Gluten-Free Simplicity

Useful Info, Tasty Anecdotes and Simple Recipes for Attaining Gluten-Free Simplicity

Is Gluten Like an Addictive Substance?

Posted by nepeht on October 14, 2008

  Typically, the word “addiction” has related to psychoactive substances such as narcotics.  As the sciences related to addiction have bloomed in recent decades, the term has been related more broadly to substances such as foods, behaviors, video games, risks, gambling, sex etc.

  An on-line dictionary defined addiction as:

compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal ; broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful

  In this sense, one can argue that foods containing gluten and gluten itself are “addictive substances” for persons who are harmed by them, yet are unable to cease using them.  So it is not as much that gluten itself is “addictive” as it is that a given person who is struggling to stop eating gluten might find that in some ways, their behaviors and their struggle is somewhat as if gluten were an addictive substance.

Why is this important?

  Accepting the idea that foods containing gluten might be addictive for certain persons with Celiac Sprue can be a beginning step toward breaking free of such an addiction.  Probably the most successful methods in the Western World for successful recovering from various addictions has been the a method using the 12 Steps as originated for use by Alcoholics Anonymous.  Please follow this link for a brief explanation:

  I am proposing if a person is having a serious problem avoiding gluten, they might benefit from learning a little about the basic philosophy of the 12 Steps.  It may or may not be for them.  But I do not see how it could hurt just to briefly educate one’s self about one of the most reliable options available for such dealing with becoming gluten-free.


addiction. (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved October 14, 2008, from


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