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Ear to the Ground

Gluten-Free Dieting: Much Hype, Little Science

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Posted on Feb 26, 2012
jrodmanjr (CC-BY)

The conversation about gluten sensitivity continues in the pages of medical journals, where two researchers say health and industry groups are hawking gluten-free diets as cure-alls for gastrointestinal problems without sufficient understanding.

The anti-gluten movement has exploded in recent years as reports of celiac disease, gluten allergies and general sensitivities have risen. Genuine intolerance to gluten does exist, but experts say that this is not the cause of many gastric or intestinal problems and that more research is needed. —ARK

MedPage Today:

... Some marketers have touted a figure of 17 million Americans affected by gluten sensitivity, although there are no official data on its prevalence, according to [University of Pavia physicians] Di Sabatino and Corazza.

“ ‘Sense’ should prevail over ‘sensibility’ to prevent a gluten preoccupation from evolving into the conviction that gluten is toxic for most of the population,” they said. “We must prevent a possible health problem from becoming a social health problem.”

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By Lilith, February 29, 2012 at 2:46 am Link to this comment

@agelbert, thank you. The title of the piece is ridicules, both in the face of the vast amounts of medical research that does verify much of what is being said and done about Celiac disease today, and the fact that the article itself does not really imply what the headline states.

All the article really says is that there needs to be caution when reading and listening to ill-informed sources on the subject, and the need to continue research on the subject to more fully understand this complex issue.

I am very upset with Truthdig for allowing such a blatant misrepresenting headline to stand, especially since in the body of the text they write that that is not really the issue in the article, “Little science” that is.

Just to note, I am a great proponent of natural remedies, but I am also a strong believer in modern medicine as well, when needed or is the best solution. They work very well together when used with knowledge and caution. I use both hand in hand all the time, and my medical team is now realizing that not only do I know my stuff in regards to this, but that they are now supporting such combinations with other patients in the Kaiser Hospital community. Kaiser is the first medical group I have ever found that works outside the modern medical box, and with great success.

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By Lilith, February 29, 2012 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

@mrfreeze. So sorry to bore you with my penchant for being thorough, accurate, and credible by using references, and for not using just my opinion as my sole authority. Your opinion has little to no credibility or authority on the subject, it is just your opinion, nothing more and nothing less. I know that my opinion is worth nothing without stating verifiable facts, so I may be long winded but I am such out of respect for those who will read what I have to say. I do NOT EXPECT them to take what I say at simple face value, as you do.

Case in point:

“What a bunch of baloney….....”

Such a blanket disregard for science, verifiable facts, and expertise made by myself and others here. You have an uniformed, misguided opinion, and that is all the authority you seem to need to dismiss all that is stated here with one fell swoop of your opinionated hand. Your statements do not diminish what we have said and shown here, it diminishes only yourself and shines a light on your ignorance and arrogance.

So, since you can not bother to read those long post filled with verifiable facts, I will be as succinct as possible. If you actually read what I wrote you would have seen that I:

1) Agree with you that such things are NOT simplistic, one shot deals, and that one needs to understand what Celiac disease really is before trying such a diet and that it is not a fad diet nor a cure-all.

2) Agree with you that the American diet is deadly: “I could go into the complexities of several endocrine problems, some of which I believe are, if not caused by the American diet available in grocery stores, at least exacerbated by the food we have available.”

3) Agree with you that one must eat well, and state it through out my comments over and over again.

4) Agree with you that the current belief that Gluten is a toxin or bad for you in general IS incorrect, and I go to lengths to show why and where to get the scientific answers, not the “fad diet” answers. I stated it twice in two posts to make sure people go that message ... you apparently did not bother.

5) You love to hold Italy up as some sort of better food consuming country, yet according to the calories per person chart offered here, Italy is in the highest rank along with Americans and other Europeans for eating over 3600 per day pr person. So much for the stance you take on Italy’s eating habits being superior to most or nearly all American ones (meaning those posting here who you disagree with): “There it’s all about eating seasonal foods, knowing the producers and cooking from scratch and enjoying a food culture that embraces a diversity of dietary choices” YET, I agree with you and have been practicing such a diet since the early 1960’s, which I have stated here and which brings me to the final point ..

