Gluten Intolerance and Celebrity Status

on Apr29
by Dr. Vikki Petersen | Print the article |

What Do You have in Common with a Celebrity?

Did you ever wonder if you have anything in common with a celebrity?
Well if you’re following a gluten-free diet or have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity then you have some famous company.

A recent article mentioned several celebrities that have been vocal about their gluten-free status and the author placed them into four possible categories:

1.    Those who have celiac disease, including Emmy Rossumm, Keith Olbermann and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

2.    Those who stated they have an “allergy” such as Zooey Deschanel and Victoria Beckham.    [Note: a true allergy tends to create a very dramatic response including skin reactions such as hives, severe digestive complaints or trouble breathing, and such responses come on within about an hour after ingestion. I don’t know if the word “allergy” was used correctly or not to describe these two women, but often the word is used when “sensitivity” would better describe the condition.]

3.    Those who have an intolerance to gluten (this would be better called a “sensitivity” to exclude celiac disease), and this group included Rachel Weisz and Jenny McCarthy’s autistic son, Evan.

4.    Those who have no stated allergy or intolerance but who insist they feel better, more energetic and stay slimmer when following a gluten-free diet. This group includes Gwyneth Paltrow and likely many of you as well. I know that it includes many people who write to me on a daily basis.

Is a Gluten-free Diet a Trend of Some Type?

The article I read called it “trendy” to opt for a gluten-free diet and implied that many celebrities were simply following a trend rather than having a definitive reason to eat gluten-free. Too often celebrities are placed in such a category and their choices are met with skepticism simply because of their celebrity status.

Don’t we all want to feel good, have great energy and be a healthy weight?
Do you honestly think that we are different from celebrities in that goal and desire?
I don’t. I think it’s a basic human desire to feel good.

Why Do Some Go Gluten Free Without a Specific Diagnosis?

The reason I chose to focus on this article is that, in a roundabout way, it puts emphasis on an area that needs some light shed upon it, and that is the fourth category mentioned above- people who choose a gluten-free diet because they noticeably feel better when doing so, despite no positive diagnosis of either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

The reason why many people end up choosing a gluten-free diet on their own is because of self preservation, not because it’s “trendy”.

Millions of people suffer needlessly from the life threatening (no, this is not an exaggeration) effects of gluten simply because their doctors are unaware of how to properly diagnose either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

With 1-4% of the population suffering from celiac disease and over 10% suffering from gluten sensitivity, there are a great number of these sufferers.

Are We Accurate in Diagnosing those with Celiac Disease?

And how many EVER receive a correct diagnosis?  In those with celiac disease, a paltry 5% get diagnosed, and that is only after typically a decade of seeing many, many doctors! A full 95% of our celiacs remain undiagnosed and it is assumed that those with gluten sensitivity are diagnosed even less “successfully”.

Do you see why those who feel better on a gluten-free diet like to share the news? They’ve been suffering from ill health and when they find out that the answer to good health is found in a dietary change they are, quite understandably, delighted.  And they want to share the news with others.

Do you see why individuals are trying a gluten-free diet on their own?  They are not receiving a diagnosis from their doctors, they’re tired of suffering, and so they take matters into their own hands and try a safe potential solution – a gluten-free diet for a month or two.

I’m glad that clinicians such as myself and other gluten intolerant sufferers have been vocal enough that such individuals know to at least try a gluten-free diet. If no gluten is the answer to their health problems, wonderful. If it isn’t, they’ve certainly done no harm to themselves in trying it for a month or two.

Human Beings Cannot Digest the Gluten Protein

Gluten is not able to be properly digested by any human. Most people don’t know that the protein found in the grains wheat, rye and barley is not properly digested by any human. Our “protein chopping equipment” simply cannot do the job of breaking down the protein in a way that proteins are designed to be digested.

Does that mean that perhaps gluten isn’t a real food for humans?  What do you think?

Is it Smart to Try a Gluten Free Diet?

I would hazard to guess that despite having an “official” diagnosis or not, if you take the trouble to follow a gluten-free diet, whether you are a celebrity or a regular guy or gal, you do so because you know that you feel better. And I would also wager that if the correct testing was performed, we would find that you either had celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  Remember, our success rate in diagnosis is rather pitiful, 95% of those suffering are missed.

So call it what you like: a trend, being smart, or simply caring about how you feel. If you cannot find a clinician who takes seriously your desire to find out if you are gluten intolerant, then feel free to contact me. If you desire to go forward on your own, do that. Try a gluten-free diet for a minimum of 30 days and see how you feel.

Please let me know the result. I would love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. I am always here to help.

HealthNOW is a destination clinic and we see patients from across the country and around the world.

To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”

Permission is granted to re-post this article in its entirety with credit to Dr Vikki Petersen & HealthNOW Medical Center and a clickable link back to this page. Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN is founder of HealthNOW Medical Center and the author of “The Gluten Effect”.  She has been featured in national magazines, international medical journals and is a frequent headlined speaker.

The Author

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. darMA


    I came across your site per recommendations on other sites. I had been researching low carbing for diabetics, came across Dr. Eades, then cardiologist William Davis, who recommends ditching wheat for all his heart patients, as well as lurking on diabetic forums where the possibility of gluten intolerance was often a topic.

    I truly believe it was ditching the gluten that has helped me regain my health (latest A1C 4.7 with NO meds – yesssss!) Why do I believe this? My blood sugar readings plummeted after ditching the wheat, the only migraine or IBS symptoms in approximately a year came on the day after my birthday, when I let my sisters talk me into a small piece of almond cake to celebrate. Not fun – lay down for the headache, rush to the bathroom, lay down, etc. etc.

    I have been enthusiastically passing some of your info on to family members with, unfortunately, limited success. Two of my sisters, at least one niece, myself (and just found out several cousins as well) have had lifetime IBS and several of us have also suffered from migraines. Due to this latest discovery about the cousins, I believe it has been passed down from both sides of the family. – my brother, 2 sisters, 1 niece and I unfortunately inherited the IBS & diabetes genes from mom’s side of the family. The cousins are on my dad’s side.

    Two sisters and 1 niece also developed endometriosis – 2 so severe it required hysterectomies at a young age. My niece managed to have a miracle baby at the last moment, my sister was not so lucky, she was only 22.
    My question to you is, do you know if there has been any study or at least any thought of any likelihood of gluten intolerance perhaps triggering the diabetes genes? or perhaps even tendencies toward endometriosis?

    I am very grateful for the information you provide. Keep up the good cause!

    29 Apr
  2. 2

    Hello DarMA,

    There is definitely strong evidence that gluten intolerance and diabetes are related genetically. There is much research to support this. Similarly there is a lot of research supporting hormonal imbalance associated with gluten intolerance. I invite you to visit the website at: as I recently posted a you tube video and blog post on the subject of hormones: “Is Gluten Intolerance Ruining Your Sex Life” – the video has a similar title.

    I am so sorry to hear about your family’s troubles in this area. It certainly would behoove them to get screened for gluten intolerance and if they need a ‘nudge’ from me to do so, I’d be happy to do that as well.

    It can be so frustrating to see what is potentially wrong with someone but have difficulty having them listen! I do understand and am happy to help. Let me know what I can do.

    To your good health,
    Dr Vikki

    29 Apr

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