To all the doubters out there: Gluten sensitivity is real.
We’ve not all been brainwashed by celebrities endorsing a gluten-free diet as the best weight loss trick up their sleeve.
We don’t need reporters, bloggers, and internet bullies to tell us that the whole gluten issue is all in our collective heads.
If you’re a non-believer, a doubter, or someone who doesn’t understand how profound an effect food can have on your body, just look at my picture.
I write this because Scientific American Magazine published an article online dated August 21, 2013 that says that “people who have true gluten sensitivity actually suffer from something called Celiac disease.” [emphasis is mine]
True gluten sensitivity? I’m sorry, does that mean that my sensitivity to gluten is false, fictional, or fake? Yeah, I don’t think so.
UPDATE July 27, 2016 — Researchers at Columbia University have found markers for gluten sensitivity that differ from those that occur with celiac disease. You can see the study HERE.
My Gluten Sensitivity is REAL
My former life filled with excessive trips to the bathroom; horrible gas and diarrhea; inflamed nerve pain; chronic headaches; a depressed immune system unable to fight off any colds; mental fogginess; chronic exhaustion; red, scaly skin patches on my body and face, and a nearly 20 lb weight gain says otherwise.
When I look at my “before and after” photo, I don’t even recognize myself from 2007. It doesn’t even look like me.
And did I mention that I have blood tests from 2008 that demonstrated antibodies to gluten? That’s a little difficult to just write off should someone need to see some labs.
Despite everything I’ve been through and countless others who (like me) share our experiences publicly to offer support and words of wisdom to others on this journey, it’s just ‘sexier’ for news outlets to make our experiences out to be anything other than real (or as this article points out – true).
“So in spite of what you’ve heard from the world of celebrities, adhering to a gluten-free diet without a true diagnosis of Celiac Disease has not been shown to be of any benefit,” states Sanaz Majd, MD (a family medicine specialist) in the 5-minute audio segment on the post in question at Scientific American Magazine. [emphasis is my own]
Dr. Majd continues, “so if you’re not Celiac, eliminating gluten won’t help you lose weight or be healthier no matter what the internet myths say.” [emphasis is my own]
They’re all “myths”?
So what Dr. Majd is saying, and subsequently Scientific American Magazine by publishing this piece, is that those of us who claim gluten sensitivity should probably just go back to eating gluten because clearly eating gluten-free hasn’t “shown to be of any benefit.”
Aside from my own personal experience which I’ve briefly shared above, there are so many other stories out there from folks just like me who’ve had their lives turned upside down without a celiac diagnosis. Please read the 90+ stories by clicking HERE of folks who wanted to share their stories with Dr. Majd, Scientific American and anyone else out there who doubts that eating gluten without a celiac diagnosis serves any purpose. I originally intended to post only a few of these stories, but I was overwhelmed by the massive deluge of responses and figured it would be easier for everyone to simply read the posts there as well as any others as they are added.
There are also pretty big names out there that would completely disagree with what Dr. Majd has said such as…
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness – About Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Mark Hyman, MD – Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You
Dr. Alessio Fasano – Dr. Fasano: Gluten Sensitivity Biomarker Likely Coming Soon
Amy Myers, MD – How to Test for Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease
Peter Green, MD – Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: Gastrointestinal Hip or Hype?
And here’s a study that demonstrates that gluten does cause issues for those without Celiac.
Perhaps it’s easier for people (and some medical professionals) to just say “You’ve got IBS” (the catch-all phrase for digestive issues these days) because there’s some medication out there to prescribe while none exists (yet) for non-celiac gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease. But because the mechanism behind gluten sensitivity isn’t fully understood doesn’t mean the issue doesn’t exist.
I’ll Keep my Gluten-Free Diet, Thank You Very Much
It’s already difficult enough to navigate the massive amount of information out there on the web, in books and on TV about living gluten-free. If I didn’t know better, I might very well have listened to this report and reconsidered my gluten-free lifestyle.
But the thing is… I never took cues from celebrities.
I never took any pointers from the gluten-free food product fad (which I work hard to expose).
And yet, I’m still healthy. In fact, I’m healthier now than I’ve ever been and going gluten-free ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. So before I take suggestions from someone who tells me that my health issue isn’t real when I know darn well it is, I’ve got to consider the sick life I left behind.
A Word to Our Gluten-Free Community
I recognize that this issue isn’t about Celiac Disease directly and, though I certainly spend quite a lot of time sharing info critical to those with Celiac, I ask that those with Celiac return the favor. I also ask those who follow a Paleo or Primal diet also lend a hand. Remember that we are all one community who lives this lifestyle because it personally helps each of us.
No matter what you’re official diagnosis (be it celiac, gluten sensitivity, or maybe thyroid disease or some other autoimmune condition), we are all in the same boat. Our specific circumstances might vary, but our general commitment to gluten-free living is what binds us together.
So when articles like the one in Scientific American are published, as a community we need to stand tall and say NO. We won’t stand for this type of mis-information to be spread so that those out there who might be at the beginning of their journey, those considering this lifestyle for the betterment of their health, or those who struggle to stay gluten-free won’t be tempted to stop simply because of an article like this.
If Scientific American wanted to write a piece that fairly examined the other side of the issue, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But they and many others tend to get caught up in sexy hype.
If you want to write Scientific American Magazine to complain (as I already have), email them directly at: email@example.com
Share, like and tweet this article to get the message across that gluten sensitivity is more than just an internet myth.