Is Gluten Bad For You?

Is Gluten Bad For You?
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Approximately 1 out of every 133 Americans has celiac disease.


What about gluten—the protein in wheat, which is used to make a number of mock meats, like seitan? You may or may not have noticed a bunch of labels recently touting gluten-free foods and diets.

Gluten: harmful, harmless, or good for you?

For literally more than 99% of people, gluten/seitan/wheat protein is good for you. Excellent source of high quality protein; the very staff of life.

But, only for 99.3% of people. One in every 133rd American has celiac disease—whether they know it or not. And for those people, gluten consumption can cause a range of symptoms, including chronic diarrhea, bloating, weight loss, and fatigue—all of which disappear when they’re placed on a gluten-free diet. For the other 132 out of 133 people, though, gluten is fine.

If you do have any of those symptoms, though, you should get tested for the disease. It’s a simple blood test; the standard intestinal biopsy may not be necessary.

And in fact, since testing is getting so simple, there’s consideration of just screening all kids for it, to pick up those rare celiac cases—since if you do have it, but don’t know it, you may live a significantly shorter lifespan. So, get tested if you’re concerned.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

What about gluten—the protein in wheat, which is used to make a number of mock meats, like seitan? You may or may not have noticed a bunch of labels recently touting gluten-free foods and diets.

Gluten: harmful, harmless, or good for you?

For literally more than 99% of people, gluten/seitan/wheat protein is good for you. Excellent source of high quality protein; the very staff of life.

But, only for 99.3% of people. One in every 133rd American has celiac disease—whether they know it or not. And for those people, gluten consumption can cause a range of symptoms, including chronic diarrhea, bloating, weight loss, and fatigue—all of which disappear when they’re placed on a gluten-free diet. For the other 132 out of 133 people, though, gluten is fine.

If you do have any of those symptoms, though, you should get tested for the disease. It’s a simple blood test; the standard intestinal biopsy may not be necessary.

And in fact, since testing is getting so simple, there’s consideration of just screening all kids for it, to pick up those rare celiac cases—since if you do have it, but don’t know it, you may live a significantly shorter lifespan. So, get tested if you’re concerned.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

For more videos on gluten, check out:
Gluten-Free Diets: Separating the Wheat from the Chat
Is Gluten Sensitivity Real?
How to Diagnose Gluten Intolerance

And check out my other “HHH” videos – Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful? – listed below the post.

Be sure to check out my associated blog posts: Eating To Extend Our Lifespan and Soy milk: shake it up!

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

76 responses to “Is Gluten Bad For You?

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      1. Mary MacDonald: Back when NutritionFacts first came on line, there were very few comments and Dr Greger tried to keep up with them. You will notice that the comment you replied to is over 4 years old. Dr. Greger has not been able to answer questions on this forum in a long time. Instead, he relies on volunteers and community members to do the best that they can. Not every question gets answered, but we make a mighty effort.

    1. I followed the advice in this video and got tested for celiac disease. I have it. I have been taking probiotics, avoiding all gluten, but feel worse than ever. Have you heard of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)? The research is about digesting carbohydrate and how only simple sugars are easy for the damaged gut to handle. But now there is new research from the University of Melbourne, FODMAP, and this diet looks at more compounds that are hard to digest. Both diets are emphasizing animal foods, which I haven’t eaten for over three years, and dont want to go back to. But if I follow the advice of both these diets I wont have any grains, or any beans except a small amount of lentils. No almonds, prunes or cashews — and I have bad osteoporosis. It’s hard to know what to eat. How can I get enough protein and calcium?

      1. Hello Jane,

        I am a volunteer moderator who helps Dr. Greger answer questions posted to NF. I am a plant based dietitian nutritional therapist based in Scottsdale, Arizona with specialty training in digestive disorders. I have had much training in the FODMAP diet, have read the research literature on FODMAP, and am a follower of Dr. Sue Shepherd and her work in Australia, where the FODMAP approach was developed and tested.

