Things you should know before going gluten-free

Did you know…

that a gluten free diet can be quite harmful if not closely controlled by an experienced dietitian?

 

 

It seems to me that it is getting very fashionable to leave out gluten in diets in adults as well as in children without any proof for a genuine intolerance.

Gluten-free diet firstly will lead to missing out on fiber, although this may be partly compensated by consuming more whole grains like amaranth, kasha, millet and quinoa, and from fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Consumer Reports also found that some gluten-free foods have more fat, sugar and/or salt than their regular counterparts, and are short on nutrients like iron and folic acid – found in foods with enriched-wheat flour.

Many products also replace wheat with rice. This is a concern because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been monitoring rice and rice products for the presence of small amounts of arsenic, which finds its way into rice from both natural and human sources. So, it’s important not to overload on this grain, even whole-grain brown rice.

Finally a large study led from 2009 to 2012 in the USA showed higher levels of various heavy metals in bloods of people following a gluten free diet,  which they attributed to higher consumption of rice, leafy vegetables, fish and shellfish. So while consuming fish once a week seems to raise IQ in children by 4 points according to a recent study, it would however not be advisable to have it much more often.

So a strict gluten free diet should be reserved for patient with genuine autoimmune gluten intolerance also called celiac disease

If you suspect having issues with gluten you should see your doctor will be able to rule out or to a great extent confirm celiac disease by blood testing, and if necessary will look at other causes for your complaints

At Roseneath Medical Practice we will be happy to perform these assessments.

Dr Robert Arlt MD as been a practicing Paediatrician (children’s doctor) since 1992 and has experience of working in Germany, France and the UK and is offering his services (private Consultant Paediatrician) at Roseneath Medical Practice in Richmond.

Coeliac disease

Did you know that untreated coeliac disease can lead to additional serious health problems?

coeliac disease

What is coeliac disease?

  • It is an autoimmune condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed and unable to absorb nutrients
  • It is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten , which is found in any food or drink containing wheat, barley, rye eg cereals, pasta, bread, cake, beer.
  • It is not an allergy or intolerance to gluten.
  • It is hereditary
  • It could result from environmental factors eg a digestive system infection in childhood

  • It is estimated that one in 100 people in UK have coeliac disease, and that nearly half a million people aren’t yet aware of their condition.

What are the symptoms?

  • diarrhoea  
  • abdominal pain
  • bloating
  • wind
  • indigestion 
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • hair loss
  • fatigue 
  • weight loss
  • itchy skin rash 
  • delayed growth/ puberty  

What are the risks of coeliac disease?

  • Malnutrition
  • Increased risk of other autoimmune diseases eg Type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Lymphoma and  bowel cancer
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Osteoporosis
  • Irritability and depression – children with coeliac disease are irritable
  • Low birthweight babies
  • Dental defects

How can coeliac disease be treated?

Currently the only treatment for coeliac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet.

And the good news?

In most cases the symptoms can be reversed and the complications prevented by a gluten-free diet. Early diagnosis and treatment are key. See Dr Soori at Roseneath Medical Practice for full evaluation of your symptoms and same day blood tests to help identify if you may have coeliac disease. If required a specialist referral for a biopsy confirmation of the diagnosis can then be arranged.