THE LOW GLUTEN DIET
AND OTHER GLUTEN MYTHS
MYTH BUSTING WITH OBAMA
There are a lot of myths floating around about GLUTEN. Think about it for a moment. Have you ever heard of a "Low Gluten" diet? Although there are a few websites where you'll see a "Low Gluten" diet mentioned, there are not many. The term used is almost always Gluten Free! To understand why, you have to have a cursory understanding of Gluten Sensitivity. Yes, I'll get to that as we move along.
Gluten Sensitivity or "NON-CELIAC GLUTEN INTOLERANCE" as it is sometimes called, is a rapidly growing problem in America. In plain English, Gluten Intolerance means that your body is making antibodies to wheat protein (Gluten), and attacking it as if it were a foreign invader. And in the same way that every time you get poison ivy, the reaction tends to be worse than the time before; your body tends to mount increasingly harsh Immune System responses to Gluten as well. This is because your Immune System has a memory. Just how much Gluten is enough to cause a reaction? Try this on for size; for people who are really sensitive to Gluten, it can take less than 20 parts per million to set off a reaction. Gulp! To top it all off, if you've followed my blog, you are aware that the vast majority of people (doctors included) do not recognize most of these Immune System Responses as being related to Gluten.
The 'Low Gluten' diet is one of the many myths about Gluten. There are lots of others. Here are just a few of them.......
- JUST BECAUSE IT'S GLUTEN FREE IT'S HEALTHY: This is absolutely false. The truth is that a large percentage of the so called 'Gluten Free' foods are as heavily processed as their Gluten-containing counterparts. The only difference is they are made with processed rice flour, processed corn flour, or some other heavily processed 'Gluten Free' grain --- most of which are Gluten Cross-Reactors (keep reading).
- GLUTEN FREE IS THE SAME AS LOW CARB: Hopefully by now you understand why a PALEO DIET or other form of Low Carb eating is the foundation of good health (HERE). Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that 'Gluten Free' has anything whatsoever to do with eating in a low carb fashion. I was looking at some 'Gluten Free' noodles the other day that had a whopping 42 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Wow! This and the information in the previous bullet point are just a couple the many reasons that I think that many (maybe even most) of the foods in the grocery store's "Gluten Free Isle" are bad news ---- really bad news to those who grasp the next point.
- IF YOU ARE GLUTEN SENSITIVE, ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS GO "GLUTEN FREE": This is a myth that not only has the potential to produce devastating consequences, it leaves people in total confusion as to what their problem really is. For those going "Gluten Free", it is imperative to understand what GLUTEN CROSS-REACTIVITY is. The 'Gluten Free' wheat substitutes that you will see recommended on most GF lists are almost always full of Gluten Cross Reactors. Because all grains contain proteins that are analogous to Gluten (many of these proteins are all but totally identical to Gluten), you are fooling yourself to think that eating "Gluten Free" grain-based substitutes is a safe alternative! In fact, the medical community exploded this myth almost two decades ago when the November 1995 issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy, stated that, "The allergens in rice, corn, millet, and buckwheat [as well as several other "Gluten Free" grains that they were not knowledgeable about back then] should be better studied before they can be recommended as alternatives for cereal [wheat] allergic [sensitive] children [little kids]". If you or your family has Gluten Intolerance and do not understand Gluten Cross Reactivity, all I can say is that I hope you are preparing yourselves for PARKINSON'S DISEASE or some other ugly neurological problem (HERE).
- NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHY GLUTEN SENSITIVITY HAS EXPLODED IN RECENT YEARS: Hooey! While it is not always known why a specific person develops a specific sensitivity to a specific food, you better believe we have a good idea of why this epidemic of Gluten Intolerance is taking place. If you are curious, you can read about it HERE.