        An important note: FODMAP is an evidence based way to treat functional digestive disorders, in particular Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). A functional digestive disorder is identified in this way: all parts of the digestive system “function” as expected, but digestive problems persist (gas, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea). For those who have been diagnosed with IBS, there is a positive response to the FODMAP protocol in 75% of the patients treated with this dietary intervention. It is important to work with a dietitian who has been specially trained in FODMAP, because the point of this approach is to identify the food(s) which are causing the problem, so you can choose to avoid them in the future. This is different from excluding entire categories of foods, or food groups, because of health concerns. It is great since it is a science based way to identify true difficulties.

        Celiac is very different. It is life threatening, and rare. Only 1% of the population have Celiac, and must avoid gluten for the rest of their lives (as no doubt you know). One of the problems you may be experiencing is dealing with repairing of your damaged gut lining. Once you identify the offending foods (in your case, gluten) it can take time with an approach emphasizing healing your gut.

        The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is not an evidence based approach to gut health (there are opinions, but no science, to support its adoption).

        Without a tremendous amount of additional information about what you are currently and have been eating, it is not possible for me to give you any specific guidance to help you in the moment. My suggestion would be that you find a clinical dietitian who has been trained in working with Celiac Disease, FODMAP, and other digestive disorders. It would be a plus if you could find a vegan friendly (or vegan) dietitian, although that is harder. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a Vegetarian nutrition practice group (where you might be able to find someone to work with you) or you can use a resource like Plant Based Docs to find a dietitian or physician who specializes in plant based health.

        You do not need to eat animals to get better. In fact, some of the inflammation in your gut could be made much worse by consuming animal protein.

        Good luck!


        Lisa Schmidt, MS, CN, CYT
        Mindful Benefits
        Plant Based Docs

        1. Hello, Lisa,

          Thank you SO, SO much for your comprehensive email answering my questions and giving me valuable direction in how to proceed with my diet. I’m immensely grateful for all the information you’ve given me. Your clients are extremely lucky to have such a caring person looking after their health. Sincerely, Jane Muller Kinmount, Ontario, Canada

        2. Hi Lisa,
          If someone has no problem with gluten sensitivity, is seitan worth making? I avoid the commercial varieties because of the high sodium, make something that’s delicious, but is it worth including in the diet? How would it fit in the Daily Dozen?

    2. The sensitivity is to the pesticide used just before harvest.
      My son has issues and has been tested for gluten with zero outcome but has been tested with the items and has an effect every time he has it without knowing about it. Yet organic wheat items do not effect at all.

    3. “For literally more than 99% of people, gluten/seitan/wheat protein is good for you. Excellent source of high quality protein; the very staff of life.” ~Dr. Greger


          1. A clarification. Perhaps I was a little too enthusiastic about seitan and should clarify that while seitan is made from healthy wheat protein, it is still a flour and as such is not a whole grain. Still has health benefits, but can’t be considered a WHOLE grain.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.. and stay tuned.

  4. 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

    1. 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.

  5. 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

    1. 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…  Good luck on becoming migraine free and keep tuned to for the latest science!

