Gluten-free ≠ healthier

One of the more annoying health crazes going around right now is the gluten-free diet. While it’s a boon to the very small proportion of the population who have real celiac disease and thus truly cannot tolerate gluten, at the same time gluten has become the health demon that is touted as the cause of virtually all health problems, be they major or minor, with the cure—of course!—being the now nearly ubiquitous gluten-free diet. The gluten-free diet has become so popular that restaurants and food manufacturers ignore it at their financial peril. Indeed, restaurants that don’t have some gluten-free offerings are becoming increasingly rare. The gluten-free craze has become such so embedded in the culture that it’s considered a fit subject for comedy and parody, for example:

Heheh. “Being gluten intolerant used to be limited only to those who are actually intolerant to gluten” and “being gluten intolerant is a fantastic opportunity for you to assert your dominance on the lives of everyone around you, which helps improve your life.” So true, so true.

So what? you might ask. So did I for a while. After all, what’s the harm, right? The wide availability of gluten-free diets has made the lives of the approximately one in a hundred people with actual celiac disease much better by making it possible for them to have access to a wider variety of foods and to eat in many more restaurants than they used to be able to. If the price is that the rest of us have to put up with a lot of gluten-free woo and a lot of people with vague gastrointestinal symptoms who think they are gluten intolerant, again, what’s the harm?

It turns out that there is harm, as this article discussing a recent article by Dr. Norelle Reilly in The Journal of Pediatrics entitled The Gluten-Free Diet: Recognizing Fact, Fiction, and Fad. The article begins to make its point with a simple Google Trends plot of search histories related to the terms “gluten free” and “celiac disease.”

Gluten-Free Graph

You’ll notice right away that searches for “celiac disease” have increased slightly since 2004 but that searches for “gluten free” have increased by at least seven-fold, appearing to have leveled off in 2013. Reilly notes, as I have in the past, that the prevalence of celiac disease (CD) appears to be increasing but nowhere near enough to account for the massive growth of the gluten-free diet (GFD) industry. Here’s another interesting thing that she notes. The reasons that people choose gluten-free products have little to do with celiac disease (which isn’t surprising given that such people only make up around 1% of the population) or and not nearly as much to do with “gluten intolerance” as you might think:

In reality, remarkably little is known about the motives of most individuals who adopt a gluten-free lifestyle. According to a 2015 survey of more than 1500 American adults, “no reason” (35%) was the most common explanation for selecting gluten-free foods, followed by “healthier option” (26%), and “digestive health” (19%).3 “Someone in my family has a gluten sensitivity” (10%) was more common than those reporting, “I have a gluten sensitivity,” which was the least common rationale cited (8%).

In other words, the vast majority of the customers who buy gluten-free products don’t think they have gluten intolerance. In fact, less than 20% of the customer base for gluten-free food actually thinks that they or someone they live with has a “gluten sensitivity.” The rest have bought into the message that gluten-free is somehow more healthy, that gluten is somehow bad for you. I wonder where they might have gotten that idea...? It couldn’t be from articles and videos with titles like Why is Gluten Bad?, 6 Shocking Reasons Why Gluten Is Bad for You, 10 Signs You Have Gluten Intolerance And How To Treat It, and many more that pop up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds on a daily basis, shared by the credulous, along with images like this:

Six reasons why gluten is bad

And memes like this:

I don't always eat gluten-free

Of course, gluten-free diets have not been shown in randomized controlled clinical trials to benefit any condition other than CD, a fact Reilly reiterates, while pointing out that patients perceive benefit from such diets. That’s not that they’re never indicated outside of treating CD, but the list of accepted medical indications for instituting a gluten-free diet is small and does not include “gluten sensitivity,” which is basically a nonexistent condition. It does include dermatitis herpetiformis, wheat allergies, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a condition whose existence in children has precious little evidence to support it.

Here’s the problem with gluten-free diets. It has mainly to do with children, as parents not infrequently put their children on gluten-free diets, either because they themselves have started a gluten-free diet or to treat a wide variety of conditions, leading Reilly to note that of these children “many are asymptomatic from the start” and that the “health and social consequences worthy of consideration in advance of starting a child on a GFD are not described adequately online or in books promoting an empiric GFD trial.”

Reilly notes later:

Gluten-free packaged foods frequently contain a greater density of fat and sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts. Increased fat and calorie intake have been identified in individuals after a GFD. Obesity, overweight, and new-onset insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome have been identified after initiation of a GFD. A GFD also may lead to deficiencies in B vitamins, folate, and iron, given a lack of nutrient fortification of many gluten-free products.

There is emerging evidence that those consuming gluten-free products without sufficient diversity may be at greater risk of exposure to certain toxins than those on an unrestricted diet. Arsenic is frequently present in inorganic form in rice, a concern for those on a GFD given that rice is a common ingredient in gluten-free processed foods. Serum mercury levels were 4-fold greater among adults with CD consuming a GFD than controls not restricting gluten. The source of mercury and other toxins is not known nor have the health implications of these findings been fully delineated.

And:

There also are noteworthy non-nutritional implications of a GFD. Worldwide, those purchasing gluten-free products will encounter far greater food costs than gluten containing competitors. Social isolation and inconvenience have been reported by children with CD requiring a GFD, and some with CD report a deterioration in their quality of life while on a GFD, linked in many cases to the diet itself.

Routine initiation of a GFD may obscure a diagnosis of CD for adults and children. Those with relief of symptoms after gluten exclusion may be unwilling or unable to resume a gluten-containing diet to allow for diagnostic testing. In this regard, wider adoption of a GFD may have implications for CD detection rates at a population level.

So basically (and ironically), gluten-free diets are associated with increased mercury in the blood, arsenic, obesity, vitamin deficiencies, and metabolic syndrome. If you have CD, those risks are a reasonable tradeoff for symptom relief and being able to eat more of what you want, but if you don’t have CD, contrary to what the gluten-free industry tells you, gluten-free diets are probably more unhealthy than a regular diet. Adopting a gluten-free diet is thus more likely to cause health issues than to solve them.

It is also, as Reilly points out, a myth that gluten is toxic. It is also a myth that first-degree relatives of those with celiac diseases need to be on a gluten-free diet as well. The reason is that pooled rates of CD among first-degree relatives are only around 7.5%. Screening for CD is recommended for many first degree relatives of patients with CD, but there is no need to institute a gluten-free diet without a definite diagnosis.

The bottom line:

There is no evidence that processed gluten-free foods are healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts, nor have there been proven health or nutritional benefits of a GFD, except as indicated previously in this commentary.

And:

Adults considering, or who have already implemented, a GFD because of physical symptoms should immediately involve a health care provider and request testing for CD. If a GFD is planned regardless of the results of CD testing, the guidance of a registered dietitian should be sought to safeguard against GFD-associated nutritional hazards. Despite ostensible similarities, there are important distinctions in management for those gluten-free by choice vs for treatment of CD, such as surveillance for autoimmune conditions, family members' health, and malignancy. An empiric GFD may come at considerable expense, and cost-benefit analyses are warranted to investigate routine CD screening for asymptomatic adults who opt to lead a completely gluten-free lifestyle.

In other words, there are no benefits to gluten free diets except in a few, defined health conditions, and there are actual downsides. So when I ask the question “What’s the harm?” the answer is not “None.” There are definite downsides to such a diet, aside from the different taste, which might not be as good as the regular gluten-containing versions of the same food items.

