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Men with celiac disease more likely to cheat on gluten-free diet

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study found that men are more likely to cheat on their gluten-free diet despite being diagnosed with celiac disease. The research also reveals that celiac disease sufferers often feel stigmatized because of the condition. Cheating on the gluten-free diet has both short-term and long-term consequences that can lead to serious health issues.


The research, conducted by Newburn Bakehouse, found that 36 percent of U.K. men in the survey who were sensitive to gluten still cheated on the gluten-free diet. Even more disturbing, the survey found that 20 percent of U.K. men felt that the gluten-free diet was “not for real men,” and men were more likely to cheat than women. The study had several limitations including the fact that only U.K. residents were surveyed, and it was supported by a gluten-free bread company. Experts would prefer to see a larger study conducted with more participants.

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Celiac disease patients who cheat on a gluten-free diet may notice short-term and long-term issues. The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center points out that the “gluten-free diet is a lifetime requirement,” and cheating can have serious consequences. Even small amounts of gluten can cause damage to the intestines. If you cheat, you may or may not feel the symptoms of being glutened, but the damage will continue. Some of the most common issues related to ongoing small intestine damage include malabsorption, anemia and osteoporosis.

Cheating on the gluten-free diet can increase the risk of cancers such as lymphoma. A study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, mentions that lymphoma risk is higher for celiac disease patients who do not stay on the strict diet. On the other hand, researchers believe that staying on a gluten-free diet can give the intestines the chance to heal and reduce the risk of lymphoma.

Read more about celiac disease:
Doctors ignore proper celiac disease diagnosis and care
Celiac disease tripled in children in last 20 years