‘It does not concern you, until it affects you. And if it does not affect you… it doesn’t concern you”
I recently watched a video that was released by The Today Show regarding gluten-free diets. The purpose of the video is to talk about how majority of the population is in fact not gluten intolerant in any way, that we are only eating this way because it is becoming a modern day fad and that those who follow a strict gluten free diet are “delusional”
Besides watching this video I also read two current articles that state the same belief.
I am in no way a qualified dietician, all the information I know is from my own research and communication that I have with my own personal nutritionist. So I cannot say beyond reasonable doubt who is right or wrong. All I know that is 100% true is how my body & mind feels when I eat gluten and how it feels when I don’t. So I read and listened and kept an open mind. I’ve broken the articles down and highlighted the most outrageous claims they make. Here are a few of their statements, and what I think…
“If you thought you have a gluten intolerance issue and you don’t have medical proof, there’s a HUGE chance you are actually wrong”
This is not a fact, this is an opinion.
Just because there is no physical medical proof for pain, does not mean it does not exist. An exerpt from “The Mystery Gut”, written by Professor Kerryn Phelps, Dr Claudia Lee & Jaime Rose Chambers says “There is a group of people who know they have a problem with their digestion or their gut function, but no number of standard investigations has been able to give them a label, a cause, or a way to forward to ease their distress. Because they don’t have a disease label, they are thrown into a grab bag called “IBS” (Irritable Bowel syndrome) and are destined to make the best of coping with their symptoms for ever”
… And yet you want everyone to have medical proof?
“DIETICIANS say Australians must not be fooled into thinking a gluten-free diet is healthier, even if it is a trendy food fad.”
Firstly, please stop yelling the word dietician at me. If you haven’t told me who and where I can read their article, then I don’t believe you media! Secondly, No body is being fooled. There is so much evidence supporting how overly processed wheat is this day and age and it’s abundance in our food. And lastly, “simply following a trendy food fad” You mean changing how I eat because it makes me feel better? Oh goodness no, how conformative of me!
“With a gluten-free diet linked to poor health, researchers at the University of Newcastle have warned of people changing their diet without a formal diagnosis of non-coeliac gluten or wheat sensitivity (NCG/WS)”
I 100% agree that you shouldn’t change your diet without going to see a qualified naturopath, nutritionist, kinesiologist or dietician first. But please, tell me how a gluten-free diet is linked to poor health when there is actually an overwhelming amount of information proving otherwise!?
“Those who ate low levels of gluten also tended to eat less cereal fibre, known to protect people against Type 2 diabetes.”
Yes, there is a study on the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in men that may be mediated by cereal fiber. You can have a read of this here; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12197996
However, you can be gluten-free and still eat plenty of cereal fibres from foods such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat, corn and oats.
“Gluten-free foods often have less dietary fibre and other micronutrients, making them less nutritious and they also tend to cost more”
Firstly, they haven’t actually specified here whether they mean food that has been made to be gluten free or naturally gluten free food. Naturally gluten-free foods are by far the most nutritious and vitamin rich items that you can be fuelling your body with. Naturally gluten free food is REAL FOOD!!! Avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, seeds, nuts, grass-fed meat, chicken, fish, bone broth… I could go on.
Secondly, while we are talking about the dietary fibre & micronutrients of foods, let’s have a look at white flour and it’s “dietary fibre and micronutrients”
“Refined grains (for example, white flour), have had the bran and germ layers removed. In doing this most of the fibre and many of the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals are lost. Some fibre and vitamins and minerals can be added back (such as in white bread) but these are not necessarily grain derived and the full benefit may be lost. More importantly, the phytochemicals (which are linked to significant health benefits) which have been removed in refined grains cannot be added back.
Refined grains, such as white flour are nearly always used in processed foods, such as cakes and biscuits. These types of grain foods are not recommended as they are considered a discretionary food choice because of their relatively large amounts of added fats and added sugars and/or added salt.
“People without Coeliac disease may want to reconsider limiting their gluten intake in order to prevent disease, Dr Zong said”
Poor hygiene, poor gut-health genetics, bacteria… That’s what causes disease.
“Dr Zong and his colleagues examined the daily intake for nearly 200,000 people who participated in three health studies from 1984-1990″
1984-1990. That’s when these studies were done. 33 years ago.
“Melanie McGrice says the perception that gluten-free foods are healthier needs to change. They are often higher in kilojoules and more refined”
You can look at this in two ways. I have been in a supermarket before and seen “gluten-free” biscuits that look absolutely delish. The first thing I do is turn it over and read the ingredients section. If I see a whole heap of numbers and scientific words… I put it down. I can also pick up a normal gluten filled packet of biscuits to check the ingredients and there is almost the exact same amount of numbers and words I can’t pronounce. So all in all – normal processed food & normal processed gluten-free foods are quite the same… because they are processed.
So what gluten-free foods exactly are we talking about exactly Mel? You couldn’t possibly mean naturally gluten free foods. I highly doubt that a big plate of grilled salmon & vegetables is higher in kilojoules and more refined than a bowl of mac & cheese?
“If you need to follow a gluten-free diet for health reasons then those diets are in place for very important reasons. But if you don’t need to then don’t be fooled that it’s a healthier option.”
Eating naturally gluten-free foods is ALWAYS a healthier option.
“A paper, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, shows only 16 per cent of those to report a sensitivity to gluten actually reproduced symptoms when challenged in a blind placebo study. That is they ate gluten without being aware of it and didn’t suffer any adverse reactions”
Gluten affects everybody differently. Intolerance is not black and white, it is a scale. And while some people can feel the effect of gluten instantly, others feel it over a period of time by the damage it may be causing their gut. So I don’t think that it is fair to say that if something is not immediately affecting someone, that they are lying.
In conclusion, their argument does not make sense. What I think the are trying to say (but are failing to) is that eating processed gluten-free foods is not necessarily healthier for you.
Yes that is correct, but not because it is gluten free, but because it is PROCESSED!
Eating a diet consisting of naturally gluten-free foods IS HEALTHIER FOR YOU!
It’s so easy to get upset when people intentionally and un-intentionally make you feel inferior for something they believe is a fad. Articles like the two that I have dissected throw so many manipulative phrases, highlight scientific words and use old data to try and discredited all the advancement going on in the world right now. So please don’t get discouraged. I promise you, anyone who thinks going gluten-free is a fad, probably isn’t gluten intolerant!
I was speaking to my friend Neale today and we were talking about the un-intentional judgement that comes with having dietary requirements, particularly when you go out for food. I will never forget this one time when I went out for dinner, the waiter came to take our order and I asked if the meal could be made GF & DF. She got a little stressed out but then went to the chef, came back later and said yes everything was all good! She then went to the table right next to me that had 3 older ladies sitting down, when she asked them if they had any dietary requirements they replied loud and clear and said “Oh no honey, we are not the fussy eaters”
Believe me, I wish I didn’t have to be this “fussy” !!!
But one thing that we spoke about that has stayed on my mind is that just like there are people who don’t understand about dietary requirements and make you feel crappy about them, there are people who make having dietary requirements a burden and a greater stress for themselves and others. So I think what we should all remember is simply to be open and kind to others who don’t understand and try not to become the stereotypical “fad dieter” that they expect us to be!
At the end of the day just do your thing, listen to your body and seek out the right qualified people to help you.