Daily Telegraph article re Gluten Free Diets

Daily Telegraph article re Gluten Free Diets

Did anyone else see this? I can only post half the article....can't work,out how to forward the whole thing...but if you Google telegraph.co.uk you will be able to find it.

It's in 4 May issue.

I often wondered why people who had eaten normal food with no digestive problems suddenly decide to go Gluten Free when diagnosed with RA.....an auto immune disease, not a digestive problem.

51 Replies

  • I was diagnosed by blood test then the dreaded camera and it was bad, going gluten free is not a good choice for the normal healthy person. I do get a bit sad when reading posts about gluten being a 'cure' for RA, it is not a cure for anything. For me, it's a higher risk of some forms of serious illness and NHS bread is vile so it's lucky that the lifestyle choices have created a range of foods that are commonly known as 'Free from" but free form gluten usually means high sugar and more expensive. I love the GF foods advertised that would not have gluten in anyway. My favourite is rice crispies. One price in the cereal isle another on the GF stand. Eating gluten will not mean dropping to the floor in agony but an upset tum.

    I would love to see a proper study that proves going GF is beneficial to inflammation or RA but it's not improved my RA at all. I have a hunch that giving up cake, bread and biscuits may improve health if it means that a person has lost weight. And that is the real reason why people like the GF diet. I admit my consumption of chocolate and fudge ( GF of course) has gone up, after all life has to have some pleasures !.

    I would add that I was not aware of being Celiac until my GP did a test on a hunch. It came as a shock but I do feel a lot better being Gluten Free.

  • Medway-lady, I think you are quite right in your hunch about giving up cake, bread biscuits.

    Many crisp brands have wheat on them as a carrier for the taste. In fact finding any processed food that does not have wheat in it is a struggle (and that includes things like sausages!). If it is not wheat it is salt, sugar, oil. Wrapped in pretty packaging and smart sales messages and placed prominently on the supermarket shelves or even near the checkout. These foods a long shelf life mostly aided by preservatives and consequently sold very cheap. A formula that means most people are unable to resist them.

    And almost none of it real food! Yes it goes in the mouth, but does it sustain a healthy body? Nope, it goes on the waist.

    (btw I was brought up in a house where every room had packets of biscuits in them. I was totally addicted. Before my RA blew up, put a packet of biscuits in front of me and they would evaporate down my mouth in minutes, if not seconds. Because of my childhood addiction I refuse to have biscuits in my home. In the last two years, I think if I had not changed my lifestyle so totally - because of RA - that if a box of biscuits was put in front of me now I would still not be able to resist. And I do not want to put that to the test!)

  • I have RA and was told by 3 different specialists to remove gluten from my diet. The results have been awesome. this was 8 years ago. I do fall off the wagon now and then and cheat, which becomes very apparent as my joints swell and become red and painful. for me it has made a very positive difference. Sugar of course has negative effects also!

  • That's good to hear Cerpr...I admire your perseverance to stay on what seems like a very unappetising diet....but if it means your RA is easier I can understand why you stick with it, but as you will have read here a lot have tried going GF & it didn't help.

    I'm not much of a foodie & I know I could not eat food I didn't like.i recently lost nearly two stone,with the side effects of Leflunomide....I wasn't hungry so I didn't eat, so I certainly wouldn't have the will power to go GF...unless of course I had CD....which very thankfully I don't.

  • And a lot have great benefits. Probably why three different specialists had recommended to leave out gluten from her diet😊Hard to believe that these specialists based their recommendations on a fad.

  • I don't believe that the specialists based it on a fad, as 2 of them suffer from RA themselves and have been GF for a number of years. My late father was a pharmacist who suffered from psoriatic arthritis and removed gluten from his diet back in the 70's, long before it was a fad, finding much relief with his symptoms.

  • A good friend of mine suffers from coeliac disease. This new trend of a gluten free lifestyle just bothers the heck out of her. She just finds it a "slap in the face" to those that suffer coeliac disease.