The other downside is economic, as described in this article about the study:

In the real world, gluten-free versions of foods are most often more expensive than the standard formulations, as well. (An especially pointed factor for the 20 percent of households earning less than $30,000 annually and yet worrying about procuring gluten-free products.)

Yes, the gluten-free industry has become very profitable, and part of the reason it’s so profitable is that it can charge a premium on its products, and it has succeeded in framing gluten-free foods as not just good for patients with CD but generally healthier than gluten-containing versions of the same foods. As Reilly put it:

In the medical journal, Reilly’s message is that physicians should be educating people that this is not okay. “You have the gluten-free industry speaking with a megaphone,” she said, “and we're trying to do our part to put accurate information into circulation.”

Basically, the gluten-free industry has been fantastically successful. Its success has been built not on providing a product that allows patients with CD to have a more enjoyable, less restrictive diet, but rather on convincing everyone else that gluten is evil and that purging it from your diet will lead to greater health. While I’m happy that people with CD have many more options for food (and there is one person with true CD in my family), I have a real problem with how the gluten-free industry has gone far beyond what science supports in promoting its product.

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As a card-carrying coeliac, I find glutenbollocks intensely irritating. There's a local GF cafe, which is great, but they proselytise Wheat Belly. What are you supposed to do? I did point out that the book is dross and that every single study he cites is misrepresented. It feels like kicking a spaniel sometimes. And the phrase "I'm a bit gluten intolerant"? Anyone who uses it can get in the sea.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

You’ll notice right away that searches for “celiac disease” have increased slightly since 2004 but that searches for “gluten free” have increased by at least seven-fold, appearing to have leveled off in 2013.

In other words, 8 out of 10 gluten intolerants can't even tell you what the frag gluten is or what it does. Added to the list of utterly useless cretins to deport to DRC and Somalia on refugee exchange, so that others vastly more deserving may benefit from their incredibly privileged first-world lifestyles instead. Or, if that's excessively cruel [on the rest of African], just beaten quickly to death with batons of gluten-free bread.

Ahhh, schadenfreude, I really needed that chuckle today.

You're right, has at #2, people don't know what gluten is. I have a chef friend whose son has celiac and even he thinks there's gluten in MSG. Gluten, sounds a bit like glutamate, must be the same thing, right?

By Can't remember… (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

The gluten-free craze has become such so embedded in the culture that it’s considered a fit subject for comedy and parody

One of the numerous webcomics I follow had a pair of hipster vampires as antagonists, some years ago. They found some reality-warping artifact and used it to remove all of their vampire weaknesses.
Except that one of the hipster vampires decided to keep a "trendy gluten intolerance". He was beaten by the unlikely team of a shovel-wielding paladin woman, a genre-savvy snake-girl and an in-the-face pizza delivery.

I will admit, these parody/jokes on gluten-free diets are less funny when I think of people with real issues like celiac disease.
On the plus side, gluten-free products are easier to find.
On the minus side, outsiders like me will tend to assume that someone describing itself as following a gluten-free diet is just another one trying a fad diet.

Also, since a number of people using gluten-free products don't have any particular health issue, I am concerned about the quality of these products. I mean, some me-too entrepreneur could start putting on the market some gluten-less product, rather than really gluten-free, and it wouldn't be immediately apparent that this product could be dangerous to coeliac people.
And that was before reading the part above about more fat and sugar in many gluten-free products.

@ Guy Chapman

“I’m a bit gluten intolerant”

I had a few colleagues talking about how they followed a gluten-free diet, but as far as I could ascertain they were part of the gluten-free craze. I had this feeling their gluten-free diet was more of gluten-less diet.
Reducing on gluten products means reducing on cookies, pastries, cake and the like. In this respect, that's very similar to the paleo diet fad, and in itself this is not a bad move, but I would prefer people to do it for a good reason rather for a wrong reason.
If they substitute sugar/fat-rich food with gluten for sugar/fat-rich food without gluten, then it's not so much a good idea...

On the plus side, I just learned that buckwheat (sarrasin in French) is a gluten-free pseudo-cereal.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 25 May 2016 #permalink

A huge downside to the gluten free fad- supermarket shelf space. My local supermarket used to have a low sodium aisle, a necessity for those with ckd and those with some types of high blood pressure. It's been replaced with a GF aisle, which benefits 1-2% of the population. I'm not positive, but I'd bet more people require low sodium than GF.

It's pretty obvious that gluten free is a marketing ploy when foods that would never have gluten in them proclaim "gluten free!" on their packaging.

It’s pretty obvious that gluten free is a marketing ploy when foods that would never have gluten in them proclaim “gluten free!” on their packaging.

Yes, I always get a kick out of that. But I like to know that there isn't gluten in foods like oatmeal which I've read is often cross-contaminated with wheat during production.

Reducing on gluten products means reducing on cookies, pastries, cake and the like. In this respect, that’s very similar to the paleo diet fad, and in itself this is not a bad move...

Gluten-free (or paleo) doesn't have to translate to unhealthy. I avoid dairy for GI reasons (not lactose intolerant) and find that avoiding wheat helps too. But so does avoiding gluten-free mimics of breads, etc. They bother my stomach just as much. I guess that is a good thing as it saves me money.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Hey, wait a minute ... you missed the biggest risk of all!
1) Gluten-free diets are associated with elevated levels of mercury.
2) As we've repeatedly been scolded, "mercury causes autism".
Doesn't this therefore mean that gluten-free diets cause autism and consequently must be avoided at all costs?

Digestion seems to be poorly evolved, in humans anyway. Even I, an ardent anti-woo devotee, dabbles in trial and error this and that to deal with (after extensive and expensive testing) what seems to be no more than a “funny tummy”. I’ve concluded that I shall spend my final days at the home slurping cardboard smoothies.

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

My Favorite Anecdote: A couple of years ago, brother-in-law and his (most recent) wife were in town for a kids' sporting event. (Most recent) wife was going on about her gluten intolerance.

My Beloved and Darling Wife gave them some little presents, like a couple jars of gooseberry/currant preserves (from our back yard) and two loaves of fresh-baked bread. We figured the kids would snack on the drive home

The next morning at a restaurant, one of the kids mentioned that Mom had eaten almost a whole loaf of bread.

No mention of tummy upsets.

fusilier
James 2:24

If you eat a bit less bread and white noodles, and instead make an extra vegetable or two, it could be helpful. That's not what allot of people are doing it appears, so on average, it may turn out worse. But it didn't have to be that way. I'm not supporting gluten-free, in case there is doubt. I'm more about growing and buying (and killing) food that people haven't diddled with. I am currently in spinach overwhelm.

@Angela

It’s pretty obvious that gluten free is a marketing ploy when foods that would never have gluten in them proclaim “gluten free!” on their packaging.

You mean like "gluten-free" salt and "gluten-free" water? (Yes, I've seen these.)

@rork #11

I think that what bothers me most about the gluten-free warriors. Too often instead of replacing processed foods made with wheat with fruits, veggies and other whole grains they replace them with other processed foods that get a patina of healthiness glow from the "gluten-free" on the label.

My other pet peeve, which I noticed even at the beginnings of the gluten free rumblings in the use a lot of alternative medicine crowd was getting a sandwich without the bread at the deli, but getting the cookie for dessert because well a little doesn't bother them. After seeing what a trace of gluten did to friend with celiac that sort of thing makes my eye twitch uncontrollably as a whole cookie would have been a disaster.

