. FBS was 87 now 84.

    • Jill

      Absolutely Shirley!!

      Wheat has many interesting properties that would be excellent in industrial applications.
      No reason at all that we have to eat this grass.

  88. Anony121

    The medical industry needs to get with the times, because the ignorance and desire to stay in the past is making them obsolete. My mom reversed borderline high blood pressure and pre-diabetes by giving up gluten. I found that it makes me cramp and bloat so I avoid it too. Not because I aim to be hip, but because I aim to be healthy and I don’t need the blessing of those with allergies or medical degrees to go on a diet and find benefit. But I’m sure when millions of more people find that they benefit from it, someone in the medical industry will finally listen – but it will be too late. We won’t need them any more.

  89. Britten

    Went gluten free “just because” 11months ago. Within three weeks felt amazing. Never looked back. It’s an amazingly simple change to make once you realize how fantastic you look, feel, sleep without wheat/gluten in your life!

  90. mtnmama

    This article implies that without the B fortification in wheat products, we’d all be B deficient. But the reason such products are fortified is because processed wheat products are deficient without them! Meats and vegetables are a far better source.

    It’s sad to see that even a supposedly scholarly publication with “trusted advice for a healthier life” is touting such industry propaganda while ignoring science and evidence that can actually support a healthier life.

  91. Jane D

    Holly Strawbridge and Dr. Leffler need to be educated regarding the benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle. After perusing the numerous posts regarding this article, I can see that many people have benefited enormously from being gluten-free, including myself. This is not a “fad.” This is an awareness about keeping one’s body healthy, and grains do not make the body healthy. As Dr. Davidson has explained so well, there are numerous autoimmune conditions that arise with consumption of mutant wheat and gluten-containing grains. This so-called wheat has been hybridized hundreds of times so it does not resemble the wheat of my mother’s generation. It has been chemically treated and so becomes immune reactive. One does not need to buy expensive gluten-free foods, when regular food will suffice. Is Dr. Leffler suggesting that meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, fruit are somehow not as healthy a choice as wheat and grains? Harvard Publications…please educate yourselves before making statements that are misleading and untrue.

  92. Amanda

    Going gluten free is not a fad, it is a movement! And is not going to change in spite of people who don’t want to see the inflammatory properties of wheat.
    Gluten free is not more expensive and is not less nutritious, collar greens, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, beet, carrots…what are you doctors from Harvard are talking about?
    I had to go gluten free for medical reasons, then my whole family followed me after seeing the side effects of GF: no headaches, no allergies, no joint pains, no depression, no fat around our bellies, no acid reflux, no asthma,no fatigue, no cravings, beautiful youthful skin…. I think you need to do some more research…

  93. Karen B.

    I don’t eat gluten, but neither do I eat most processed foods so I wouldn’t touch something like a gluten-free bread. It’s really not that difficult at all. My family eats the same types of foods my mother fed our family and her mother fed hers. A typical dinner would be roast beef, roasted potatoes and green beans or carrots. Not expensive or restrictive but wholesome and delicious.

    • Jeff McElroy

      I think that is where some folks steer themselves wrong. I like Dr. Davis’ mantra: Go gluten free, but don’t eat gluten free. The overly processed “gluten free” stuff is just as bad as the stuff made from wheat, and in most cases are made by the same big agribusiness morasses that make the other poison. They must be getting scared if they are paying nominally intelligent shills to post under the aegis of “Harvard Medical” to offer feeble rebukes.

  94. Jeff McElroy

    To say Dr. Laffer pontificattion, “It’s possible to get the fiber you need from other grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, or from fruits, vegetables, and beans, but you’ll need to make the effort.” is ludicrous is putting it kindly.

    1 cup of collard greens. Cooked, boiled, drained, without salt will give you 5 grams of dietary fiber (21 percent RDA). This single cup is 5 percent more than 2 slices of whole wheat bread, and will not spike your blood glucose sending you on an insulin/sugar roller coaster ride from hell. Many other leafy greens offer similar fiber amounts. I would say it is the exact opposite. Eliminate wheat and you have to go out of your way to NOT get fiber.

    • Jeff McElroy

      You’ll get 44 percent of your RDA for folate in that cup too. A whopping 38 percent more than 2 slices of whole wheat bread. Which kind of destroys the author’s contention that “This can be a problem for anyone, but it’s especially worrisome for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant. They need vitamin B9, more commonly known as folate or folic acid, to prevent birth defects.”

      hmmm. eat an entire loaf a bread, or a 2 cups of greens to avoid folate induced birth defects. Which do you think is more feasible and healthy?

      Overall the entire article is humorous. If this is the best rebuttal the wheat shills can provide they should just give up now while they are behind.

  95. Lori Miller

    If “supermarket aisles abound with products proudly labeled ‘Gluten free’, and many restaurants now offer gluten-free options,” why is following a gluten-free diet “extremely challenging”? Even on vacation in in Chicago, where half the restaurants are pizza and pasta places, I didn’t have a bit of trouble finding wheat-free meals. There’s a wide world of foods out there that don’t include gluten.

    The claim about becoming deficient in B vitamins on a GF diet is BS. A 100-gram hamburger patty (75% lean) has a comparable amount of thiamin and folate, and far more riboflavin, niacin, B6 and B12 than a slice of wheat bread. (Source: nutritiondata.com.) You fail to mention that wheat has a nutrient blocker called phytic acid, which blocks minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc. And there’s no need in the human diet for fiber.

    “If you think you might have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it’s best to see a doctor before going gluten free.” Trolling for business much? Most doctors don’t study nutrition, remember?

  96. Janet

    Hey, Holly No-Nothing, shill for BIG FOOD and BIG PHARMA–All the informed comments above calling you and your sugar daddy corporations out–HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. People are dying out here and you are helping it happen.

    Signed: Off the Wheat/Big Food Grid Girl

    • Joann

      Holly, to imply that pregnant women and their babies are in danger because they don’t eat wheat is plain wrong. Do you know how many other sources of folate there are in the plant kingdom? Duh! And vegetables are chock FULL of the fiber that you seem to insinuate is only available in whole grains. The wheat-laden junk sold to us as food is the real danger.

  97. elaine

    This is a very disappointing article. It needs much fact checking. “Keep your dietary choices to yourself.” What kind of advice is that? Don’t tell anyone I have lost weight, feel great and eat all types of great foods. Your wheat addiction is showing.

    • Janet

      Yeah, shhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone because we, the conventional wisdom and bought off dirt bags like HOlly, are too into misleading people into hideous diets which lead to painful death.

    • Theresa

      Elaine, Holly was saying people who are gluten-sensitive (not intolerant) should not brag about how wonderful they feel on a gluten-free diet to people who have celiac disease. The perspective of the person with celiac disease is much different than that of a person who is merely gluten-sensitive. They are not trying to cure acne or eliminate bloating. They are trying to stay alive.

  98. Sara Adams

    Please do actual research before dismissing the health consequences of this GM castrophy to those of us who do not have Celiac dz. The myriad of proteins that did not exist in grains until lab experiments were involved have consequences. Unfortunately, many symptoms are so non-specific it’s hard for reasonable practitioners and consumers to bring about change when people like you remain fairly closed minded.

  99. Geoffrey

    This is so misguided, and I am not surprised. The medical establishment just doesn’t want to get it. Essentially what I just heard from the read was eat whole wheat because it will deliver to you essential vitamins, which the industry adds to your favorite wheat products (i.e. cereals, breads, etc.). How about going right to the source instead? Wheat is viewed as a benign food that’s a convenient way to package the other foods that we really need. Essentially it makes real food more convenient to eat, especially with your hands.

