Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Benefits of a gluten-free diet?

   
Author Topic: Benefits of a gluten-free diet?
Shigosei
Member
Member # 3831

 - posted      Profile for Shigosei   Email Shigosei         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have serious problems with sleepiness, and it's been suggested to me that removing gluten from my diet would help. I'm reluctant to go to that much trouble based on anecdotes, however. Does anyone know of any studies of gluten-free diets in people who don't have celiac disease (whether showing an effect or not)?
Posts: 3546 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
This doesn't answer your question, but I'll tell you this: Gluten free food sucks, and it's a huge pain in the butt.

My future sister-in-law has Celiac's, so I've eaten my fair share of gluten free food, and I work in a restaurant, so I've made and served my fair share of gluten free food. It's not so much that it's more expensive, although gluten free pizza is ridiculous around here, easily three times as much as regular. Trader Joe's actually has a surprising stock of gluten free products, but most of them taste like a shadow of the real thing. The sheer number of things that have gluten in them in a restaurant, or that gluten may have come into contact with, really limits you to salads.

My future sister-in-law doesn't seem to mind it too much however. It took her a few months to get used to the diet, and she had to give up a LOT of her favorite things, but she knows where to shop, makes something like 95% of her own food now, which she says has helped her to lose weight since she controls her food so much more precisely, and she doesn't complain about taste anymore.

Out of curiosity, have you considered other problems that might lead to sleepiness, like sleep apnea?

Posts: 21420 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Shigosei
Member
Member # 3831

 - posted      Profile for Shigosei   Email Shigosei         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have narcolepsy, which accounts for most or all of the sleepiness. It is very hard to treat narcolepsy so that a person feels normal -- the goal is more to be reasonably functional. Anyhow, if there are things out there which might help me feel less tired, I'll look into them. But the more expensive or difficult it is, the more evidence I want before I try it.
Posts: 3546 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Lyrhawn
Member
Member # 7039

 - posted      Profile for Lyrhawn   Email Lyrhawn         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My cousin has narcolepsy. I'll have to ask her if she's tried anything like this before.
Posts: 21420 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AvidReader
Member
Member # 6007

 - posted      Profile for AvidReader   Email AvidReader         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I read a thing by a nutritionist that claims wheat of any kind - even whole weat or whole grain - spikes your blood sugar and then crashes it later causing hunger and sleepiness. Since my food allergy damaged my sense of hunger and I'm still trying to get it back, I've cut down to eating wheat-based foods once or twice a day. I've lost a few pounds, and I don't get as sleepy after lunch unless I eat a full size PB&J. [Smile]

Did they say if you have to go fully gluten free to get the benefits? Because that's a lot of work. Just cutting down to one or two slices of bread or bowls of pasta is pretty easy.

And while I haven't found a gluten free meat I like, I'm a big fan of a lot of gluten free food. (They tend to be corn syrup free.) I get gluten free chips, cereal, and snack bars on purpose just because they're delicious. I've also had to switch to them on cookies since Newman's Own started putting corn syrup in theirs. The vanilla creme cookies I got were a little grainy but still quite tasty.

And as always, the best way to control what you eat is to buy fresh and put it together yourself. The produce section is your friend. [Smile]

Posts: 2283 | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bella Bee
Member
Member # 7027

 - posted      Profile for Bella Bee   Email Bella Bee         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've recently started to feel pretty ill (pains, bad tummy) and realised a couple of weeks ago that it only occurs after I've eaten wheat (I've been eating a lot of wheat recently and previously my diet was nearly wheat free).

So, since I can't get to a doctor at the moment, I'm self-treating it by cutting out all wheat. It's working, as long as I remember not to touch pasta, pizza, bread, etc.
I've been eating a few gluten free things like brownies and they're pretty nice, actually.

But I hate having to cook fresh all the time. And I'm already getting sick of rice.

I'd try it for a couple of weeks and see if you feel better.

Posts: 1517 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was diagnosed with Celiac disease 13 years ago and have been on a Gluten Free diet since then. I think you'd have to be totally bonkers to go on this diet if you didn't have a compelling reason to believe you had Celiac disease.

Its a very difficult diet to follow because there is wheat (rye and barley) in nearly all processed and pre-prepared foods. You have to read the labels on everything you buy. Even if you've bought that brand a 100 times before, manufacturers change things without warning. You can't eat anything unless you know what's in it. You go to parties, receptions and socials and generally can't touch a thing being served. You have to grill the staff at restaurants and be prepared to get poisoned unless you are very thorough because most people have no idea that there is wheat in things like Orzo, boullion, canned soups, and soy sauce. You'd be shocked how many people don't know that white flour is made from wheat. Forget eating at chains like Olive Garden or TGI Friday because no one knows what's in anything. Be prepared to disappoint the friend who went out of their way to make you "gluten free" rice crispy treats but never thought to check on whether the marshmallows were coated with flour.

