Would You Pop a Pill to Eat Gluten Again?

A couple of weeks ago, I was interviewed for an article in Allergic Living magazine. The story will be published in the summer — and when it’s out, I’ll let you know — but some of the questions got me thinking. The reporter was well-educated about research into celiac disease and about the work that some pharmaceutical firms are doing to develop a pill that would allow a celiac to eat gluten again.

“How do you feel about that?” she asked me. I told her the truth: I find the research intriguing, but I’m not interested in taking a pill that would let me eat gluten.

She was surprised. She rephrased the question. I asked her if she was gluten-intolerant and she said that she wasn’t. I explained that many people have said to me, in the six years since I was diagnosed with celiac disease, how terrible it must be to be on a gluten-free diet. But none of those people were actually on a gluten-free diet themselves.

I actually love the gluten-free diet. I don’t cheat on it. I don’t go to dinner with gluten-eating friends and wish that I could eat what they’re eating. And I don’t miss wheat or the other things I can’t have (seriously, has anyone in the world ever missed eating rye?). It’s true that the gluten-free diet solved many of my health problems, but it did more for me than that. It forced me to reconsider everything I’d been putting in my mouth. Before my diagnosis, I never read a food label. Suddenly I had to, and I discovered that there were a lot of things in processed foods that I didn’t want to put in my body. That’s not to say that I don’t have my indulgences. My favorite food groups are cheese, chocolate, and wine. But most of my meals are made from healthful, unprocessed ingredients.

It’s great news that pharmaceutical firms are taking notice of celiac disease, and there are some clinical trials — like the possible celiac vaccine — that I’m watching with great interest. While I’m certainly in favor of pharmaceutical firms doing research into a pill that would let celiacs eat gluten, I’m not interested in taking it myself. Part of that is simple suspicion: I like to know what the long-term effects of taking any medication are. But part is an unwillingness to go back to the days when I had medications for migraines, mouth ulcers, and other health problems. I love that the gluten-free diet cleared up these problems, and I’m not interested in relying on a prescription medication if I don’t have to.

I’m curious how other gluten-intolerant people feel about this. Are you eagerly awaiting results from the clinical trials? Or would you stick with a gluten-free diet, even if there were a prescription that would let you eat wheat?

81 thoughts on “Would You Pop a Pill to Eat Gluten Again?

  1. I would do absolutely anything to eat gluten again. With such a limited amount of things I can eat I get Bored and sick of the food >.<

  2. I would without a doubt eat gluten again!! I have been gluten-free for 4 1/2 years and have hated every minute of it. I was miserable eating gluten and would never want to experience those 6 painful years again. If there were a pill that would allow me to enjoy food, scented lotion…normal, not paraniod life again…I would do it in a heartbeat. I miss the days of having a choice and touching others without the fear of getting sick.

  3. It would be depend on the side effects of the drug. I’ve been GF for 6.5 years and the only thing I really miss is bread and sweets.

  4. Absolutely. While I can control my home environment I eat out and attend banquets often and usually have to contact the host or restaurant ahead of time. Even then gluten is often present in a prepared meal. It would be very nice to be able to tolerate it.

  5. Definantly. You would not realise sometimes how much I crave a wholegrain salad sandwich, toast or anything that is main ingredient Gluten & Wheat.. I would take a tablet to eat one of those. This tablet would be fantastic.

  6. Bring it on, gluten free diet sucks $^$%^$&

    to be able to drink lager/fish and chips and to be able to just go in a shop and have a massive choice of what to eat again would be awesome

  7. I think it would be nice to eat gluten again. I would definitely want to know of the side affects of the pill and make sure that it is absolutely legit and that it is not undoing all of the hard work I have done to be healthy again. But I guess I can’t really imagine eating gluten foods again because I am so used to the Gluten free foods now it would just seem weird going back.

  8. It would be nice to have the option when going out with Family & Friends. I always feel like everyone worries about what I can eat @ certain places. It would be nice to just go @ random with no research of the establishment. Also I would LOVE for my grocery bill to go down!! Gluten free products are triple the price of regular products.

  9. YES I WOULD!!! Although i have somewhat gotten use to gluten free foods, but eating food worry free would be great!

  10. Not sure about taking a pill without knowing the side effects and long term effects. I agree with the author of the article. Having this problem has made me eat far more healthily than before and I feel soooo much better! I still miss eating for example pizza, calzones and pastries however more and more companies are making quite good food .

  11. I would love to be able to eat gluten again. When friends want me to go out for supper it has to be where I am able to eat and it makes it seem like I’m a hassel to them. I would be willing to take a pill to be able to eat anything I want again

  12. I’m only fifteen and i was diagnosed a year ago. I’ve always been scared of pills but to have my childhood back again i would take a thousand a day. I think it is worth it, because i miss eating pizza with my friends and having dinner with my family that isn’t different and i miss cake too

  13. Hilary you are absolutely right. I have not been diagnosed with celiac but I have a high intolerance for gluten and was advised to have a gluten free diet. For four years I have maintained a diet that is not only gluten free, but the swap has made me more conscious about what goes into my body. It is amazing how processed foods are and I love the benefits of gluten free products because most of them are organic too. However the social side of going gluten free is really frustrating. Sometimes I want to go out for breakfast I have to settle for fruit instead of pancakes for lunch I have to settle for a chicken salad instead of pasta and dinner I have to settle for an often dry chicken and veges instead of exotic thai food with all that yummy soy sauce.

