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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is gluten bad for you?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Nyema Hermiston

    Homeopath, Naturopath, Registered Nurse

    Nyema has been in ‘general practice’ treating adults and children for acute and chronic illnesses for over 20 years. She is Vice President of The … View Profile

    Only if you are sensitive to it, or you have been diagnosed with Coeliac disease.
    To find out, you can have an IgE and /or IgG blood test, and a specific blood test for Coeliac disease. 
    If you have a long term health problem, and you test clear for gluten on these tests - gluten is not the cause of your problem and you can have it freely in your diet.

  • Lyn Christian

    Nutritionist

    As a Naturopath and Nutritionist I am passionate about the promotion of health using functional foods to correct nutrient imbalances.All health conditions need to be … View Profile

    I agree with Nyema. If you are experiencing digestive issues including, flatulence,diarrhoea, bloating then an IgE /IgG or Coeliac test should be considered. I recommend all my patients to include other gluten-free grains in their diet so that they are not consuming gluten every day of the week.

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    To add to the comments above, no gluten is not bad for you (unless you have coeliac disease). Gluten has recieved quite a bad wrap lately with some health professionals claiming that it's the cause of all digestive problems and encouraging their patients to exclude wheat, barley, and oats which are nutritious foods from their diet without being tested first.

    A common mistake people make when trying to figure out that they have a sensitivity to gluten is that they cut out all gluten containing products (e.g. wheat, barley and oats) prior to going to have a Coeliac serology test (IgE, IgG, IgA) and get a negative result. This is a false reading as the person has already excluded gluten from their diet and their digestive system has had time to recover and repair. This can be frustrating for the patient as they will need to go back and consume foods containing gluten containing foods (e.g. 4 slices of bread each day or equivalent) for around 4-6 weeks before being tested again. This can result in discomfort such as abdominal bloating, diarrhoea, gas, constipation and abdominal pain.

    It is also important that the blood test  not be used to diagnose coeliac disease but rather be used as to assess “at risk” populations. If the person has a postive result through a gluten containing diet then a small biopsy of the small intestine should be carried out to accurately diagnose coeliac disease.

    Once diagnosed correctly, a strict gluten free diet is advised for life. I would strongly recommend you seek guidance from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) who can provide you with expert, individualised advice on how to manage your gluten free diet without missing out on important nutrients. They can help you to identify what to look for on food labels, finding naturally gluten free foods in your supermarket and address any digestive problems you have. To find an APD log onto the Dietitians Association of Australia (www.daa.asn.au)


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