It’s another beautiful sunny day here in Panama City, Florida.
With temperatures in the lower 70’s, I’m happy to be back with you.
Whatever the weather in your part of the universe, I hope you’re feeling good and are happy to be alive, too.
This past Sunday, I was getting ready to watch the Green Bay and Indianapolis football playoff game, when Treasa asked if she could make me something to eat while I watched the game.
Food that I don’t have to make?
During the conversation of ‘what’ she would make me, I turned down a sandwich because the bread wasn’t for sure gluten free.
When I did, Treasa looked at me with that concerned look in her eyes, the one she gets when she can’t believe what’s she’s hearing, and rather archedly asked…
“Baby, what makes you think you’re allergic to gluten?”
She was right, and it made me laugh…
It also made me start thinking about how easily the general public is seduced by ‘pop’ science. Me included.
Take gluten, as one example.
Note: Gluten is present in cereal grains, especially wheat products, and is composed of the gliadin and glutenin proteins that are responsible for the elasticity of dough…
As time goes, it wasn’t that long ago when nobody gave a hoot about gluten in anything. Instead, we were all hot ‘N bothered about that devil, trans-fat.
Then, in 2011, the book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, was published by cardiologist William Davis.
I’ve no doubt that Dr. Davis is an honorable man with good intentions…
But, he sorta used his book as a platform to blame genetically modified wheat, for many of Americans’ health problems, like being over weight, arthritis and hypertension.
He was especially critical of gluten. Davis even alleged that gluten, to some extent, harms everyone who eats it.
And, he implied that gluten was the root cause of just about all of modern society’s health problems.
Trouble is, there wasn’t, and still aren’t, scientific facts to back up his assertions.
Not ones to let facts stand in the way of making a dollar, health charlatans and pop media, tripped over each other to tout Dr. Davis, his book and his trumped up theories.
In response, manufacturers started stamping ‘Gluten Free’ on their packages. And, everyone from Oprah to Gwyneth Paltrow, began pushing their own version of gluten hysteria.
Truth is, some people are sensitive to gluten.
Yet, less than 1% of the population in the U. S. suffer from celiac disease, the core disease associated with gluten. It’s also estimated that maybe one person out of a million, have some form of gluten sensitivity.
If you have celiac disease and you eat gluten, the lining of your small intestine becomes inflamed and gets damaged, making it harder for your body to absorb nutrients.
That can lead to malnutrition and weight loss…”
BTW: If you suspect you have celiac disease, or think you’re gluten sensitive, don’t change your diet until you confirm your fears by having a blood test done by your health provider.
(If the antibodies associated with gluten aren’t in your blood because you’re no longer eating it, you’ll get a false negative from the test)
Gluten intolerance symptoms:
- stomach pains and cramping
- frequent cases of both constipation and diarrhea
- bloating and gas
- gray stools
- lower back pain
- canker sores
- joint pain
- teeth and gum problems
- nausea and numbness in extremities
- depression, anxiety, irritability
- unusual weight loss
Those are only some of the more common signs, as there’re well over 200 documented gluten sensitivity symptoms.
As you can see from the list, many of the symptoms are synonymous with quite a few other ailments. Another reason it’s wise to get the blood test before jumping the gun, so to speak.
Because of a myriad of misinformation, wheat allergies and gluten problems are sometimes confused.
Yet, there is a difference between wheat allergies and celiac disease…
We could have a wheat allergy and not have celiac disease. And, vice versa.
In most cases, celiac disease symptoms are a slow building process that show up after a period of exposure.
Wheat allergy symptoms show up shortly after you’ve eaten… as do most reactions from other food allergies.
Because of the public’s heightened gluten awareness, it’s not unusual for people to mistake other food allergies as a gluten problem. As noted above, symptoms are often similar, and in some cases, the same. Food Allergies
Problems with gluten are often complex. Plus, symptoms, and treatments, are as varied as individual lifestyle, genetic pool, age, and overall health.
Which is yet another smart reason to bring our health care professional into the mix before we hop aboard the gluten free diet wagon.
After all, the odds of being gluten intolerant, are only one in a million.
Or like Treasa asked me, “Baby, what makes you think you’re allergic to gluten?”
As usual, I’ll remind you… “I don’t know anything for certain and I’ve no advice about anything. My role is reporting upon my research and sharing personal stories with you.
Ideas for me, your aging related story, or comments are always very welcome.