Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?). Also, there are over a thousand subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

Be sure to check out my associated blog posts: Eating To Extend Our Lifespanand Soymilk: shake it up!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?). Also, there are over a thousand subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrisk1 Micah Risk-Uspensky

    Dr. Greger,
    When calculating the populations that should or should not consume gluten, did you include those that suffer from a gluten intolerance, that may or may not have celiacs disease? Just based on my experiences, this seems to be affecting a larger population than the Celiacs population.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mrisk1 Micah Risk-Uspensky

    Dr. Greger,
    When calculating the populations that should or should not consume gluten, did you include those that suffer from a gluten intolerance, that may or may not have celiacs disease? Just based on my experiences, this seems to be affecting a larger population.

  • DrDons

    Hi Micah Risk-Uspensky, The 1/133 people in the population with celiac disease does not include the folks who are gluten sensitive. In my clinical experience I have come across many patients who can’t tolerate a food(including wheat)in varying amounts. It is always wise to avoid food when your body is telling you that it isn’t tolerating with symptoms such as diarrhea,abdominal pain, bloating,etc.. This can be a difficult thing to figure out given the complexity of foods, our food processing industry and the limitation of medical tests. The best general advice is to stick with a whole food varied plant based diet but pay attention to what works for you. See Dr. Gregers other video.. http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/update-on-gluten/ and stay tuned.

  • Peggy Kello

    I love your videos and information, and after watching Forks Over Knives and Food Matters I’ve gradually turned off the animal-proteins channel and I’m so happy about how I feel and how confident especially I’m feeling after being worried so long about those diseases my parents had and/or died from (cancer, osteoporosis, AR Macular Degeneration, stroke, etc), This is great! I was just wondering, however, WHY our joints get so creaky when we get older. I’m 67, and it’s definitely the worst thing about aging — which is a very small thing compared to the rest of it! Still, if you could post any more about creaky joints and any special foods which help that, that would be great. I’ve seen “Diet and RA” and that was encouraging. But I can’t help feeling that there is something basic in our diet (or a lack of it) that is affecting our joints– I don’t believe aging is natural!  Thanks so much for all your labors of research.
    Peggy Kellough

    • Patrick Ryan

      Your heart and brain are robbing sulfur from your joints because these organs are vital and you are deficient from lack of meat and seafood. Eat plenty of RAW/slightly cooked onions and garlic as cooking eliminates the sulfur.

  • Desiree Alouf

    Dear Michael
    I do not have any of the above symptoms but used to suffer cluster migraines at least 2 attacks a month, last year I gave up Gluten and now I still suffer migraine but one attack every few month, I wish I can be free 100% as the pain is unbearable, I wonder if I am Gluten intolerant what other food I should avoid, I do not drink alcohol as it also gives me migraines, I can eat cheese and chocolate in moderation and only if I know I feel 100%
    I am 56 years old, female
    thanks
    Desiree

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

      Congratulations on decreasing your migraines through modifying your diet. Many foods can trigger migraines. One substance in foods known to trigger migraines is tyramine which is a natural substance occuring naturally and as a by product of tyrosine, an amino acid, in food. It is complicated as you may tolerate tyramine up to a certain amount before it triggers a migraine. It also goes up in foods that are stored… so leftovers can be a problem. Since your migaines are relatively infrequent you can run down your other triggers by looking back to all the foods and drink you consumed in the 24 hours preceding the migraine. I paraphased a list from Wikipedia under tyramine for you so you can avoid these or pay special attention when looking for triggers. “All foods containing considerable amounts of tyramine include meats that are  pickled, aged, smoked, fermented or marinated, most cheeses, sour cream, chocolate, most alcoholic beverages, yogurt”. So the best approach is to go plant based with Vitamin B12 supplement and then look out for plant triggers such as tempeh, sauerkraut, broad beans, green pea pods, snow peas, avocados, nuts.. for the fuller list see Wikipedia. One artificial sweetner, Sucralose, have been associated with migraines see… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/a-harmless-artificial-sweetener/.  Good luck on becoming migraine free and keep tuned to NutritionFacts.org for the latest science!

      • Desiree Alouf

         Dear Don
        Thank you ever so much for your time and advise.
        I was vegetarian for over 20 years thinking it will help but did not. I always avoided artificial sweeter.
        I will from now on try to remember what I consumed 24 hours before the attacks and will look up Tyramine in Wikipeadia, never heard of it before!
        By the way I also found out that cold wind gives me migraine so now I always wear a hat in cold weather
        all the best  

  • Barrhon

    i have’t read this book yet (i put a hold on it at my library), but are you familiar with it?  it might advocate that most people, even without celiac, avoid wheat.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1609611543/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d1_g14_i2?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=15AQPKJB0PJ00YFAT0BA&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846 .

  • Davidkrupa

    what do you know about coenzyme q10 ?

  • Rice Kelly

    Hi Dr. Greger!  Huge fan of your work (recommended to watch your videos by a coworker of mine who mentioned she has helped collaborate with you).  

