Does anyone follow a gluten free diet out of choice for healthy lifestyle benefits?

Do any of you follow the gluten free lifestyle for health benefits? My dissertation topic focuses on consumer choice of gluten free pasta, focusing on the group of consumers that have no adverse reaction to the gluten protein.

Having been diagnosed with coeliac since the age of 7 (15 years!) I have seen a big change in the gluten free market over recent years, and it would be interesting to understand whether the group of consumers who choose to follow a gluten free diet are having a positive affect on the industry.

I would be very grateful for any input on this topic.



22 Replies

  • Hi AbbyF

    I admire your choice of dissertation and think you have set yourself quite a challenge.

    Please don't take this the wrong way - because we are really glad to have you here; but I suspect most of the GFG's are gluten-free because they need to be, due to health issues (feel free to correct me people if I'm wrong!).

    So one answer is yes! I follow a gluten-free diet out of choice for healthy benefits.... But only because like you I would go back to being horribly ill if I didn't! (I also have CD). That's probably not the most useful answer you're looking for though.

    Have you considered that the growth in popularity of gluten-free pasta could be due to the rising recognition and diagnosis of Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS); and other Gluten Related Disorders? Only diagnosed Coeliac's are allowed pasta on prescription. The other groups are left to fend for themselves.

    I also wonder if some of the more traditional diet websites would provide fertile ground for your dissertation? We had a thread on a dodgy Daily Mail article several months ago. It had misquoted the British Dietetic Association's press release on the top five daftest diets. Ever thought about asking the BDA if they have any information that would help you?

    Good luck with your research. Would you consider sharing some of the results here with us when it's finished?

  • Hi Abby,

    good luck with your dissertation! I can't offer you any help, except as Regalbirdy suggests, look further afield. Perhaps it's worth trying groups like weight watchers, slimming world, Rosemary Conolly's etc. If you draft a form or set of questions around what you've mentioned here you may find alternate answers. If you turn up 15 minutes before the meeting begins and ask the leader, show her your questions etc, they should be willing to help. There will be ample opportunity to ask questions when people are queuing to be weighed (I'm presuming you've never been) or hand out forms to be collected the following week. Possibly some slimmers think GF foods are healthier, or lower in calories given the misleading information in the press and the celebs who endorse GF, it may be worth a try. Another thought is to ask the big supermarkets permission to do a survey, and wait by the gluten free sections and catch people there: an instant audience!

    All the best, Sallydogsmum.

  • I suppose my husband qualifies. He eats GF at home to support me (except his stash of Jacobs cream crackers!) and has identified several beneficial improvements to his health as a result. We only eat GF pasta about once a month though. Message me privately if you want to send him a questionnaire.

  • Thank you all very much for your advice and support! You are right I have set my self a challenge, but something that I find interesting and helpful so that's a plus! I will take your advice on board and let you know how I get on, and of course I don't mind sharing my findings.

    DartmoorGuerilla that is great I will definitely be in touch soon, I'm just finalising my method of research :)

    Thanks again

  • Hi AbbyF, I would imagine that the vast majority of GFG members are gluten free because gluten makes us ill.

    But there are those who have chosen a 'gf' diet as a lifestyle choice please see:

    And :

    Good luck with your dissertation,


  • I agree with above. I follow it because I can't seem to tolerate gluten. I'd rather not, food based on wheat is so much more freely available and is often tastier.

    The only health benefit that could be relevant for me is I've read NCGI is related to GI cancer - my dad died of oesophageal cancer

    But the primary reason is day to day benefit of avoiding pain, abdominal distension,irritable bowel etc

  • Yes....absolutely! I have some sensitivity to wheat so just stopped eating products with wheat and/or gluten. I feel much better,look better and tell everyone I can about the benefits of wheat belly lifestyle.......haven't given up sugar yet though!

  • I follow the gf diet because I'm Coeliac. Consider reading 'Grain Brain' No. 1 book on New York Bestseller list and other such books. As an Endoscopy Nurse I often come across patients who haven't been diagnosed with coeliac but feel much better when eating a gf diet. I don't eat gf man made products because I react to them. A lot of corn is used in gf food. I am trying to eat food without corn which is as big a nightmare as eating gf. There is evidence to suggest that none of us should be eating gluten or grains but our diet is not very interesting to most non coeliacs, I suspect. If people are feeling healthier they should get checked for coeliac but some aren't willing to do this.