    At first I didn't understand her attitude, I felt who cares that people choose to eat gluten free? She looked at me and asked me how I would feel if healthy people claimed to have RA just to get sympathy or attention? I quickly got her point. She is forced to eat glutenfree, having coeliac disease is not a sexy, popular trendy way of life.

  • I've got a friend who is coeliac and who feels the exact opposite to your friend. We were discussing it in a restaurant and I asked him if it annoyed him when people like me opted for GF foods and he said no, that it was thanks to people like me that restaurants were becoming much more enlightened and he was now able to get such a decent choice nowadays. In the past there was far less choice and some of the foods were pretty horrible, nowadays there is masses of food on offer and most of it is really good.

  • Yes he has a point there....it used to be very difficult For those with CD to eat out.

    The only problem I have is peoplewho could eat good fresh nutritious food, but buy allsorts of frozen ready meals-get upset stomachs by all the chemicals in them and then decided they need to eat gluten free ...& expect everyone around them to sympathise......when there is nothing wrong with them!!

    Take no notice of me....I'm getting crotchety in my dotage!

  • I go by the old saying 'if you can't pronounce it, then don't eat it - especially if your granny wouldn't have known what it was.'

    Generally my GF is pure unadulterated food, I read packet on everything i buy just to check that there are no 'rogue' ingredients. I discovered that one of the little snack sized tubs of nuts sold in M&S contains wheat. Why on earth would anyone want to put something like that in a handy size tub of mixed nuts?

  • Someone posted about the high percentage of fructose in alot of products in the USA. I had just assumed it was an American thing. After researching this, I discovered my country uses alternate names for fructose...disgusted at this deception :(

  • oh no you're not AC xx

  • Your friend has a good point. I have another friend who has type 1 diabetes (autoimmune) who is quite limitted on what she orders. I guess she would love it if more restaurants have diabetic foods?

    Strange how our bodies are so different.

  • I believe they are going to stop giving NHS prescriptions for G.F foods ...probably because quite a few people are diagnosing themselves as needing it & costing the NHS a small fortune.i'm going to see if I can read the BMJ report.

    Luckily I have a cast iron gut & thanks to RTX seem to be in remission from RA!

  • Coeliac is an autoimmune disease. My friend actually has antibodies against wheat. Not many people realize coeliac is autoimmune, me included. I just assumed it was an allergy.

    I too have a cast iron gut. :)

  • That is true Elf! Asthma, Excema, Hayfever....all autoimmune diseases, but nothing like RA, but one of the first questions my Rheumy asked when I was diagnosed with sero+'RA was did I have allergies as a child?

    I too am very cynical about a GF diet for anything except CD , but quite honestly if you have RA & think strongly enough that it will work, it may well do so....so live on GF food & bottled water. If you are pain free it may well be worth it.

    My friend has CD, & is slowly having parts if her intestines removed after years of not knowing what was wrong with her...she now eats GF,but it appears not to,help much as her intestines are so damaged.

    Good Luck to anyone who tries it & I wish them well, but just DON't try to tell me it will work for me!

    I am not giving up my Sunday morning Croissant for anyone!

  • I would never force my views on anyone else, I thought it was worth a try as I'd heard being GF was good for autoimmune conditions.

    I was prepared to give up if my antibodies had remained the same but once they started dropping I found myself loath to start on gluten containing foods.

    If you decide to be GF though you've got to do it wholeheartedly - I sat in France last week and watched my husband and our friend tuck into the most wonderful croissants, pain au raisin, bread to die for etc while I ate the gf option of something like sandpaper and the thing I miss most of all Is the huge fluffy fruit scones served by my local garden centre.

  • I presume you don't have CD?

    Do you feel so much better by depriving yourself of all those lovely goodies?

    If not why do you persevere?

    I don't give a jot what my blood results are if I'm feeling good & my rheumy is happy with my Progress .