Unfortunately, I know MUCH too much about gluten woo; briefly:
- eating wheat causes unsightly bulges ( 'wheat belly') and higher blood pressure says William Davis MD who has authored several books espousing this premise.
- wheat causes 'brain fog' says Null ( who should know) because of an opiate-like reaction; eliminating wheat leads to clear thinking- he learned this through self-experimentation.. All of his diets eliminate gluten.
- similarly, some GFCF advocates believe that children with ASDs will behave better if they have no gluten and will also have less GI disturbances. Martha Herbert speaks about GF and ASD.

Obviously, followers such as TMs and AoAers force these diets upon their children and brag about their culinary skills creating birthday cakes and muffins that are GFCF ( see Kim Stagliano esp); the TMs have a cookbook that focuses upon this strategy.

James Laidler, a doctor, who spread woo and fed his children a special diet had the scales removed from his eyes when he observed his son eat a forbidden food and then, behave exactly as he had been prior to the incident.

Because I enjoy shopping in chic markets, last weekend I stopped in an over-priced place that featured 'old world' products and so-called healthy choices- I found many GF alternatives and ancient grains but so far no one has yet perfected GF French bread or GF sourdough breads.
I don't think that that will work.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

@Todd W. and Angela: when I was visiting my parents last Thanksgiving (US Holiday, not Canadian), my mom and I ran to the store. I was in hysterics about all the bags of sugar labeled gluten-free.

And a coworker brought in some fruit the other day and boasted about how he'd bought only the gluten-free fruit. I very gently pointed out that his fruit had NEVER contained gluten...it's a wheat product.

Too many people have no clue what gluten is, just that it's IN to buy gluten-free stuff. On the other hand, my friends who DO have CD are very well aware of any possible gluten containing items, and for their sakes, I'm glad they have more options.

Hi,
Great blog entry as always, Orac.
Who I think you might have forgotten when you named the "puppet masters" of the GFD trend, is David Perlmutter with his extremely high-impact (not in a good way) book "Grain Brain". I am surprised neither you nor anyone of the SBM team hasn't written about this guy.
He's one of the leading figures of this new fad.

Have a nice day.

Gluten-free packaged foods frequently contain a greater density of fat and sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts. Increased fat and calorie intake have been identified in individuals after a GFD.

I see some echoes of the effects of sugar-free products here. Just as gluten-free products are good for those with celiac disease and not so good for other people, sugar-free products are good for diabetics and not so good for other people. For that matter, there have been many fad diets which purport to solve one nutritional issue but end up causing others.

I guess the bottom line is, don't get into a fad diet unless your doctor has told you there is reason to do so. If you have a CD diagnosis, then by all means go gluten free. But most people shouldn't go out of their way to avoid gluten.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Celiac disease is a chronic, immune-mediated mainly intestinal process, in which the body becomes intolerant to gliadin, which is a component of gluten.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gliadin#Celiac_disease

I *thought* the rise in CD was partially attributed to a mutant form of gliadin found in modern wheat but not the 'ancient grains'.

The source of mercury and other toxins is not known

If the product has more high fructose corn syrup then it likely contains more mercury as it is part of the processing of HFCS.

There may be another reason to limit wheat -- The application of glyphosate as a dessicant just prior to harvest (they do that here). If your bread subtly tasts like coal tar and fish, then there you go.

Because the vast majority of people wanting GF foods don't really need it, a friend with celiac is very anxious about eating at restaurants. Sure, they'll make a salad without croutons, but it's not at all uncommon for a waiter to forget that some sauce has a tiny bit of flour as a thickener, and that it's not sufficient to just take the bread off the plate. The wankers have really torpedoed the restaurants' level of vigilance for foods with unexpected gluten sources.

And how could I forget?
Autism One 2016 is upon us ((shudder))!

They will feature an especial 'Culinary Day' which includes GFCF woo and (obviously) fermentation woo.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

fermentation woo

Does this refer to the consumption of certain adult beverages by certain participants, or other uses of the process?

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

@ Eric Lund:

Not at all - that way there's more left for the TMs-

they actually mean kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi et al.
for a healthy microbiome.

No wine, cheese and bread.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

@madder

The wankers have really torpedoed the restaurants’ level of vigilance for foods with unexpected gluten sources.

Indeed. When someone notes that they cannot have gluten (i.e., people with celiac), the kitchen has to prepare their meal on surfaces that have not come in contact with gluten-containing foods. That may mean scrubbing down cutting boards, re-washing utensils, pots, and pans, etc. For someone with severe celiac, it doesn't take a visible crumb to cause problems.

It's the same issue with food allergies and why Vani Hari is so dangerous when she advises people to lie and say they have a food allergy to avoid whatever "toxin du jour" she's spouting off about. If you get too many people claiming allergies, it becomes extraordinarily burdensome on the restaurant staff, to the point where they might just cut corners and not do their due diligence. Risk the allergic reaction to avoid pissing off the rest of the customer base (and their tips/future business) because their entrees are taking too long.

Some GF replacements for wheat can be deadly to people with allergies. In some cases lupine flour (not the flower but a peanut like plant) is used to replace wheat flour. People with peanut allergy may react to lupine flour just as they would to peanut flour. Other GF replacements may cause other allergy reactions in some people. These replacement GF foods do not fall under the labeling requirements for allergen foods because they are not defined as such.

A topic so near and dear to the bain of my professional existence. I've had two individuals so gung ho on the fad, they went full out vegan-vegan, so that all protein was eliminated. Admits for anorexia, seizure, kidney injury, respiratory support...etc. Not that i have a problem with a healthy vegan diet, healthy protein-supplemented being key. Point being the group-think quasi-diet without any evidence basis of a real disease process. GoogleU strikes again, i guess. Reminds me of Scott Pilgrim winning against that pseudo-vegan exboyfriend who lost his superpowers.

Surely lupine flour is made from ground up wolves?

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

@Todd & MI Dawn -

Ah yes..."gluten-free strawberries" are a personal fave. I wish I'd snapped a picture.

By shay simmons (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

@shay: so do I! But you know how grocery stores are right before a holiday, so I didn't take a picture of the sugar. Maybe I'll look around here and see if I see it and post it somewhere.

From an evolutionary perspective, the gluten-avoidance fad is especially nutty -- just about everyone whose ancestry is European, North African, Middle Eastern, North Indian or Northeast Asian is descended from 10,000 or so years of dependence on wheat and barley as the staffs of life. From the beginning of agriculture, individuals who didn't tolerate cereal grains, or utilize the protein efficiently, would have been at a serious selective disadvantage.

We know quite a bit about the selective sweep of adult lactose-tolerance genes in western Europe, which can be modelled as deriving from a single lactose-tolerant individual living near the North Sea as recently as 3000 years ago. It's calculated that the ability to digest fresh milk gave a 50 percent or more reproductive advantage in these dairying regions.

Wheat farming has been around much longer than dairying -- for that matter, the domestication of cereal grains would have followed from 1000s of years harvesting wild grains. From this perspective, a genetic basis for gluten intolerance must be quite rare in European populations.

This isn't an argument from nature -- rather an observation that where selection is intense [and ability to utilize food is likely the most intense in pre-industrial populations], adaptation will occur.

This leaves aside the possibility that modern commercial strains of wheat and barley have allergens not present in traditional strains.

Since

By loren russell (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Rich Bly [#25] Thanks for mentioning lupine [lupin, lupini] flour -- I'd heard of this but never come across it -- though given the sort of people who come to local potlucks I may well have consumed it.

