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to not understand the fuss about gluten?

146 replies

Bleakhouse1879 · 10/08/2015 13:08

This has probably been asked on here before, if so, shoot me down.

When I was a wee nipper I had never heard of gluten or its dangerous life changing properties. Now everyday I'm hearing about gluten-free this and gluten-free that, "I'm a celiac" or "my wife is intolerant to wheat and everything else in life"

Please could someone explain to this confused and rather befuddled gentleman of advancing years what all the fuss is about? Is it genuine or is it just another attention-seeking illness?

OP posts:
HippyChickMama · 10/08/2015 14:25

Dh is gluten intolerant but not coeliac (yet!), and if he eats gluten (wheat or barley) he suffers agonising stomach pains, sticky tarry diarrhoea, a rash, mouth ulcers, anxiety and occasionally vomiting. I too hate the fad gluten free brigade, it makes it much harder to get people to take it seriously. Dh hates the gluten free substitutes so he goes without, he'd love to be able to eat proper bread but it makes him so ill, I actually thought he was going to die once he looked that rough. And coeliac disease can be life threatening btw, it can lead to severe malnutrition if left untreated.

vikingpooboat · 10/08/2015 14:28

I have coeliac disease it certainly isn't a fad. As a pp said Google autoimmune diseases. It causes me to have food poisoning symptoms diarrhoea /vomiting and completely wipes me out for days at a time if accidentally glutened. Those that do the gluten free fad diet are stupid as gluten free foods have a lot more sugar and fats in

SaucyJack · 10/08/2015 14:30

" "the endless slices of carbtastic bread with other healthier foods is anyone's guess."

It's fashionable to think carbs are bad for you. They aren't. In 20 years' time it will be something else being seen as bad."

Well you may be right, but something as sure as heck is clearly wrong with the average Briton's diet and I do personally think that the abundance of stodgy, processed carbs is to blame.

Avoiding eating bread and pasta three times a day opens you up to a much broader range of foodstuffs which most people do benefit from, which is why a lot of people have chosen to cut down on wheat despite not suffering from coeliac/IBS or any other diagnosed condition.

maybebabybee · 10/08/2015 14:33

Well saucy, I don't know about you, but I seem to be able to manage to eat stodgy carbs and still eat all my fruit and veg etc etc too.

In fact there is very little I won't eat. I don't see why not eating pasta means you suddenly eat loads of exotic food.

WitchofScots · 10/08/2015 14:39

Celtic precisely my point, they claim not to be able to eat gluten but then they do and so that makes it harder for people who genuinely can't. Somebody once told me that it wouldn't do any harm for my DD to eat nutella "Just this once" when it could well have killed her.

WitchofScots · 10/08/2015 14:41

laffymeal clearly you weren't watching the news about Dickens ;)

GiddyOnZackHunt · 10/08/2015 14:49

Pico I am one of those who can't face getting the test. It will be too incapacitating as one of the effects I get mimics a serious sprain to my joints particularly elbows and knees.

AdoraBell · 10/08/2015 14:52

I grew up with frequent "upset stomach" as in 2 or 3 times every week and family asking me " what the fuck have you eaten" because of my toxic wind. This was not seeking attention when I was a child. Now that I know what caused this and still does avoiding some foods is not seeking attention.

CMOD that is interesting, I had no idea about gluten growing up and hadn't heard about the history of it.

JaniceJoplin · 10/08/2015 14:53

Goodness one of my DCs friends almost died from celiacs disease. It caused liver failure. It took 6 years to realise they had it. Very serious indeed.

MammaTJ · 10/08/2015 15:01

In Coeliac disease, the body treat gluten and other things as an allergen, this prompts the allergic response. That is inflammation and attacking the allergen in an attempt to protect the body from it.

Instead it attacks the gluten or whatever in the bowel and also attacks the bowel itself. This smooths the villi, which help absorption of nutrients, leading to malnutrition and weight loss!

lucretiab · 10/08/2015 15:04

I thought i was just being faddy, but it turned out that I have in fact got a serious case of NCGS (non celiac gluten sensitivity). Sounds like cobblers to me but apparently explains my anaemia, osteoporosis, and newly diagnosed auto immune disease which means taking drugs for the rest of my life and having to avoid sunlight. Also inability to breathe properly and needing puffers n times a day.
Tsk, these fads, honestly!

As pp have suggested, Google can teach you the latest theories on why we're all crumpling at the sight of bread, you do that, I'll keep my head down trying not to get sicker.

Imeg · 10/08/2015 15:15

I also thought people (other than true coeliacs) were being faddy or fussy and had never been on a diet in my life as I'm lucky enough to have always been slim. So I was deeply annoyed when I tried not eating wheat (on a doctor's suggestion) and found, like a previous poster, that the daily diarrhoea I'd had for months just stopped within a day. It could have been coincidence but I also ended up pregnant a few months later after many years of trying. I've had the test and don't have coeliac disease so it's probably IBS, which means it's a case of trial and error to see what triggers it. I'm still experimenting but I've found I can eat some wheat, but sometimes I have flare ups (diarrhoea) and then I'm stricter about wheat until it settles down.