Most of the prepared specialty gluten free foods are over priced and poor quality. Its not that gluten free foods can't be delicious. I make gluten free cookies, cakes, pancakes, crepes, pizza, pies and such that are terrific, better than most things made with gluten, but you have to make them yourselves. I think the problem is that the people who make specialty gluten free foods in the US are trying to cater to people with multiple food allergies so things tend to be gluten free, egg free, dairy free, fat free, salt free, sugar free, and taste free. It's also not that the food are inherently more expensive. You can get rice, bean, and potato flours at an asian or indian grocery for a fraction what the same flours costs if they've got a gluten free label on them. It pisses me off that companies think its just fine to gouge people because they have a disease.

With all that said, the diets been worth it for me as I am so much healthier now than before I was diagnosed. As long as I cook myself, I can eat most everything I love. There are exceptions. Good gluten free bread is something of an oxy-moron. Filo dough is an impossibility. But with those exceptions, I'm able to make wonderful gluten free foods that even my non gluten free friends think are excellent.

When I was diagnosed 13 years ago, hardly anyone had heard of celiac disease or a gluten free diet. Doctors in the US were saying 1 in 3000 had the disease. There was no chance of a restaurant having a gluten free menu. Manufacturers in the US didn't have to put wheat on the label if it was less than 2% of a product. Now doctors are saying that as many as 1 in 150 people in the US have the disease. Lots of people I know have been diagnosed and its hit the main stream media. There is both good an bad to that. Food labeling has improved greatly. Gluten free products have become easier to find and many mainstream manufacturers have modified their products to make them gluten free (usually this required simply replacing barley malt with some other sweetener or specifying that "flavorings" did not include wheat). Unfortunately, it also means that more people think they know about it, but are totally clueless, like the restaurant chain whose corporate headquarters claimed the pita bread (made with all purpose white flour) was gluten free because it had no added wheat gluten). And even more unfortunately, it seems that a some people think this is just the latest crazy diet fad which can actually be dangerous to those of us who really do have celiac disease.

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mr_porteiro_head
Member
Member # 4644

 - posted      Profile for mr_porteiro_head   Email mr_porteiro_head         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I have a friend who does not have (diagnosed) Celiac disease, but decided to try a gluten free diet for a couple of weeks to see if it made a difference.

It did. He felt better than he had in years. So he stuck with it (mostly).

Interestingly, he says that he can have a small amount of gluten if he also has a beer.

I know you asked for studies, and I'm giving you an anecdote. But still...

Posts: 16551 | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
But I hate having to cook fresh all the time.
Yup. I'm sorry to say I don't have any good solution to that. It would be so nice to have something I could just heat up quick and easy when I'm tired and don't feel like cooking. The best solution I've found is to cook extra big batches and freeze some for later, but in practice it rarely happens. We usually end up eating the left overs the next night.

quote:
And I'm already getting sick of rice.
It helps to have a variety of different kinds of rice. Basmati and Jasmine rice have very different textures and whole grain rices add some variety as well. Also try preparing it in different ways. Risotto, paella, sushi and Idli are all yummy. For variety try polenta, kasha (buckwheat groats), and quinoa. Quinoa make a good substitute for couscous or small pastas (like orzo of frog eye). It's also good in tabbouleh. There are a lot of Indian breads that use chickpea flour and Indian "cookies" made with nuts and powdered milk rather than flour. Corn tortillas are one of my staples. Do you have any asian and or Indian grocers near by? They have lots of wheat free alternatives.
Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PSI Teleport
Member
Member # 5545

 - posted      Profile for PSI Teleport   Email PSI Teleport         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I read a thing by a nutritionist that claims wheat of any kind - even whole weat or whole grain - spikes your blood sugar and then crashes it later causing hunger and sleepiness.
Meh. That's misleading. All carbohydrates, and I'm talking specifically about saccharides, not necessarily the foods that contain them, will cause a spike in your blood sugar. But whole grains contain more fiber, which will result in the saccharides being digested a little more slowly. Plus, carby foods were not meant to be eaten to the exclusion of other nutrients at a meal. A balanced meal including protein, fiber, and some fat will stay in your stomach longer, take longer to digest, and thus lessen the effects of the saccharides on your blood sugar levels.

But, yeah. Don't eat a loaf of whole grain bread for lunch unless you want to crash by tea time.

ETA: Yeah, quinoa! Stuff's awesome, delicious, and has a texture that rice doesn't have. Plus, it's a complete protein.

