Sensational journalism is wreaking havoc in the strides many people are making to improve their health by eating gluten-free. Case in point are recent articles posted by the National Post entitled Farewell to Gluten free Why We Are So Easily Fooled by Pseudoscience and another by Maclean’s entitled The Dangers of Going Gluten-free.
Both articles are written from the negative viewpoint that eating gluten-free is an expensive fad and people are jumping on this bandwagon looking for quick answers to weight and health issues. Buried in amongst the double speak and overemphasis, are a few good points. I will agree the gluten free food market has expanded immensely and manufacturers are profiting from this trend. I also agree most gluten-free foods aren’t any healthier than those containing gluten (see my article here). A processed product whether gluten free or not is often highly refined, high in sugar, bad fats, chemicals and preservatives. Finally, they make the point no one should start a gluten-free diet without being tested for celiac disease, as it is antibodies found in blood that begin this diagnosis process and they won’t be there if you don’t eat gluten. There is no test, however, for gluten intolerance.
That is where my agreement with these articles ends. These articles go on to say those who follow a gluten-free diet are elitists, gurus, even zealous and there is little proof or even science backing gluten intolerance as a cause of symptoms and finally disease.
According to Dr. Mark Hynman gluten sensitivity can be classified as an autoimmune disease caused when your body fights to remove the offending gluten protein molecules from your system, creating inflammation in any organ system including your brain, heart, joints, digestive tract, and more. (see my article here) According to a review paper written in the New England Journal of Medicine there are 55 diseases that can be caused by consuming gluten. These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, neurological symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and many autoimmune diseases. This is far from the pseudoscience the newspaper/magazine articles claim.
If you remove gluten, you remove the cause of disease. You won’t just be treating the symptoms of the disease. What if the answer to your health problems is as easy as eliminating gluten from your diet? What if eating bread and buns is contributing to the disease you suffer from? Or eating gluten-free eliminates the need for medications you taking? What do you have to lose by trying an elimination diet to see if your symptoms vanish? Why not look for a simple solution?
Remember, if you decide to try eating gluten free to alleviate any health symptom, you should consult your doctor first. You should be tested for celiac disease, but don’t let your doctor discourage you from trying a gluten elimination diet. Remember these are uncharted waters, your doctor may have gone to school 20 years ago and didn’t learn about gluten intolerance. Your doc may not be on board.
Thousands of people have found relief of symptoms and lost weight eating gluten-free. This is not a fad. It is not going away. Those who find relief from negative health symptoms will continue to eat gluten-free regardless of media’s take, having to turn down delicious baked goods, the inconvenience of not grabbing a sandwich at lunch or the cost. Their good health is worth so much more!