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Answers from a Gluten Doctor – Part 9: The Most Important Thing About Being Gluten Free

Dr Vikki PetersenSo 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.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect

For more gluten free 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.

Tags: Answers Celiac Diet Doctor Dr. Vikki Petersen Gluten Sensitivity Healing
  1. Lisa (bakebikeblog)
    July 1, 2010

    Wow – those stats are scary! I recall the last time I had an "attack" after being exposed to wheat I was so so violently ill. It really is no joking matter….

  2. Tasty Eats At Home
    July 2, 2010

    I've learned through accidental glutenings that a little still hurts! So one only can guess what it's doing that I can't feel…!

  3. Anonymous
    July 5, 2010

    I love this series you are doing – such great info! Thanks. Sandy

  4. Carolyn
    July 6, 2010

    I am not celiac or gluten intolerant, but my oldest son has a sensitivity (Dermititis Herpetiformis) and my good friend is extremely intolerant/allergic (although not celiac) and becomes very ill if just a small portion of gluten is ingested. I am pretty much the only person she trusts to cook for her because she KNOWS that I will go out of my way to insure purity in my kitchen! I am forwarding this article along to her, because all the time she tells me about folks who can't understand her need to avoid gluten and I know these stats will be so useful to her in defending herself!

  5. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)
    August 7, 2010

    Late to the party (just recently acquired confirmed information) and I appreciate the "permission" to make a big deal out of a "sensitivity" that is not full Celiac.

    My C test came back negative, but difference of a GF diet is unavoidable. Still trying to learn how to live, but I'm committed at this point.

  6. Pingback: Gluten Free Sausage and Peppers Recipe | Simply Gluten Free

  7. Pingback: Gluten free Sausage and Peppers | Blog | July 2010

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