Posts: 6326 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
All carbohydrates, and I'm talking specifically about saccharides, not necessarily the foods that contain them, will cause a spike in your blood sugar.
True, but not all carbohydrates cause your blood sugar to spike to the same degree and not all people are equally sensitive. Whole grains have a lower glycemic index (GI) than refined grains but its even more complicated than that. The GI of different varieties of rice, potatoes and pasta can vary by a factor of two.

Shigosei, If you are having problems with a blood sugar crash and extreme tiredness after meals, try avoiding foods with a high glycemic index. Its lots easier and less expensive than the gluten free diet.

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PSI Teleport
Member
Member # 5545

 - posted      Profile for PSI Teleport   Email PSI Teleport         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Rabbit, I think I clearly stated that I wasn't talking about the food itself. The word carbohydrate can be used two ways: one, to mean the type of food that contains various forms of saccharides, such as potatoes, whole wheat, and so forth, which is something of a lay term. And, two, to mean specifically the saccharides themselves. I was speaking of the second usage.

The glycemic index of those particular saccharides (mono-, di-, oligo-, poly-) can vary here and there, but based mainly on the fact that some of them begin to be digested in the mouth while others wait until the intestine and require a little more effort to break down. It's not a huge difference: in isolation, one of them will cause the spike earlier, while others will cause a spike later that's not quite as drastic but lasts longer. Whole grains have a lower GI, it's true, but it's specifically because they contain elements other than saccharides that we can metabolize, such as fiber, which we cannot. Which is pretty much what I said in the last post, and was my whole point. Avid Reader seemed concerned that all types of carbs cause a sugar spike, which is true by the most literal definition of carbohydrate. But things like fiber affect that, which are what give whole wheat its lower GI. I was, in essence, arguing with the quote she gave, that all carbs will cause a spike that will make you crash.

Posts: 6326 | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bella Bee
Member
Member # 7027

 - posted      Profile for Bella Bee   Email Bella Bee         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
For variety try polenta, kasha (buckwheat groats), and quinoa.
Thanks for the suggestions Rabbit! I'll look into it, as I was getting a bit desperate. Luckily I'm in the land of paella anyway.
Posts: 1517 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Bella Bee, I forgot you were in Spain. There are some pretty good gluten free products you should be able to find in Spanish stores. In my opinion, Schar makes the best gluten free pastas. Their spaghetti actually can be cooked al dente. They also make a baguette that you have to bake which comes out very well. I think they also make a chocolate croissant that's very tasty.

When I was cycling in Spain, I really enjoyed the Tortilla de Patatas which just happen to be gluten free.

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bella Bee
Member
Member # 7027

 - posted      Profile for Bella Bee   Email Bella Bee         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm going to make tortilla tomorrow! The pasta sounds wonderful - I miss eating pasta so much. I'll have to go on a gluten free hunt. This is a big city, I know speciality food exists, but until recently, obviously I wasn't looking and so didn't find it (apart from the brownies, which were a fluke).

But I expect one of the big, posh supermarkets will have it. Nice to know it's edible. [Smile]

Posts: 1517 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
PSI, While you are completely correct from a chemical perspective, what you said is very misleading. People don't normally eat pure chemicals, we eat foods (which are a complex mixture of chemicals. That turns out to be very important if you are concerned with how people absorb and metabolize different foods.

Bella Bee, Here is a good summary of where to find gluten free foods in various European countries.

Posts: 12590 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bella Bee
Member
Member # 7027

 - posted      Profile for Bella Bee   Email Bella Bee         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's brilliant, thank you.
My shopping is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Posts: 1517 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Magson
Member
Member # 2300

 - posted      Profile for Magson   Email Magson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I dated a woman for a couple of years who had Celiac. There's a local company called "The Blue Chip Group" that sells a lot of gluten-free flours. She had a recipe for flour that combined things like rice, potato, tapioca, and xanthan gum and it worked quite well. I actually preferred the taste of bread and pizza crust made with that flour to just about anything else.

I did a search and it look like it's changed its name to Auguson Farms. They ship in the US, so if anyone is looking for anything like that, it's an option.

Posts: 1319 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Zalmoxis
Member
Member # 2327

 - posted      Profile for Zalmoxis           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My wife is still waiting on a confirmed Celiac's diagnosis, but she definitely has a wheat allergy at the very least. It has been frustrating (and she got burned by soy sauce early on -- we decided to make sushi as a treat since she was starting to go crazy with the gluten free diet. But didn't think to check the soy sauce. You know, because it's soy sauce and not wheat sauce), but luckily we had already made a switch to more legumes and lentils over the past couple of years so it hasn't been super difficult. Quinoa has been an amazing help (and we can get a huge bag of it at our local Costco for a very reasonable price). As has cooking with Indian spices. And polenta and corn tortillas. Some of the gluten free pastas (rice, quinoa, corn) are actually not bad and not much more expensive. My wife also makes homemade hummus once or twice a week.
Posts: 3423 | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2