'Allergies' certainly are to be expected here -- seeds of the genus contain alkaloids and are generally considered toxic, sometimes dangerously so. At least 3 species, including the European L. albus are grown for food. I'd judge that these have been selected for lower alkaloid content, but even so require processing [traditionally soaking in brine, then drying and processing]. Given the Gaia worship around here, I'd certainly inquire about provenance if someone offered me lupin bread -- and particularly if they were into wild-crafting or home processing!

By loren russell (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

If the product has more high fructose corn syrup then it likely contains more mercury as it is part of the processing of HFCS.

Yeah, sure. And table salt is made of ground-up glass.
Stop the cactus and go back to pot, dude.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

I have a housemate with celiac disease (which has resulted in a massive kitchen re-org). She is infuriated by the people who don't have CD but yammer on about their gluten sensitivity. She says it's made it much more difficult for her to be taken seriously as people think she's just another nutter enamored of the latest nutrition fad.

She happens to be a fabulous baker.

@Helianthus #32

four plants in Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and West Virginia still use "mercury-cell" technology that can lead to contamination...

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/26/AR20090…

If that same woman regularly ate corn syrup contaminated at the highest level detected in the study—0.57 micrograms per gram—the researchers estimated that she could end up consuming an amount of mercury that is five times higher than the EPA's safe dose.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/chi-mercury-corn-syrupjan27-st…

@Meg: She happens to be a fabulous baker.

I had to chuckle at that. My very first exposure to CD was in the early 1970s. I was in a father-daughter group through the YMCA (Indian Princesses) and the father of 2 of the other girls was a baker. He actually started his bakery for that exact reason - both girls had severe CD but he wanted them to be able to enjoy "normal" treats like other kids - cookies, cakes, cupcakes. Every year at Christmas we had a meeting in his bakery, off hours. He'd prepped dough for cookies for all the girls to cut out, decorate and bake. As we all worked at our own tables (usually 2 dads and their daughters to a table), no one really thought much of the fact his girls were at a "special" table and we couldn't go over there without washing our hands well. All the cookie trays were labeled with the girls names as they baked on parchment paper, and everyone only took their own cookies home.

Looking back, it must have been a very anxious time for him to have his girls in the bakery around all the normal flour. But to us, it was just normal for them to be cautious and careful because of their "allergies" (as we thought of them). The cookies - regular sugar cookies - were (and still are - he gave the recipe to everyone) fantastic, and to this day my mom makes them with whoever is available to decorate for Christmas.

Although they are not celiac I have several friend who have stomach problems when they eat 'fast' bread made by the Chorleywood process as opposed to traditional bread allowed to rise at least twice over several hours. They know they can eat as much of my bread as they want, but a slice or two of sliced will give them stomach ache. They do not avoid all wheat flour so they don't need to be picky in resturants, they just avoid Chorleywood type bread. I do wonder what the slower maturation does that the Chorelywood process doesn't do and if some people who think they are gluten intolerant would be fine with good bread. Ironically the only thing I can think of is that good bread has better developed gluten!

Gilbert:

I *thought* the rise in CD was partially attributed to a mutant form of gliadin found in modern wheat but not the ‘ancient grains’.

Bear in mind that modern wheat is thousands of years old. The gluten molecule in it is unchanged. The main mutation that converted ancient grasses into what we know as wheat was something that would normally cripple it -- the seeds grew harder husks. That mutation is terrible for a wild plant, because it means the seeds couldn't fall out on their own. It was a godsend for humans, though, as it meant the seeds would stay neatly packaged until harvest time, when they could thresh the good bits out and discard the chaff. Selective breeding has improved other characteristics, such as optimizing height for easier harvesting, and improved the protein content (that content being partly gluten itself), but the actual gluten molecule is unchanged as far as I know.

can't remember my nym:

You’re right, has at #2, people don’t know what gluten is. I have a chef friend whose son has celiac and even he thinks there’s gluten in MSG. Gluten, sounds a bit like glutamate, must be the same thing, right?

Actually, the chef is close to right, believe it or not. The MSG molecule itself does not have gluten in it, but it was originally synthesized from wheat gluten (hence the "glutamate" part of the name). You can synthesize it from other stocks, and it can also be manufactured by genetically engineered yeast. So although MSG isn't gluten and doesn't contain gluten, it can theoretically be contaminated with gluten from the manufacturing process. It depends on how it's made, and labels seldom tell you. These days I think it's mostly made by yeast, but I don't know what their feedstock is. I guess it would be up to the individual celiac sufferer to decide whether it was worth chancing it with unknown origin MSG. It's *probably* safe.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

"Surely lupine flour is made from ground up wolves?"
The nutritional value of lupine flour is obviously the reason that Dennis Moore stole from the poor to give to the rich.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

The gluten-free movement has finally provided the justification for the heavy use of the word "quantum" by those we demean for it.
There is, or at least is theorized to be, a subatomic particle way down in the stack called a "glutino".
I guess we have to start listening to Chopra more closely.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Following up on my #39:
Or maybe it's just that even a blind pig sometimes finds an acorn.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Bear in mind that modern wheat is thousands of years old.

Is that really the case, Calli Arcale #37? I *thought* that 'modern' wheat was that stunted, homogenized wheat that is easy on the farm equipment that was produced in the '50s by exposure to radiation -- a mutation.

ORD@39: The particle you are thinking of is called a gluino (no T). It's the supersymmetric partner of the gluon. IANA particle physicist, so that is about as much as I know about it.

Back to your regularly scheduled discussion.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

The famous Dr. Perlmutter blames gluten for causing Alzheimer's Disease. This is trivially refutable. Rice is the staple grain in Japan, wheat in the UK, and corn and wheat in the U.S. But there is almost no difference in the occurrence of AD among these countries. If gluten were the cause, we'd see large differences.
http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112srpt254/pdf/CRPT-112srpt254.pdf
Page 36 of the PDF file (numbered as page 30) has a comparison among countries. The prevalence of dementia in people aged 60 and over in Japan is 6.1%, UK 6.1%, and US 6.2%.

By Mark Thorson (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Gilbert, it obvious that you haven't been around the ag world much. Modern wheat varieties (there are many), until recently, have come from the careful crossbreeding of different varieties. There has been no radiation involved!

Modern wheats are typically are bred to be shorter to help prevent the crop laying down.

ORD, I hope the Spanish Inquisition (SN) doesn't show up.

It should be easy to answer, Calli Arcale #37: Is the spectra and makeup of gliadins and glutenins in the stunted wheat the same as antique wheat or is it not? Somebody knows but a quick google-U just keeps coming back to 'wheat belly'.

I'd suggest that people are developing allergies to the 'new' strains of (technically, as bombardment with radiation is not consistent with traditional breeding methods) GMO wheat.

"bombardment with radiation is not consistent with traditional breeding methods"

Wheat is grown in the dark?

@Eric Lund #42 I think it was a pune or play on words. Glutino, as in gluten. Geddit?

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Loren Russell @30: Hear hear! Based on some historical sources, humans in Europe and Russia lived almost exclusively on bread for centuries. (Not that the bread was all wheat, it was full of other stuff like barley, rye and oats.)
Not that it was a great diet, but it clearly wasn't poisoning people, or they all would have died long before the Black Death.

