According to a news release on MSN.com, Stefani Germanotta (a.k.a. Lady Gaga) is the newest celebrity to say she’s going gluten-free. She made the announcement on the latest leg of her ‘Born This Way Ball’ tour.
She is described as doing so in order to “make sure she is in the best shape for the grueling workout.”
Then the article drops a bombshell… “Her aim is to drop 10 lbs in a month.”
This is where celiac disease experts, bloggers and media know-it-alls usually start lobbing grenades.
Why the Big Deal?
Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are serious medical conditions that require a gluten-free diet. Many people diagnosed with one or both disorders chafe at the fact that they cannot eat what they want. While a diagnosis is important, medical professionals and the media emphatically make the groundless claim that the gluten-free diet can be bad for your health unless you are medically diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Lady Gaga is reported to have neither celiac disease nor gluten sensitivity in the MSN article. The article emphasizes her aim to use the diet to get in shape and lose 10 lbs in a month.
Lady Gaga goes on gluten free diet
Lady Gaga has switched to a gluten free diet as she begins the latest leg of her ‘Born This Way Ball’ tour inSofia,Bulgaria.
Lady Gaga has switched to a gluten free diet.
The ‘Poker Face’ singer has started the next leg of her huge ‘Born This Way Ball’ tour inSofia,Bulgaria, and she has opted to go on a new diet to make sure she is in the best shape for the grueling workout.
A source said: ”Gaga has decided to go on a major body blitz and cut out all gluten and wheat from her diet, which is very hard to do. She has given her people strict instruction to advise staff at venues and restaurants about her new diet because she is taking it very seriously.
”Her aim is to drop 10lb in a month.”
The 26-year-old singer is thought to be rationing her carbohydrate intake to just two portions a week, and living off a diet mainly consisting of fish, chicken and vegetables.
The source added: ”She allows herself one potato or rice portion a week and has been snacking on Ginnybake cakes from wholefood shops – they are gluten free cookies.”
Before pulling their grenade pins, people who would attack Ms. Gaga should look at her history and examine the article closely, especially the line, “thought to be rationing her carbohydrate intake to two portions a week, and living off a diet mainly consisting of fish, chicken and vegetables.”
How credible is the article if it is based on the “thought” of some unknown person? Also, it seems the story’s reporters received little training in nutrition since most vegetables consist mainly of carbohydrates. Potatoes are vegetables and Ginnybake cakes are virtually 100% carbohydrates. So much for rationing carbohydrates.
Why Might Lady Gaga Adopt a Gluten-Free Diet?
Digging into Lady Gaga’s history, especially her health history, may help reveal reasons she may have for adopting a gluten-free diet that are not covered in the MSN.com news feature.
Stefani Germanotta is smart. She has built an enormous fortune in a relatively short period of time and catapulted herself from complete nobody to one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world in 6 years. According to Forbes, she made $100 million in 2011. During a television interview, she claimed she had purposefully studied ultra-successful celebrities and planned her rise to stardom by employing the strategies and tactics they implemented.
But just because a person is smart and successful, does not mean she is healthy.
Lady Gaga has a history of depression dating back to her teens. In an interview with Lifetime’s “The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet” she admitted, “I was very depressed when I was 19. I would go back to my apartment every day and I would just sit there and it was lonely and it was still. It was just my piano and myself. And I had a television that I would leave on all the time to feel like there was someone hanging out with me.” As Gaga recently told aUKmagazine, “I have a chronic sadness that recurs… I was overwhelmingly sad, and I didn’t know why, because I had all these things to be happy about.” This admission offers psychologists and the media an easy rationale for health or personality issues, “It’s in her head.” Like many people, she self-medicated. Instead of food or alcohol or cigarettes, her choice was cocaine, which she gave up when she realized it was impeding her success. A history of drug use offers reporters and medical professionals another convenient excuse for future health issues, “She’s a drug addict.”
But, could her sadness be due to chronic nutritional deficiencies? Gaga’s statement, “I was so sad and didn’t know why,” is common among people with celiac disease and completely in line with someone suffering from nutritional deficiencies.
There have been other health problems.
Lady Gaga was forced to cancel concerts due to bouts of dizziness and fatigue.
Most relevant to this article, she tested mildly positive for systemic lupus erythematosus in 2010. At the time, Gaga reported having no symptoms. However, investigative journalist, Ian Halperin, who wrote biographies of Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, said in a July interview with Star Magazine that Gaga’s outfits are not just for spectacle but help disguise her illness. Halperin went on to say, “her lupus is far worse than she lets on. Part of the reason she wears wigs and make-up is because her hair is falling out and she’s covered in red blotches, both side effects of the disease.”
If this is true, then Lady Gaga could be quite sick. It could also help explain her decision to adopt a gluten-free diet.
Why? Because lupus has been connected to gluten.
Systemic Lupus Erythamatosus is a serious autoimmune disease that is sometimes fatal. Lupus is Latin for “wolf” and erythematosus means “redness.” Together, these terms refer to the reddened lesions resembling a wolf bite that appear on the face of people with SLE. Other symptoms include fever, weight loss, arthritis, nervous-system problems, and sometimes heart and kidney damage.