- I ONLY EAT SPELT OR OTHER "HEIRLOOM" VARIETIES OF WHEAT THAT ARE GLUTEN FREE: I hear people make this statement all the time. Stop and listen to me for a moment. If you are Gluten Sensitive, and you are eating any form of wheat, you are fooling yourself. Once you are Gluten Intolerant, you are always Gluten Intolerant (more on this in a moment). Wheat --- even "Whole Grain" heirloom varieties such as spelt --- contain Gluten. And remember this; if you are Gluten Sensitive, it takes only a minuscule amount (20 ppm) of it to set an Immune System reaction in motion and cause INFLAMMATION --- the catalyst that drives the vast majority of disease processes and health problems faced by Americans today (HERE).
- THE BREAD I EAT IS "SPROUTED" (EZEKIEL BREAD) OR SOURED (SOUR DOUGH): See the previous bullet point. In no way does the sprouting or souring process remove all the Gluten. Sprouted grains are unsafe for anyone with a Gluten Intolerance or Gluten Sensitivity ---- including Celiac Disease! Sprouting grains is good, and for many of us will not only prove safe, but healthy as well. But sprouting the wheat does not mean it is completely Gluten Free. The truth is, many people who are severely Gluten Sensitive cannot tolerate even the juices of Gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, etc). This also goes for people who believe that soaking their grain in buttermilk, salt water, beer, or other liquids can somehow remove or transform the Gluten.
- I CAN'T BE GLUTEN INTOLERANT; I DO NOT HAVE ANY OF THE GASTROINTESTINAL SYMPTOMS THAT ARE SO COMMONLY ASSOCIATED WITH GLUTEN SENSITIVITY: Buying into this myth could lead you to what for many (self included) might be a fate worse than death (HERE). Think I'm kidding? Read THIS!
- THE ONLY ACCURATE TEST FOR GLUTEN SENSITIVITY IS HAVING YOUR SMALL INTESTINE BIOPSIED: While this used to be true, it is certainly not true any more. Unfortunately, the medical standard for determining Gluten Sensitivity involves only looking for Celiac Disease, while ignoring that fact that the majority of people with Gluten Sensitivities exhibit mainly (or only) Neurological and Endocrine signs and symptoms (HERE). While the Gold Standard for diagnosing Celiac Disease has always been an Intestinal Biopsy, many doctors have come around to the fact that this test has many drawbacks, not the least of which is its high level of inaccuracy as well as its invasiveness. So what do they do in its stead? They resort to ordering Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase and Anti-Gliadin Antibody testing to determine if the person has Celiac Disease. All you have to do is look online and see how poor of a job these two tests are at determining the presence of Celiac Disease, let alone Gluten Intolerance. Again, it is critical that you understand that most people with Gluten Intolerance do not have Celiac Disease. Unfortunately for most of these folks, the average doctor will tell you that if the blood tests above are not positive, then wheat has nothing to do with your problem. If you read the link above, you should be starting to realize how severe this mistake can be. You can get tested via a company like Cyrex, or better yet do an Elimination Diet.
- CONSUMING GLUTEN-CONTAINING FOODS IS THE ONLY WAY THAT GLUTEN SENSITIVE PEOPLE ARE EXPOSED TO GLUTEN: One of the main uses for Gluten is as a thickening or anti-caking agent. It is used not only in foods, but in spices, makeup & other cosmetics, soaps & shampoos, lotions, sunscreen, toothpaste & mouthwash, and who-knows-what-else. I know a young woman --- a school teacher, who literally turned her life around a few years back by going 100% Gluten Free. However, she is so Gluten Sensitive that any physical contact with her students (young grade school children) causes her to have minor reactions throughout the school year. In the summer she does fine.
- THERE ARE WAYS TO OVERCOME GLUTEN SENSITIVITY SO THAT YOU CAN CONSUME GLUTEN AGAIN: While this is theoretically true, it is not practically true. From all I have read and heard in lectures, it takes about 30 years for a Gluten Sensitive Immune System to lose it's reactivity to Gluten. That is, if you NEVER expose yourself to even a smattering of Gluten during that time. I have read about various techniques (mostly bio resonance and various forms of acupuncture) that are supposed to be able to rid people of Gluten Sensitivities ---- I've never seen them work for more than a very short time.
These are not the only Gluten Myths out there. To learn more about Gluten and Gluten Sensitivity, simply go HERE.