• Hana Kovac

Gluten Free Diet For Arthritis

If you go to a health food store these days, you surely notice that labels 'gluten free' popped up like mushrooms after a heavy rain. Why all this craze about gluten? Do we have better diagnostic? Is it a fad? Or both?

The truth lies somewhere in between. When my cousin was diagnosed with celiac disease in the 80ies, doctors knew little about gluten sensitivity. People who are gluten sensitive have a different type of immune response to grain proteins than people with CD. They don't develop antibodies to gluten or have small intestine damage, but they do have CD symptoms, especially outside the gut. The majority of the tests for gluten sensitivity is unreliable, which has created skepticism among some doctors. But many in the medical community consider patients to have gluten sensitivity when celiac disease and wheat allergy ( reaction to all proteins in wheat, not just gluten) have been ruled out and symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet.

Gluten as Joint Pain Trigger

We know that certain foods are pro-inflammatory and that includes gluten-containing grains and the thousands of foods made from them. When some, but not all, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity eliminate these from their diet, they find their arthritis improves. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, however, a gluten-free diet isn't a fad – it's medicine.

Going Gluten-free

The only treatment for diagnosed CD and gluten sensitivity is a gluten-free diet. Dr.Fasano's book Gluten Freedom has been a great help on my journey when going gluten free. For me, gluten free wasn't a fad, as I was suffering from either diarrhea or constipation, bloating and brain fog for years. Experts say it's definitely worth talking to your doctor about being screened for CD if you have rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes or any other autoimmune disorder. But even if the test doesn't come back positive, consider going on an elimination diet for one month and see if your symptoms ease or disappear.

Mistakes To Avoid When Going Gluten-free

Many people fall for unhealthy 'gluten-free' products when they start with a gluten-free diet. Gluten-free muffins, pancakes or rice cakes are still muffins, pancakes and rice cakes, even without gluten. They elevate blood sugar enormously and are not a healthier option. Chose real food such as vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts. If you really crave bread or cakes, experiment with gluten-free sourdough (such as my Buckwheat Sourdough Apricot Pie).

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