  100. Ginger McGee

    So, Ms. Strawbridge: Read your article and sooo offended by not only the misinformation, but your level of incompetence. I only have one question for you and your Harvard colleagues: How much of a grant will you be getting from the big wheat producers of this country (Kraft, BASF, etc) to write such an unbelievabley misleading article? And, telling people to keep their dietary choices to themselves: you guys should be really afraid as people are talking, blogging, writing books–your article is going over like a lead balloon. Also, your point that going gluten free is a burden??? A burden is being mislead by ignorant people like you leading this country to UNNECESSARY obesity, sickness, and ultimate death. May you be stricket with the very diseases today’s wheat produces–especally since doing anything else is such a BURDEN!

  101. Tina McBride

    MS. Strawbidge: you and your article are prime examples why people are so sick and obese in this country. It really adds up to one word: incompetence! And, I am personally offended by telling readers to keep what they eat to themselves and that it is a bother to go gluten free. Let me tell YOU what a bother really is: It is living with a disease for over 10 years and NOT one doctor during that time correctly diagnosed me. Money spent on useless doctors, appointments, irrelevant tests, and useless medications (not to mention all the time I WASTED seeing incompetent doctors like YOU) were the BOTHER. So, don’t come on to this Harvard Review with your political spew about how gluten free has no benefits. You need to become educated on the subject or just keep IT to YOURSELF! Moron.

    • Scott

      Exactly.

      It’s disgusting how many people have had this experience of seeing numerous doctors with not even one suggesting wheat could be the problem.

      If someone has a serious bowel function problem, and nothing is helping, then what harm could there be in suggesting that they make an experiment of eliminating wheat and see if it helps?

  102. Christine Fletcher

    BTW there are 3 MILLION celiacs in the US, and many of those with Celiac go undiagnosed. So not only did you not research this well, you did not even bother to proofread. See stats form the National Institutes of Health and the Univ. of Chicago Celiac Disease Center here: http://www.statisticbrain.com/gluten-celiac-disease-statistics/

  103. Lorie Mason

    This HAS to be the most incompetent person with a degree from Harvard! Her numbers on celiac disease is WAAAAY off. The # of people in this country with the disease is NOT 300,000–apparently a degree from Harvard is useless. Can’t write, have no common sense, and can’t add. I have celiac disease and have done my own research in this area. It doesn’t take a degree from Harvard to know what Ms. Strawbridge has written IS ALL incorrect. I have NO respect for the medical profession as I have suffered with this disease for over 14 years–being told all sorts of different things. It wasn’t until I started throwing up blood, looked 6 months pregnant, couldn’t get out of the bed that I finally found a doctor that took me and my symptoms seriously. Been wheat free for 28 days, have lost over 20 pounds, and feel amazing. What do you have to say about that, ignorant Ms. Strawbridge?

    • Christine Fletcher

      Lorie, I am so glad you finally found help. I had IBS for 15 years until I went Gluten free. Its so much better now. Many of us commenting owe our well being to the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. I find Paleo cook books help too. And there’s lots of paleo blogs online that post recipes. All the best for your recovery.

      • Tina McBride

        Christine: I am sooo happy for you too! I don’t think IBS even exists–it is a lable that doctors use because they are soooooooooo ignorant on celiac disease that they never think to test for that. So, we suffer for years. Some doctors even say “it’s in your head” crap. Stay wheat free and you will continue to have a blessed life! Don’t let the USDA, agbusiness, or Harvard nitwits convince you otherwise. Too many people who have gone gluten free are saying the same things with regards to how they feel! It can’t be a coincidence!

  104. Beth

    I find it interesting that there’s a link on this page to the section on thyroid problems. Since going grain-free 6 months ago, we have been able to cut my Synthroid dose from 150 mcg daily to 50 mcg daily, and I’m even beginning to entertain wild hopes of totally going OFF this med! And this after being told I would need to take this for the rest of my life, as I watched both the price and my dosage escalate for the past 9 years.

    This is not some subjective placebo effect; this is something we are able to measure w/lab tests. How and why could a person doubt something so measurable and so clear? I love bread, but I love having a body that is in balance all on its own even more…no grains, no fake “gluten-free” substitutes either, for me. Much better, much cheaper that way.

  105. Culinary Adventurers

    Not one but two adults in my household have gone Wheat free since November 2012. We have each lost weight, shaped up, have more energy, rest really well, and have gotten rid of aches and pains, inflammation, and a long list of issues from digestive trouble to cholesterol. We were concerned these were age related and say concerned because it just didn’t make sense that we would have so many symptoms at our age.

    Neither of us intend to EVER eat wheat or other related grains again.

    Is it a bother? Not in the least! We are eating a greater variety of healthy single ingredient foods than ever before! We cook from Dr. Davis’s cookbook and have adapted great recipes from world renowned chefs and are enjoying ourselves ever step of the way!

    Getting off the poisons of Agribusiness is not a problem, it is the solution! All you have to do is choose to eat something wonderful each time you are hungry!

    And by all means share this information! Share it with everyone you talk with, whenever you meet someone new who is struggling with the harm that is caused by wheat! What a loving thing to do!

    Thank you Dr. Davis! Wake up Harvard!

  106. Marianne

    I don’t need a degree from Harvard to know that giving up wheat (and most other grains) has improved my life in many ways: less bloat, weight loss, no facial puffiness, better sleep, improved lipid profile, more alertness and less brain-fog. Modern wheat is addictive, just like sugar.

    That being said, if the author did some serious research she would find plenty of evidence that going wheat and grain-free improves health in most people.

  107. William Spurlock, MD

    Organic whole wheat may actually be good for you. Unfortunately, the genetically engineered wheat the American public is exposed to has been changed into a intestinal nightmare that leads to lack of absorption of nutrients, intestinal villi inflammation, increased cravings, obesity, diabetes and total body inflammation, possibly leading to many of the autoimmune disorders we are seeing on the rise.

    Please do your research for 2013, not 1945. A lot of changes have occurred since then. I advise my patients on diet so that we can get all their nutrients. They don’t have to come from grains.

    Please post current information only!

  108. Peggy Holloway

    Please revisit nutrition education. Based on years of careful research, I am convinced that having given up sugars, starches, and grains 14 years ago saved my life. I have tweaked my diet over the yeas, and have found that I do best on a very-low carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet. Many of my family members have had the same success with elimination of grains and sugar and we have collectively resolved issues with weight, ADHD, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and staved off the Type II Diabetes that destroyed my father and grandfather. We are not celiacs, but are, like the vast majority of people, very insulin-resistant and unable to process the heavy carbohydrate glut of the modern diet. I recommend the excellent work of Drs. Phinney and Volek, who have credentials I am sure you would admire. Please don’t continue to mislead the American public as I was mislead for most of my adult life. We deserve to hear the truth of how eliminating wheat, sugar, and all processed, packaged food will reverse most of the health problems plaguing our society and bankrupting our country. To close,I will celebrate my 60th birthday tomorrow, feeling better than I did at age 30 when I followed the USDA recommended high-grain diet. This summer, I will put in over 3000 miles on my bicycle as I did last summer with energy to spare.

  109. stuart

    Very Well Put!

  110. blake

    It’s sad to see a Harvard blog post looking like it belongs on the lite side of HuffPo, next to “Big Katy Perry Rumor Proven False.”

  111. Jeff

    Clearly, you have chosen to follow the very ignorant conventional dogma and thinking regarding grain (especially wheat)and disregard all of the scientific evidence that abounds. This stuff is not healthy for ANYBODY!

  112. Cathy

    This is sadly the reason why our country is in an obesity and health crisis. I’m not celiac and I went grain free. Not only did my cholesterol drop 30 points but the rest of my labs have also improved. So even though my personal testimonial is very persuasive in and of itself, the proof is in the lab work! I’m eating a high saturated diet and no processed food yet my health has improved. I’m showing a pattern A LDL profile, low triglycerides, low CRP and homocysteine. It’s because of going against garbage grains that I will change my genetics and not become a statistic….no thanks to the conventional wisdom that made me fat and sick. For the record, I’m not a celiac or a person with an autoimmune disorder just your typical former wheat bellied American. Ill stay thin and healthy and you can keep your GMO grain.

