Any benefit to a low-gluten diet?

I know this probably isn't strictly the best place to ask this question but some of you may have experience of this.

I am considering trialling a gluten-free diet for a few weeks to see if it resolves several issues which may or may not be caused by gluten: I have not been diagnosed with  coeliac disease so don't have to be hyper vigilant. However, my husband does most of the cooking and uses flour to thicken sauces. He will not countenance using corn flour. He wonders whether a low-gluten diet will be sufficient to see whether gluten is a problem for me.

To be fair I'm not planning on buying any guaranteed gluten-free foodstuffs other than pasta; my oats will be the same as usual and may or may not have traces of gluten.

So the question is whether I need to go completely gluten free or whether a large reduction in gluten will suffice for testing purposes. Does anybody have experience?

13 Replies

  • Hose, if gluten is a problem half measures probably won't do although reducing gluten may help. Potato starch can be a satisfactory alternative to flour for thickening.

  • Have you been properly tested for celiac disease while eating a lot of gluten? I only ask because I've got Hashimoto's and always pooh poohed the idea of going gluten free as I seem to have no problem with eating it only to suddenly have the celiac test come back positive. Pfft! From everything I've read, half measures won't cut it. A tiny morsel of gluten can upset the gut for months and months so to see proper benefits of gluten free diet, it has to be all or nothing. Apparently.

  • Hi Trial period needs to be 6 weeks , worth trying as the tests are inconclusive.


  • Yes, as you say there's a string link between thyroid and gluten intolerance / celiac-- especially for Hashi folks.... IMHO the best way to conclusively test whether gluten free helps you is to go totally GF, at least 6 weeks.

    Surely your husband wants you to feel better and thus might be persuaded to thicken sauces with a GF alternative?

    Anyway, good luck whatever you decide!

  • Hose, I read your post with interest as I too have had similar issues - I was tested twice over the years and both came back negative. My gut issues just got worse & worse t I decided to go GF anyway & I have never looked back ! My joints are better no more bloating etc. I still sometimes get issuesbut I put that down to fibro & Hashimotos. I used to get terrible candida on my tongue - no more! But as people have commented - it's all or nothing otherwise you are not giving it a chance. I cannot eat oats as they give me severe stomach pain also. It has been 10 months since I stopped eating gluten & it does get easier. Try using corn flour to thicken things or GF flour.

  • I tried going low gluten before fully taking the plunge - the difference was barely noticeable, whereas going fully gluten free improved things immensely. From my own experience I would say low gluten isn't worth the bother.

    I agree, get yourself tested for coeliac disease, its a simple blood test (well two, actually but only one armful if you are needle phobic like me) but you do have to have the test done while eating gluten regularly. Although many more are non-coeliac gluten sensitive than have the full blown disease, it would settle the argument with hubby, so worth it.

    Assuming that comes back negative then only you can decide how you balance your possible improvement in health against domestic harmony! For a test period its easy enough to live on chicken and bagged salad if the cook won't co-operate, but in the long run you would obviously have to come to some sort of accommodation with himself.

    If you do go gluten free for a while and then re-introduce it be aware that the first reactive symptoms may take up to 24 hours to show up. But when they do, they might (or might not of course) be quite extreme. I got violent stomach pains 12-24 hours after (accidentally) eating gluten, and they lasted for a couple of days, during which time I was not fit to go anywhere or do anything! That was five years ago, and nowadays I get away with small amounts occasionally, but not a whole croissant! I doubt if I could get away with it regularly, so eat gluten free which allows me to survive the occasional accident when I miss a trace of flour.

  • No Hose its all or nothing and yes gluten does have a huge effect and can cause internal damage in anyone sensitive to it. You must cut out gluten completely for at least a week to see if it helps.

  • The tests for coeliac are not conclusive. Going off most of the gluten wont do the trick. Completely gluten free diet for 4-6 weeks and after that try to eat gluten-containing foods 3 times a day (toasts in the morning, pasta for lunch and pizza for dinner will make the gluten load strong enough). Go back to gluten free for 72 hours, monitoring if smth is different. For ex., heaviness in the stomach area, gas, bloating, skin rashes etc. just anything that wasnt there before.

  • And how oddly things jump out at you! I just received this email

    Ignoring what they are trying to sell, I was struck by the claim that it takes six months for the effects of gluten ingestion to go - certainly I didn't feel the full benefits of going GF for six months, but I assumed that was because I kept making mistakes along my gf journey!

    I don't make mistakes any more, but of course friends and family aren't as tuned in...

  • I went gluten free a couple of years ago for non-thyroid problems, and I am not coeliac. However, my general health improved all round, and I haven't gone back. I thicken savoury sauces with gram (chickpea) flour, and sweet stuff with Doves Farm GF flour. I've never liked a cornflour based sauce. Tescos own brand GF pasta is the most 'pasta' tasting of the GF brands (some taste more like sweetcorn). Nestle have just started making GF cornflakes which are pretty good. At first I was a bit half hearted and 'cheated' as you suggest, but as you get more used to it it is easier, though I'm still not strict about the oats. Good Luck.

  • People on this site often recommend going gluten-free, and I resisted doing so for ages because I just felt that it would be a complete pain. I know GF can be helpful for Hashimoto's and, having read up on it, I feel that going GF is probably a good idea for everyone, with or without thyroid problems. Anyhow, I finally took the plunge as I felt that anything that might help me feel better was worth trying, if only for a short time.

    I have been GF for 3 months now. It might be total coincidence, as other things have changed too (have increased levothyroxine, and been prescribed other supplements), but I definitely have less joint pain and, although I didn't have stomach problems, I have a less-bloated tum. A different endo I saw recently thought it was worth trying (yes, really!)

    I have had to make a lot of changes, and I really miss my French bread, but it has already become second-nature to me now and I do not regret it at all. Although I don't eat out a lot, I have been surprised by how many places offer GF meals too.

  • I have been GF for 2.5 years now. I wasn't diagnosed as Celiac and at the time didn't know that I had Hashi's. My mother in law came to stay, she is Celiac, we switched our diet and after just 2 weeks I felt better. Part GF wont cut it antibody wise or gut wise. It genuinely is all or nothing. With the amount of GF flours available hubby wont notice the difference in sauces, its more expensive, but does the same job there. Cakes are also fine with GF flour, bread is not. Best bread I've come across is the Marks and Spencer seeded, lovely! Pasta takes less cooking, but is just as good. It is your health and I can genuinely say that I gradually saw a great improvement in my overall health and less infections generally.

    Good luck with trying it!


  • Just one thing to add, I love porridge and have it every morning, but had to stop because it was giving me bloating and a sorry tummy. I switched to GF porridge and am totally fine now. I've been tested for celiac and it was negative.

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