6) “My point being, where do you people learn to “think.” You fixate on one dietary problem and your whole existences, your whole lifestyles, your whole worldviews are consumed with a sort of “one-dimensional” solution to all of life’s problems.” Reread my posts and other, so called long winded posters, and you will see that we are agreeing with you, BUT you are the one who is sticking to a narrow and simplistic stance. You constantly take a complex and very serious condition that has been around for 1,000s of years and boil it down to sound bites:

“Face it, Americans eat filth and shit for the most part. ..... It’s EVERYTHING that Americans eat that’s the problem.”

“Here, it’s all about putting money in the pockets of quack-diet-writers and the food manufacturers.”

“My point is fairly simple and direct: there are those whose immune systems don’t jibe with gluten” …. “The vast majority of our dietary health problems are due to the filth we eat, especially here in America.”

Celiac disease, and all its issues, are not simple, nor caused simply, or fixed simply. To quote you: What a bunch of baloney … your posts are!

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By agelbert, February 28, 2012 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps you should define what, EXACTLY, you mean by that term “LITTLE SCIENCE”. Narrowing the field of what is acceptable as “real” or “valid” by only what has been learned in scientific studies against thousands of years of the practice of using food and various plant substances as medicine makes you look unscientific, arrogant and insulated. Your faith (as in ‘religion’ and ‘worship’) in the current crop of bought and paid for, agenda driven (demonize anything that threatens corporate bottom lines) scientists is touching in it’s blind certitude that modern scientific inquiry is based on truth and integrity and not often compromised by mendacity and fraud in the service of profit.

As a simple exercise to see how much is left out of the discourse on what “works” or “does nothing”, go to pubmed.gov and look up Turmeric (“active” ingredient curcumin) and see for yourself all the in vitrio SCIENTIFIC PROOF that it acts against drug resistant cancers and a host of other human pathologies. But why does our dear government ONLY recommend it for dyspesia (upset stomach)? Because, since it is a natural substance which can’t be patented (The Founding Fathers passed that law shortly after the nation was formed), no corporation is willing to spend the 802 MILLION DOLLARS (average!) cost of getting FDA approval to use a substance medicinally.

And YOU are, in effect, arbitrarily stating point blank that if that money isn’t spent, the science isn’t there.

Before you write a hit piece on the efficacy or reality of “anecdotal” (we didn’t have 802 million dollars to jump through all the FDA hoops placed there by corporations) data on any substance doing damage or doing good or doing nothing at all, I suggest you expand your research to include the extensive literature at pubmed.gov (that IS a US Government web site) rather than limit yourself to double blind studies on animal models done by corporate employees of big pharma or food processing corporations. I’d ask you to talk to specialists on healing herbs and natural nutrition but that would probably be too much for you.

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By mrfreeze, February 28, 2012 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Lilith and all the rest of you “gluten” experts: Your long “explanations” about this subject remind me of a colleague who used to say: “the longer the story, the dumber the deal.”

Indeed, your long diatribes about this topic bore me stiff. I couldn’t care less if your a “certified” gluten-free baker…..(you might as well be a water-free fish).

My point is fairly simple and direct: there are those whose immune systems don’t jibe with gluten. Very few people in the big scheme of things. The vast majority of our dietary health problems are due to the filth we eat, especially here in America. Almost every single kid I see these days is “plump.” Most adults I look at are downright fat. My physician tells me that it used to be smoking that was killing everyone, now it’s the fact that Americans can’t stop stuffing their seemingly bottomless maws. As Lafayette mentions below, people are eating too much….and much of what they’re eating is garbage. If there were a culpret in all of this, I’d point a finger at corn rather than wheat as it permeates almost everything we consume. But I’m not going to site 500 articles about this because I don’t need to. It’s common knowledge.