  113. Bobby

    What a bunch of nonsense. It is misinformation like this that is the root-cause of many of our health problems.

    There is no such thing as a wheat deficiency.
    If you want Type 2 diabetes (and a host of other health problems) then listen to Holly Strawbridge, most RDs and all the rest of these “experts” that are shilling for Kelloggs, Nabisco, ADM, Pfizer… and eat lots of “healthy whole grains”.

    If you want good health, read Wheatbelly.

  114. Cynthia

    I have a friend who does have celiac and I know what she goes through when she gets “glutened”. I most likely do not have celiac (no HLA DQ2 and no extreme, acute symptoms). But, by avoiding wheat, I can come off my asthma medications and breathe through my nose. I sleep through the night. I have much less arthritis pain in my hips and back. My digestion is normal. My elderly dad gave up wheat for a few weeks before his last doctor appointment and his cholesterol came down enough that he could go off statins. So, no, not going to shut up about it. My celiac friend, by the way, is happy that I am activist about finding restaurants where we can eat, and that increased demand for wheat free options is improving options for celiacs.

  115. Stefanos

    Celiac disease tests have documented false negative and it is impossible to really know how accurate these tests are. There is no valid scientific research that can truly determine how wide spread gluten intolerance, celiac, and many other diseases caused by other wheat proteins (Gliadin). We can either wait 20 years for further research to be done that identifies how widespread wheat-caused diseases are while people are becoming extremely sick and dying from wheat, or we can tell people to go wheat free today and save lives.

    Why does wheat have to be fortified with synthetic vitamins anyways? Is it because wheat is so deficient in vitamins that it cannot naturally come close to the levels of Vitamin B9 to Spinach, or other greens?

  116. stuart

    Dear Ms. Strawbridge,

    It is rather unfortunate that you need to refer to the typical banter regarding the value of wheat. Please understand that the “nutritional advice” of the last 40 years is directly responsible for the major health epidemics. The “healthy whole grains” message takes us back to the 70’s and 80’s and now Ms. Strawbridge if you cannot connect the dots you deserve the heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, and diabesity that affects nearly every common person.
    The irony is that you are at Harvard. Please come into the 21st century!

  117. SUSANNE

    Wow! I am extremely disappointed that Harvard has backed such a poor article by someone who obviously has no idea what she is talking about! I went gluten free just over a year ago and had over 30 symptoms completely disappear that were in my life for up to 25 years. Some of these symptoms included acid reflux, intense itchy inner ears, eczema (which was later confirmed as dermatitis herpetiformis), chronic fatigue, knee pain, brain focus, etc. It is sad the limited amount of nutritional training doctors receive, but what is worse is an article full of ignorance. Shame on Harvard!

  118. Mike Mahoney

    That was 100% whole grain BS!

    Such a disappointing article…

  119. Clayton Robinson

    Ms. Strawbridge, you have clearly missed the mark. As a health coach, I have seen first-hand the improvements of my clients health by taking gluten out of many of their diets. Not everyone needs to go GF but for those that suffer from stomach issues, distended bellies, joint pain, etc – it has been key to getting them on the right track. I do believe that eating the gluten free, packaged foods is not a wise choice. They can be packed with sugar and higher in calories. My motto is to just keep the flour off the plate – with or without gluten. A well balanced meal of lean protein, whole grains (gluten free for some) and a plethora of fruits and vegetables is key to better health. I hope Harvard does not stand behind your opinions… my biggest concern is your closing paragraph. A gluten free diet is not expensive if you are eating nature’s gluten free foods. A chicken breast, salad and a veggie can cost less than buying packaged foods!

  120. Michael

    I gave up eating all forms of wheat last April and the symptoms that had been plaguing me for years (IBS, heartburn, bad digestion, foggy head and quite a few more) all disappeared within DAYS! My blood pressure has also dropped to normal and I have been able to halve my medication for same. I lost 5 kgs and my bloated belly went right down. Let’s face it, there’s something very wrong with wheat when so many people are saying the same thing. Meanwhile, Harvard’s Holly Strawbridge comes up with a dumb-a** article that might just have something to do with the US food industry getting the jitters at what all this might mean for them. Was this commissioned, Holly? Because it certainly seems that way. Get your facts right, please.

  121. bill Millan

    There is something wrong with our wheat. That is why so many people have quit eating it. Just too many good effects to ignore. The Gluten is not the problem, IMO. It’s the gliadin protein and other factors.

  122. Shary

    I am another one whose IBS went into full remission upon going gluten-free, and it only took a few days. When will nutritional science realize that gluten grains are not only unhealthy, they are definitely not a necessary part of the human diet?

  123. Christine Fletcher

    Only testimonials!? I’m a librarian at a large research university, and if you looked at the book Wheat Belly, you’d see 16 pages of single-spaced lists of studies from peer reviewed journals from a variety of fields in science and medicine all documenting issues with gluten and wheat excluding Celiac disease. I got off all grain except rice and my IBS went into remission, no hives and itchy skin during allergy season, my asthma is almost nonexistant. My fibromyalgia is so much better, I can do workouts on my treadmill I have never been able to handle before. Shame on you for posting this with little or no research in Harvard’s name.

  124. Pamela Rhea

    Holly Strawbridge, Please do your research. The truth is out. “Lose the wheat & find your way back to health” To say anything else is ignorant & down right malpractice. No human should consume grain. My health problems, costing me thousands of dollars, were all resolved within weeks upon simply stopping grain. I think you should pay attention. Your career and health, is in grave jeopardy.

  125. Jim Orcutt

    This is a whole lot of bull crap! I went wheat free 8 months ago. I lost 30 pounds & 4 inches from my waist in 2 months. I am going on 64, but feel more like 40. And just to test this out I was invited out for a spaghetti feed just last night. I enjoyed the meal, but this morning I feel bloated, hungover, and I have a gut ache. Modern wheat is toxic to our bodies. Hundreds of thousands of people experiencing significant weight loss & greatly improved health is all the evidence I need. Modern wheat & gluten are toxic to our bodies. Stop defending the Ag/food industry that seems to care about one thing–money.

  126. Cindi

    If this isn’t a piece of propaganda, I’ll eat my hat! “Keep it to yourself”!? Yes, wouldn’t processed food producers just love that! They’re going down! How about removing the toxins from your food and being able to feel good about what you do? Instead of contributing to the increase of disease and death in our society.

  127. Kristi Benz

    This is one of the most unintelligent articles that I have ever read. Money is greater than the truth. I find it sad that our nation is crippled with health problems and increasing epidemics of heart disease, Alzheimer’s , autism, ADHD, diabetes to mention a few yet our medical community and federal government continue to promote horrible nutritional suggestions. I guess keeping people sick is a great moneymaker for these giants. Lets just give pills to people…..that will fix all the symptoms. This just makes me so angry. I have lost respect for “Harvard” and Dr. Leffler. Seek the truth and promote it. Courageous leadership is lacking everywhere.

    • Jim Orcutt

      Very well said. Big Pharma also makes billions dispensing all the meds to keep us functioning when we eat a wheat & gluten rich diet. It’s all about the money.

    • Clayton Robinson

      I feel the same way. I felt like Harvard was one of the bigger institutes that “got it” – this time they really got it wrong. Whoever ok’d this article should be scratching their head right now…

  128. David

    Never felt better since I gave up grains of any sort, lost weight, stopped the bloating and feel amazing,the thought of eating grains now makes me sick, they’re just hollow calories with no nutritional value.

    • Janet

      I think of bread and grains as my garage floor now:full of antifreeze drips, oil stains and just plain crap. When I see bread or grains, my dirty garage floor is what I see. Think I want to bite into that? I am nearly 65 and since going wheat free, I feel like 40.

  129. Audrey S.

    Both Vitamin B and fiber are found in ample quantities in a myriad of fruits and vegetables, which should constitute a large portion of any sane Real Food gluten-free diet. If Americans are getting a majority of their vitamin B and fiber from grains, it’s a testament to how far off track the American diet truly is, NOT proof that we should continue eating breads and cereals.

