Cheating on the Gluten-Free Diet - Celiac Disease
Aug 19 2013

Cheating on the Gluten-Free Diet

The only “cure” for Celiac Disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet.  Following the gluten-free diet if you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease is vital in order to restore health. Not following the diet may result in continued symptoms and even possible cancer, like lymphoma.

An article just published earlier this month on the Columbia University Medical Center’s website discusses the increased risk for those with Celiac Disease and ongoing intestinal damage.  While a biopsy of the small intestine is used to diagnose Celiac Disease, it is not standard practice to have a follow-up after the gluten-free diet is started and healing has begun.

While there are times I miss my favorite foods, I haven’t cheated on the gluten-free diet because I get very sick.  I am sure that helps with my adherence, as it would certainly be more tempting to indulge if I didn’t suffer almost immediate consequences.  There are people out there with Celiac Disease who don’t have symptoms (asymptomatic), yet still suffer the long term consequences of eating gluten.  It would be much harder under those circumstances to strictly adhere to the diet.  I liken it to eating healthy or not smoking; making the choice to adhere to the gluten-free diet benefits overall and long term health.

If you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, have you intentionally cheated on the gluten-free diet?  Was it an isolated incident, or is it something you do frequently?  Have you had a follow-up to see if your small intestine/villi are healing? I am genuinely curious and not here to judge.  If you don’t feel comfortable commenting on the blog, please message me.

Article Written by:

Kyle Eslick is the founder of Gluten Free Media, as well as the creator of the popular Celiac Support Groups page. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google+!

Comments

  1. Peter A Edwards-Stevenson says:

    No I have not cheated while on a gluten free diet. As it took almost a year from diagnosis to get my diet managed, due to being in and out of hospital for almost all but 2 of those 12 months. Even after I have spent more time in hospital and been given the wrong diet, I went without on one of the occasions, as I had been in Intensive Care, and can could not eat, as a nasogastric tube could not be passed and peg fed was not an option.

    I spent 2 of 8 admissions to hospital in Intensive Care, in the past 24 months. It is important to follow a diet closely which you have poor health, as it takes very little to tip you over the edge, and you become ill quickly.

  2. Peter A Edwards-Stevenson says:

    No I have not cheated while on a gluten free diet. As it took almost a year from diagnosis to get my diet managed, due to being in and out of hospital for almost all but 2 of those 12 months. Even after I have spent more time in hospital can been given the wrong diet, I went without on one of the occasions, as I had been in Intensive Care, can could not eat, as could not have a nasogastric tube passed and peg fed was not an option.

  3. meagansmom says:

    I have been gluten free for a little over a year and have never intentionally eaten gluten. Who wants to feel that miserable? Now if I could only do the same thing with sugar.

  4. meagansmom says:

    I have been gluten free for a little over a year and have never intentionally eaten gluten. Who wants to feel that miserable? Now if I could only do the same thing with sugar.

  5. Michelle says:

    I’ve been gluten free for almost 10 years. In the beginning, I did cheat on rare occasion. I would plan it out, make a day of what I really missed. I never got sick or felt ill – I chalk it up to psyching myself over it. (But I was certain I was doing damage internally.) Now, I never ever cheat. I value my health more than some food that I cannot eat! And the food now is so much better, so much more available, so many places offering gluten free – who needs gluten?!

  6. Michelle says:

    I’ve been gluten free for almost 10 years. In the beginning, I did cheat on rare occasion. I would plan it out, make a day of what I really missed. I never got sick or felt ill – I chalk it up to psyching myself over it. (But I was certain I was doing damage internally.) Now, I never ever cheat. I value my health more than some food that I cannot eat! And the food now is so much better, so much more available, so many places offering gluten free – who needs gluten?!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been gf for over 7 years and never intentionally cheat. I’m too afraid. Short and long term consequences. I’ve not had a follow up biopsy.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve been gf for over 7 years and never intentionally cheat. I’m too afraid. Short and long term consequences. I’ve not had a follow up biopsy.

  9. Sandy Stefanski says:

    I’m not as careful as I should be when eating out. I don’t knowingly order things that contain gluten but I’m learning that some of the foods I thought were gluten free are questionable. I’ve been eating the tortilla chips at Qdoba just read they aren’t gluten free. I need to be careful with salad dressings, I didn’t realize ranch dressing could have gluten in the form of modified food starch! Thought I was doing fine eating salads with ranch dressing! Sigh… I was dx with Celiac three years ago, a month or so after I went on the gluten free diet my intestinal symptoms disappeared and I no longer needed iron supplements. Bone density also increased. I’m a runner and triathlete, very fit. None of my doctors could explain my low bone density or iron deficiency anemia. My intestinal problems seemed to come and go. I figured it was IBS, as I was pretty healthy overall. But, I kept having flare ups and it did seem to be getting worse. I finally decided to have an endoscope and colonoscopy done. I was dx with Celiac and microscopic colitis. I believe my intestines have healed, but I’m sure if I went totally off the gluten free diet they would get damaged again. It’s a little too, easy for me to cheat though as I don’t have any immediate adverse reactions.

  10. Sandy Stefanski says:

    I’m not as careful as I should be when eating out. I don’t knowingly order things that contain gluten but I’m learning that some of the foods I thought were gluten free are questionable. I’ve been eating the tortilla chips at Qdoba just read they aren’t gluten free. I need to be careful with salad dressings, I didn’t realize ranch dressing could have gluten in the form of modified food starch! Thought I was doing fine eating salads with ranch dressing! Sigh… I was dx with Celiac three years ago, a month or so after I went on the gluten free diet my intestinal symptoms disappeared and I no longer needed iron supplements. Bone density also increased. I’m a runner and triathlete, very fit. None of my doctors could explain my low bone density or iron deficiency anemia. My intestinal problems seemed to come and go. I figured it was IBS, as I was pretty healthy overall. But, I kept having flare ups and it did seem to be getting worse. I finally decided to have an endoscope and colonoscopy done. I was dx with Celiac and microscopic colitis. I believe my intestines have healed, but I’m sure if I went totally off the gluten free diet they would get damaged again. It’s a little too, easy for me to cheat though as I don’t have any immediate adverse reactions.

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