Elizabeth Hasselbeck's book Gets Negative Publicity - Celiac Disease
May 13 2009

Elizabeth Hasselbeck's book Gets Negative Publicity

Chances are, whether you have Celiac Disease or not, you are probably aware that Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s gluten free survival guide book was released last week,  due to the huge amount of publicity that accompanied the books release. 

Mrs. Hasselbeck is probably the most well known American with Celiac Disease, so I have to admit that I was excited for the wonderful awareness this book would create when it was released. Unfortunately, however, since the book was released, a number of inaccuracies have been discovered in the book, causing some concern.

Apparently the Celiac Foundation has had to issue a warning about this book, describing the book as “inaccurate”, “dangerous” and that Mrs. Hasselbeck “trivializes Celiac Disease” by recommending her book as a diet technique.   Here is an extract from the warning about Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s book, issued by Elaine Monarch, Executive Director of the Celiac Foundation:

I am writing to call your attention to the current publicity surrounding the new book, The G-free Diet, A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, by Elisabeth Hassselbeck, co-host of The View. While it is important to call attention to celiac disease, the information must be accurate – the inaccuracies in this book are potentially dangerous and detrimental to celiacs and to those yet to be diagnosed if people self diagnose and start eating GF. Our mission is to assist in getting people accurately diagnosed and the message in this book could defeat this mission. It appears that this book is being marketed as a fitness diet – eat g-free and feel so much better. Celiac is incorrectly referred to as an allergy not an autoimmune disease.

The GF diet is the medically mediated prescription that controls the condition for a diagnosed celiac. Several items in the book are misleading and inaccurate and place further limitations on the GF diet. The gluten-free lifestyle is a lifelong commitment for the diagnosed celiac, not an option, not a fad diet – adhering to the GF lifestyle requires patience and persistence. This lifestyle can not be trivialized.

Unfortunately, the same problem that Mrs. Hasselbeck is having is in many ways the same problem that we bloggers face on a daily basis.   No matter how good the intention is, any minor detail that is forgotten could take somes good intention and turn it into a problem.   Yes, she has a responsibility to be accurate (and maybe should have gotten feedback from the Celiac foundation prior to release?), but I think the good certainly outweighs the bad with this book. 

In case you have ever wondered why all celiac/gluten free websites all have huge disclaimers throughout the site, things like this are the reason why.   One example is on our gluten free restaurants page, where we have to place a disclaimer in almost every individual post to avoid people getting mad at us if they fail to follow common practices (research first, notify server of dietary needs, etc.).   

Anyway, that is my quick rant for the day.  To those of you that have read the book already, what did you think of it?

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+!


  1. Maddy says:

    I have been ill for decades. After surgeries for Crohn’s, lots of misdiagnoses etc, I am now GF. If someone even suspects that wheat is a problem, I don’t see anything wrong with going on a GF diet. From what I’ve read through the years, even the specialists are now questioning the previous “gold standards” for testing for Celiac Disease. Even a biopsy doesn’t always answer the question. So, if not eating wheat, barley or rye eliminates some discomfort or real pain, then why not do it. I am so tired of the foundations telling everyone what to do with their own body. Doctors don’t have all the answers. If they did, we all be doing much better.

  2. Angela Quattrano says:

    I agree with Maddy. I have been gluten-free for years, which has greatly increased my quality of life. Going on a gluten-free diet will help both diagnosed celiac patients and those who have it but have not been diagnosed. Besides which, there is no harm whatever in giving up gluten.

    I don’t like Elisabeth Hasselbeck and I don’t expect to read her book, but I think the criticism is unfair.

  3. Susie says:

    Well first off Elizabeth Hasselbeck self-diagnosed her condition w/o a blood test or biopsy. Only after putting herself on a GF diet did a doctor who she was friendly with say she was a confirmed celiac. How could he do that w/o a biopy? He couldn’t. All he did was confirm it so she would use him to endorse her book. Now she has set up a website to sell her brand of a GF diet. Say what? All anyone has to do is go GF and they can get that info from the Celiac Foundation or Celiac Society for FREE. Hasselbeck is an opportunist just trying to shake down people for money.


  1. […] let me start by first saying that my source for this warning is perhaps a second or third-hand party and that I have not yet read Ms. […]

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