For a dinner party once I had to devise a menu that was gluten free (diagnosed celiac), vegetarian, and onion-free (phobia). Oh, and contained no raw spinach, and at the last minute, no added sugar (gestational diabetes). I was so proud of my menu; I'd even come up with an inherently gluten-free pie (meringue) but I gave that up in favor of berries and cream for the poor pregnant lady.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

Don't Panic! Everything's perfectly clear once you consult the right book:

The major problem which the medical profession in the most advanced sectors of the galaxy had to tackle - after cures had been found for all the major diseases, and instant repair systems had been invented for all physical injuries and disablements except some of the more advanced forms of death - was that of employment.

Planets full of bronzed, healthy, clean-limbed individuals merrily prancing through their lives meant that the only doctors still in business were the psychiatrists - simply because no one had discovered a cure for the universe as a whole, or rather, the only one that did exist had been abolished by the medical doctors.

Then it was noticed, that like most forms of medical treatment, total cures had a lot of unpleasant side effects. Boredom, listlessness, lack of - well anything very much, and with these conditions came the realisation that nothing turned, say, a slightly talented musician, into a towering genius faster than the problem of encroaching deafness. And nothing turned a perfectly normal, healthy individual into a great political or military leader better than irreversible brain damage. Suddenly everything changed. Previously best-selling books such as ’How I Survived an Hour With a Sprained Finger’ were swept away in a flood of titles such as ’How I Scaled the North Face of the Megaperna With a Perfectly Healthy Finger But Everything Else Sprained, Broken, or Bitten Off by a Pack of Mad Yaks’.

And so doctors were back in business - recreating all the diseases and injuries they had abolished - in popular, easy-to-use forms. Thus, given the right and instantly available types of disability, even something as simple as turning on the Three-D T.V. could become a major challenge. And when all the programs on all the channels actually were made by actors with cleft-palettes, speaking lines by dyslexic writers, filmed by blind cameramen, instead of merely seeming like that, it somehow made the whole thing more worthwhile.

rs: Wheat is grown in the dark?

Hush, you'll start the next health food fad :)

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

The woman pictured by the gluten-scare headline doesn't have an upset stomach because of gluten, but because she tried to eat a sandwich the size of her head.

I see that no one has brought up Frankenwheat, the (allegedly) death dealing modern strains of "wheat" that are optimized to rake in corporate profits at the expense of the health of the good and honest people whose genes evolved 12,000 years ago to eat wholesome natural wheat. No wonder gluten problems are all of a sudden such a big deal, according to the people who spread this story.

By Robert L Bell (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

@ Robert L Bell:

That sounds like something we'd read at Natural News.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

That sounds like something we’d read at Natural News.

*tap*tap*monsanto*tap*terminator gene*tap*population control*tap*

Or someplace similar.

(AoA, at least, has been even dumber on this front – at the level of simple word association. I'm not going to snake Sayer Ji's drain.)

@ Robert L Bell

By extension, Gilbert #45 tapped into this.
Credit where credit is due.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 26 May 2016 #permalink

The findings from a $25 million study, conducted over two-and-a-half years by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), showed that male rats exposed to two types of RF radiation were significantly more likely than unexposed rats to develop a type of brain cancer called a glioma, and also had a higher chance of developing the rare, malignant form of tumor known as a schwannoma of the heart...

the wireless industry has long noted that there is no known mechanism by which RF radiation causes cancer. The researchers wrote that the results "appear to support" the conclusion that RF radiation may indeed be carcinogenic.

"Assuming that the exposures were carried out in a way that heating effects can be ruled out, then those who say that such [carcinogenic] effects found are impossible are wrong."

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/05/federal-study-links-cell…

http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/05/26/055699

Glioma sounds like gliadin so it's on topic.

but it’s not at all uncommon for a waiter to forget that some sauce has a tiny bit of flour as a thickener
I was working part-time in a university fast-food place a couple of years ago and we used to get a lot of “gluten intolerant” customers—usually female who may have thought it was a way to diet due to some article that had recently come out—but I had one girl who was extremely celiac and it took about 6-7 minutes to identify a salad dressing that she could safely eat. I was just getting ready to make one from scratch when we found one.
Your friend is right to be anxious. Have her check with the chef every time.

By jrkrideau (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

Just an FYI about JP Sears. His "Ultra Spiritual" videos are really funny, and they're also pure self-deprecation. Like other people who despise pseudoscience and woo, I was very surprised to find out that he's a "Holistic Coach Advanced Practitioner".

http://awakenwithjp.com/client-sessions/

Gilbert:

It should be easy to answer, Calli Arcale #37: Is the spectra and makeup of gliadins and glutenins in the stunted wheat the same as antique wheat or is it not? Somebody knows but a quick google-U just keeps coming back to ‘wheat belly’.

Gluten is a very special molecule; if it had changed substantially, bread recipes would no longer work the same. The chemistry of bread is intensely studied -- if the gluten molecules had changed in any significant way, not only would we know about it, but the industry would have rejected it. You have no idea the amount of money spent on this sort of thing by the food and agriculture industries; it's absolutely important for gluten to stay the same.

I’d suggest that people are developing allergies to the ‘new’ strains of (technically, as bombardment with radiation is not consistent with traditional breeding methods) GMO wheat.

Perhaps you missed the post correcting you on how wheat breeding has been done. You also seem to think radiation isn't a thing that caused mutation in the past -- au contraire. Radiation has been around since forever and has long been a major driver of genetic change.

But the thing is, not only is wheat ancient, but so is celiac disease itself. It is very, very old. The name for the condition, and the earliest known description, date to the second century AD. It only become known to the general public in the last decade or so, as it became fashionable, but the disease is almost certainly as ancient as the domestication of wheat.

Personally? I have my doubts that the incidence has risen as much as we think. I think a lot of people were going undiagnosed before. I also suspect that severity of the disease has increased due to an unknown third factor. There is evidence that the genes for gluten sensitivity have been selected *for*, not against, in certain populations, especially European ones, so they must confer some sort of advantage. Infection fighting has been one suggestion, and there are some studies looking at weird geographical quirks in the distribution of the disease that suggest the disease tends to be worse in places with good access to clean water. But it's really just speculative at this point.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

@Eric Lund, #46:
I did not mean "gluino". I don't have Sheldon Cooper's eidetic memory, but I knew there was such a thing.
Here's one citation - http://vixra.org/pdf/1504..pdf.
Here's another - www.physics.brocku.ca/Courses
/.../ASTR1P01Test2-2015Nov.pdf.
To the best of my understanding, the glutino is involved or implicated in the propagation of gravity.
Results are hard to find because they are overwhelmed by a commercial gluten-free baked goods company also called Glutino.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

Sorry, I meant #42. I was Deep in Thought.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

Irradiation is most certainly a plant breeding technique.
Seeds from the infelicitously named rape plant were subjected to high doses of X-rays in hopes of producing a safer and more palatable version of rapeseed oil.
The researchers eventually succeeded, and because they were Canadian named their product canola oil for "Canadian oil'.
I don't know for a fact, but it seems pretty unlikely that it was the only example.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

Just checked my own assertion. The process of using mutagens (radiation or mutagenic chemicals) to produce new plant varietals is called mutation breeding, and is the source of hundreds to thousands of food varietals in use today.
Ironically, some of these food plants are sold and used as part of the organic food industry.

By Old Rockin' Dave (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

Gilbert @59:
http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/05/26/055699
The tweets and comments below the article are worth reading. According to them, the study is only a preliminary one and involved a total of 180 rats. Oh, and the kicker? The exposed rats, on average, lived *longer* than the controls.

By Mrs Grimble (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

I did not mean “gluino”. I don’t have Sheldon Cooper’s eidetic memory, but I knew there was such a thing.
Here’s one citation....