    I was diagnosed with CD in 1980 at 18 months of age after being hospitalized for a long time.  Even my father, a physician, didn’t know what was going on.  Now that blood tests are an option, I’m a total advocate for getting children tested as soon as possible so that parents dont have to watch their children get as sick as I did as well as go through biopsies.  Growing up Gluten-free (even in the age when no one knew what it was) was so easy!  
    I get so annoyed when people think I’m “going gluten-free” to be ‘healthier’ when it’s not a choice for me.  But it IS healthy for most people!!  Keep up the wonderful work.  

  • Mazza

    Dr. Greger,
    Is there any way you
    could do an updated video about the consumption of wheat products? I
    watched the video on gluten from 2011 and it said that gluten was
    healthy for more than 99% of the population. But what about all this
    talk about today’s wheat versus the wheat of our ancestors? Hasn’t
    wheat turned into a somewhat evil alter ego of what it used to be?
    Doesn’t wheat cause inflammation in the stomach and intestines for most
    of the population? Wasn’t most wheat in the United States messed with
    genetically in the 70′s to mass produce? Hasn’t wheat gone from a tall
    plant to a short and stocky, high-yielding plant?

    It’s difficult to sift through what is an accurate truth here. Please help!

    Thanks, Jessica

  • MedicineWoman

    It’s my understanding that gluten is NOT the only protein or compound in wheat (or other similar foods) causing the problems. I have read a lot of research from GreenMedInfo on why we should not eat wheat/grains, and I have to agree with the research on that site as to why no one should eat grains. A quote from their article on wheat states, “Despite popular opinion, wheat consumption may not be beneficial to health. These two published articles make a strong argument against perceiving wheat intolerance as simply a matter of allergy/genetic intolerance in a minority subset of the human population, but rather as a species-specific intolerance, applicable to all.”

    The 2 articles are “The Dark Side of Wheat: New Perspectives on Celiac Disease and Wheat Intolerance,” and “Opening Pandora’s Bread Box: The Critical Role of Wheat Lectin in Human Disease.” I’d like to know what you think of the research? “Rice, Potato and Tomato May Be As Inflammatory As Wheat” because they also have lectin, according to another article on GreenMedInfo. Founder Sayer Ji’s articles conclude that wheat is univerally toxic.

  • Jessica

    Dr. Greger, should I or shouldn’t I eat wheat (bread for example). Healthy or not (I not have any kind of intolerance for glutes.

  • Derrek

    I don’t know what to think some say eat it and some say don’t. I was recently listening to yuri William you suggests not to eat gluten. Any advice? It’s not that I don’t trust you dr. Greger it’s just like most say gluten free is best as I don’t have celiac.
    Also would about eliminating most grains in ones diet? Is this healthy?

    • Toxins

      Dr. Greger’s position on gluten is that unless you have a medical incapability of digesting gluten, there is no cause for concern. If gluten somehow upsets your stomach or makes you feel groggy, you may have a mild allergy and should discontinue to test the hypothesis.

  • June Siegel-Hill

    I decided to omit gluten from my diet in order to get rid of the belly fat. What I found is that ALL my back pain was eliminated, and that was just within 6 days. It feels amazing. I found out that even if you’re gluten intolerant, it can cause joint pain. I’m also discovering all kinds of new grains that I otherwise would not have eaten. I think going gluten-free is a wise idea!

  • Camel S

    Your opinion conflicts with my experience. My doctor told me 80%+ of the population has varying degrees of reactivity towards gluten, especially the current mutated semi dwarf strain. I had Crohn’s disease, which after a lot of testing, turned out to be allergies to dairy, wheat, most grains, and yeast/fungus. You might want to read Wheat Belly and look into this more. Harmful advice is being given here.

    • Toxins

      So far, there is not evidence sharing your doctor’s views. For those who are not allergic, gluten is not at all harmful. Whole grains are highly nutritious foods, and not all grains contain gluten. Brown rice is the most non-allergenic food one can eat.
      “Whole grains are rich in many components, including dietary fiber, starch, certain fatty acids, antioxidant nutrients, minerals, vitamins, lignans, and phenolic compounds, that have been linked
      to reduced risk for coronary artery disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. Most of these components are found in the germ and bran, which are reduced in the grain-refining process.”
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/459s.full.pdf

      It is difficult to make sound conclusions off of books, such as wheat belly, because the author can easily misconstrue the actual studies to make his point.

      • guest

        Toxins,

        Hi. I posted a wheat question the other day for Dr. Greger but I am wondering how you feel about his mentor’s, (Dr. McDougall) own words on gluten as it relates to mental illness. From what I have understood in the literature out there and anecdotes of lot of people is that a true allergy to gluten is not required to suffer sever ailments due to gluten.

        Dr. McDougall’s words:

        “A serious psychological disease caused by foods in some people is schizophrenia. In hospital-based studies, some patients have been identified who react with dramatic behavioral changes to milk products and high-gluten foods (like wheat, barley, and rye). Some people with schizophrenia have actually been cured of their disease by changing their diet, to eliminate the trouble-making foodstuff.”

        • Toxins

          Its more to say that allergens are triggering the disease, if someone is mildly allergic to gluten and they feel better not consuming it, then so be it. But schizophrenia is not caused by consuming grains with gluten.

