Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gluten: Grain's Trojan Horse

Dr. Scott Lewey:
"Gluten ingestion is an avoidable, treatable, and reversible cause of illness in many people. It is contributing to the rising epidemic of autoimmune diseases. Many resist these concepts finding them either unbelievable, unacceptable or both. 
I believe that their rejection is neither rational nor helpful. 
 It is a common disease that is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. It may even be the most common autoimmune disorder."

Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye.  A lot of plants do not want to be eaten and they have natural defenses against this.  Gluten is one of those defenses for grains.  This should be no surprise because gluten causes many problems for many people.  Common symptoms of people with gluten sensitivities are:

Irritable Bowel
Low body weight due to malabsorbtion of nutrients
Stunted growth in children
Autoimmune Disorders
Low Energy Levels

Here is a pretty strong quote from Dr. Stephen Guyenet, a respected neurobiology researcher, in regard to wheat and gluten sensitivity.
"I think this underlines what I've come to believe about wheat: it's problematic for a large proportion of the population, perhaps the majority."
An independent lab who has an intuitive test for gluten sensitivity found that patients with symptoms had gluten sensitivity 59% of the time, patients with no symptoms were positive 29% of the time, and patients with auto immune disease were positive 62% of the time.

Here is another excerpt from a recent Mayo Clinic study:
"New studies from the United States, Europe and other Countries around the world indicate that the commonness of celiac disease has dramatically increased  in the last decade, possibly as much as four-times the amount seen in the 1950's."
 If you haven't followed, celiac disease is caused by gluten sensitivity.  I think there are three reasons why more people are being diagnosed with celiac disease. The first is medical professionals are starting to realize that "healthy" grains can wreak havoc on the body and they are testing for it more often.  The second is there are more accurate, less invasive tests available today than years past.  The third is reason is that the "healthier" the grains are the worse they are for us.  "Healthy" whole grains are less processed than white flour grains thus preserving more gluten in the final food product.  Because of the perceived benefit, people are eating more whole grains and thus ingesting more gluten.

Grains have only been eaten by human populations for the last 10,000 years and in some populations only the last 3,000 years. A prevailing diagnosis is that humans just haven't evolved yet to tolerate gluten and the grain it's in.  That's Mother Nature's way of saying, find something else to eat.



Jan said...

Excellent post! We have an employee - young guy, only 28 - who is Type II diabetic and suffers horribly form IBS. Well, they thought it was IBS, now they're not sure - but he hasn't been tested for Celiac or Crohn's. Go figure. And he won't listen to me when I tell him "give up grains, or at least wheat."

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't beat him over the head and make him see what's right in front of him.

Chuck said...

Many perceive diet modification for health purposes quackery. Pills, procedures, and surgery are the only solutions in the eyes of many. What they don't appreciate is that food has the absolute greatest influence on our health.