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Thinking about going gluten-free in the new year?

Why Going Gluten-Free Could Be A Bad Idea

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Is A Gluten-Free Diet Right For You?

This is Rachel Begun, MS, RD. She’s a nutritionist who, since her own diagnosis with Celiac disease, has shifted her career into a position of educating the public (and correcting misconceptions) about gluten sensitivity, wheat allergy, and Celiac disease. In short, the whole “gluten-free” field.

First, a quick recap

We’ve written on this topic ourselves before; here’s what we had to say:

Gluten: What’s The Truth?

On “Everyone should go gluten-free”

Some people who have gone gluten-free are very evangelical about the lifestyle change, and will advise everyone that it will make them lose weight, have clearer skin, more energy, and sing well, too. Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get the idea—a dietary change gets seen as a cure-all.

And for some people, it can indeed make a huge difference!

Begun urges us to have a dose of level-headedness in our approach, though.

Specifically, she advises:

  • Don’t ignore symptoms, and/but…
  • Don’t self-diagnose
  • Don’t just quit gluten

One problem with self-diagnosis is that we can easily be wrong:

Suspected Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity Confirmed in Few Patients After Gluten Challenge in Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trials

But why is that a problem? Surely there’s not a health risk in skipping the gluten just to be on the safe side? As it turns out, there actually is:

If we self-diagnose incorrectly, Begun points out, we can miss the actual cause of the symptoms, and by cheerfully proclaiming “I’m allergic to gluten” or such, a case of endometriosis, or Hashimoto’s, or something else entirely, might go undiagnosed and thus untreated.

“Oh, I feel terrible today, there must have been some cross-contamination in my food” when in fact, it’s an undiagnosed lupus flare-up, that kind of thing.

Similarly, just quitting gluten “to be on the safe side” can mask a different problem, if wheat consumption (for example) contributed to, but did not cause, some ailment.

In other words: it could reduce your undesired symptoms, but in so doing, leave a more serious problem unknown.


If you suspect you might have a gluten sensitivity, a wheat allergy, or even Celiac disease, get yourself tested, and take professional advice on proceeding from there.

How? Your physician should be able to order the tests for you.

You can also check out resources available here:

Celiac Disease Foundation | How do I get tested?

Or for at-home gluten intolerance tests, here are some options weighed against each other:

MNT | 5 gluten intolerance tests and considerations

Want to learn more?

Begun has a blog:

Rachel Begun | More than just recipes

(it is, in fact, just recipes—but they are very simple ones!)

You also might enjoy this interview, in which she talks about gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, and bio-individuality:


Want to watch it, but not right now? Bookmark it for later 🔖

Take care!

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