      1.  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  

    2. Eat as much raw Lacinato kale, Red kale or regular kale (eat the stems as well) as you possible can. Roll up a leaf and dip it into the tiniest amount of salad dressing, dipping sauce, or low sodium soy sauce. Gradually wean yourself off of the these dipping sauces which contain too much oil, sugar or salt. Or perhaps you can find a sauce you like that does not have these harmful ingredients. As soon as I start feeling my headache coming on in eat an entire, huge bunch of kale, including the stems and my migraine goes away within minutes. I’ve was gluten free paleo for several years, but converted over to wfpb three months ago, and primarily eat vegetables (especially a slaw composed of shredded purple cabbage, carrots, celery, kale, apple, etc. with a dressing I make using the water left over from boiling fresh sliced beets for 20 minutes. Remove the sliced beets to eat with the slaw and boil the water down to a syrup (you just have to keep your eye on it so it doesn’t completely boil away). Just use some of this beet syrup lightly sprinkled over the shredded vegetables and fruits, or you can add salt free Westbrae Natural organic stoneground mustard, and/or Benson’s Table Tasty salt substitute, or some nutritional yeast flakes.) I make sure to eat the kale, about 10 ounces or so, then eat the slaw. The rest of the day I eat legumes, any other fruits and vegetables. No meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, oil, salt, sugar. I do eat nuts, seeds, dates, dried figs, raisins and other dried fruit but I limit these somewhat. I try to run 10-16 minutes 2 or three times a week, sprinting for a total of 4 of these minutes (see Joe Mercola’s High Intensity Interval Training video on YouTube), or Kettlebell HIIT Workout – Fitness Blender HIIT Kettlebell Training. But lately I injured my knee (not while exercising) and so my only treatment for my migraines has been the diet and especially eating the huge amount of kale. My migraines were very much reduced by the pbwf diet but the addition of all the kale (don’t forget to eat the stems) has completely eliminated my migraines!

  6. 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. .

  7. 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.  

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

    1. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. 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.”

      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.

      1. 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.”

        1. 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.

    2. 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!)

      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.

  14. 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.

    1. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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?”

    1. 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:

      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.

  18. Dear Mister Gregor, I have a question about Seitan. In my opinion or thoughts its Seitan nothing others than sugar, oil oder withe flour – it means a extraction of somewhat. So that this seitan is without the other components of the wheat. And, if you buy seitan product, you will buying a industrial product too. Is there also not the same danger for the health?
    I know, that seitan is a protein and oil a fad… but it is a extract and an industrial product.

    Thank you so much for a quick, short answer – my patient will be thankful too ;-)

    cheers Steffen Jurisch
    Heilpraktiker in Prittriching (Bavaria)

  19. My doctor’s PA took a class a few months ago about gluten. She says the problem with gluten is directly related to GMO. She learned that all the wheat we eat has been GMO for the past several decades. Is there any truth to this? Thank you!

    1. WhitelotusJan: *None* of the commercially available wheat is GMO. I understand that this idea that wheat = GMO keeps getting repeated over and over. But I have seen the list of the something like 8 or 9 foods that are GMO, and wheat is not one of them. The following Wikipedia page says, “As of 2013, no GM wheat is grown commercially, but many field tests have been conducted.”

      1. Hi Thea, I replied to this long ago but my response isn’t here. Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source because anyone can post to it and say anything they want. I searched a little further today and found a number of references to GMO wheat mysteriously showing up in a farmer’s field in eastern Oregon and also in Montana. No one knows how it got there. As of sometime in 2013, “Biotech titan Monsanto has made significant advances in the development of herbicide-tolerant wheat, the company announced recently, and could have the first-of-its-kind crop ready for farming in just a few years’ time.” If it’s not here now (a few years time is this year). it’s something we need to watch out for.

  20. Hello Dr. Gregor and all the other people!

    I have a question about spelt-flour. Is it healthy or not? Can i make a
    vegan apple strudel(cinnamon, spelt flour and apples) with it without
    damaging myself?

    How do you think about spelt flour. Is it so much healthier then wheat flour?

    Summary: Wheat flour vs spelt flour vs wholemeal spelt flour. And are spelt flakes the same like spelt flour?

    What do you say about this? I would be happy, if someone can help me!


    1. Hey Tuck. Thanks for reposting. Spelt flour and whole spelt berries (even better) are perfectly healthful and beneficial in the diet. Spelt does contain gluten so those with celiac disease need to avoid spelt. I am not sure how much healthier it is than whole wheat flour. I always say it’s good to have a variety of whole grains in the diet. I had never heard of spelt flakes they look like rolled oats! Go for it I would consider them a “whole” grain, unless I’m missing something? Please share apple strudel recipe!