Oh, one more thing…....I happen to have a cousin in ITALY who suffers from celiac disease. She is an incredibly RARE individual indeed. But the fact that she has this terrible condition has NOT altered the way her family eats or the vast majority of people in Italy or on earth. In fact, one of her problems is that there are all sorts of “special products” and diets out there just hoping that she’ll be one of their customers (the Germans have all sorts of garbage “gluten-free” products that simply substitute sugar and other junk for the gluten). My cousin actually carries a special reference book with her to ensure she isn’t consuming hidden gluten products. I realize it’s serious…...for a small group of people…..BUT…...

My point being, where do you people learn to “think.” You fixate on one dietary problem and your whole existences, your whole lifestyles, your whole worldviews are consumed with a sort of “one-dimensional” solution to all of life’s problems. So much so that when anyone (such as myself) dare question your premises (that you’re basically overreacting), you respond as all fanatics do: with a condescention boardering on meglomania.

My solution to many of our dietary problems is for families to start learing how to cook “food” again. And yes, when someone has a bona-fide health issue, to address it.

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By cl, February 28, 2012 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even without the knowledge of antigen behavior, looking at human history as an
experiment in eating an ever-mutating genetic pool of edibles would lead me to
think that perhaps the monocultured wheat strains now used for wheat products
might be responsible for reactions many people are experiencing…

Here’s how it plays in my own family.

My mom was one of the deniers of her own ill health: a stoic GI tract sufferer who
ran to the bathroom and, until her dying day, thought that “allergies were in
people’s heads”... As her daughter,
I loved bread all my life until around ten years ago during menopause when I
started falling asleep soon after eating a sandwich and coffee, had minor
abdominal discomfort, jointy joints, and headaches. An MD said, “Hmnn. Why
don’t you try not eating wheat?” So I did. I feel fine. Sometimes I eat a piece of
pastry for old time’s sake: I’ll get a headache if I eat more than a few bites. Is it
gluten? Is it something else in the wheat? Who cares. It’s not good for me.

The point being, what genetically is wheat, for how long have the same strains
been marketed, is it the lack of genetic variation that is creating an immune
response? Was my mother’s wheat the same as yours and mine, and if so, is that a
problem?

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By Lilith, February 28, 2012 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

@Lafayette, Like your graphic, though it can be miss-leading in the way it is presented and in how you use it. If you have metabolic and digestive problems, all the dieting in the world is not going to help you loose weight and keep it off and be healthier, so things like finding out if you have Celiac disease, and other problems (like autoimmune low Thyroid disease - often over looked by doctors) is of more importance, for without addressing those issues first forget about anything else you might try caloricly or otherwise. 

Calories are not the whole story, in fact they are only one, not so big, element in obesity. Yes, if you over eat, in time you will gain unwanted weight, but that weight is often easily lost soon after for the average, healthy person. On the other hand science is finding that calories consumed is an over simplification of a complex endocrine and genetic mechanism.

I could go into the complexities of several endocrine problems, some of which I believe are, if not caused by the American diet available in grocery stores, at least exacerbated by the food we have available. Environment also comes into play, as well as genetics, with chronic weight gain.

Cutting out calories often is not enough because gaining weight has a lot more to do with a combination of food quality and the genetics of the person eating said food. Yes, you can starve and loose weight, most of which is not only fat, but muscle tissue (especially heart muscle), bone and other tissues. For people with endocrine and systemic metabolic dysfunctions, a starvation or even a low calorie diet can be devastating nutritionally and physically. Case in point: My undiagnosed Celiac caused me to become anemic, and the mal-absorbtion of fats and carbs, as well as many or most vitamins and minerals; not enough carbs would make my leg muscles ache in pain because of an inability of my muscle cells to transport sugar from my blood stream into the cells, not because of insulin resistance (though that came much, much later), but because of low GLUT4 in my cell membranes and my metabolism’s inability to convert white fat into the fatty acids needed for energy consumption. I also have an auto-immune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease that causes the immune system to slowly kill off the Thyroid and create low thyroid, and weight gain. That went undiagnosed in me for over 20 years, though I had all the signs, but because I was “fat”, doctors always misdiagnosed me.

