Is gluten free for non-celiacs a good idea? This is a controversial topic and if you weren’t already aware of it, you will be by the time you finish reading this blog post. I want to start by saying that if you think you might have celiac disease or that your child might have it, you want to make sure and get tested before doing gluten free. That said, should you go gluten free if you are a non-celiac? Your doctor says no you don’t have celiac disease, so do you or don’t you go gluten free?
Here are my thoughts about why gluten free for non-celiacs is such a controversy.
1. Actually getting a positive test for celiac is hard. Although it’s getting easier than it used to be, if you get too sick when you eat gluten, then you may not be able to get a test for celiac. This is what happened with me. I had a positive blood test for a gluten sensitivity, but actually testing for celiac became impossible because I could not eat enough gluten, I was too sick. So what if this is your situation? Should you still go gluten free? Well I think you would agree with me that if you are sick all the time and going gluten free makes you feel better then that would be an obvious yes.
2. Many doctors and other people will claim that because their isn’t any clear science or scientific evidence that going gluten free without having celiac is beneficial and therefore you shouldn’t do it and it is just a fad. However, there are also studies that have been published in medical journals showing that gluten can contribute to or make worse at least 30 other illnesses not including celiac disease. For example this study on the impact of gluten and mood disorders. or this one talking about various gluten related disorders. In summary, there are studies and scientific research that shows that you do not have to have celiac disease in order to benefit from eating gluten free.
3. Many people have jumped on the gluten free diet bandwagon just because they want to lose weight or they somehow think that gluten free eating is healthier than eating gluten. The reality is though that gluten free doesn’t mean healthy. There are plenty of gluten free foods that are just processed junk foods. In order for gluten free to be healthy, you still need to watch your intake of sugars and carbs and you need to eat a large amount of fruits and vegetables. Gluten free for non-celiacs is fine and in some cases very necessary but it doesn’t automatically mean healthy.
4. The increase in gluten free for non-celiacs has caused problems for those who do have celiac disease as well as those with a severe sensitivity and or allergy when eating out and sometimes with other supposedly gluten free foods. This usually happens because of cross contamination. While restaurants and manufactures of foods are improving, it can still be problematic. For example then cheerios first became available as gluten free lots of people still got sick because of how they were being made gluten free. Some restaurants now label certain gluten free foods as gluten friendly rather than gluten free. This generally means that food is safe for people avoiding gluten for nutrition or as part of a diet such as keto or paleo, but isn’t safe for people with celiac disease or a severe allergy.
5. Gluten free has become popular with certain segments of the population such as those with autism, or other auto-immune disorders. While the science may or may not agree with how beneficial it is and every so often a new article will come out that claims that gluten free for non-celiacs isn’t beneficial, at the end of the day, if you or your child feels better while eating gluten free and you can do it in a way that is healthy, then why not?
What do you think about gluten free for non-celiacs? Share in the comments below.