Both links are broken. I find exactly one arXiv* item that mentions the term; it's from some conference proceedings and has nothing to do with gravity, but rather "quantum haplodynamics."

The latter item is an incorrect answer on a freshman multiple-choice test.

* viXra is not your friend.

It's interesting how people can pick and choose what they feel is right when the same inclusion criteria would mean they also have to believe in what they say is wrong. Living in the Bay Area, there are always those who are quick to dismiss GFD as a "fad" and then turn around and buy all organic. People can say with a straight face that science is awesome and important and then go directly to an acupuncturist/chiropractor for their perceived illnesses.

It just doesn't make sense that such cognitive dissonance exists. It's like being car sick where your senses don't match up; shouldn't all these conflicting ideas/beliefs make people uncomfortable?

By Neuroglia (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

In today's article, I describe the outcome of a search for particles called gluinos, which are the supersymmetric cousins of the gluon...These gluinos can make pairs of the top quark, which is the heftiest of the Standard Model particles. Gluinos can also make bottom quarks and all the familiar quarks. In order to make the analysis tractable, physicists only studied events in which the gluinos decayed into top quarks or bottom quarks. Finally, because the gluino is a supersymmetric particle, it must have a daughter particle that is also supersymmetric. The lightest of the supersymmetric particles is electrically neutral and escapes detection. We only see it by noticing that energy is missing.

http://cms.web.cern.ch/news/supersymmetric-glue-search-gluinos

For a long time it has been known that the like-sign dilepton signature can help establish the existence of a gluino at the LHC. To unambiguously claim that we see a strongly interacting Majorana fermion--which we could call a gluino--we need to prove that it is indeed a fermion. We propose how to extract this information from a different gluino-decay cascade which is also used to measure its mass

ht[]p://www.osti.gov/scitech/biblio/20873166

Results are hard to find because they are overwhelmed by a commercial gluten-free baked goods company also called Glutino.

Try this search engine, Old Rockin' Dave #63

https://millionshort.com/search?keywords=gluino&shopping=&country=&adve…

So very Western-centric. Many world cuisines do not traditionally contain any wheat; should residents of those countries Think Of the Chirren and abandon their traditional diets, which seem to cause much less heart disease and cancer than the Standard American Diet? Yes, some get silly and try to be gluten-free while living on pizza and pasta; others eat real food that doesn't happen to be the Anglo preference.

Supersimmetria, un mondo dove ogni particella ha un suo partner. Così per ogni fotone ci sarà un fotino, per ogni gluone un glutino

What strange runes... Is it italian? I suspect 'glutino' is {whatever language that is} for 'gluino'.
===============================

Ok, Calli Arcale #62. I'll keep that in mind, thanks... Meanwhile, Imma gonna stick these cannabis seeds by the rectifier tube in the old tv to see whatever good stuff happens. I may bathe them in colchicine first so they don't get too hot.

jane:So very Western-centric.

You might want to do a little research there, Jane. While rice plays a big part in the Japanese diet, soba, somen and udon noodles are well-loved summer dishes, and all three are made from wheat. Chinese and Indian people also eat wheat.
I don't think anyone's suggesting that entire countries change their diets. Also, the gluten panic is virtually unknown in their countries. And personally, I find the idea that there is a standard American diet silly, since the USA contains so many regions and has so many different cultural influences. For example, my area is known for hot dish and pasties, and I am absolutely sure that someone who has no relatives in this area and has never lived in the area would have no idea what those things are.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

Many world cuisines do not traditionally contain any wheat; should residents of those countries Think Of the Chirren and abandon their traditional diets

Great hit-and-run non sequitur, Jane.

"'rs: Wheat is grown in the dark?'

Hush, you’ll start the next health food fad"

We can call it the What You Can't See Can't Hurt You Diet (WYCSCHYD). It's a real mouthful.

It will also legitimize midnight snacks as we all get back in touch with our prehistoric nocturnal mammalian roots when we (mistakenly?) avoided our sun-worshipping lizardly fellow species.

My SIL has actual, honest to goodness celiac disease. She eats different food from the rest of the family and doesn't make my brother or the kids eat what she has to eat (she also doesn't buy into crazy, which helps). Availability of gluten free restaurants gives her greater opportunities to go out, but it's more expensive than most restaurants.

Like many things, greater availability of resources to eat gluten free was a great idea that quickly got snapped up by the quacks to make a quick buck.

@Panacea: Actualyl I think it is more complex than that. I am coeliac too, and from what i can tell the coeliac community has been doing what the nut allergy community did, which is to patiently engage legislators to introduce labelling while quietly and politely interrogating service staff at restaurants to work out if it's safe to eat there - and if they don't even understand the question, the answer's no (so don't try to eat GF at Johannesburg airport).

The rise of widely available GF options and the profile of GF is in part a response to food labelling regulations, but also in no small part a response tot he diet fadders, who, unlike coeliacs, tend to loudly demand GF. It doesn't help that they might then tuck in to their partner's gluten-heavy dessert. These demanding people who are not actually sensitive to gluten have led to a lot of bad practice, where servers assume that NGCI is the same as GF and kitchen staff don't learn about cross-contamination.

I am definitely conflicted. I benefit from wider availability and higher awareness, I lose out to bad practice, and I am seriously pissed ff by the woo - especially Wheat Belly, every copy of which should be thrown in the sea.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 09 Jun 2016 #permalink

In reply to by Panacea (not verified)

@ rs:

And how pray tell, do we pronounce WYCSHYD?
Wic-shid or Whyk shyed?

I definitely go with the night eating-

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

“‘rs: Wheat is grown in the dark?’

Hush, you’ll start the next health food fad”

Don't knock it. It's what's going to save us all during the nuclear winter.

By Not a Troll (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

Does wheat raised in the dark use dark soil derived from dark matter?

RS: Hah! I love it. Speaking of things that are going to take over the world- did you

Notatroll: Which is probably going to happen if you-know-who wins the election. Though I wonder if they'd pretend to lose the codes?

Rich Bly: Please don't summon the dark matter troll. We've already got Gil.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

That was going to be, speaking of things that are going to take over the world, did anyone see that video of China's new straddle bus?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

"And how pray tell, do we pronounce WYCSHYD?"

First you have to spell it correctly (WYCSCHYD) and then...well, maybe that won't work either. Pronunciation of many English words is unlike their spelling so it's okay to pronounce it any way you like.

"Anti-light is emitted by anti-matter"

I prefer DEDs (darkness emitting diodes).

Pronunciation of many English words is unlike their spelling so it’s okay to pronounce it any way you like.

Perhaps it's Welsh.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 27 May 2016 #permalink

I am utterly depressive.

Some time ago, in March, I hosted my brother here in my apartment and since then, it's been a road to hell. Said brother is totally illiterate[1], extremely talkative[2], is biased against me[3] and all of that is driving me crazy.

[1] == 140~160 questions a day like this one: what is a rotunda?

[2] == wakes up (halfway in the afternoon or later) and complain to me about really insignificant sh1t for at least an hour and a half (usually, the neighbors upstairs or the janitor).

[3] == at midnight, order me to cleanup the bathroom or whatsnot after I've been up since 7am; this is usually followed up by an hour and a half of complaints about why I'm not doing sh1tz around the house and generally being a lazy assh*le.

This has been going on every day since the first of March and never ever in my life has been so awful. Not even the year and a half back in 2004-2005 for which I hosted a true psychopath.