    I find this entire article displays a disappointing amount of ignorance, and it reads like propaganda to me.

    • Christine Fletcher

      Amen Audrey. Modern grains have to be nutritionally fortified because on their own, they are useless nutritionally. Where did people get these vitamins before such fortification? Other foods!

  130. Cindy P.

    You are assuming that when someone goes gluten-free that they are subbing “whole wheat, healthy whole grains” for a gluten-free alternative. This is not always the case. Many who “jump on the gluten-free bandwagon” are doing it for health reason and are finding amazing benefits, thanks to Dr. Davis and his book, Wheat Belly.

    We have gone gluten free and no longer suffer from intestinal troubles, itchy skin and rashes, arthritis, bloating, water retention, mind fog, among other things.

    To say there are no studies out there is just either stupid or naive. But I’m guessing Big Ag is paying you to say this.

    Get real. Do your research. Or better yet, why not conduct some REAL research and see what you find. You don’t speak anything of insulin response. More homework is needed on your part.

  131. Sarah

    Here is the other thing: the more people who GO gluten free, the easier and better the options will be. It *shouldn’t* be hard to be gluten free. It’s only hard because the fast food culture we live in have MADE it hard. It should be as simple as ordering a potato or vegetables instead if spaghetti but food manufacturers and restaurants have figured out that wheat is addictive and purposely added wheat to everything. So it has become hard, when it shouldnt be. Every person who chooses to GO gluten free will make it EASIER for people with celiac who have to be gluten free. So Celiacs really should be happy when others choose to also avoid gluten.

    • Liza

      Well said Sarah. That is exactly the logic that this article is missing. Of course the more of us that go gluten free the better it is for celiacs. My husband is a celiac and he can’t get over how it is getting easier and easier to eat in restaurants and also that this wheat free idea is becoming the norm instead of something that sounded a bit crazy a few years ago.

  132. Anne

    No Dr. Leffler! The diet is not a burden compared to the neurological problems, gastrointestinal problems, skin problems, heart problems, headaches and joint pains that plagued me. These health problems either totally resolved or greatly improved by eliminating gluten. Nope, don’t have CD.

    Perhaps all my health problems would have totally disappeared if it had not taken me 60 years to figure out that gluten is a poison. How foolish I was to have bought into the “whole healthy wheat” myth.

    • Ray

      Well said Anne.
      I too had many problems which have improved after going GF. Sure, there are foods I can no longer eat… But So What… I no longer have the constant hunger, or the cravings for them.
      Sounds to me a lot like the old “Listen to me, I’m a doctor” BS. My late wife listened, took the prescribed meds. Had a horrific reaction that nearly killed her. She later died from pneumonia after agreeing to a Lifetime Pneumonia Vaccine Shot. It was a short lifetime. Heres to your good health.

  133. Honey Bl

    I found out I was gluten sensitive after having bariatric surgery. I couldn’t eat wheat – or any solid food for that matter – for a few weeks, just liquids. Then it was pureed foods, but no grains, as they expand in the stomach and could rupture the incision. It was about 4 months before I was able to add grains to my diet. During that time, about 95% of my psoriasis cleared up, my skin became clear of acne, and my joints felt better. Once I was given the OK to eat grains, I ate a small piece of bread and within 30 minutes, I felt horrible. Within a few hours, my psoriasis flared, my joints ached, and I started breaking out. It was at that time that I decided no more wheat for me. I haven’t regretted it since.

  134. Rick Hamill

    There are many reasons to drop all wheat from your diet, not just “go gluten free”. Watch that the “gluten free” products are not full of junk carbs.
    Read Wheat Belly.

  135. Katie

    I don’t want to be gross, but cutting out gluten and processed foods in general feels so good. I never have bloat, gas, or bad bms. I always had issues with this my whole life. I don’t anymore.

  136. Primal Fitness & Nutrition

    This is the most ignorant and uneducated piece of writing I have ever read on a medical or nutritional topic. Where in the world do you get your information? Gluten is not just one protein. Fiber is NOT a nutrient. You are not “missing out” on nutrition by removing gluten from your diet!!! Humans survived and thrived without it more than 90% of the time we have been in existence!!!!!! If you’re worried about fiber or vitamins… I mean, really? You think vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds do not provide this? Or humanely, grassfed and raised cows? The fact that you say “fortified breads and cereals” is the best source for nutrients clues me into one of two things (1) you’re not really harvard educated or (2) someone paid you to write this article in favor of the wheat industry. No one who is educated and well versed in nutrition would EVER say that. Fortified = had to FORTIFY already crappy food with extra ingredients in order to increase value. It’s like putting extra vitamins in skittles. Whether there are extra nutrients and fiber in there, doesn’t mean its GOOD for you. You can simply get those nutrients from organic produce, nuts and seeds. I’m sorry, but I’m a bit embarrassed for you. You may want to re-think your information sources and correct them.

    • KTMac

      Absolutely agree – read the article and thought to myself…………. ‘who wrote this absolute garbage’!!!

      Fortified…………. really??? Look at cereals ‘fortified’ with iron. Put some on a piece of paper and take a magnet to it; shocking!!!

      Wheat free and feel better than I have ever felt in my entire life – no more bloating, no more gas and no more stomach cramps. :o)

      • Victoria

        I agree, the food industry is harming us & we ” Sheeple ” sit back and do nothing! People need to stand up & fight for our lives literally!! I think Harvard Dr.s just took a big hit from this idiot!! Wheat/ gluten free 1 year now & feel so much better.!!

    • Mark Mulholland

      Well said PF&N

  137. Brenda Ucherek

    After years of struggling with gastric issues and low energy – that was explained away by my doctors as the stress of being a stay-at-home mom with 3 boys (which I still am today) and being put on priloc, I dropped Gluten and bingo! All has changed. My energy was so much better I strained tendons in my feet with all the extra energy I had! And I have no more bowel issue and take no medicine. Luckily my current doctor said there was NO reason to test me for gluten issues – if I felt better I should continue to eat lots of vegetable, fish, leans meats and fruit. Sorry, did I miss something in your article that said there was a NEED for proccessed breads and grains?

    I DO not use replacement gluten-free products – they like their counterpoints are OVER PROCESSED food.

    I pray that our medical professions are telling our pregnant mothers to eat a well balanced diet and not to think of getting B vitiams from bread and cereal. What a joke – then that mother feed sugary vitiams cereal to their children and seems to feel good about it.

    Instead of attacking people who feel GREAT without gluten – could you consider attacking HOSTESS for making such harmful useless products.

    This was a poorly thought out article.

  138. Chris

    Perhaps the “feeling better” for non diagnosed gluten free folks is due to the removal of the genetically altered wheat rather than the gluten. I know I am not gluten sensitive but feel much better and never post-meal bloated when i eat wheat free. maybe wheat is something everyone should look at closer. It may be the culprit of many ailments as well as our obese society. Wheat is evil. Pass it on!

  139. jenny

    I will not keep my dietary comments to myself….THANK YOU…..especially when I see someone suffering because of a wheat allergy like myself or has some other issues resulting from wheat. And yes it’s expensive to buy gluten free products but lets get our facts straight. Medical costs resulting from a wheat intolerance or wheat causing havoc in the body is much more costly down the road and DEADLY. It took YEARS and way too much money to finally realize why I had a horrible rash on my face and swollen eyelids. And, not to mention the little “wheat belly” I had despite being an IRONMAN triathlete who trained 15-20 hours a week. When you see how wheat effects the body, whether it is a rash like I had or someone with inflammatory issues, or someone who wants to lose weight, type 2 diabetes etc you have to share. I’ve been wheat free for 3 months today and have helped many people. Amazed how their aches/pains and foggy headed feelings disappear after eliminating wheat!! Eating out has its challenges but lets make this clear, I feel better and wouldn’t change being wheat free for nothing and frankly glad I have an allergy to it so I have a reason not to ingest it. AND I share with all who will listen and my suggestion to you is to get rid of the wheat in your own diet. It’s not a fad….its truth how this little plant makes us all sick.