So yes, lower calories AND a good diet free of processed ingredients is a first and vital step in weight loss and better health, BUT it is only the first step, an important one, but not necessarily the key one for true weight loss success.

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By Lafayette, February 28, 2012 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

‘Sense’ should prevail over ‘sensibility’ to prevent a gluten preoccupation from evolving into the conviction that gluten is toxic for most of the population,” they said

I doubt seriously that this is the real-problem.

Rather, I submit, the obesity-challenge can be best explained in this info-graphic here.

Note that the average sustenance value of per capita caloric intake per day is 1800 (calories). As the info-graphic shows, American average intake is more than twice that amount.

And in what types of food does one find very large amounts of calories per weight consumed? Fats and carbohydrates.

Avoiding carbs is not the only solution. Avoiding all excess beyond 1800 calories per day seems the most effective solution to long-term obesity. So, the objective is to find a manner in which we all eat the foods we like, presumably varied, but limited to 1800 calories per day.

So? So start counting caloric consumption ...

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By Lilith, February 28, 2012 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

@mrfreeze, here this is for you and your Italian pet theory:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1276329/

Iron-deficiency anemia due to silent celiac sprue
Rick T. Waldo, MDcorresponding author1
1From Dallas Diagnostic Association, Dallas, Texas

... “Signs and symptoms may occur from infancy to the eighth decade of life. Fewer than half of affected patients complain of diarrhea. In an Italian study of 252 celiac sprue patients, only 43% displayed classic gastrointestinal symptoms. The symptomatic patient may have steatorrhea with malabsorption syndrome or selected deficiencies of iron, folate, or protein. Clinical manifestations include refractory anemia, osteoporosis, dermatitis herpetiformis, or neurologic signs. A feared complication in untreated disease is intestinal lymphoma (2, 3).

Celiac sprue is definitively diagnosed by small intestinal biopsy, but the serologic test for IgA antibody against tissue transglutaminase is extremely accurate. This test has replaced the older test for the IgA antibody against endomysial antigen, which may be absent even in severe disease (4). Due to the requirement for strict dietary compliance, many experts advocate small bowel biopsy before initiation of the gluten-free diet.” ....

So, even the Italians recognize that this is a more complex and fairly misunderstood disease, and that only now that more research is being done are the real facts and expansive nature of the disease coming forth.

How did I find this? I just googled “Italy celiac sprue” and there it was. Easy as GF pie, so why not do yourself a favor and at least google the NIH and other medical organizations BEFORE spouting off. There is enough misinformation in the world (this article in Truthdig being one of them), we do not need yours.

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By Lilith, February 28, 2012 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

@JohnMcD, right on point and thank you for your posted links for this discussion.

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By Lilith, February 28, 2012 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

@Berynice you said: “I’m sure there are people who really can’t do gluten. It does seem to me that many people who are on about wheat and gluten are entitled (mostly) lefties who don’t have what else to do and are worried about their weight.”

Oh for crying out loud people, do just a little research before spouting your malformed opinions and pet peeves.

Here just a tip of the ice berg on the genetics of Celiac disease:

Genetics


“DQ ?5-?2 -binding cleft with a deamidated gliadin peptide (yellow), modified from PDB 1S9V[22]

The vast majority of coeliac patients have one of two types of the HLA-DQ protein.[21] HLA-DQ is part of the MHC class II antigen-presenting receptor (also called the human leukocyte antigen) system and distinguishes cells between self and non-self for the purposes of the immune system. The two subunits of the HLA-DQ protein are encoded by the HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 genes, located on the short arm of the sixth chromosome.