    I feel life is too short to eat disgusting tasting food because you thing it might help.

  • Not that I know if. I persevere because I've been checking my bloods and have watched my thyroid antibodies plummet over the 18 months I've been gluten free. I was told by my endo that should I relapse and my Graves Disease return then they want to treat me with radio active iodine to totally zap my thyroid. I figure that if it reduces my thyroid antibodies and Graves is an autoimmune disease with antibodies then it's worth it. I also developed T2 diabetes when I was given steroids for my arthritis so by testing my bloods before and two hours after meals I discovered that grain based foods are what raises my blood sugars. I ate and walked my way out of T2 and although I could eat gf bread, cakes and biscuits I don't bother because I find most of that sort of stuff too sweet. A company called Schar produce really nice bread products but because it spikes my blood sugar I don't bother. I've just got used to not eating that sort of stuff. If I want a treat I either have some 80% dark chocolate or go to Costa and have a gf chocolate brownie with my coffee. I wouldn't ever eat anything disgusting just because it is gf, but you can't beat some BBQ d salmon with grilled asparagus and tomatoes or steak and dauphenoise or boulengere potatoes with a pile of green vegetables and finish off with strawberries, rasps or blueberries with a dollop of cream.

    I read somewhere that the NHS is stopping prescription gf foods because it is now much easier to buy that type of product in stores - and that could well be right but they just 'forgot' to factor in the cost of them and how it must wipe out the budget of someone on a lower income.

  • I admire you for being so diligent.....I am extremely lucky (Luck???) Huh!) that my only problem is RA...the rest of the old bod seems to be firing on all cylinders....but I doubt if I would research it as you have.

    Mind you I am one if these strange folk who don't like chocolate....or in fact many sweet things, so I don't find it hard to pass on them....& I chuck out more bread than I eat!

    I hope maybe by the time politicians decide about whether to continue NHS prescriptions for GF food the price of FF will hopefully have come down....as you say £4 for a loaf tasting like cardboard is a great strain on most budgets.

  • YUM - love your kind of food, except spuds n tomatoes, but u c,an do scones, cake breadswith ground almonds, potato flour, minimal sugar and eggs

  • AG - also learned that socalled pro /pre biotics are another marketing scam there's only one [pill] thatis ok?

  • Exactly. I have a friend (? One day I will hit her!) who criticises me constantly for as she says " having poison dripped in to your veins", but she spends a fortune on pro-biotic drinks......she has no digestive problems, but insists they make her "feel better" Go Figure!!

  • thanks for the laugh AC [dunno where i got AG from - fat fingers or Aged Girl?] anyway as we often say 'tis all in the mind' - and her poison LOL x

  • I have RA and going GF has given me a new lease on life. it has been 8 years and it was the best advise I ever got from the specialists. when I cheat now, I very quickly am reminded why I eat GF, as my joints become swollen red and painful almost immediately.

  • You can't get the free GF bread and flour on the NHS unless your clinically diagnosed and some like me don't want it as it's not very nice. So no one who just chooses to be GF can access free food. I believe it is just a passing phase for some and is characteristic of a popular but stupid idea that somehow we are all ill because of what we eat. I only wish that was the case as the NHS would save a fortune on expensive drugs !

    All I know is that being Celiac is not fun and at times it is difficult when the smell of fresh bread wafts across from a bakery or the husband is munching on a donut or worse the husband is scoffing a slice of apple pie that I've made, but can't eat. lol

  • Why don't you make your own you could use gf flour or buy some gf pastry from the chiller cabinet in Tesco although to me it tastes a bit sweeter than regular pastry - my husband loves it though so it can't be that bad? I do that or else just make apple crumble using gf flour.

    I also do catering for a group of about 25 people where there are always a few 'genuine, officially-tested coeliac' people there

    In fact when I cater - and I did that long before I decided to cut gluten from my own diet - I always made everything I was serving gluten free so that the people who were gf didn't feel they were any different from anyone else.