  140. Ashley Merv

    too bad most people who quit wheat dont go to the gluten free aisles, we make our own bread with ingredients enriched with vitamins! I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia and suffered everyday until I stopped eating wheat, now I have none of the symptoms I used to. I even lost weight! I feel much better than I used to. Funny I even just got home from a 2 week vacation where we rented a house in Orlando and shopped at whole foods buying no wheat or gluten like usual for the entire weeks meals instead of all the amusement park garbage. We packed all our foods to take and I lost 4 Ibs on vacation instead of gaining like most do! I was ecstatic .. I know now that in order to survive, I need to stay away from wheat! not to mention how wheat is now manufactured instead of just purely grown like when our grandparents where younger. it puts weight on us, promotes unhealthy eating habits and only creates hunger leading to unhealthy snacking. nothing about wheat is necessary! Live like the cavemen did, by the paleo diet, meats, vegetables, fruits and nuts and you will be fine!

  141. Jill

    Do you know what foods are gluten-free? Meat, fruits and vegetables, nuts, eggs. Who would argue with ditching junk-food and eating more fruits and vegetables?

    There’s a HUGE difference between eating junk foods that are “gluten-free” versus eating foods that are naturally gluten-free (like meat, vegetables, fruits, etc).

    Many restaurants with “gluten-free” menus just add a GF pasta or pizza to the menu, rather than taking out the wheat they add to meats and veggies that make them not gluten-free. Marketing gluten-free junk food makes companies money. Not using wheat in every single recipe costs them money.

    I would encourage folks to do more research about the harmful effects of modern wheat and the healthful effects of avoiding processed foods.

  142. Jen

    This article is laughable. Simple Eat REAL Food and you will get all the vitamins and minerals you need. I kicked wheat and lost 10lbs in a month (I wasn’t overweight to begin with and still lost) and let me tell you, I’m screaming it from the roof tops. I have a bunch of friends that asked me what I did and they have jumped on the wheat free wagon. Keeping your diet choices to yourself is the most selfish thing you can do.

  143. Cindy

    In this article you state:
    “There’s one more thing you might consider doing: keep your dietary choice to yourself. ”

    Why?? It’s important for those around you to know what your dietary needs are. They will know to have something gluten free to offer you and be able to offer their support. Should we keep secret how much better we feel without wheat consumption because they might get the idea that it could make them feel better too?
    I have been wheat free for a year and half and have never felt better. The mystery rash on my arms went away, the joint pain is better, the puffiness in my neck and face have disappeared, no more stomach cramps. I get plenty of B vitamins and fiber from all of the fruits and vegetables that I eat, thank-you-very-much!

    • Gyrobob

      Good point. If “healthy whole grain” bread were actually healthy, it woulnd’t need to be fortified with so many vitamins and minerals.

  144. Lorraine

    A Harvard doctor?? Really?? What a bunch of nonsense. You can obtain more fibre from vegetables and nuts and seeds then any fortified breads!!! All the nutrition you speak of we can obtain from eating real, whole foods. And even if you do not have celiacs we are compromising our colons by eating wheat and grains. Not to mention a whole slew of other complications and diseases!! Thank goodness for Dr. Davis…

  145. Norma

    What IGNORANCE! The association with “Harvard” may cause folks to think anything connected equals intelligence but it surely lacks in this article.

    Thankfully, Dr. Williams Davis, author of “Wheat Belly” came forth on the second comment to enlighten the ignorant.

  146. Ann Grider

    It disturbs me to read this blog, especially since it is from a supposedly reputable source (Harvard). Talk about misinformation or literally lack of information. Going gluten free is not a fad, it is too difficult and expensive to be a fad. Those of us whose health benefits from not eating modern wheat and the super processed version of cereals, breads, pastas, etc…, look at being gluten free as a literal life saver. Shame on you for assuming we don’t know how to get our vitamins and minerals from other food sources, instead of the ones companies fortify these pseudo foods with, which probably are synthetic anyway. Please, please, please stop with ignorance.

  147. Craig Almaguer

    Harvard, seriously? Who’s paying you to write this stuff. It’s pretty basic folks. Eat as REAL a food as you can and pretty much eliminate the breads, pastas, and processed crap and you’ll be a new person. Why do we insist on warn out recycled garbage about “fortified” this and that. News flash, the “fiber” and loose stools it causes is NOT being regular. It’s become very common, but NOT normal. What is causing this regularity you might ask? WHEAT INTOLERANCE. ding!

  148. Dr. William Davis

    This article misses many of the essential points that are driving the tidal wave of wheat-rejection. Let me make a few of the most important points:

    1) Gluten is just one protein in wheat. There are over 10,000 others.

    2) The gliadin protein of wheat exerts opioid effects on the human brain that, via the tetra- and pentapeptide digestates of gliadin, stimulate calorie consumption: 400 more calories per day, every day. The effect is blocked by naloxone/naltrexone, opiate-blocking drugs. (An FDA application is currently pending for such an application of naltrexone.)

    3) The gliadin protein has been demonstrated (Fasano et al) to induce increased small intestinal permeability, permitting entry of polypeptide antigens into the bloodstream/lymph, suspected to be the first step in generating autoimmunity. (A serum test for the zonulin protein will be commercially available near-future. Dr. Fasano tells me.)

    4) Wheat germ agglutinin, a direct intestinal toxin in animal models, exerts disruptive effects on gastric, small intestinal, and colonic mucosa.

    5) Unique forms of alpha amylase inhibitors are suspected to be among the factors responsible for the explosive increase in childhood allergies and asthma.

    This all comes to a head in our time because agribusiness and agricultural geneticists have been busy changing the genetics of wheat, e.g., chemical mutagenesis (the purposeful induction of mutations using sodium azide) to create imazamox-resistant wheat (“Clearfield,” patents held by BASF, the world’s largest chemical manufacturer), now grown on nearly 1 million acres in the U.S. The quadrupling of celiac disease, for instance, is largely explained by the enrichment of the Glia-alpha 9 gene in modern wheat, virtually absent from the wheat of 1960. This is just ONE of the thousands of changes introduced into the genome of modern wheat in the cause of increased yield-per acre.

    To argue that wheat products are necessary for B vitamins and fiber and to ignore all the other issues that now surround modern wheat is, well, ignorant.

    • Steve

      You were quick with a reply! Thanks for keeping these folks honest. Missing out on the “vitamin fortifications” in bread is only a problem for people who refuse to eat real food.

      • Ann Grider

        Well said, Steve. If more people ate REAL food, we wouldn’t even be having this debate. Thanks for your good work, Dr. Davis!

    • KTMac

      BOOM…………. Dr Davis does it again. Love your work :o)

      • Victoria

        Thank you Dr. Davis!!! As always you can kick some serious butt with your research & facts!! Thank you for making me healthier!!

    • Mark Mulholland

      Thank you, Dr Davis!

    • Christine Fletcher

      Thank you Dr. D! Your book Wheat Belly changed my life for the better!

    • Dr. Laura

      I’m pretty sure most of Dr. Davis’ comments went right over Ms. Strawbridge’s head, but I, for one, concur with his information, and it is clear to me that someone is very, very afraid of the loss of revenue to the junk food industry, or this misguided article would never have been written, let alone published.

      • Grammar Girl

        My husband and I went wheat-free nine weeks ago. He is now off his high BP medication, and his sinus and IBS symptoms have completely vanished. We’ve both lost weight and inches, and no longer experience afternoon brain fog or food cravings. I’ve lost 4+ inches off my waist alone, my hypoglycemia symptoms have disappeared, and the Bouchard’s nodes (osteoarthritis) on my fingers have disappeared. If this is a “fad diet,” we’ll take it!

        Thank you, Dr. Davis!!!