If someone was keeping track of what I was eating I would be one of those people who orders gluten-free pizza and then eats cake... Because if I ate both the wheat-based pizza and the cake on a particular day I would probably get an upset stomach, but if I avoid the wheat-based pizza then I can probably eat the cake.
For me it's probably wheat that is the problem rather than gluten, but because gluten-free options are also wheat-free, they work for me, though like an earlier poster I prefer eating things that are wheat-free anyway (eg rice, potatoes) rather than substitutes in the 'free from' aisle.

I do completely understand that my digestive issues are in a totally different league to coeliac disease, or food allergies, a nuisance rather than a serious or dangerous health problem. However I still think I have a valid reason for being cautious about how much wheat I eat.

In terms of why things have changed over time, I have wondered about this and I think
a) our diets have become more wheat-based: my grandparents rarely ate pasta, mostly 'meat and two veg', and would have a cooked breakfast (admittedly with toast) rather than weetabix or muesli
b) modern wheat has more gluten in it so is more allergenic
c) better diagnosis as previous posters have said.

lucretiab · 10/08/2015 15:18

Apologies op, I missed a page and didn't see your response.

I too, occasionally, forget just how a bit of cake or pastry will make me feel. . Or get so sick of the comments at family parties that I just inhale something gluten filled. .. And then pay for it for days after. I don't talk about it in rl if I can help out because I don't want to be one of the annoying ones.. And because it's painful giving up these things for good.

ppeatfruit · 10/08/2015 15:47

There are 2 books out which will explain things to you Bleakhouse One which has already been mentioned is called Wheat Belly by William Davis M.D. and the other is called Grain Brain by Dr. Perlmutter.

IME we all have different reactions to gluten\wheat. So it's difficult to make generalisations, I know that gluten makes DH bad tempered, exhausted and bloated. It makes me tired so we don't usually have it in our house. It's not fussiness (though why that's so terrible I don't know as long as you take your own food when you go to other people's houses to eat).

I 'd be divorced if we weren't 'fussy'. Grin It's much worse for coeliacs of course.

Bleakhouse1879 · 10/08/2015 17:01

Thank you everyone for all your input, you have given me plenty of food for thought.

OP posts:
Miiaaoow · 10/08/2015 17:32

I've been mostly gluten free for about 7 years. I don't have coeliac disease but I do have an intolerance to it.

I have been on the receiving end of the looks people give when I turn down food, but if I was going to create an 'attention seeking disease', do you not think I would choose something a little more glamourous than something causing bloating, cramps and diarrhea?

Admittedly I do laugh when people go gluten free to lose weight. When I first removed it from my diet, I gained 2.5 stone in a year (6st to 8.5st) as I was finally able to eat without going to the toilet 10x a day!

ppeatfruit · 10/08/2015 17:49

Milaaoow We have a friend who is soo thin with similar symptoms to yours, he says he has Crohns disease, I wonder if he'd be helped by giving up gluten?

Sweetpea15 · 10/08/2015 18:01

I'm gluten free, not because I think it's a fad or that I'll lose weight but because everytime I ate gluten I had horrible stomach cramps, diohrrea and it made me swell. I also have arthirits and since cutting gluten out I have had less flares and feel generally better. Everytime I've accidently eaten something with gluten in it I've know about it not long after as I'm glued to the loo with a bad belly.

MuddhaOfSuburbia · 10/08/2015 18:03

Crohns is different- it's an IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)

I don't know if gluten makes it worse- afaik it needs to be treated with drugs and sometimes surgically

it can/does present with similar symptoms to coeliac disease but I don't think they're related

Caprinihahahaha · 10/08/2015 18:07

I have an intolerance to dairy and gluten
Ds2 is intolerant to soya and gluten
Dd is intolerant to gluten dairy soya and nuts.

It's a massive fucking pain.

I never understand why anyone would imagine I would spend half my life doing packed lunches, special baking and doing a CSI assessment of menus for a 'fad'

I would love not to have to do this. I particularly love, and miss, ice cream and cake. My DD goes to parties with a packed lunch and popcorn. It's miserable at time.

AngelBlue12 · 10/08/2015 18:21

flixybelle - A friend of mine was having the same problem it turns out she reacts to citric acid.

AngelBlue12 · 10/08/2015 18:24

ppeatfruit - crohns is completely different giving up gluten is unlikely to help, can be controlled/put in remission with meds though

Miiaaoow · 10/08/2015 18:35

Ppeat I don't have crohn's disease, so I can't really give advice about that, but when I was under investigation I came across a site called and found it helpful. Some people did have success with dietary modification. Worth trying I think! Although I bet he probably has already..

ApparentlyImDoingItAllWrong · 10/08/2015 18:36

Caprini I've never heard of an intolerance to nuts rather than an allergy. We have epipens for nut allergies, they can be very hard to avoid and the reactions are awful. If it's not too nosey if me, what are the symptoms /reactions you DD has to nuts?

Caprinihahahaha · 10/08/2015 18:45

She has low level reactions to the things listed. If she gets overloaded her primary symptoms are breathing problems. It was (understandably) misdiagnosed as asthma for years.

She also has full on allergies to dust and birch pollen.

Avoiding all the stuff she can't cope with has changed her life. It's amazing.

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