  • After my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, and then finding out my father has celiac (diagnosed as a child but he still eats wheat!), I checked to see if I also had celiac. The test result was negative, but that could be due to the RA meds. Regardless, and especially after reading wheat belly, I decided to go grain-free January 15, 2013 (not just wheat-free). I've also read Primal Body, Primal Mind and recently Grain Brain, and I can tell you that I am quite happy with this decision. I have no cravings for wheat and do not eat gluten-free breads or pastas. My husband, in support, also went grain-free around March of last year and has also found health benefits from not eating wheat. In August 2013, we decided to become a GF family - our boys are ages 2 and 4. We think that we have found improvements in both of them (particularly the youngest who had digestive issues). There are no nutrients in wheat/grain products that they can't get in real food and this way they're also consuming far less sugar and processed foods.

  • You might also like to get hold of Professor Alessio Fasano and Dr Rodney Ford as both of these are very pro a GF diet for everyone, with the latter wanting to see a GF world.

  • Thank you all very much for your advice and input. It seems a couple of you follow a natural gluten free (or grain free) diet for health reasons, I may consider taking this approach with my study.

  • I definitely follow gf because am celiac and feel horribly ill if i have gluten. but it can be a social nightmare, also gluten free breads

    and rice etc are not slimming ,

  • Hi Abby, I work on the checkouts at a supermarket and since being diagnosed with coeliac disease have interacted more with customers who purchase gluten free products. From this I have learned that there are many people who do purchase gluten and wheat free products because although undiagnosed, they feel that omitting wheat and gluten from their diets makes them feel more well in themselves.

    Hope this helps,


  • I eat a gf diet because i do have coeliac disease and it is a lifelong commitment i dont have any other choice,but i eat healthily,fish,veg meat fruit salads ect and i make my own cakes and biscuits because the free from ones have too much sugar in them

  • my boyfriend is coeliac so obviously when cooking for both of us inc pasta, cakes I eat it too, I hav my own bread but most of the stuff is gf just out of easiness for him, we also hav just had a son so am hoping tht he doesn't have it, obv it wouldn't bother me but it wud be easier for him in future. x

  • Hi Ceribean, thank you for responding. I was wondering whether you notice any benefits to gluten free pasta than regular pasta?

  • There's some really useful posts here, thanks!

    Margaret, may I ask which supermarket you work in and in which city? Thank you for this piece of information, it gives me more confidence that my dissertation has a focus!

    Ceribean, do you feel there are any benefits of eating gluten free pasta over regular? I also hope your son doesn't have coeliac disease, however it is a growing market so if he does it won't be too hard for him :)


  • Hi Abby and yes. One of my grown up daughters is coeliac and another has rheumatoid arthritis so we all go GF and feel much better for it! However, we don't routinely substitute GF products, we simply don't eat much pasta or bread. Good luck with the dissertation!

  • Thank you Vintagejelly :) I'm happy to hear you are experiencing the benefits of a naturally gluten free lifestyle!

  • Hi Abby, i and my 16 yr old son are both GF though undiagnosed Coeliac.

    He suffered from tummy problems from birth until he was nine when we did an elimination diet (diarrhoea , reflux, eczema ) he thrived being GF.

    I suffered from severe asthma, thyroid, eczema, lung infections, malabsorption,have osteoporosis. Have been GF for 6 years now and all symptoms under control.

    Due to this fact I cook GF for the family so my hubby and other son have a largely GF diet by default.

    I do buy a lot of snacks and biscuits which are marketed as GF for my son but not for me, I just buy Genius bread and crumpets.

    We don't bother with the pasta as it can never replace real pasta so we have rice instead.

  • Well, I think you will be hard pushed to find people who continue to avoid wheat when they don't notice any effect from consuming it. I never knew how bad my reaction to gluten was until I stopped eating it.

    The rest of my family are not GF, but are more than halfway there because I'm in charge of the catering.

    We only have GF pasta in the house. I buy very few gluten containing treats, and mostly make my own cakes and desserts. I do buy some regular bread for them, because gluten free bread sucks, but running out of bread is a pretty common occurance. My kids love breakfast cereal, but I choose mainly oat or rice based varieties. I'd be quite happy to ditch bread and cereals altogether if had good alternatives. I'm still working on that!

    I think my husband is making a bit of an effort to consume less bread after I suggested that it might benefit his waistline.

    If I can help you with your dissertation, then I'd be happy to.

  • Thank you for sharing this information and offering help with my dissertation. I was thinking of doing a focus group for my research, and maybe some interviews. May I ask where you and your family live? Thank you again, Abby

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