  149. Gyrobob

    The article completely overlooks the fact that, while celiacs must avoid wheat gluten, EVERYONE is made less healthy from eating wheat or any other grains.

    We don’t need grains at all. For 99.6% of our existence, we thrived without any grains. Nutritionally, we can get all we need from meats, veggies, fruits, nut, etc,… the stuff we were designed to eat.

    Gluten schmuten.

    • Gyrobob

      The largest problem with the “gluten-free” fad is that food manufacturers have created niche industry of packaged crap that is quite unhealthy.
      — It usually is very high carb with lots of sugar, and has lots of other grains in it.
      — Each type of grain has its OWN gluten, so this alleged “gluten-free” product most likely has some combination of other glutens,.. avenin (gluten from oats), zien (corn gluten), orzenin (rice gluten).
      — The Feds allow the manufacturers to call it “gluten-free” if it merely does not have any gliadin (wheat gluten).

      • Jonathan

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv5RwxYW8yA&feature=youtu.be

        This describes the issue related to other Gliadin proteins. Avenin etc… are all Prolamines which have similar effects to Gliadin which is the main subfraction of Gluten which causes issues.

      • Robin

        Jonathan – Thank you for that link. The author of this article desperately needs to listen to it. One day, we might see a class action, just like against the tobacco industry, against grain producers, “health” authorities, drug companies, governments and the like, for all the damage their dictates have caused us.

  150. Cupcakes Oxford

    The demand for gluten free cake is ever growing. Thanks for the very useful information.

  151. Lucy

    Every person should know how and when to administer CPR. When performed correctly, CPR can save a person’s life by restoring blood flow to the heart, brain, and other organs and restoring breathing until advanced life support can be given by health care providers.

  152. rabwah

    Very good post and nice blogs, this is very informative.

  153. mabia

    One of the CMAs I work with constantly asks me about how I’m managing a given patient: for
    example, when I said a kid had mono, she asked me if I “checked his belly”. Really? Or early
    on in the flu season, she questioned why I was testing kids for the flu. I guess being a CMA
    for 7 years makes her an authority. I bet all her friends and relatives call her for medical
    advice! As my mom likes to say, “Give a person a badge, and they think they’re an authority”.

    • Primal Fitness & Nutrition

      Uhhh… she asked you if you checked the kids’ belly (who had mono)…. probably because the immune system is formed in the gut?? The gut is responsible (and our digestion) for 75% of our immunity (or lack there of). WHO gave you YOUR badge? I think I’d rather see your CMA. Not you. And in fact… I was sick my entire life. Age 7+. None of you “smart, harvard educated doctors” checked my “belly” … not once. I had mono twice. By the time I was 13 I was resistant to EVERY antibiotic in existence bc all of you highly educated, certified, registered, board member doctors shoved antibiotic pills and antidepressants down my throat the second you could check off 3 symptoms that legally allowed you to do so. I forced a GI to test me for something… behind the back of my practitioner… who said I had an anxiety disorder… and sure enough… tested + for celiac disease. Had some of the worst intestinal damage he had ever seen.

      So thank you. And next time… maybe listen to your CMA.

  154. Missy

    There is a major connection between MTHFR genes that make it difficult to absorb folate from diet and gluten sensitivity. By cutting out gluten, I am able to absorb folate better but still need food sources of it (dark leafy veggies, hence the root of folate: “foliage”).

    And folic acid is worse than natural dietary sources of folate. There is a connection with excessive folic acid and increased cancer risk that dietary sources (folates) just don’t have.

  155. Mike Taylor (@MikeTaylorPics)

    I’ve recently taken on this new mode of eating and have to report a much happier outlook and better overall feeling of physical health. My blog keeps me honest as I report my progress on a weekly basis.

    good luck everyone

  156. jeanne

    My son was diagnosed with celiac 6 months ago. Hi diagnosis not only saved his life but taught a lesson to my entire family. For 20 years husband suffered terribly with hemroid issues/rectal prolapse/bleed for – all baffled docs – at 35 yrs old he spent the week in ICU with no diagnosis, after a followup colonoscopy, GI doc told him he had the colon of a healthy 95 yr old man, follow up in 5 years. 5 yrs later and add rapidly progressing bipolar disorder to his list of issues, no doc EVER considered celiac. We made our home gluten free for our baby’s health/safety And imy husband saw a dramatic change in his physical & mental health within 1 month, plus a wild reaction to any gluten exposure.

    MY POINT…TOO MANY DOCTORS ARE FAR BEHIND THE TIMES IN RECOGNIZING CELIAC. My husband saw 3 GI specialists over the years who missed it. My 1 yr old was seen by a team of gi specialists in a childrens hospital and THEY MISSED IT and misdiagnosed him (I figured it out on own & docs confirmed at my urging).

    Also,I lost 30lbs in the last 6 months – not because we eat g-free but because a g-free diet forces you to think about what you eat – ever meal must be planned, drive-thru, pizza runs and processed Mac & Cheese are no longer an option, old fashion home cooking with more REAL food is what makes the diet/lifestyle make people feel better! When done right, gluten-free is better.

  157. JayB

    As a celiac of 17 years (my Mom – 25yrs) and someone who has been involved in the GF industry for almost 20 years, I finally got tired of these kinds of articles and wrote an open letter to MSM last spring.

    http://blog.kinnikinnick.com/2012/03/please-stop-dismissing-gluten-free-diet.html

    I’m not sure if the comment will accept the link but the gist is simple. Get tested first! and then…Doctors only know what they know, people know what makes them feel better, it’s perfectly easy to eat a healthy balanced GF diet (and I’ve argued it’s often easier as your bad food choices are much more limited)

    A healthy diet is about smart food chocies and not whether a food contains gluten or not. A gluten free donut for breakfast is no better and no worse that a gluten filled donut.

    If the link doesn’t post, you can find the article by searching for Please Stop Dismissing the Gluten Free Diet

  158. chris

    This article fails after the author states that eating foods which have been fortified is part of a good diet. A food that has to be fortified to make it have any nutritional value what-so-ever should be the first sign that you shouldn’t eat it. Second, the fiber argument for eating whole wheat is really tired. Raspberries, Broccoli, Kale, Spinach and the lacks knock the pants off of whole wheat bread in the fiber department. I fall in the gluten sensitive department and I don’t find it difficult to eat gluten free. Besides the fact that when I avoid gluten my digestion improves… I also have more energy, no bloating, no gas, more mental focus and I lost over 30 pounds. Posts like this mis-educate and should not be posted in the first place.

    • Allan Taylor

      Honestly, kind of a expected better advice from a Harvard blog. But that’s the kind of uphill struggle it is for people to accept that grains, as they are today, are NOT the healthiest option out there.

  159. Steve

    This is a silly argument against going gluten-free. There are no essential nutrients offered soley by eating grains. Every nutrient required by the human body can be obtained by eating meat, vegetables, and fruits.

  160. Allan Taylor

    “Avoiding gluten means more than giving up traditional breads, cereals, pasta, pizza, and beer. Gluten also lurks in many other products, including frozen vegetables in sauces, soy sauce, some foods made with “natural flavorings,” ”

    None of these mentioned items are necessary for a healthy diet. In fact, you’re pretty much describing the typical North American fattie diet right here – just add the 2 litre “Medium” cup of Coke and you have what 90% of the population considers to be a normal, healthy meal. This is WHY we’re fat. Look at France, look at the Mediterranean, look at Japan, look at every country that has lower rates of heart disease and obesity. What are they doing that we’re not? This isn’t a hard nut to crack, guys.

  161. Allan Taylor

    Rich sources of folate (VITAMIN B9) include spinach, dark leafy greens, asparagus, turnip, beets, and mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, lima beans, soybeans, beef liver, brewer’s yeast, root vegetables, whole grains, wheat germ, bulgur wheat, kidney beans, white beans, lima beans, mung beans, salmon, orange juice, avocado, and milk. In addition, all grain and cereal products in the U.S. are fortified with folic acid.