  21. Does anyone know if there is scientific research that links gluten to hashimoto’s? My antibodies seem to be the same if I give up gluten or not. The only upside with being gluten free is I seem to get colds/flu a lot less.

    1. The best reply is by Dr. Forrester and it can be found here. There is one paper that mentions how celiac disease and gluten-sensitive folks are at greater risk for auto-immune diseases like Hashimoto’s disease.

  22. Can anyone find this study talked about in this video? Trying to confirm if there’s any truth in it. I’ve always felt better off gluten, well… I think so, to be honest I find it a deeply confusing matter…but anyway..

    Published on 2 Sep 2015

    “There is considerable debate regarding gluten allergy. Somewhat recently, a new clinical entity called Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) has emerged. These are people who feel better off gluten, but are not diagnosed with celiac. Some have called NCGS a fad or not proven, however a recent placebo control trial suggests otherwise.”

    1. srbern: NutritionAuthority is notorious for giving out bad information, backing it up either with references to bad studies or to studies which are not really supportive of NutritionAuthority’s claim. I’m not going to spend time going through their claim about wheat. Instead, I will refer you to the quality information here on NutritionFacts concerning wheat and whole grains.
      The bottom line is: Whole wheat berries are not bad for you. However, many products made from wheat are bad for you. That’s an important distinction to make.
      Good luck.

  23. Hi, Doc. I always reacted after eating wheat bread and so I thought I have
    celiac disease. My doctor send me to a laboratory and the check said, I
    am not sensitive to gluten but to wheat, oats and spelt in general. I
    avoided it totally for several years after and then started baking my
    own bread with organic(!) wheat & rye. I discovered that I am not
    allergic anymore. I wonder if this result may have something to do with
    pesticides on conventional cereals other environmental toxines, if it
    was just the abstinence I performed or all of them combined?
    Thank you.

    1. Your leaky gut probably healed when you were gluten free and now you are not allergic anymore but if you eat too much gluten and/or dairy(common causes of leaky gut), it can come back on the long term~

  24. I am very new to celiac protocol (I’m only 18yo but have been plant based for almost 5yrs). I have done a lot of research on celiac disease and found some recent information on some phenomenon called cross-reaction. Basically the immune system of many celiacs seemed to react similarly to proteins in different foods such as nutritional yeast, dairy (obviously not a problem lol), oats, millet (this one is a huge no-no for several celiacs based on my research and personal experience), and even quinoa! Do you suggest I avoid ALL grains? I already have an extremely limited diet at the moment to keep my symptoms in remission. Thank you so much, in advance, for taking the time to help me and many others – celiac or non – with finding our path to thriving!

  25. When someone says this to you, I suggest you ask them “Do you have any real evidence to support this?”. Dr. G has several videos that show the opposite. The resistant starch in beans is metabolized by your gut microbiome into short chain fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory. Gluten is only a problem for those with Celiac disease or true gluten intolerance which are quite rare. In other words, there is no unbiased evidence in support of what your friend told you.

    Dr. Ben

    1. Wanting to eat as many grains as possible and in response to Dr. Greger’s videos, I did a challenge with wheat before getting the celiac blood tests. For three months I ate three pieces per day of delicious 100% organic whole wheat artisan bread, which I made myself. To my surprise I was positive, and the blood test is 97% accurate, so I am in the 1.33% of the population who really can’t eat gluten. Since my diagnosis 7 months ago I have also come across the idea that since many celiacs don’t heal, perhaps their autoimmunity extends also to the proteins in other grains because the immune system mistakes these other grain proteins as a threat like gluten. The thing that makes me question whether this idea is correct is that the functional medicine practitioners putting this out are mostly naturopaths, who mostly favour an animal food based diet — paleo people. Having been a plant eater for over four years, I don’t want to eat animal foods again.

