Thursday, April 18, 2013

The "Gluten-Free" myth explained, (Or my attempt anyway)

First, let me say that there are indeed people out there that have a genetic disorder that when they eat foods with gluten and the two base constituent proteins of gluten, it damages the cilia of their small intestines.  It's called Celiac Disease, and it is a real problem, and this article is not in any way shape or form meant to disparage the plight that they must endure in the world today.  The basis of this article, is all about the "Gluten-Free" hype that is growing in America.  This fad is being perpetuated by TV doctors, online doctors and food and health blogs everywhere.  I hear things like these all the time, wheat is not good for humans, humans did not develop eating grains, modern wheat is totally unlike ancient wheat and today's wheat is toxic, and the big one, all grains are BAD for humans to eat.  What a bunch of crap.

Let's look at the numbers, if you go to the website and read their information, you will see how the numbers of people that have Celiac have risen dramatically over the past thirty years.  From what was diagnosed to be 1 in over 500 to now being 1 in 133 people having Celiac.  That is quite a few.  But where are they getting those numbers, as every other website has differing numbers.  And it is true that the incidence of Celiac in those of Northern European descent may be that high, but in the general population, it is about 1 in 2,500.  (Scienceblog)  There seems to be a discrepancy in numbers here.  Part of it is the method of measurement.  The Celiac people use the blood test for Tissue transglutimase antibody to determine if a person has Celiac.  The truth is that presence of the ttg antibody does not in fact mean a person has Celiac.  The only positive way to determine if a person has it is to perform a tissue biopsy of the small intestine to see if there is damage.  Ttg antibody shows a person to have a propensity for Celiac, not the actual disease itself.  (Testing)   The Celiac people use the propensity for having a disease is a lot like saying I can get a woman pregnant, therefore all pregnant women have been impregnated by me.  Simple reasoning, but not necessarily true, or for someone my age, even possible.

So why the high numbers for Celiac?  Funding.  Pretty simple.

Why do so many doctors and professionals in the industry project the common statements that grains, especially wheat, are bad for us?  I have no idea.  Really.  There have been some studies done showing the nutrient content of modern wheat and how it is pretty much empty of the vitamins and minerals and amino acids that were measured back in the fifties when that technology was developed.  And I would have to say that is probably true, commercial wheat is grown using fossil fuel based fertilizers, doused with herbicides, pesticides, fungicides and grown on land that is exhausted, and treated like an unending lifeless inexhaustible commodity, which it isn't.  Soil is alive, and needs to be treated with respect, rest, and given nourishment in order to reap the rewards of healthy plants grown in it.  Modern farming methods used by agribusinesses denude the soil of any health giving benefits.  And the grains grown in it are the result.  I believe that good organically grown wheat and other grains are life sustaining and unlike the common commercial product in ways that are ASTOUNDING.

It is a fact that 70% of the population of the planet eats rice everyday.  Rice is a grain.  Another 10% of the population eats a diet based on some other grain, everyday.  Archaeological evidence shows that humans have been eating grains for over one hundred and fifteen thousand years.  Back then, it is believed that the grains were ground or just crushed, then soaked in water.  Then who knows, eaten, cooked, or fermented.  But we have the evidence, we know humans have eaten grains for some time.  Humans for the most part, eat grains all over the planet.  Some people, can't eat grains.  NOT THE ENTIRE POPULATION.

So why do doctors tell us to avoid grains and especially wheat.  Maybe because some, like good ol Dr. Mercola, sell supplements.  Maybe some are just jumping on the bandwagon and promoting gluten free to get more funding for research from private sources, and the government.  Or who knows, but they are.  Promoting it I mean.  I have a differing view of why people go with the fad.  It seems that it is possible that when people eat foods that have gluten in them, they may indeed have intestinal distress as so many claim.  Then, it is a pyramid effect, they tell their friends, the media says wheat is bad, everyone perpetuates the concept.  Back when I had the cooking store in Austin and when customers came in and we would discuss nutrition, gluten frequently came up.  And questions to me came up about my gluten free classes.  My first question that would come up when I was told that this person had stomach distress was always, "What did you eat?"  Wheat, was always the answer.  Details, that's always what I wanted, details.  Sandwich?  Rolls?  White crap from fast food or store bought bread products, or donuts?  When questioned, that was usually what happened.

My advice, look to what you ate other than the wheat.  And look at what kind of wheat it was.  White flour breads with toxic dough conditioners and preservatives are not conducive to good health.

Most of the people that I counseled about gluten free diet seemed to have no problems when they ate breads baked at my store.  Real organic whole wheat, and no chemicals, and no modern meat or toxic crap.  It makes a difference.

Gluten free has its place in the world, there really are people with problems.  Granted they are a very small percentage, but they need the stuff.  Most people shouldn't go in for modern food, we know with pretty definite certainty that the crap in processed food is bad for you. If most people start to replace wheat bread products with white rice flour based bread products it's not a great choice nutrition wise.  Real organic whole wheat products aren't necessarily bad for the majority of the population.  If you choose well, good organic wheat products with no chemicals, then that is ALWAYS going to be better for you than white rice flour that has little or no nutritive value and NO fiber.  Nor are any other real whole grain products, they form a great non-meat based diet. (Info)

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