    Tell me more about how you should get your vitamin B9 from an artificially fortified source instead from natural sources.

  162. Perry

    Paul. I don’t really think it is laziness on the doctor’s part. I imagine he is anything but lazy. I practiced “mainsteam” medicine for 25 years until
    I started looking outside the box at the large world of functional medicine. Much of what the doctor is saying is just the party line. There are huge amounts of information about topics like gluten which go largely ignored because they don’t jive with conventional wisdom.

  163. Paul

    What a disappointing article. Obviously, the writer is annoyed by people going gluten free who don’t have celiac.
    To say there is little to no evidence and it’s all testimonial based is lazy and dismissive of the amount of research that is out there, to the functional medicine doctors who see it on their practices and just flies in the face of common sense.
    When I was growing up, I never encountered anyone with a peanut allergy. Now, it’s common. Our food has changed and is changing and thus our bodies are reacting differently.
    Then we get Dr. Leffler’s quote which is pure opinion and no fact. Funny, considering the first argument that going gluten free is based on testimonials. Dr. Leffler bemoans gluten free products as being expensive. Sure, when you are just trying to replace traditional gluten foods with non gluten foods but there is lots of foods which are naturally without gluten. Heard of fruits and vegetables? Meat? Rice? Legumes? Nuts? Etc.

    If you want to make the argument that gluten is not harmful to most, that people who are going gluten free without having celiac don’t actually feel better and are just fad followers and the whole thing isn’t based in reality, then lets have research, lets have something more than this lazy, I’m annoyed with gluten free people excuse for an article.

    • Janet

      I saw an interesting chart–picture a footfall field with 100 yards–consider that length the length of human existence where we ate meat, greens, eggs, veg but NO grains as that would have been not practical–who chews on a grain of wheat and enjoys it? Now, this field represents about 2.5 million years. Now go to the tiny line marking 10,000 years that man has been eating grains when farming began and now has led to industrialized farming and industrial food. That is just a line’s worth on the chart. That is NOT long enough in time for the human body or any animal to evolve to eat the crap we are eating and being told to eat now. So, according to HOlly Know Nothing, what humans ate for 2.5 million years and thrived on is now BAD for us? That eggs and decent meat somehow turned BAD around the 1980’s? This is absurd thinking and, I might add, dangerous thinking and in practice, disastrous for human health. We see it all around us. By the way, when humans began farming and eating grains, health went way down, we got shorter, brains smaller, bad bone structure, diseases of civilization became more prevalent. Ancient Egyptians ate mostly grains and studies show them riddled with disease. Ancient means only about 10,000 years ago, folks. We are at the end results of this “improvement” in human health and life and some of us are getting it. I have stepped off the merry go round of death that the likes of Holly Know Nothing and the shills for the corporations and yes, the governments, have pushed us on.

  164. Perry

    Naomi pretty much nailed it. Also worth mentioning that about 1 out of three people have gluten sensitivity and that the 1% with celiac are just the tip of the ice burg. Also the starch in bread (even whole grain) gives it a very high glycemic index, even higher than table sugar. I am convinced that the current obesity and diabetes epidemic is largely due to modern day wheat.

  165. Peter

    good post. somewhat very basic on content; but, the effort is certainly appreciated. Too many folks are self diagnosing; as such, it is KEY that the diagnosis come from a clinician perspective.

    here is a great podcast that summarizes other key points of CD. Note the podcaster is a doctor. http://youtu.be/aK_92reccro

    • Ali

      It’s precisely because people aren’t getting any decent kind of diagnosis from their Doctors that they are having to figure it out for themselves.

      If the Doctor is not recognizing, or even suspecting that a problem might be due to gluten, then what kind of Doctor is he/she? My own Doctor knew nothing about Celiac or gluten intolerance when I approached her with my suspicions about it in my own health 5 years ago, but since then she has become something of an expert, and now advises patients to try going gluten free, especially if she sees they have non-Celiac digestive issues. She is one of the very few enlightened ones out there.

      This article smacks of ‘brainwashed by the Establishment’ nutritionist-speak. It patronizingly and arrogantly assumes that most people who adopt a gluten-free diet are idiots who don’t know what they are doing and only the ‘experts’ know what they are talking about. When my body was healing from the effects of toxic drugs I was given for years, and the 12 years of IBS-D, raging restless legs, burning feet, neuropathy, palpitations, night sweats, hot flashes, body-wide fungal issues, gouty toes and all the ‘age’ spots on my hands and face went away after dumping gluten – I think I knew what I was doing……..

      • Janet

        I had a regular appointment with my Dr. after a year on Paleo. I told her what I was doing, expecting pushback, since she runs a “Metabolic Weightloss Program” at her clinic. Wasn’t sure what that was, but found out it was using a low carb/real food direction and she was all on board with my wheat and grain free life. My thyroid levels were not good the year before so she had that test run and they were back to normal and she didn’t even have me do any more testing because “I was doing the right things” to improve my health. This fall I get a DEXA scan and see if this and my interval exercise program has helped my osteopenia. She even asked me where I got my local grass fed meats and eggs. She told me she has to start slow with her patients, but that is how I made these wonderful changes in my health, mind and life–small steps, although wheat came out as soon as I read Wheat Belly and then my arthritis pains went away. my acid reflux disappeared, I went from size 12 jeans to 6/8 in 2 months without even trying–just eating delicious food and not even exercising much–my urge for chronic cardio is gone and working out a few minutes 2 or three times a week interval training on my basement steps and some handweight use is wonderful and working–my heart rate was down 12 points in 2 months of this I will be 65 this year and feel/look much younger. People don’t want to listen though, which is sad.

  166. Addie Raghavan

    Well the only thing I disagree with is the last paragraph, where it suggests that this latest fad is bad for people who are actually gluten intolerant. There are millions of gfree recipes now, prices are probably going to come down if more normal folk eat gfree etc., etc. Farmers in North America are trying to grow quinoa, restaurants are serving lentils with meat. So many pluses from people thinking it’s a nice fad.

    I don’t live a gfree lifestyle, just an observation.

  167. Cath Walsh

    If you dont get b vits from wneat you can get them from other sources without much of a problem. Naomi, you have pretty much said eveything i would have said. WhatJaneSays, I’m gluten free and won’t go back on gluten to have the testing. If you feel better on a gluten free diet I’d say it is a physical necessity. I’d change pretty much anything in my diet in order to have good health.

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  169. Margie

    I have an allergy to wheat and a gluten sensitivity. I get stomach discomfort and the”fiber” from whole grains makes me constipated. It took years to figure out that gluten was the issue. And even though I dont have celiac, I still experience the same symptoms. I dont believe they have any way to know that gluten does not damage the intestine of the sensitive.

  170. Sarah

    The comment about watching fiber caught my attention but beans have fiber, right? Re celebrities; usually they are hired by industry to comment positively about a product so have a script they must follow; but even if they aren’t industry spokespeople, I think it would help for the media to be sensitive to the ramifications of amateur, naive comments about health and edit to say that Paltrow does not have celiac, so those readers/viewers who do should be careful of wheat, etc…

  171. Sue

    Also, people, like me, who have tested positive through bloodwork, have IgE senstivity to all the grains, including corn, which is found in everything from foods to cosmetics. IgE is the immuneglobulin responsible for anaphylaxis. I find the Paleo diet works for me – no grains, reading every label and make all our dishes from scratch.

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  173. Debby

    It is still best to get tested for Celiac Disease first for a number of reasons. There are many other medical issues that need to be monitored if you do have celiac disease. Our odds for other auto immune diseases go up, along with some cancers, etc. Plus the more people who get diagnosed, more money will go toward research.

    Don’t forget that gluten free is not wheat free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley so it is hidden in many things. It’s definitely not as simple as cutting out bread, cakes pizza , etc. I think the final point that Dr. Leffler was trying to make is that for those of us with celiac disease it’s not just a matter of feeling sick or feeling good, it is a matter of life and death. If we don’t adhere to a lifelong strict gluten free diet we destroy our small intestine and become malnourished and eventually die. So it is hard when we hear someone like Gwenyth Paltrow talk about how she eats gluten free to keep her weight down and feel good, but then in the next magazine article she says how she has the occasional piece of bread or French fries, etc.