      For my staple food instead of grains I have gone to squashes. They are satisfying and hearty. And anyway, if we eat mostly greens and beans with onions, mushrooms, nuts, seeds and berries, we really lack for nothing. I missed my non gluten whole grains at first, but I was able to eat a healthy diet and maintain my weight by substituting squash and eating more of the other healthiest foods. I also got a lot of help by following the FODMAP diet from the University of Melbourne. My question is, after a year or two, when I feel back to normal from an IBS standpoint and can eat most of the FODMAP foods, how can I prove to myself that my villi are healed and functioning properly? I will never eat gluten again, but could I get the celiac blood test again and get a negative result because the autoimmune reaction is not active anymore? And at that point could I do a trial of quinoa, for instance for three months and get the celiac test yet again to see if it gives me a positive result?
      I don’t want to get a biopsy from a gastroenterologist because I don’t want to go off my blood thinner, which I am on for atrial fibrillation. I’m happy with blood testing if I can learn the best way to eat using just the blood tests.

      Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Jane Muller

  26. I was wondering if there is an studies done on gluten and hypothyroidism? I’m not celiac and have been following a complete plant based diet now for two months. I feel great when eating gluten free and oats but Every time I eat anything that has wheat in in I get bad headaches and feel sluggish. I’m take 120 mcg of armor thyroid daily and thyroid is level . I was previously on synthyroid and stayed with a tsh of 16 and no change . So finally on a thyroid replace,Eng that works and I feel good . Just wondering if you have done any videos on hypothyroidism and gluten connection for people that are non celiac as I know for my anything gluten is a issue. Thanks for all you do ! I’m truly grateful for all the info you take the time to do these videos and the how not to die book is awesome!

  27. Hello,
    This is my first time visiting your site. Love it. Wanted to know if you have any information that is specific to narcolepsy and diet?

  28. Glad you found helpful. I reviewed the NF data base and found no specific articles about narcolepsy and diet. However in searching PubMed I found these two articles that may provide some insights. Clearly, diet and narcolepsy are related, but it appears the complex nature of the relationship is still being explored:
    Orexin/Hypocretin System: Role in Food and Drug Overconsumption.
    Eating Disorder and Metabolism in Narcoleptic Patients

    While some non-science sources cite the ketogenic diet as helpful, there is no science on benefits and we know there are hazards associated with such a diet so caution is recommended. Keeping one’s weight optimal through the use of a plant-based whole food diet seems to offer the best approach at this point.

  29. My question is about seitan, which De Greger mentions as harmless in his video. Isn’t seitan highly processed? Isn’t it just wheat with all the fiber removed? Isn’t that what he has against everything from fruit juice to vegetable oils? I find this confusing. I love almost all of Dr Greger’s videos and find his books and the daily dozen app extremely helpful. But I just don’t understand how seitan could be a good thing? I’m interested in the answer because there are so many great vegan sausage and steak recipes using vital wheat gluten. But to me, it sounds like another vegan junk food. If, for some reason it’s not, I’d love to know. Thanks!

  30. Hi,

    I was wondering about gluten related to zonulin, the protein in the gut that opens op tight junctions so macromolecules can pass through.

    Is there some correlation known for non-celiac disease and non-gluten sensitive populations where different amounts of gluten could lead to excessive zonulin activity and so leaky gut et cetera?

    Thanks in advance!

  31. Hi, Marro! Zonulin has not been covered yet here on NutritionFacts. The zonulin response to gluten and gliadin appears to be part of the development of celiac disease. I had not seen any credible evidence that this is an issue for those who are not celiac or gluten-sensitive. It is my personal opinion that the use of pesticides to dry conventionally-grown wheat and other grains prior to harvest poses the potential for an inflammatory response when those foods are consumed, which may or may not involve zonulin. We don’t know, until we put it to the test! For that reason, I seek out organic whole grains whenever possible. I hope that helps!

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