There are seven HLA-DQ variants (DQ2 and DQ4–DQ9). Over 95% of coeliac patients have the isoform of DQ2 or DQ8, which is inherited in families. The reason these genes produce an increase in risk of coeliac disease is that the receptors formed by these genes bind to gliadin peptides more tightly than other forms of the antigen-presenting receptor. Therefore, these forms of the receptor are more likely to activate T lymphocytes and initiate the autoimmune process.[2]

Most coeliac patients bear a two-gene HLA-DQ2 haplotype referred to as DQ2.5 haplotype. This haplotype is composed of two adjacent gene alleles, DQA1*0501 and DQB1*0201, which encode the two subunits, DQ ?5 and DQ ?2. In most individuals, this DQ2.5 isoform is encoded by one of two chromosomes 6 inherited from parents (DQ2.5cis). Most coeliacs inherit only one copy of this DQ2.5 haplotype, while some inherit it from both parents; the latter are especially at risk for coeliac disease, as well as being more susceptible to severe complications.”

Just in case you doubt the sources of this, here they are:

[2] van Heel D, West J (2006). “Recent advances in coeliac disease”. Gut 55 (7): 1037–46. doi:10.1136/gut.2005.075119. PMC 1856316. PMID 16766754

[21] Hadithi M, von Blomberg BM, Crusius JB, et al. (2007). “Accuracy of serologic tests and HLA-DQ typing for diagnosing celiac disease”. Ann. Intern. Med. 147 (5): 294–302. PMID 17785484

[22] Kim C, Quarsten H, Bergseng E, Khosla C, Sollid L (2004). “Structural basis for HLA-DQ2-mediated presentation of gluten epitopes in celiac disease”. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101 (12): 4175–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.0306885101. PMC 384714. PMID 15020763

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By Jora, February 28, 2012 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

I have cut out wheat and and other grains and the digestive improvement has been amazing, a miraculous difference.  I don’t want to go too TMI here, but I got a work at home job for a reason.  People have told me how much healthier I look and act also.  After all, I can still eat meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts.  Leaving out the bread and cookies?  No big deal.

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By Lilith, February 28, 2012 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

@mrfreeze, people like you who do not get their facts right before posting are showing nothing more than their self-important ignorance:

1) Celiac is greatly recognized and addressed in Italy, more so there than here.

2) Celiac Sprue is NOT a new-fangle diet or disease, and has a long history since we started eating wheat: Humans first started to cultivate grains in the Neolithic period (beginning about 9500 BCE) in the Fertile Crescent in Western Asia, and it is likely that coeliac disease did not occur before this time. Aretaeus of Cappadocia, living in the second century in the same area, recorded a malabsorptive syndrome with chronic diarrhoea. His “Cœliac Affection” (coeliac from Greek ????????? koiliakos, “abdominal”) gained the attention of Western medicine when Francis Adams presented a translation of Aretaeus’s work at the Sydenham Society in 1856 ... The paediatrician Samuel Gee gave the first modern-day description of the condition in children in a lecture at Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, in 1887.

3) It is a Genetic disease: Genetics
DQ ?5-?2 -binding cleft with a deamidated gliadin peptide (yellow), modified from PDB 1S9V[22]

The vast majority of coeliac patients have one of two types of the HLA-DQ protein.[21] HLA-DQ is part of the MHC class II antigen-presenting receptor (also called the human leukocyte antigen) system and distinguishes cells between self and non-self for the purposes of the immune system. The two subunits of the HLA-DQ protein are encoded by the HLA-DQA1 and HLA-DQB1 genes, located on the short arm of the sixth chromosome.

There are seven HLA-DQ variants (DQ2 and DQ4–DQ9). Over 95% of coeliac patients have the isoform of DQ2 or DQ8, which is inherited in families. The reason these genes produce an increase in risk of coeliac disease is that the receptors formed by these genes bind to gliadin peptides more tightly than other forms of the antigen-presenting receptor. Therefore, these forms of the receptor are more likely to activate T lymphocytes and initiate the autoimmune process… and so on and so forth

@mrfreeze, you say: “There [Italy] it’s all about eating seasonal foods, knowing the producers and cooking from scratch and enjoying a food culture that embraces a diversity of dietary choices.” Hate to burst your bubble, but Italians who eat like this, and Americans who eat like this (such as myself and my family, who by the way are Italian and eat a great deal of home made fresh Italian, often organic food), still have Celiac disease.