    • Ali

      I don’t know whether I have Celiac or not – the one and only blood test I was given came back ‘negative’ but that doesn’t rule it out – but quite frankly, I don’t care. The simple fact is that I am heaps better off without it.

      The fact that ‘just’ being gluten intolerant or sensitive hasn’t (yet) been given a medical title and deemed to be a disease in its own right doesn’t detract from the fact that it exists. The Medical Profession is too darn quick to dismiss issues they don’t (yet) understand or have a diagnosis for.

      Personally I believe that Celiac is actually just a deeper progression of gluten intolerance – that the majority of those with gluten issues may well progress into full-blown Celiac eventually – if they haven’t already succumbed to some other gluten-related disease that hasn’t been linked to Celiac. So many are never diagnosed – my own mother was finally diagnosed with Celiac just 4 weeks before she died (her body basically devoured itself in an attempt to get nutrition) – they only had 64 years in which to find it, and once I had availed myself of the facts about Celiac and gluten intolerance, it was blatantly obvious that she had had it all her life – in its insidious ‘silent’ form.

      Considering that even after 5 years gluten-free and eating a highly nutritious all-natural low-carb diet that other people are thriving and healing on, and the fact that my body is still struggling to assimilate nutrients, I strongly suspect that I do have Celiac Disease, but I will never go back on the stuff in order to find out.

      If, as is estimated, only 1% of Celiac sufferers are ever diagnosed, Then who is to say that a goodly percentage of those who have given up gluten voluntarily because they have seen the benefits of doing so, weren’t actually Celiac anyway.

      Those with Celiac aren’t unique. This highly-hybridized modern wheat, that has been blended with other grasses and manipulated to produce a higher yield, resembles nothing of the ancient Einkhorn wheat that our ancestors consumed for centuries. With its plethora of ‘foreign’ and unnatural proteins, it is damaging everyone in some way or other.

      • Ali

        …and I would add…is it really necessary to be tested? The problem, as another poster pointed out, is that the testing procedure is so unreliable that many people with Celiac are told they don’t have it! Many Doctors will only send a patient for one test and woe-betide you if it comes back negative.

        My own Doctor – who is one of the rare enlightened ones, has told me that she often has to send those she suspects of Celiac for tests on 4 or more occasions before they get a positive result.

        How many people with Celiac Disease are out there eating wheat, and still suffering simply because the Doctor told them they don’t have it??? A friend of ours was diagnosed ‘borderline’ Celiac. He still eats wheat and gluten. He has had part of his stomach removed and a large part of his bowel. Could that have been avoided if he had been gluten-free all these years??? He’s only diagnosed ‘borderline’ because his reading was slightly less than the threshhold level.

        Whilst Celiac is only diagnosed if the antibody reading is greater than 10, ANYTHING above zero is positive for gluten antibodies. They have set the Celiac threshhold that high because they know darn well that if they set it any lower they’d have an epidemic on their hands!

        The whole system is idiotic. This article ridicules people who choose to go gluten-free and benefit from it. Some might ‘play’ with it, but many are regaining their health as a result of permanently dumping it from their diet, and that isn’t something to be dismissive of.

        Five years ago I was dying – and now I’m not – and that isn’t something to be dismissive of either….

  174. @whatjanesays

    @Naomi from my reading of the author is trying to distinguish from those who have a serious immediate reaction to gluten and for whom it is essential to remove gluten from their diet. This is opposed to those who as you say ‘just want to remove bread’ from their diet. You may well feel better, but it not really a matter of physical necessity.
    The authors point is that if you choose to follow that diet, be aware there are some for whom it is not a choice, but a necessity.
    You say it as simple as not eating bread, but the article quite correctly states that gluten exists in many other products apart from bread.

    • Dunemi

      I think this whole argument is analogous to someone who says they feel better with less sugar in their diet, and everyone else piling on and screeching, “but you don’t NEED to cut out sugar!, you should be sensitive to the fact that diabetics HAVE to do this”.

      My point is, so what? Many people who are not medically required to cut out gluten still do so because they feel better without the gluten. How does this hurt people with Celiac? In fact, the “fad” of gluten-free creates a much bigger market-place for gluten-free products, which HELPS people with Celiac, gives them more options/choices.

      Win Win.

  175. Naomi Most

    So, your argument is that people shouldn’t try a gluten-free diet because it might be hard?

    > “People who are sensitive to gluten may feel better, but a larger portion will derive no significant benefit from the practice. They’ll simply waste their money, because these products are expensive,” says Dr. Leffler, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    What this says to me is that many doctors have never actually talked to people who are thriving without bread, bagels, and cake in their lives.

    There is no particular need for gluten-containing grains in the diet. None. You don’t “miss out” on any nutrients by not eating bread. You don’t go hungry.

    Going gluten-free is not difficult and it’s not expensive. It’s as simple as Not Eating Bread, and instead eating some other stuff. You don’t have to replace the bread with gluten-free bread. That’s inane (and not even healthy).

    Many people feel “better” without gluten in their diets, myself included. You don’t have to have celiac for a gluten sensitivity to have an effect on your everyday life (e.g. headaches, joint pain, bowel inflammation), and all you have to do to figure this out is not eat the gluten.

    So why bother going to a doctor for an official “no you don’t have celiac disease” diagnosis when:

    A – you might still have a sensitivity that the celiac disease doesn’t show. (This is not woo-woo, there were several analyses over the past 3 years talking about how 3+ gluten sensitivities exist in addition to celiac disease.)

    B – When you get that diagnosis and still don’t feel so good, the people around you will question why you are still interested in going gluten-free. After all, it is “so hard” and “so expensive”, and the doctors said you don’t have celiac, so it must all be in your head.

    Y’all are doing the world a disservice by calling this a “fad”. The elimination of gluten from certain people’s diets may improve their lives in many ways, and there’s no harm in trying it out. None.

    • Amanda

      @Naomi – I totally agree with your comment. I have recently tried doing a gluten-free cleanse and I’m thinking of making it a permanent change. I feel great, not a headache in two weeks, full of energy, and I’m eating great foods! I don’t know anything about nutrition, but I do know how to read my body, and it’s been very happy with the change.

    • Teresa

      Naomi, I agree with you completely and could not have said it better myself ! I’ve been gluten free almost 3 months now – no official diagnosis, other than I’m feeling so much better than before :)

    • Diane

      Thank you Naomi for taking the time to respond to Dr. Leffler typical doctor comments! I have a daughter who doesn’t have celiac (she has had the biopsy of intestine done)but has suffered and not thrived at many times in her life since she was an infant with many physical ailments, due to being gluten intolerant. I say bring on the info! Have the celebrities endorse going g-free! Introduce more GF products into our supermarkets, so the pricing will keep dropping and quality will keep rising! So many people are negatively affected by gluten and introducing different kinds of flours, proteins, beans and whole foods in general into our diets, cannot be a bad thing for our carb, sugar and red meat dependent society. I’m GF mostly because I feel great eating GF pastas, bread and goodies. And my weight is in check at 56 years young. My daughter and I have learned to trust what your body tells you and do your own homework. And find the right doctor!

    • Allan Taylor

      Great comments. Kudos!

  176. Samuel Thompson

    Great post. Lots of quality information on this very relevant topic. More and more people seem to be adopting gluten-free diets and the market for gluten-free products continues to expand.

    • Jonathan

      You like this post?….Perhaps you need to read some of the comments…there is quite a bit of good information in them. Gluten free is no fad.

      Gluten free is a good idea for pretty much anyone. There are far more nutritious foods that don’t need to be fortified.

      http://jackkruse.com/brain-gut-6-epi-paleo-rx/

      This is one of my favorite plans. Much more nutritious without grains at all.