    People I've baked for - I bake for them using Doves Farm and do a direct substitute for regular flour - can't believe the cakes are gf.

  • I o cook a lot and for the local church too, and gf is not rollable but I just press in the tin, I buy Dove's as well but its not the same you just get used to it. There is a lot of rice and artisan gf flours about now too. In Germany the range of GF free stuff is much bigger and I stock up when visiting relatives.

    I have used X gum to see if it improves the streatch as well. Swiss roll does well GF but I still miss donuts! xx lol

  • But Simba people can eat healthily without cutting gluten out of their diets.

    Gluten only makes those with coeliac disease have terrible discomfort , needing intravenous steroids to keep any food in side them, it hasn't been clinically proven to help any autoimmune disease.

    You may like GF & I'm sure if you like cooking using GF food probably won't harm you.

    I am now on Rituximab & appear to be in remission from RA, but I eat anything that is put in front of me.....except chocolate which I dislike & it gives me a head ache !

    Of course any one can cut out gluten, in fact cut out anything they please if they believe it will help them..........as long as they don't to get it on prescription........ at the expense of our ailing NHS.

  • Did you read the research link about gluten sensitivity? Ofcourse you can eat healthy foods, lots of them but it still remains that gluten sensitivity is found in alarge % of AI patients and if you want to take care of good gut function which is fundamental in health this is a central issue.

  • Gluten does not always have any horrific effects that require such dramatic intervention. Most and I know 2 other Coeliacs just get an upset tum and feel a bit sicky and often tired. But of course, we are all different. I think a lot is in the mind but as I've said above only those who are clinically diagnosed can get NHS food. In any event, it's not free really as we pay our NI contributions whether we pay for prescriptions or not. In fact, I don't pay for prescriptions having thyroid failure which makes me exempt, so don't know if the foodstuffs are free or not. I simply dislike the idea that we are somehow able to control RA by diet except of course we can help ourselves sometimes by losing weight in some cases.

    I most definitely do not like being GF free it's not a lifestyle choice but a clinical one.

  • I wonder if coeliac is like RA...some are really poorly with it & others just need to be careful. .

    I know a lady who is slowly having her large intestine cut out......she just says she is coeliac.....I haven't asked if there is some other diagnosis too, but she weighs about 6 stone & is really poorly most of time.

    She is looked after by doctors at a London teaching hospital & says she sees many people worse than she is at clinic, so it can be a very serious condition.

  • Of course it can be, but I put on weight before diagnosis and have been told that is as common as losing it. Like RA there is no one size fits all. I should think some were not diagnosed until after the damage had been done. It is hard to understand and like RA some really do have huge problems and it never seems to go into remission others are lucky and do achieve remission and a normal life with the help of medications. I wish your friend well and hope she gets better.

  • I never knew coeliac was autoimmune, I guess I never thought about it. Then I ran into an old friend and we decided to have lunch. I was surprised when she picked a well known GF resaurant on the beach. She used to be a long distance runner who ate healthy...but whenever she was doing a run she always bulked up on carbs. I mean, she was always the girl who couldn't pass up a doughnut shop...lol

    Anyways I assumed she started eating GF because of it being so "California" and she lived near the beach....you know what they say about the word "assume". Lesson learned.

  • This is the study the editorial relates to Kathy bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1892

    It's interesting reading & supports very well the reason why we shouldn't just follow the latest trend & alter our diet unless it's medically necessary. As it is we're at increased cardiovascular risk & just choosing to go gluten free when you have RD & other inflammatory diseases & not diagnosed coeliac isn't being responsible. I fear it's not understanding the potential problems it could cause & why we should always seek advice from our medical professionals before embarking on a specific diet because it's the latest thing.

  • Your link doesn't work NMH

  • Try again Sue, I've posted it again.