So get your facts straight before bothering to post, it would be greatly appreciated, and would do a h*ll of a lot more good.

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By JohnMcD, February 28, 2012 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

Hey mrfreeze, Celiac Disease exists in Italy too -
even if they’re known for a stubborn tendency to
react poorly to anything that questions/refuses their
precious foods. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coeliac_disease

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11478502


The question is about gluten sensitivity, that is,
agreeing on a scientific diagnostic that finds an
auto-immune reaction before the point of degeneration
caused by full-blown Celiac. 

Random sampling suggests 3 million Americans have
Celiac Disease, and antibody tests are suggesting
tens of millions more might be at risk for that or
other complications of gluten sensitivity.

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By mrfreeze, February 28, 2012 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

What a bunch of baloney….....

Look, any time someone comes up with a “diet” or “dietary disease” or malady people throw themselves into whatever frenzy is created and they “feel better.” Not because there’s an underlying “disease” as a result of their usual diet, but because they have simply applied some discipline and (yes) better eating habits. But just because one takes out one or two elements from their diet does not validate bullshit science. Face it, Americans eat filth and shit for the most part. If it’s not spending their precious money on the gazillions of fast-filth manufacturing boxes on every street corner, it’s the crap they buy in the supermarket that is overproduced, genetically modified or simply pumped with so much high-fructose-corn-syrup that they might as well do sugar water enemas for a new-fangled diet. It’s not gluten that’s the problem. It’s EVERYTHING that Americans eat that’s the problem.

One more thing: I spend time in Italy where my cousins literally eat pasta twice a day. Most are thin, healthy, vibrant and couldn’t care less about the stupid food bullshit we Americans embrace. There it’s all about eating seasonal foods, knowing the producers and cooking from scratch and enjoying a food culture that embraces a diversity of dietary choices. Here, it’s all about putting money in the pockets of quack-diet-writers and the food manufacturers.

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By Berynice, February 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

Gluten sure does have its true believers! And if it’s on YouTube it must be true. Or you could google: Obama gluten Kenya and you’ll find that he was born in Africa and has gluten intolerance. Jeeze.

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By Mind Tribes, February 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AU CONTRAIRE…

Gluten has been linked to tumor growth in NUMEROUS studies!


Gluten: What You Dont Know Might Kill You

Dr. Mark Hyman (Integrative medicine specialist)

http://youtu.be/yLJSmJ0bMlk

 
Gluten then and now - Natural News

http://www.naturalnews.com/032823_gluten_intolerance_celiac_disease.html


Gluten’s Effect on Immune System Can Cause Cancer

http://glutendoctors.blogspot.com/2010/08/glutens-effect-on-immune-system-can.html

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By Berynice, February 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

I’m sure there are people who really can’t do gluten. It does seem to me that many people who are on about wheat and gluten are entitled (mostly) lefties who don’t have what else to do and are worried about their weight. It’s tiring to have four people at your meal for seven that have food issues. Arghhh.

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By Lilith, February 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

@Shoes 4 Industry, yes lets just blame it all on being fat, or bad eating habits. Sheesh, that was done to me, my mother, my daughter, and my niece all our lives, despite the FACT that we have all been on health food diets since the early 1960’s, and I was training to be a dancer for over 11 years. Yes, the American diet is deadly, but it is not the only answer, especially in multi-generational situations where it becomes apparent the genetics plays a higher role.

