You may have seen an article floating around this week titled “Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist” in which Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology, states that after studying subjects who’s gastrointestinal symptoms improved on a gluten free diet (or non celiac gluten sensitive individuals) “we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten”.
First of all, let me start by saying that for every peer reviewed scientific study that proves something, there is another peer reviewed scientific study that disproves the same thing. I would like to think my readers are open minded, so hopefully it causes no controversy when I say I assume that the same people who read the headline of the article and accepted it as fact, are also people who believe that being gay is a choice, climate change is a liberal fairy tale, and vaccines cause autism. That being said, I don’t know why I let these people get me all worked up, but here I go:
I would like to address the people who skimmed their Facebook page, saw a post that said “Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Does Not Exist”, and without even reading the article (not that it would matter) accepted it as fact from that day forward. I get it, chances are you have been in a social situation where your friend’s weird acquaintance trapped you in a corner and tried to drill into your head that you should give up gluten because it’s evil and you’re killing yourself. Or maybe you’re a server who’s night was ruined by someone who doesn’t (not can’t) eat gluten, who had a million unrealistic requests and then tipped you less than you deserve. That would leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth, so I kind of understand why you would want to use a study as an excuse to hate on people with a gluten intolerance.
Every once in awhile I perform my own blind study, where I unknowingly ingest gluten, only to be informed by my body later, when I get a headache, indigestion, horrible stomach cramps, and become nauseous. But I guess that’s just a placebo effect, right?
Now I’m not a scientist, but the red flag to me in this recent study, is that they used whey protein as the placebo; with an already compromised digestive system, the subjects ingested one of the possible causes of a lactose intolerance, which symptoms include gas, bloating, weakness, fatigue, headaches and irritability; sound familiar? Many people with gluten intolerances also have what is known as a “secondary lactose intolerance” where, because of their weakened small intestine, they have trouble digesting the proteins in dairy: whey and casein.
Let’s play devils advocate and pretend that non celiac gluten sensitivities do not exist, and that the reason people feel better on a gluten free diet is because usually they are eating less processed foods and eating more whole, unprocessed foods. Who are we hurting? More people creating a demand for gluten free foods makes it easier for the people who ‘really’ need it (in this pretend, celiacs only, non gluten sensitivity free world). You sit there judging me because I feel better by not eating something that physically harms me, and get excited enough to share an article with your friends and family on social media that says what I feel isn’t real. Why? Unless you are devout raw vegan (my personal idea of dietary Utopia, which I will never achieve) you cannot judge anything anyone chooses to eat, or not eat.
Regardless of what you believe, I know my body and I know that if I eat something that contains gluten, whether or not I’m aware of it, I feel like absolute shit physically. When I avoid gluten completely, I feel amazing. It is as simple as that folks. Bioindividuality tells us that one woman’s poison is another woman’s medicine, and vice versa. What makes me feel horrible, may give you tons of energy. Listen to your body, it can tell you much more than any scientific study can. More importantly: worry about yourself, I don’t need you to worry about what I’m eating, or not eating. But if you can’t do that, I can help you worry about where you can shove your scientific study.