  • I think those who question if it's advisable are extending genuine concern rather than 'bashing' IAAE. From my perspective, particularly with the diseases we share, it's advisable to first discuss it with those who are more informed than us when considering or before intitiating, in this instance removing gluten from our diet. Being wilful & not seeking advice could result in serious health problems which may otherwise be prevented. The same for supplementing, whether they're actually deficient or not should be determined by often simple testing rather than thinking they may be & just buying Vitamins. Also as has been mentioned OTC Vitamins & supplements are often only available in lower than prescription strength.... you'd need to take an inordinate amount of tablets/capsules etc in comparison.

    I can understand it helps to feel we have have some control, I'm not oblivious to that, but we can't know the harm we may be doing. It could be in some instance there's no harm whatsoever but we don't know for sure. I remember when my FSH test confirmed I was menopausal my GP strongly recommended I didn't take black cohosh, not with the meds I'm on. I didn't request this advice but because I know she wouldn't have said it without good reason I never have, though I did read up on her reasons why. I've been fortunate & had a relatively good transition but that may not be the case for others here who consider it so I would always advise they ask first.

    It is tiresome but only because we're often asked & when we are we're concerned as 'clean eating' may, in some cases, not be so clean if there's even the slight possibility they could be harming themselves. The is only way to be sure is to ask our medical professionals first & not believe all we're fed by 'quacks'.

  • If I eat wheat I flare up !

  • That is fair enough, you must have some sort of food intolerance. If you haven't already, I would just say go to see your GP - & take his advice. If he appears dismissive, as many do, ask for a referral to a qualified Dietician. I'm sure you are too intelligent to get caught up with so called Life Style Practitioners who do a short course & get a piece of paper saying they are now a Nutritioinist.

    I'm sure these people are well meaning,& are probably very useful in helping people lose weight.....but they are not qualified to "treat" people with serious food intolerances who also have a medically diagnosed disease and take strong drugs.

    Doctors & dietitians spend many years in training & hopefully understand the effects both how health conditions & the drugs they are prescribed can effect a person & are legally able to offer advice & tried & tested solutions.

    I'm sure the majority if Nutritionists have never heard of Mabthera or Arava.

    If I had food intolerances I'd want a highly qualified person advising me! But then I'm a control freak who will only consult a doctor I truly trust.Hope the wheat intolerance isn't too restrictive.

  • There are highly qualified medical doctors that do research and treat their patients with dietary modifications that already have a long history of effecting our health in different ways. Here's an example of cardiovascular disease and diet that is quite interesting.


    What is also interesting that rheumies that treat JIA frequently recommend glutenfree, dairy free restricted diets for their patients and are of the opinion that food restrictions have a noticeable impact. Funny that when it comes to adults then suddenly this does not apply🤔

  • Hello Simba, I am the Youth and Family Services at NRAS and would just like to add to your comment that rheumatologists treating juvenile arthritis frequently recommend a gluten free diet. I am sure that there may be one or two but there is no evidence to suggest that this is common practice.

    If a child is diagnosed with celiac disease their doctor/consultant would certainly recommend a gluten free diet and the same may apply if they suspect the child has a sensitivity to gluten.

    It is not recommended to put your child on a gluten free diet without first ascertaining if they have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten as it could in fact be something completely different.

    Taken from Arthritis Foundation webpage: CD is considered an autoimmune digestive disease in which the body’s immune system reacts to gluten and creates an inflammatory response that damages the lining of the small intestine and affects its ability to absorb nutrients. This can cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and weight loss.

    If any parent/carer is concerned, please seek medical advise first before making any changes to their child's diet.

    Thank you

  • Hi Anne I agree with all you say & heartily endorse that only qualified medical doctors should be consulted when treating children (& adults) with symptoms of CD.

    Many years ago a friend trained as aNutritionist....it was quite an unusual thing(in my circle anyway) to become back then.

