So I wanted to find out from Dr. Vikki what she felt was the most important thing to know when starting a gluten-free diet for health reasons.
Q. What would you consider the most important thing for a person newly diagnosed to really comprehend?
A. Based on over 20 years of clinical experience with patients, I would say that the most important thing for a newly diagnosed individual to comprehend is that gluten is truly NOT their friend.
There are some maxims like: “Everything in moderation” and “A little won’t kill you” and “It’s what you eat the majority of the time that matters” and “It’s okay, live a little”… You no doubt have heard most of them. And while in the main I wouldn’t disagree, gluten, unfortunately is in its own unique category.
Research shows us that cheating is a terrible idea. And it goes way beyond some temporary digestive complaints or a headache. We’re talking about increasing your risk of cancer, autoimmune disease and early death.
“Non-adherence to the gluten free diet, defined as eating gluten once-per-month increased the relative risk of death 600%.” Lancet 2001.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999 tells us that “both benign and malignant complications of celiac disease occur but these can often be avoided by early diagnosis and compliance with a gluten-free diet.”
When friends try to tempt you, explain to them that gluten is closer to rat poison for you than it is a food. Ask them how they would feel if you offered them “just a little rat poison”! It may sound dramatic but it has worked very well for patients who find it hard to say no to friends and family.
My other concern involves a certain sector of the celiac community who yet believe that if you don’t have celiac disease then you don’t REALLY have a problem. Nothing could be further from the truth and even those doctors who historically felt that way, did a reversal last year when more research came to light. I’m specifically speaking about Dr. Peter Green from New York and Dr. Alessio Fasano from the University of Maryland.
So please don’t get intimidated by those who might say that gluten sensitivity is just a minor form of the more serious celiac disease. Whether you are celiac or gluten sensitive it is critical that you consume NO gluten.
For more information from the amazing Dr, Vikki read the previous 8 posts in this series on this blog ( Common Symptoms, Diagnosis, What Now?, What About Dairy?, Why is it the better we are the better we have to be? Testing, Testing, Testing, Gluten Free Diets and Nutritional Deficiency and Supplements ) and check out Dr. Vikki’s blog.