Fat or weight bigotry is causing millions of people to suffer abuse, and medical neglect because of this newly heightened rage towards those who weigh more than what an antiquated and outdated chart system says. I say rage because for decades now I have watched as hostilities towards people who are fat (myself included) has gone from simple disdain to death threats. Yeah you read that right, death threats, and other threats of violence by people. I am very fat AND I use a scooter wheelchair to get around, NOT because I am fat but because I have a genetic disease called Ehlers-Danlos Type three that causes my ligaments and tendons to suffer soft tissue damage with simple movement of any kind. It ended my dance career, and I became disabled by the functional problems and the chronic devastating pain long before I gain any ounce of fat. Yet more and more often I come across people who want to shoot me for “obviously” putting a unearned or deserving strain on government and state budgets, or have threatened to kick me out of my chair and get me to crawl my fat ass on my hands and knees to loose the so called “obviously” fat that puts me into a chair that the government paid for because I am disabled.

There is research that has found that a very large portion of the medical community, doctors and nurses alike, are repulsed by having to even touch someone who is over weight. What kind of sick mindedness is that, I ask you?

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By Lilith, February 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

@litlpeep, as both a person with Celiac nearly all my life (meaning that it went from sub-clinical to fully present at puberty - a classic situation - which was nearly 45 years ago), and as a Gluten Free Food Producer I agree with you on all accounts.

What I would like to add and advise people to do besides simply illuminating gluten from their diet, is to take longer then just a few weeks to see if there is a difference. Both immediate results and the lack of them are inconclusive in such a short time frame. An immediate response could mean you illuminated something else as well as gluten without knowing it and that was the real culprit, not the gluten, OR the Celiac damage is so great it can take months, to years for things to totally heal and reverse themselves. It took being on a strict GF diet for exactly 12 months before my decades old Anemia reversed itself, yet, the gastrointestinal issues cleared up within days of starting a GF diet.

Another issue is what other problems Celiac causes long tern. Not just Anemia, but Lactose intolerance (rather a lack of digesting properly due to damaged intestine), low Thyroid disease, some types of stomach cancer (research still being done on this), some types of skin diseases, and so on. The list is l0ng and it can take more than just a few weeks to see a change.

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By Shoes 4 Industry, February 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm Link to this comment

Americans are simply too fat. Address the obesity epidemic first and foremost and many health and diet related problems would disappear and health care costs would plummet.

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By Jim, February 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I had gluten sensitivity for years and physicians did tests, came up with nothing, and laughed at me when I persevered with a reduced gluten diet. Ultimately I developed classic dermatitis herpetiformis, a sure sign of coeliac disease.

The DH disappeared with a strict gluten free diet. Genuine gluten intolerance is increasing by leaps and bounds in the population, and the medical community isn’t keeping up, in part because its test have very low reliability.

This article in MedPage is extremely unhelpful. There are already too many naysayers.

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By litlpeep, February 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Gluten sensitivity and intolerance, and allergies, and the connections between all these and other health issues are simply too complex for the American Medical Drug Dealing establishment to face.

I took many tests, all negative results, yet still couldn’t find a remedy for my chronic allergies, chronic sinus infections, growing arthritis, and general malaise.  When I studied all the gluten foods, and began reading labels religiously, avoiding all gluten, I began feeling better.

And the cries for research are all cries for the university researchers to get public money to do the research for corporate drug dealers.

Step aside from the whole mess.  Stop eating gluten containing foods (go here for a reliable list: http://www.celiac.com/articles/182/1/Unsafe-Gluten-Free-Food-List-Unsafe-Ingredients/Page1.html) and see if you feel better within a few weeks.

If so, and you have no other clear culprit for what made you feel worse earlier, you very well may have sensitivities the drug dealers are not interested in because they cannot sell you an easy fix.

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By bigchin, February 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

can you give one good reason why this vacuous and utterly unimportant essay was posted on Truthdig? are there not about a million other stories and news events that are critically more deserving?

gluten?

really?

then again, you continue to post the ridiculous pro-Obama propaganda coming from the likes of Dionne and Robinson, so in fairness I should say I’d rather read more about gluten…

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By Lilith, February 26, 2012 at 10:39 pm Link to this comment

I can not stress this enough, so I will repeat: if you are thinking about going on a GF diet for medical reason (which should be the only reason you do), do your homework and go to Celiac.org (Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF))and the Celiac Sprew Association, which remains the largest non-profit celiac support group in America since 1977 (the site is having issues, so go to the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/csaceliacs)

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By Lilith, February 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

I am a professional Gluten Free Baker (diagnosed with Celiac), and I am in the the mist of launching a new GF company, BUT it distresses me how people have come to equate being GF with better general health. Not eating gluten type grains will have NO positive impact on your health in general if you do not have Celiac and could very easily impact your health with severe dietary insufficiencies. Gluten is NOT a poison to the system, UNLESS you have Celiac disease or Gluten intolerance/sensitivity.

