Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Open Letter Concerning "The G-Free Diet"

Elaine Monarch, Founder and Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation, just released this open letter concerning some of the inaccuracies in Elisabeth Hasselbeck's book, "The G-Free Diet." You can read the letter here, and I've also included the full text below.

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Celiac Colleagues:

I am writing to call your attention to the current publicity surrounding the new book, The G-free Diet, A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, by Elisabeth Hassselbeck, co-host of The View. While it is important to call attention to celiac disease, the information must be accurate – the inaccuracies in this book are potentially dangerous and detrimental to celiacs and to those yet to be diagnosed if people self diagnose and start eating GF. Our mission is to assist in getting people accurately diagnosed and the message in this book could defeat this mission. It appears that this book is being marketed as a fitness diet – eat g-free and feel so much better. Celiac is incorrectly referred to as an allergy not an autoimmune disease.

The GF diet is the medically mediated prescription that controls the condition for a diagnosed celiac. Several items in the book are misleading and inaccurate and place further limitations on the GF diet. The gluten-free lifestyle is a lifelong commitment for the diagnosed celiac, not an option, not a fad diet – adhering to the GF lifestyle requires patience and persistence. This lifestyle can not be trivialized.

Elisabeth will be interviewed on Larry King Live this evening on CNN. PLEASE take the time to call in to the show or send an email to Larry King Live to help correct some of this misinformation.

Email Larry King Live at: The phone number for call-ins to the show is 1-800-676-2100.

Thank you.

Elaine Monarch
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I haven't bought "The G-Free Diet" and, after reading this, I'm not sure that I intend to do so. From what I've read, the book seems to be supporting the gluten-free lifestyle as a diet for everybody. It also seems to have left out "malt" as one of the foods prohibited from a gluten free diet, as she did in the interview I posted between her and Hannity.

If you're still interested in checking out Hasselbeck's book, it is available for purchase here.


bretttorrium said...

thanks for the feedback. so funny you posted this. i just saw the book tuesday and wondered about its accuracy.

Breanna and David said...

I am really quite disappointed. She even talks about how we need a GF Ketchup??? This book is not good news for the Celiac community. I really feel like we are going to have to do a lot of clean up now... i believe she has made a mess of things...

Janet Helm said...

I have been discussing this book with a lot of my dietitian colleagues who specialize in celiac and they have been quite concerned about the misinformation in the book. It was the focus on my nutrition blog, Nutrition Unplugged. Please see my article "The G-Free Diet Doesn't Make the Grade."

Anonymous said...

actually, YOU need to get your facts straight. Hasselbeck DOES in fact refer to celiac as an autoimmune disease. However, in quoting a conversation she had previously had with her grandmother (explaining why she couldn't eat pasta for family dinner any more), she said "Grandma, I'm allergic to pasta."

Anyone can empathize with trying to explain something out of reach with someone from a different generation or culture. Imagine "sorry grandma, I can't eat pasta any more because i have an auto immune disease called celiac and when i eat gluten it causes the vili in my lower intestine to swell..." So she had at some point told her grandma she was allergic to pasta. She does NOT define celiac as an allergy in this book. Nor did she leave out malt. The book explains what malt is, where it comes from and why it's bad.

I don't really like Elisabeth, I think she's a little nutty, so I in fact questioned her credibility. However in this case, she is correct, and you are incorrect. This is not surprising, you yourself said you have not read the book. Maybe you should abridge this post.

Stephen said...

"Anonymous" -- I appreciate your comment, but if you watch the interviews with Hasselbeck on the major news programs she often leaves out "malt."

Also, I did not write this open letter. This is a letter from the Celiac Disease Foundation.

I appreciate your comment though!