It's impossible to live or even survive in that kind of environment and I do wonder how I'm doing so, especially given the lack of sleep (since then, my schedule has been to go to sleep at around 3am and waking up at 7, every fuck1ng day since march).

I have another roommate, a good friend who smooth it out but even for him, sometime, he wonder how he did survive.

The worst part of that is that, he will justify his bullishness and will increase his level of bullishness in the face of surrender (i.e. the more I surrender, the more he become a bully).

I accepted him here because he was getting beaten up (physically) by his previous girlfriend and I pay the price ever since.

Fortunately, I'm moving out soon (I had a job interview last Thursday and it look good but if it doesn't pan out, I'm going into therapy soon).

Thanks for letting me vent.

Alain

rs Have you heard of the Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle?

Check it out for things grown in the dark...

@ hdb, good luck pronouncing that as a Welsh word. I struggle trying to and Welsh is my mother tongue. In fact I almost choked on the SCH part as s followed by a ch sound (a sound a bit like harshly clearing ones throat) doesn't flow naturally when spoken.

By John Phillips (not verified) on 28 May 2016 #permalink

Modern wheat varieties (there are many), until recently, have come from the careful crossbreeding of different varieties. There has been no radiation involved!

Oreally, Rich Bly #44?

Though poorly known, radiation breeding has produced thousands of useful mutants and a sizable fraction of the world’s crops, ... The mutant wheat is used for bread and pasta and the mutant barley for beer and fine whiskey...

The method was discovered some 80 years ago when Lewis J. Stadler of the University of Missouri used X-rays to zap barley seeds. The resulting plants were white, yellow, pale yellow and some had white stripes — nothing of any practical value.

But the potential was clear. Soon, by exposing large numbers of seeds and young plants, scientists produced many more mutations and found a few hidden beneficial ones. Peanuts got tougher hulls. Barley, oats and wheat got better yields.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/science/28crop.html?_r=0

The International Atomic Energy Agency may be best known for dealing with nuclear disasters such as the Fukushima reactor meltdown, but it also works on crop science techniques that use radiation.

To make rust-resistant wheats, Miriam Kinyua, a researcher at Eldoret University in Kenya, sent wheat seeds popular with Kenyan farmers to the FAO/IAEA joint laboratories. There, the seeds got blasted with a tiny bit of radiation, enough to damage their DNA. That created a pool of seeds with different random mutations

http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2013-09/new-kenyan-wheat-combats-…

BASF’s Clearfield wheat was born of the mutagen, sodium azide -- nasty stuff.

Why, I even hear that there are seeds in orbit to see what all-natural cosmic rays might do to them.

"Perhaps you missed the post correcting you on how wheat breeding has been done."

I did not 'miss it' Calli Arcale #62. I blew it off as it came from the yes man, Rich Bly.

Calli @ 37 - thanks for the info. I knew you could get a gluten-free version of soy sauce but I didn't know it was the MSG that could actually be the source. Not an issue for the fad dieters but definitely one for people with CD.

Denice @ 14 - it suddenly all makes sense! I am a carbaholic, obviously because I'm addicted to gluten just like people get addicted to opioids. Next time I'm looking at my serve of pasta and garlic bread and thinking (as I often do) - hmm, is this actually going to be enough carbs for me - I will try to remember to whizz it up and inject it in to a vein to get a bigger hit.
Or is that going to far? Maybe I'll start by eating it PR, that way the gluten will reach my brain before it gets removed by the meddling hepatic first-pass metabolism, that should be enough to get my gluten high.

By Can't remember… (not verified) on 28 May 2016 #permalink

Gilly,

I am turning my cards over in face of such ponderous data from the great research journals as the New York Times and Pop Science.

I can't see the comments, Mrs Grimble #67. One needs an account. But '180 rats'?? This article seems to suggest thousands of rats used in that study. Perhaps only 180 of them got cancer?

Still missing, however, is a clear understanding of exactly how radiofrequency (RF) radiation used by mobile phones might create cellular-level changes that could lead to cancer...

The study by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) found that as the thousands of rats studied were exposed to greater intensities of RF radiation, more of them developed rare forms of brain and heart cancer that could not be easily explained away

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-might-cell-phone-signals-…
==============================

Tim’s hypothesis of how cell phones cause cancer is the same as the anti-vaxers explaination on how vaccines cause Autism.

I’m reminded of the phrase “a solution in search of a problem”.

Thx, Johnny; It seems to have found it.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2015/03/19/the-new-york-times-and-fea…

what's the punchline here?

Thx, Johnny #143.

Most of what we know about electromagnetic radiation comes from theories first proposed by James Clerk Maxwell in the 19th century, which state that electromagnetic radiation is generated by accelerating electrons. …

… However, this theory becomes problematic when dealing with radio wave emission from a dielectric solid, a material which normally acts as an insulator, meaning that electrons are not free to move around. Despite this, dielectric resonators are already used as antennas in mobile phones, for example.

“In dielectric aerials, the medium has high permittivity, meaning that the velocity of the radio wave decreases as it enters the medium,” said Dr Dhiraj Sinha, the paper’s lead author. “What hasn’t been known is how the dielectric medium results in emission of electromagnetic waves. This mystery has puzzled scientists and engineers for more than 60 years.”

http://phys.org/news/2015-04-electromagnetism-enable-antennas-chip.html

Now, what was I saying about ‘wires’ again?? oh yea:

… If the protoplasm can be considered a dielectric within these small scales then the coiled molecule might constitute an ‘antenna’

… It is a discontinuity within a dielectric.

… An antenna-dimensioned discontinuity within a dielectric can, in some ways, appear as a tuned antenna.

#64, #101, #135.

Neener. Neener.

^^That was a rather 'lively' discussion we had last year.

Oh, and the kicker? The exposed rats, on average, lived *longer* than the controls.

Ok Mrs Grimble #67; That does seem odd as well as the increased incidence was seen mostly in male rats. The implication being that, had they lived long enough, the control group would have had the same instance of tumors.

Why did the exposed group live longer? Are rats gregarious? Perhaps those in the control group were lonely.

You're AKA Dim Tim? I feel better. That means there's one less idiot in the world.

As far as the rat study goes, it's really silly to think cell phones cause brain cancer. There are more cell phones than people in the US, and has been for a while, and as this random guy on the internet notes, the incidence of cancer has not gone up.

https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/no-a-rat-study-with-marginal-resul…

You’re AKA Dim Tim?

Tim, tiM, TIm, Timmeh, Élan Vital, Mitzi Dupree, etc.

Just a quick word to say the situation at home is getting resolved. I just landed a new job in the little supplement industry (official title: assistant operator in pharmacological industry). I'll begin on the 20 of June and I'm currently spending some time out of town to relax.

Furthermore, I'm getting my own apartment in July. No more flatmates ever (although I can't say no to a significant other _when_ the occasion present itself).

Alain

Dear Domina Walter,

Would you happen to know a good resource on the intertoob about non-verbal presentation and its effect on other people?

Asking because last year, when I was in an excellent mood, there wasn't a month without 5 to 8 modelling potential girls darn near tripping on the stainless poles in city busses while twisting their as close to 90 degrees to devour me with their eyes. And hell yes, I swear to god it happened just like I described.

Thanks in advance ;)

Twisting their *neck*

I haven't joined the gluten free fad, and dieting while reading this made me check today's calorie count and say, "Why yes! I can have two slices diet multigrain bread and one tablespoon of peanut butter!

My weight loss is going to slow down big time if I keep doing stuff like that.

