Many people with IBD experience fewer gastrointestinal symptoms when they avoid foods that contain gluten.1
Foods that contain gluten include the following:
- Other hidden sources
I have always believed that people with IBD who avoid gluten, actually improve their gut health because they avoid processed foods and thereby eat fewer refined grains.
For example, Healthline.com encourages people with gluten sensitivity to base their diet on the following:
- fruits and vegetables
- dairy products
- lean beef
The foods recommended for a gluten-sensitive diet are the foods I include in my IBD diet!
Until recently, avoiding gluten has meant avoiding packaged industrialized foods that constitute the backbone of American convenience foods. For a long time, I wondered if people might improve more from the elimination of refined grains than from avoidance of gluten. Now two things have happened to expand my thinking about gluten and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Two reasons I have become more wary of gluten in recent years…
- I found the book entitled, Grain Brain, by neurologist David Perlmutter, to be a thought-provoking presentation of gluten. From the book, I learned a lot about gluten – especially the way our industrialized grains have been altered to contain a significantly larger quantity of gluten. After reading the book, I experimented with my own diet to see how I am affected by avoiding gluten. I had no Crohn’s symptoms (diarrhea and intestinal bleeding) before avoiding gluten, still I found avoiding gluten did make me feel better – specifically, my abdomen got noticeably flatter.
- Food manufacturers have created many new food products that are gluten-free. People who avoid gluten no longer have to avoid refined grains. The fact that many people with IBD continue to find relief through avoiding gluten makes me think that there is something real in the present move away from gluten. That said,
I have known people who found a measure of IBD success by avoiding gluten…
then they attained a higher level of success by adding All-Bran cereal…
even though All-Bran has some gluten in it.
- Aziz I, Branchi F, Pearson K, et al. A study evaluating the bidirectional relationship between inflammatory bowel disease and self-reported non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2015;21:847-853.