Goodbye Gluten


...elusive dreamer
Apr 5, 2009
Informative article on gluten...

Goodbye Gluten

Digestive troubles are among myriad health risks
for people sensitive to this problematic grain protein.

January 2012
By Linda Melone

Extreme fatigue, brain fog and unexplained weight gain made Sandra Beckwith suspect a health issue was afoot. Sure enough, a doctor diagnosed her with an underactive thyroid and put her on medication. When her sister and 20-year-old daughter were both diagnosed with celiac disease, Beckwith decided to take the test as a matter of course. “I knew it was genetic.” She also tested positive for the disease—which is often connected with thyroid problems.

“I had no reason to suspect celiac disease because I didn’t have digestive symptoms, but apparently the disease attacked my thyroid,” says Beckwith, a New York publicist and writer who was diagnosed seven years ago. A gluten-free diet helped heal most of her symptoms but she remains on thyroid medication. “The damage was too far gone,” she says.

A friend with celiac helped Beckwith make a fairly quick adjustment to a gluten-free diet, although she admits it wasn’t easy at first. Recent awareness of celiac disease and the response of food manufacturers, however, now makes it easier to follow the strict diet. “I have no trouble eating gluten-free at home, but dining out terrifies me,” says Beckwith, who becomes incapacitated for a full day if she accidentally ingests gluten. “Wait staff don’t always know what’s in the food.” Wheat germ in her hair care products required her to switch brands as well.

Beckwith’s experiences with gluten-laden products are not isolated, which is why you can walk into any supermarket and likely see a new section devoted to gluten-free foods. Recent research linking gluten to digestive ills, migraines, diabetes and even neurological disorders has sparked heightened consumer demand for products without gluten. Retail sales of gluten-free products are expected to reach nearly $2.8 billion this year.