Gluten-free diets are all the rage, now a best-selling book is helping raise the interest. A cardiologist has authored a book saying “Wheat is the most destructive thing you could put on your plate, no question,” based on his own personal experience. Not a reliable source.
But this is not the views of those who study gluten proteins. They are not convinced the new strains of grains are any different than the older ones.
“It seemed strange to me,” says [Donald] Kasarda. As far as he knew, gluten levels had remained about the same. And when he dug deeper, combing through the scientific literature, he found no significant differences in gluten levels in wheat from the early part of the 20th century, compared with gluten levels from the latter half of the century.
So, when it comes to an increase of gluten in modern wheat? “As I suspected, I didn’t find any evidence that this is true,” says Kasarda.
Now, Wheat Belly author Davis believes there are more subtle changes in the wheat plant that are leading to the problems. But there’s no scientific agreement on this. And in the medical world, there’s a lot of pushback against the idea that modern wheat is toxic to all of us.
“I certainly think that’s an overstatement,” celiac expert told us. Leffler directs research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.
“I don’t think there’s one evil food causing the problem in our society,” Leffler says. In fact, he says most people eat wheat with no problem. “There’s good evidence that the vast majority of people actually do just fine with wheat.”
Is the rise in food allergies and sensitivities the result of the hygiene hypothesis – that our bodies overreact because our immune system is not adequately stressed by bacteria. So we react to things that are really harmless like peanuts or wheat.
Food allergies are indeed growing.
But celiac disease is not an allergy, it is an autoimmune disease. Is gluten sensitivity real? According to Science Based Medicine results: “The idea that gluten sensitivity is real and widespread goes far beyond the current scientific evidence, and the well-established facts of celiac disease.”
See also Skeptoid.
So, it’s important to recognize the difference between the real disease and the possible sensitivity. They are different things. So, we should not overreact to gluten (as many are doing today) by wiping it out of the diet. That’s drastic. And, man, that means no cakes, no beer, no bread…