People do not know how it all works. The problem is not the Gluten but a person’s impaired immune-system. The immune system perceives the gluten protein to be something that needs to be destroyed. It then creates and sends out anti-bodies to do just that. In the processes of destroying the gluten protein a toxin is released/created and THAT is what damages the intestines, NOT the Gluten. I would love to see the media actually get that fact straight.

The danger of true GF diets for people who have Celiac is the absence of sufficient B vitamins and other dietary necessities in their food. Great care is needed to not become malnourished, which is why the GF industry is doing all it can to bring it’s food products up to healthy and normal dietary standards. Hard to do inexpensively without resorting to non-natural supplements, which is not desirable nor marketable in the health food industry. 

I can not tell you how many people I have discouraged from going on a GF diet because they thought it would be better for them from some sort of idea that gluten in of itself is bad for you. IT IS NOT! It is a very important and healthy protein, unless you have a wacky immune system.

One thing that the Swedes found out during a 1980’s epidemic of Celiac in children was that if you started children on wheat and gluten products before the age of 1 or more, the incidences of later onset Celiac disease increase greatly. That may be to the increase in gluten content in wheat over the past 50 years. Our digestive systems may have not been able to adjust, but nothing about that is yet conclusive.

So, if you are thinking about going on a GF diet for medical reason (which should be the only reason you do), do your homework and go to Celiac.org (Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF))and other sites that work with both the medical community and the Celiac community. The best site is the Celiac Sprew Association, which remains the largest non-profit celiac support group in America since 1977 (the site is having issues, so go to the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/csaceliacs)

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JohnMcD's avatar

By JohnMcD, February 26, 2012 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

A gluten-free diet isn’t a magic bullet that will
cure every stomach problem there is, but literally
millions of Americans suffer from undiagnosed Celiac
Disease and medical research is just now starting to
understand that a such thing as non-Celiac gluten
sensitivity exists. 

The official expected rate of Celiac is about 1% of
the general population, and the University of Chicago
estimates that just 5% of those 3 million Americans
have actually been diagnosed.  Further, a recent
study in Northern Ireland is showing wheat-related
antibodies and increased mortality in a massive 12%
of random populations
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17206762)

Celiac Disease, in itself, is a rather poor
diagnostic.  It requires a state of villous atrophy
that indicates serious and imminent risk of
starvation and death.  Yes, we need better ways to
understand gluten sensitivity before it gets to that
point.

However, the reporting on this study seems to
contradict the research itself!  The scientists say
we need more research and that a dietary challenge
can be a valid way of resolving some symptoms, but
the journalists pick this up and conclude there’s “no
science” behind a gluten-free diet (when it is the
only known cure for Celiac Disease, Dermititis
Herpetiformis, and even seems to help a significant
percentage of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia
or late-onset psychosis). 

Ridiculous!

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By Mike Burnett, February 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People may be over diagnosed (or over self-diagnosing), but it’s not a bad thing
being more mindful about what we eat. I was diagnosed with an IgE allergy to
wheat, confirmed by skin and blood tests a few years ago, and my life has been
much better since I cut wheat out of my diet and became more thoughtful about
what I consume.

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By sanda1sculptorNYC, February 26, 2012 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

My sister was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity after severe anemia diagnosis and emergency blood transfusions a year ago.  She went on a gluten free diet and regained weight and the symptoms went away.  After a year, she went off the diet and the severe symptoms returned, including weight loss.  She went back on the gluten free diet and is fine again.  My conclusion: some people have gluten sensitivity.

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