@Alain - sorry for your frustration. Things like that are very stressful. Mr. Woo and I became easy marks for a young man who didn't want to grow up. He was someone who lived a couple of miles away and visited my son (uninvited) occasionally. When his father told him grow up or get out, he showed up on our doorstep (January in rural Missouri) and said he was going to freeze to death. We found out as time progressed that more than half of what he said was usually a lie. Manipulative, lazy... but we were too uncomfortable making him homeless. Took us almost two years to get him somewhere else. He failed the first launch attempt, though, and the only thing that protected us from him coming back was building a house and living in a camper.

I do have to admit to owning a copy of Wheat Belly. I can't remember how it ended up being considered, but my guess is a checkout lane women's magazine with a blurb about how someone got much healthier and lost a ton of weight avoiding only one food and eating to her heart's content. In a decade with him, I have learned Mr Woo wants good health to require as little effort as possible. It might even be part of what makes woo so appealing to him.

Contents of current sandwich: Black pudding, fried egg, cheese, sauerkraut, chili.
Gluten is the last thing my guts need to worry about.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 30 May 2016 #permalink

Well; When he puts it like that, Johnny #95...

Still, if there were an effect why should the heart be singled out?

At 2.5 GHz, this ranges from about 5 for adipose tissue to about 56 for the cardiac muscle. As the speed of electromagnetic waves is proportional to the reciprocial value of the square root of the dielectric constant, the resulting wavelength in the tissue can drop to a fraction of the wavelength in air; e.g. at 10 GHz the wavelength can drop from 3 cm to about 3.4 mm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_burn#Frequency_vs_depth

MIDawn, actually fruit is often treated with gluten containing products. The wax on apples, for example.

I had to go gluten free for six months when we were investigating my nursing child's intestinal bleeding. Every single recipe for a gluten-like food was full of a thousand ingredients, the processed food was even worse, and there was never any simple healthy filling snack to eat on the run. GF processed food really are the definition of frankenfood. I snigger quietly to myself when I see discussions of how maybe guar and xanthan gums aren't great for your gut. Ya think?

Thankfully the gluten reaction went away as the gut healed, the true problem food is annoying, but not as bad as going without gluten. However, my mother continues to think that if she buys 'gluten free' it is somehow everything free and thus OK for my kid.

Orac, I have an issue with the part of your post where you criticise people for not getting an actual coeliac diagnosis. Firstly, when the only treatment is dietary modification, and you've already done that modification and it's worked, to go back on the bad food for a diagnosis is pointless. IIRC you need to eat it for a significant time, like a couple of weeks. It has been ten years since we had these discussions, so the protocol might have changed.

Secondly, gut biopsies are not without risk, it's not like a skin biopsy. Given that a diagnosis will not change the treatment, why would you take that risk?

I have two friends with coeliac kids, and their symptoms are unmistakable. Both were advised by peds not to have the biopsy. Later on one did have it because they kept having attacks and they wanted to rule out something worse, like UC. Turns out the kids is just really really sensitive and can't even have a cup of sliced fruit bought in an airport.

My gastro suggested I try the FODMAP diet for my IBS, now THAT is like something an anorexic dreamed up. I can't even bring myself to try it, even if it made me into a superhero.

I have developed a severe reaction to gluten post surgery for bowel cancer. I was able to eat bread all through my chemo, while I had a stoma. Post reversal, I gradually became more and more sensitive until now I cannot tolerate even a trace of gluten without dire conseqences. I wish it were not so, its a total pain.

@Ann #104 - The criticism towards people not getting a diagnosis is a real concern. The issue is not people's feelings but the intersection of science and the wallet. People that have actual conditions that cause issues with gluten are no where near as common as the gluten fad has become. This fad is pushing the food cost for the people at actually have the diagnosis into the stratosphere; the same thing happened to diabetics when that crackpot Atkins and his diet came out. Medically necessary nutrition is becoming unavailable for the people that are really sick. There is almost no evidence for gluten sensitivity. None. This is not a grey area kind of problem, it is a black and white one. You are either gluten intolerant or you are not. That said, there are a bevy of conditions that CAN seem like what WebMD calls gluten sensitivity and many of them can be associated with a simple intestinal microbiota imbalance that can be tested for, a poop smear if you will allow my exhaustion induced silliness. If I am being rude, it is not my intent, but what I am trying to say is that just because someone eliminates gluten from their diet, and their stomach problems lessen or even go away, doesn't mean that the issue was gluten or at it is not something else that can be completely cured and they can eat a comp,steely normal diet, allowing gluten intolerant people to have a chance at seeing lowered food costs.

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

I hate using my tablet for this forum, I truly do....

Eat a completely normal diet

By Another Antiva… (not verified) on 06 Jun 2016 #permalink

Is this another of those stupid food fads that will fall by the wayside in a couple years, or is "Gluten Free Water" here to stay ? ORD @ various : Does the Fish-Slapping Dance cause the release of glutons ? Or just the odd fish eye ?

Ann @ 104:

Secondly, gut biopsies are not without risk, it’s not like a skin biopsy. Given that a diagnosis will not change the treatment, why would you take that risk?

Partly to rule out other things, and partly to gauge the severity of the disease. (My cousin has very severe celiac disease, diagnosed at 6 months after her first exposure to wheat.) It can be so serious that surgical resection of the bowel is called for, and it's important to know if that's the case. It can also lead to cancer. I would think that if intestinal bleeding was happening, you'd want be sure, and at least to do a colonoscopy, if not actually take samples.

BTW, I recently purchased America's Test Kitchen's gluten free cookbook, and it's wonderful for breaking down the science behind gluten replacements. If you're looking to produce home-cooked alternatives that aren't as unhealthy (and expensive) as a lot of the store-bought stuff, it's fantastic.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 08 Jun 2016 #permalink

I currently work with someone with a severe peanut allergy, someone dairy intolerant (casein, I think), someone with gluten intolerance, and someone who reacts strongly to the onion family. These all seem to be genuine reactions rather than the trendy kind but I'm interested in why only gluten intolerance has been picked up as some kind of virtue signifier?

Having spent some time as an ethical-type vegan myself I know that milk gets into almost every processed food in some form and the person I know who avoids onions complains that practically all recipes start with frying them so it can't be ubiquity. I guess it must be just a facet of the low-carb diet thing.

Incidentally I went to an archaeology seminar yesterday that suggested many groups of hunter-gatherers were processing wild grasses and we have some evidence of this going back 100,000 years. I want to search to see whether gluten is found in wild grass seed but can only find a ton of articles on wheatgrass. If this evidence is solid though it suggests that even more of us should be perfectly well evolved to digest gluten and the incidence of coeliac disease won't have changed in millenia (unless CD sufferers in the past weren't surviving to reproduce).

@Cate K,

There are plenty of advocates for a gluten free, casein free (gcfc) diet, but not much solid evidence for benefit.

I don't see as much casein free labeling in the stores, partly because it is subsumed in the broader category of milk-free.

Milk alternatives like almond and soy milk get plenty of shelf space.

I remember some years ago trying to prepare a gelatin dessert for a group including one vegan, and wondering what to substitute for the gelatin, which is almost exclusively made from animal by-products.

Did you ever try that or find a substitute.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 11 Jun 2016 #permalink

I think there is some vegan substitute for gelatin from the Indonesian kitchen I think, named agar.

Oh, sure; this has been a common vegan substitute around here for as long as I've known vegans. But one must bear in mind that, nonetheless, carrageenan is a deadly poison.