    I had been in India & had caught Ameobic Dysentary & had been in hospital for quite a while. When I was recovering she tried to get me on to a GF diet, but when I asked my Gastroenterologis she said no way should I do that, as my gut was depleted enough & needed nourishment, not deprivation !

    I recovered just fine & didn't get diagnosed with RA until 40 years later.

  • Anne, you may be interested in naturalcurejia.org/ where a lad Cole, aged 6 found recovery from JIA in an incredibly short time, despite doctors arguing he would be on DMARDs for the rest of his life.

    Interestingly the mother removed gluten, nightshades and dairy with no benefit. She tried paleo diet with no benefit. Then she had success with my favourite diet, but even that stalled until she did what I also did, she ensured her child reduced his oils to a minimum.

    If you want my take on what worked? Much of it is about persistence. Gut regrowth takes a minimum of three months. It takes time and no-one knows how long that piece of string is. This lad recovered in less than three months. I took just shy of a year. I know of some people who are making solid but very slow progress and in their third year and have not got full recovery.

    Of course, as with so many instance Cole is just an instance. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have some properly funded large-scale research!

  • It would Andyswarb, but sadly of course there's no money in that for anyone, so not going to happen ☹️

  • It is also vital to be eating gluten for at least 6 weeks to get a proper test result for Coeliac, as if your not the test is result may be a false negative.

  • Hello Anne,

    Here reading that might be of interest.


  • I went completely GF over a year ago. I had just been diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. I also have IBS, Dupytren's Disease, asthma, my rheumy suspects Sjorgen's and Graves Disease all autoimmune conditions.

    When I started my anti thyroidperoxidase was 31.3 <34 and it is now 9.2 and my anti thyroglobulin was 401 <115 and it is now 40. Obviously I've still got antibodies but they are nothing like what they were in the past.

    Readings I had from before I went totally GF were consistently high - so I'm going to be sticking with my GF diet even though I'm not coeliac. My rheumy offered to test me for it but as I didn't want to start eating gluten just to find out if I should or shouldn't be eating it I declined his offer.

    It isn't difficult or even faddy not to eat gluten. If you cook from scratch like I do it's easy. I don't eat a lot of baked goods either and if I do I always use a GF flour of some sort. I'd say my diet is healthy - I just don't use wheat flour when I'm cooking and avoid it if I'm out.

    As someone on here once said 'Junk food is junk food whether or not its gluten free' and I'd say my diet is a diet without junk food and / or gluten, it's definitely a very healthy diet and I don't think I'm going to spontaneously combust because I don't eat grain / wheat based foods. 😉

  • hi just finished 1 day seminar here on diet and autoimmune diseases and learned more which i will post later [ off to sun again v soon] but attended with a pal who has coeliac disease and another who has IF prob RA like me but waiting for cleardiagnosis. Any learned that coeliac can only be def diagnosis after biopsies, but that many many more are gluten intolerant since grains only cultivated 9000 yrs ago and adaptation takes longer? we3 are now going to cross check refs and historic perspectives which will take time. Dairy highlighted for similar reasons [sinus, mucus and auto immune disease]. In the interim we are dumping plastics, teflon, aluminium and packaged processed food as far as poss - the info and datawere so persuasive.. all 3 have med /pych and research backgrounds so are not easily persuaded, but though this brief comment may help. gluten free / dsiry free are big biz moneymakers [ look at the actual contents and packaging to see ..

    hope to tell more anon

    best to all xx

  • I'm not being sanctimonious, but I started out with allergies as a child when gluten & fast food had never been heard of.( I am very old!)

    I admit I have had the odd McDonalds & do sometimes eat ready meals.....(I have never had a takeaway delivered!)

    So on the whole I "think" i don't eat much food packed with chemicals & preservatives.......but I still have allergic reactions one day to food I ate the day before with no problem.

    Hence I eat what I fancy & I am still here...OK I have RA, and I seem to be in remission on RTX......but tomorrow who knows?

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