  14. I’d eat gluten free while I’m at home since I can control/purchase my foods..but it would be sooo nice to pop a ‘gluten/passing pill’ when eating out with friends which is only on occasion…How otherwise, can I be absolutely sure that the chefs at a given restaurant are following my gluten/free instructions behind closed kitchen doors?!

  15. YES I WOULD.
    Only a day ago I was diagnosed, and that was the worst day of my life. I have all my life loved Bread and Pasta. I use to only eat those foods when I was little. At least they were the ones I ate the most.
    I have tried my mothers gluten free things since she had the allergy too. They taste like nothing, just like rice or something. I wish I could eat my pasta and bread again for just another day or more if I could..
    By the way, what’s sadder is my age is young, I’m still in middle school. Too bad I cannot have the food…

  16. i am 14 and discovered that i have celiac only last year and so far i dont mind the diet but i would love to have a cookie again and finally be the normal kid at school.

  17. I travel a great deal. Sometimes there just isn’t a place to get gluten free food. Traveling to Europe, or England or Saudi Arabia, there just aren’t places for gluten free foods that are easy to find. Most times they just look at you like you asked them to cook the food standing upside down.

    I would love to have a pill that allows me to travel without fear of pain, or stomach aches so bad I can’t move.

    Please tell me they really ARE developing this.

  18. I’ve been gluten free for 4 years now, and though I love how it has made me realise how much processed and foul food I used to eat, and helped me change to a healthier diet, the psychological and social effects are so emotionally draining, I it would be amazing just to be able to take a pill before I go out for dinner once a month or so to fit in with my friends and family.

  19. YES! There are great alternatives out there and it is certainly easier these days to deal with it, but, A REAL PIECE OF BREAD, REAL PIZZA CRUST, no question about it!

  20. I definitely would the fact that I could get lunch at school and not have to bring my onw food to my friends house being able to eat whatever I want would be fantastic it would change my life and make it easier and more enjoyable going places

  21. I would LOVE a pill. Not for all-the-time use, but, as most everyone has said above, for when I go out. ESPECIALLY when traveling. I recently went to Atlanta, and I explained to each waiter that I was allergic to wheat. I even stressed that I could not ingest ANY wheat in any form. After all the careful explaining and kind commiseration and agreement from the waitstaff, I got a meal with bread crumbs. At THREE different restaurants!! It’s so stressful to go to a restaurant.

  22. HECK YEAH I WOULD TAKE THE FREKIN SHOT! ARE YOU KIDDING ME. THAT SOUNDS LIKE A DREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH. The first day I would eat a Mc Donalds cheeseburger, then pizza, then CUP CAKES, then I would eat alllllllll the italian bread I could handle……….::drooling:::

  23. I would love to take a pill. I love to travel and it is difficult especially on a cruise. Nothing beats being about to eat like a regular person and not get sick. Anyone who says different is a fool.

  24. NO WAY! I don’t trust anything that comes out of those big pharma companies. They do not have your health in mind. Making people healthy is NOT their business model, it is getting as many people on drugs by any means necesary. They invent diseases (restless leg syndrome???), they run so many ads on tv they literally own the networks. I could go on all day. You are now a healthy eater, why would you mess that up? You want to take a toxic pill so that you can resume eating a bunch of toxic food? WE ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ON DRUGS!!

  25. I really miss a good pizza and would like to not have to bring my own food to family gatherings. Let’s face it a lot of foods have come a long way in taste except the breads, rolls, etc are bland and fall apart too easily. They also tend to be very hard to chew on. I would like to eat those foods occasionally. But I would never go back to gluten-just the occasional taste of those foods that are not as good GF. For those of you that miss a good sweet, many of the recipes for GF are ridiculous in all the varieties of flour they ask for. It would cost a fortune to make one batch of cookies! I use a simple GF flour, adding a teaspoon of Bob’s Red Mill ingredient to substitute the gluten. I just use the recipes I used before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. You cannot tell the difference in taste. I’ve had my son and his friends eat my GF cookies first then move on to the regular cookies. I think the flour is arrow mill-you may have to test, one of the other flours has some kind of bean in the ingredients-don’t use it-the aftertaste is terrible!

  26. I don’t miss eating gluten, but I do miss convenience, and just not worrying about the food I eat. What I miss most, though, are some other foods I became allergic to when my gut was leaky. For example, I would give just about anything to be able to eat eggs again.

  27. I am with the author! I eat soooo much healthier now! A pill would be nice so I could have pizza just once in a great while. My mom did not follow a GF diet and died from Colon cancer – so no gluten for this Celiac sister!!

  28. I wouldn’t eat Gluten again! Simply because I know what it does to my body! I would appreciate, if there were a medication which would work after accidental glutening, but I don’t believe in taking a med, so I can further poison my body!

  29. I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO EAT GLUTEN AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! I really miss the days when i could just go into the kitchen and est something without having to check and see if it is gluten free or not!!

  30. I couldn’t agree with you more!!! My husband and I are 76 and 82 and take no Rx drugs as a matter of principle. Also, bread and pastry have never agreed with me, so why would I want to go back to eating them. Sometimes I like the smell of things, like sourdough and butter, but that is enough pleasure just to smell them. I have discovered that the bumps, especially on my neck, are caused by gluten, and they will take 10 years to go away, so I have a head start having already given up gluten, sugar, and packaged food with chemicals added. Saying NO to gluten is saying NO to the processed food industry that is taking us down the wrong fork in the road!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

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