Common treatments include prednisone and other powerful medicines that suppress the immune system and can result in side effects including anxiety, depression, bloating and weight gain, none of which are attractive prospects for superstar celebrities who have to operate at their max while fitting into body revealing costumes. Most doctors do not consider food sensitivities when evaluating SLE patients.
This is a shame, because in some cases, lupus was discovered not be lupus at all. The real culprit was gluten sensitivity.
Gluten sensitivity can be misdiagnosed as SLE. Gluten sensitivity, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, includes adverse health reactions stemming from an immune reaction to gluten. These reactions can produce lupus-like symptoms.
The potential for misdiagnosis was presented in the medical case report ‘Gluten Sensitivity Masquerading as Systemic Lupus Erythamatosus’ published by Dr. M. Hadjivassiliou where three patients who had been misdiagnosed with SLE completely recovered when gluten was removed from their diet and were taken off their SLE medications.
Celiac disease, like gluten sensitivity and lupus, is an immune system mediated disorder. In this case, the body attacks gluten, but like lupus ends up destroying its own tissues, especially along the lining of the small intestine resulting in nutrient deficiencies. One of the classic symptoms of celiac disease is a bloated abdomen, but symptoms can affect any body system and mimic other autoimmune disorders such as SLE.
Celiac disease is estimated to be successfully diagnosed by medical experts less than 5% of the time, usually years after symptoms first start to show. The diagnostic antibody blood tests are not pass/fail and are not 100% accurate, yet most doctors who would even consider celiac disease rely on them exclusively and tell their patients “you don’t have it” if the tests return a negative result. In fact, a negative result just means the patient’s antibody levels at that particular time are not high enough to warrant an intestinal biopsy.
Most doctors are clueless about gluten sensitivity. Even the majority of celiac experts discounted the idea that gluten could cause non-celiac symptoms until very recently. Gluten sensitivity prevalence estimates are unknown. Reports seem to range between 8 to 30% of the population. Some are higher.
This means the average person with a gluten-related disorder is far more likely not to receive a prompt and proper diagnosis by a doctor. Yet media and medical professionals claim no one should remove wheat, barley, rye and oats from their diet unless diagnosed by a medical professional.
Considering gluten sensitivity would never enter most doctors’ radars when forming a diagnosis, what is the percentage of people who are similarly misdiagnosed? Well, in one study, 23.3% of 103 patients with SLE tested positive for gluten antibodies. That means almost one in four patients were experiencing an immune reaction to gluten, or gluten sensitivity reaction.
Is Lady Gaga misdiagnosed with lupus, when she actually suffers from gluten sensitivity? Is this partially behind her rationale to start a strict gluten-free diet?
Although the Lupus Foundation of America’s website mentions nothing about the gluten-free diet as an alternative treatment, a quick Google search of “lupus and gluten” returns tons of forum posts and blog articles describing the connection between gluten and lupus and descriptions by patients about improvement or remission of their symptoms when they adopted a gluten-free diet.
Lady Gaga undoubtedly has access to the internet, and like most people, probably uses Google, the #1 search engine in the world, to research topics. Maybe she discovered the link between gluten and lupus.
What is Gluten and Why is Not Eating It Such a Big Deal, Really?
Gluten is the term that describes the storage proteins found in grains of wheat, barley, rye and oats. These plants are not air. They are not water. Frankly, none of them are necessary for life or good health. And regardless of the massive marketing efforts of cereal producers, all four of these grains are pitifully poor in nutrients unless fortified – with synthetically produced vitamins.
In fact, populations with no access to these weeds happily lived gluten-free for thousands of years. They worked, raised children, built civilizations, and blissfully went about their business without ever realizing they were missing out on gluten. Nobody told them they were jeopardizing their health by not eating gluten as our news and medical people tell us. And speaking of health, they did not have the soaring rates of cancer, mental disorders and autoimmune diseases our gluten-reliant populations are experiencing.
The Paparazzi Perpetuates Misinformation
Most media reporters do not understand diet or nutrition, think doctors know everything about health, and tend to disregard context and focus on sensational points in stories.
An article about a weirdo celebrity jumping on a fad diet in a vain attempt to lose weight is much juicier than a performer adopting a gluten-free lifestyle in an attempt to treat her lupus and maintain her energy levels during an exhausting music tour.
So Where Does This Leave the Newly Gluten-Free Lady Gaga?
The entertainment industry is cut throat and demanding. Drug addiction, extreme dieting and acting weird will not affect an actor or musician’s ability to get work. These things tend to generate publicity, which brings fame and money. On the other hand, being reputed to have an incurable, debilitating, sometimes fatal disease will definitely have a negative impact. Producers and tour executives know a performer who cancels shows loses them money. A smart, incredibly determined and highly successful celebrity like Gaga knows how they think and knows that being seen as quirky is a whole lot safer than being seen as sick.
Just because you are a world famous superstar making $100 million per year doesn’t mean your doctors can always figure out what’s wrong with you or will prescribe you the right treatment. Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley come to mind.
Perhaps Lady Gaga is jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon in a quest to get in shape and lose weight, thereby continuing her pursuit of stratospheric fame and fortune.
Or, maybe Stefani Germanotta, an obviously intelligent, extraordinarily driven and highly successful performer-entrepreneur who has suffered with lupus, unexplained depression and fatigue has connected the dots and determined that self-treatment through diet is a better bet than depending on “professionals” and possibly slipping through the significant cracks