Gluten-Free — No Free Lunch

14.6.2016 | 00:11

Gluten free. Road sign on the sky background. Raster illustration.

Many people don’t realize this, but there actually can be problems with a gluten-free diet.

It doesn’t mean that “going gluten-free” is dangerous, or a bad idea; it just means that we have to be aware of what pitfalls might exist.

This is why it’s so important that people don’t just stop eating gluten and replace processed gluten-containing products with processed gluten-free products.

Sometimes folks wonder why they go on a gluten-free diet and gain weight.

Many times, that’s due to the fact that they go to the grocery store and buy the same sort of packaged products – only now they’re gluten-free – that they bought before.

A lot of those mainstream gluten-free foods replace the wheat flour with highly-refined ingredients like potato starch, rice flour, tapioca starch – which basically turn to sugar in the body almost immediately.

They are not going to help you lose any weight!

They are simply not healthy foods.

Gluten Free Cookies. Celiac Disease concept.

As a matter of fact, if someone isn’t suffering from any degree of gluten sensitivity, I’d rather see them eating whole grains if they must have bread, pasta, etc. than eating stuff like that because they think a mainstream gluten-free diet is “healthy” for them.

Not everyone needs to be gluten-free.

Yes, there is evidence that the components in wheat cause some small degree of intestinal permeability in everyone who ingests it, but that doesn’t always manifest in any sort of permanent health issue.

There are those who say that no human can digest the proteins found in wheat.

And yet there are many, many people who eat it throughout their lives without seeming to suffer any ill effects.

For me personally, I feel much better without it – my chronic alternating diarrhea and constipation vanished when I eliminated gluten.

Since I have no desire to return to those days, I have no interest in testing myself.

Another thing that can trip people up is the fact that whole grains do contain certain healthful components, the most important of which is fiber.

And guess what?

All those starches and sugars in the gluten-free cookies, cakes, and bagels?

Gluten Free cupcakes on wooden background, close up

They don’t.

That fiber helps feed the beneficial bacteria in our guts, and replacing it with junk calories can lead to an imbalance, allowing the pathogenic strains to take over.

And we’ve all heard enough on that topic lately to know that’s not a good thing….

The problem is that wheat in particular contains some nutrients – but it also contains a multitude of anti-nutrients, not just gluten.

So what are we supposed to do?

We need to be mindful of these sorts of potential pitfalls when we make any sort of radical change to our diet.  We also need to be sensible:  If you’ve been eating whole grain cereals, breads, etc. you should really consider whether you want to replace those foods with ones made up of refined sugars and starches.

gluten free word with wood background

We have to take responsibility for our own health.  If you can’t do the research yourself – either due to time restraints, or because you can’t sort through all of the contradictory information – find a nutritionist or dietitian who specializes in Celiac Disease and/or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

Dr. Tom O’Bryan maintains a registry of all of his Certified Gluten Practitioners at his website

Reach out to Debra and I – we’ve been doing this for a long time, and as I’ve said before, we’ve made many mistakes and learned many lessons along our journey.

We can help you avoid these potential pitfalls.

We’re even putting together a program to help people transition to a healthy gluten-free lifestyle.  We’ll keep you posted on the upcoming launch this fall, and we hope you’ll join us.

Please feel free to contact either Debra ( or myself ( if you’d be interested in scheduling a complimentary 30-minute Q&A phone discussion around issues you may have with gluten.

Chocolate chip cookies on plate and no gluten sign on wooden background

We want others to be able to do this right, straight out of the gate.

Let us know how we can support you if and when you make the choice to get rid of the gluten!!


  1. Brad
    June 14, 2016 | 6:30 pm

    Very balanced perspective! I agree that a lot of gluten free processed food is free of any value as well. People may be better off having gluten than junk but I also think people need to try going gluten free if they experience any health issues whatsoever. People often chalk gluten up to just GI issues where, as you’ve mentioned before, it can affect many other things as well.

    • daletchworth
      June 15, 2016 | 12:02 am

      Agreed, Brad — people can give it a try and if they notice a positive change, then stick with it. If not, then go back to eating it. But yes, sometimes it’s the non-GI issues that can improve.

  2. Jace
    June 14, 2016 | 8:12 pm

    Gluten affected me with headaches. I did not have any GI issues.

    I’m in the camp that all should try going healthy gluten-free for a period of time without taking pills to get rid of symptoms. Let it play out and see how you feel. Avoid the gluten-free junk.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • daletchworth
      June 15, 2016 | 12:03 am

      Which just adds on to Brad’s insight about non-GI issues. Trying healthy gluten-free certainly can’t hurt, as long as it’s not the junk. 🙂

  3. Cherie
    June 15, 2016 | 1:06 am

    Important points more people need to be aware of Diane. I also learned over time that I had to watch how often I made treats with almond flour. It’s great to have you and Debra available to help people navigate through their own journey!

    • daletchworth
      June 15, 2016 | 8:18 pm

      Cherie — you raise a good point in regard to almond flour. Plus, there are people who may be allergic to tree nuts, so while some of the GF mixes may not be optimal for everyone, they make a decent choice for some people. We’re hoping to cover all the bases in our program, so we can help individuals make the best decisions for their own needs.

  4. Andrea Caprio
    June 15, 2016 | 5:23 pm

    Too much gluten, sugar and dairy = Migraine for me so I stay away mostly. Great perspective on why gluten does what gluten does and why fiber is so important.

    • daletchworth
      June 15, 2016 | 8:19 pm

      Andrea — I would think that anyone who suffers from migraines, and can figure out what triggers them, would stay away from those things. Thanks much for the feedback.

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