Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dietitian Shelley Case Cautions Readers of The G-Free Diet

Today Yesterday, registered dietitian Shelley Case issued a press release advising people who might consider adopting a gluten-free diet following the publication of Elisabeth Hasselbeck's The G-Free Diet.

"It's a myth that everyone should be on a gluten-free diet," says Case. "Just because alternative health practitioners, personal trainers and celebrities are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, doesn't mean it is right for everyone." Case worries that too many people will look to the diet to solve a multitude of problems such as arthritis, ADHD, elevating energy levels and even weight loss. "Contrary to popular buzz, the GF diet is not a panacea diet" says Case....

Case refutes the common myth that a trial gluten-free diet is the best way to determine if you have celiac disease. "Unfortunately a growing number of people are attempting to self-diagnose their own gluten sensitivity without proper medical assessment and nutrition counseling," says Case. "It's absolutely imperative to see a physician BEFORE adopting a gluten-free diet."

Celiac disease is diagnosed by a specific blood test and small intestinal biopsy. Gluten must be present in the diet in order for these tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Without an official diagnosis, people may not be motivated to strictly follow the diet for the rest of their lives or receive further follow up care to monitor for potential complications of the disease that can include osteoporosis and gastrointestinal cancer. Furthermore, their relatives may not get screened for celiac disease if the family member does not have a confirmed biopsy proven diagnosis.

Case worries that many people will try this diet as the latest "fad" because of a celebrity status associated with it. As result, "those with celiac disease may not be taken as seriously in restaurants because everyone thinks it's just a lifestyle choice or trendy obsession." Even small amounts of gluten can damage the intestinal tract. Because celiac disease is a serious lifelong disorder, it should be accorded the respect it deserves.
Other responses to The G-Free Diet can be found here.


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