    • Thea

      Camel S: As I understand Dr. Greger’s opinion, it is that some people are sensitive to wheat. So, he neither disagrees with nor disregards your experience.

      I don’t either. There are people who are very allergic to say, tree nuts. I don’t discount the seriousness of their condition. But that said, that doesn’t mean that tree nuts are bad for everyone, or even most people. For most people, tree nuts are very good for them. We have good science to back up this statement. (See videos on this site.)

      That Wheat Belly book is a sham and a shame. While the author sites studies, the studies do not often support his claims. Here is one site showing how the science does not back up the claims in Wheat Belly. (And this is from an anti-gluten site!)

      http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com/2012/03/wheat-belly-busted.html

      Bottom line is that Wheat Belly is just another form of the Atkins/Paleo/low-carb/Eat For Your Blood Type diet fads. These fads confuse and mislead people, even doctors. It is so sad because it sounds like good science. Thank goodness we have NutritionFacts. (You might look up Dr. Greger’s video showing one study that showed patients know more about nutrition than doctors. The majority of doctors get little to no nutrition training nor training on how to spot a badly designed study.)

      I would suggest you take this approach: It is fine to share your story as appropriate. But like the person who has a tree nut allergy, I would be very careful of making a generalization that somehow tree nuts are bad for 80% (? I swear that number gets larger every time I see someone post on this topic) of people.

      I’m glad you were able to get at the root of your problem! Severe allergies are serious business. Good luck.

  • Christina Pearl

    So many questions here:

    1. What about other autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s? I was recently diagnosed with this and my doctor advised that I eliminate gluten as part of my medical care. “Why exactly?” I asked. Because the protein gliadin bears strong resemblance in structure to that of the thyroid gland, for which Hashimoto’s patients are producing antibodies. Thus, I was told, gluten (or rather its protein, gliadin) is a trigger for that antibody response which wants to attack the gliadin and attacks the thyroid along with it. Fact or theoretical fiction?

    2. Is it true that the accuracy rate of testing for celiac disease is less than 30%? On their website, Cyrex Labs explains that the gut wall has to have experienced significant destruction for Celiac blood testing to be positive, while those in early stages of the disease won’t show this. Is this true?

    3. What about cross-reactivity from other foods? When an autoimmune response mistakes proteins in certain foods, causing inflammation or other other woes such as brain fog?

    4. And there’s so much more; I’m very confused– but my bottom-line question is whether gluten’s gliadin triggers my autoimmune response from Hashimoto’s– AND whether gluten should be avoided for autoimmune diseases OTHER than Celiac’s.

    Among my siblings, we have 2 diagnoses of Hashimoto’s, 1 of Addison’s, and 1 of Graves (thyroid removed). So my questions/concerns go beyond my own health– to that of my family and our children who may carry this genetic response. If eliminating gluten is one small step toward better health, I’d like to know. If I’m missing out on healthy protein sources by eliminating gliadin and other proteins, I’d certainly like to know that too!

    I really respect your input.

    • guest

      My suggestion is that you completely eliminate grains from your diet for 6 months, and then notice how your body responds. Very few people actually have had this experience of going grain free for long periods of time, yet I have found of the people who do go grain-free (but maintain a vegan diet) they feel much better and are thrilled to no longer have grains passing through their bodies. Vegans do not need to eat grains. Experiment. Give this a go.

  • Bootstrapgirl

    I’ve heard or read that 80% of people are sensitive to gluten, or “partially” celiac. Is this true? If true, is it better to avoid gluten in a vegan diet?
    Thank you.

  • Adam
  • guest

    Gluten free people are like religious converts, I swear. If you have allergies fine but don’t generalize and say that gluten is bad for everyone. Science does not back you up. I eat whole wheat every single day without any problems whatsoever.

  • Derrek

    Is a gluten free diet healthy? In other words, are there any studies about gluten damaging intestinal walls and causing damage? I hear ads about gluten and being detrimental. I know everything isn’t true but just wanted to see if there was any science behind going gluten free. Also, what about grain free diets? Is this healthy? What do you think of the book, “Wheat Belly?”

    • Thea

      Derrek: I haven’t read the book myself, but everything I’ve heard about the book makes me think it is nothing but a re-hashing of Atkins/Paleo, etc. There is an entire chapter in the book, according a friend, extolling the virtues of meat – all after having demonized grains. Sound familiar? Here’s an anti-gluten site, but even they found scientific problems with the book:

      http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com/2012/03/wheat-belly-busted.html

      Personally, I think the message behind Dr. Greger’s video on this page is the best one: If you have an allergy to gluten, then it is not good for you. Otherwise, it is good for you. Just like any other whole plant food (peanuts, strawberries, etc) that is generally good for people, but can be a problem for some.

      Just my 2 cents.

    • Derrek

      I’m just not sure if I have a gluten intolerance or allergy. My grandma has celiac.

  • normyoung

    http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/ States that roundup use and not gluten is the real culprit behind celiac desease. Is there scientific study to confirm or refute this?