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Why Do So Many People Think They Need Gluten-Free Foods? - Slate

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....going gluten free seems somewhat faddish.



There’s not even a mediocre blood test for gluten intolerance. The diagnosis simply relies on someone’s subjective feelings of bloating, bowel changes, or mental fogginess after eating gluten. This is a set-up for all manner of pseudo-scientific self-diagnoses, especially when you consider that 2 percent of people believe they have illnesses caused by magnetic fields.


And yet, the data suggest that almost two-thirds of people who think they are gluten-intolerant really aren’t. Part of the problem is that there is a lot of really bad science out there on gluten intolerance.



Until the science gets sorted out, perhaps the best course for physicians is to suspect celiac disease and diagnose or exclude it correctly. They should also help patients sort through the conflicting data on wheat allergy and gluten intolerance. At the same time, patients convinced they have gluten intolerance might do well to also accept that their self-diagnosis may be wrong. In the end, it seems, medical uncertainly can best be approached by a little open-mindedness and humility from us all.




(the author) Darshak Sanghavi is Slate's health care columnist. He is chief of pediatric cardiology and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as well as the author of A Map of the Child: A Pediatrician's Tour of the Body. Follow him on Twitter.



The supercilious tone of this article is so different from this one from January 27th,     allegedly by the same author, that I wonder if it was ghostwritten or partially cut and pasted from all the other ignorant, anti- gluten free labeling garbage being passed around by the various government, GMO, and agricultural lobbyists.   One also notices that the comments are a bit of a train wreck, compared to the much better comments one sees when the gluten free community is commenting instead.


Ironically, the example used in the second article, about avoiding medical malpractice lawsuits, was about a premature infant suffering and then dying from enterocolitis.  I have no idea if this Sanghavi fellow knows that a thickener/gluten replacement used in some gluten free baking, guar gum, is also added to formula liquids given to premature infants, because they have trouble swallowing thin ones, and that, in turn, has been linked to infant necrotizing enterocolitis, but perhaps, since he is an infant heart doctor, and not a gastro doctor, nor an ob-gyn, nor an internist, nor a nephrologist, nor a neurologist, he ought to leave the speculation about digestive and allergies and auto immune diseases suffered by adults, especially females, to those researchers actually working on this topic - and doctors who have those patients, or to those who really do have a "gluten problem."   After all, it frequently takes DECADES to develop enough DAMAGE from being UNDIAGNOSED, and as a baby doctor, I doubt he ever sees much of it.  Perhaps that's why he so interested in preventing medical malpractice lawsuits, by having his state pass a law that "usually allows doctors to speak more openly to patients and families who were harmed, even apologize to them, without worry that their words will later be used against them in court."




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    • Hello, I've had a pretty rough ride health-wise over the past year due to Coeliac. I posted a few months ago explaining my story: I've seen small, incremental improvements over the past few months (headaches starting to ease, more stomach 'rumbling' instead of just an uncomfortable bloated/full feeling etc.) and have just started back at university which I'm pleased about.  However, progress is painfully slow and I was hoping to have seen more concrete improvements by now. Is this normal? Any advice/reassurance from others who still had fairly severe symptoms after 6-8 months gluten free would be really helpful. It can be quite tough both physically and mentally sometimes and the 'light at the end of the tunnel' can seem a long way off.   In addition, I had a flu vaccination around a month ago and since then, have had quite bad GI symptoms, headaches and fatigue which seem to occur in 'flares' of a few days before settling and then starting up again a few days later. I think they're beginning to settle down a little more now but just wondered if it's possible that the flu jab could have had this effect due to the severity of my symptoms and sensitivity of my 'system'/stomach post-diagnosis?  I stick to very similar foods on a daily basis because I'm only able to tolerate a bland diet, so I can't put my finger on anything food-related that could be causing this and I'm very careful to avoid gluten and cross-contamination etc (I live at home and prepare meals myself, I don't eat out at the moment and have been 'glutened' once and these symptoms are quite different to that). Has anyone else in the earlier stages of recovery had reactions to vaccinations? Thanks everyone for your support.  
    • It really can be anywhere or any random source, Few tips, as mentioned eat whole foods only nothing processed, Use Freezer paper on your prep surfaces to fix your foods, perhaps gloves in case your touching something else (door to fridge, pantry, computer keyboard, etc) that might have trace gluten residue. Have dedicated gluten-free cooking utensils, pots, and pans. Check your soaps, shampoos, make up and other hygiene products, these might also contain gluten that could be cross contaminating.  I personally had this exact issue and broke down sold everything I had and started new in a new apartment, new appliances, new everything since I was getting sick at least twice a week and could not hold a job. I will link you to the list of gluten ingredients to look out for. Hopefully you can find the cause and not have to go as radical as I did to get relief. It might be something as simple as a spice, or a random product in you house.
    • Thanks for your replies...!  Thanks for all the tips, I am indeed on a caveman diet and trying to figure out what works best. I had rice on Friday and unfortunately did get a reaction (bloating/nervousness), which for now makes carbs a thing of the past. I do indeed do very well on protein and am becoming picky about the ingredients in foods as well. For example I had asparagus the other day but they were packed in citric acid. Little did I know citric acid had sugar. Suffered a severe reaction. All-natural indeed is the only way to go when it comes to curing this thing..  Well, it's a valuable lesson. I never drank enough during my childhood but I'm trying to drink at least a bottle nowadays. It probably contributed to my gut issues.  I'll do my best and see how it goes.  Thanks again, Ken
    • In Saint Denis , the capital,  New shop L ile ô bio , rue Michel Ah Sam tel 0262946564sells gluten free biscuits brand Nature & Co quite nice, pasta  Italian shop Mediterraneo 38bis rue Charles Gounod 0262134702 sells nice pasta and sauces  Frozen shop Picard sells a Genius bread , not bad    local food, beware of the gratin de chouchou , very nice but the bechamel sauce got flour easy to find salad and grilled fish, lots of rice base dishes 
    • I was in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana & South Africa this summer, with very few problems.  I brought a ton of Kind bars, Justin's peanut butter packets and Costco beef jerky just in case!  I get the Kind Bars and Justin's on Amazon Prime.  Africans eat a lot of meat (try the Kudu, it's awesome!) and veggies.  Stay away from sauces.  I don't recommend eating the Mopane tree worms, even though they are gluten-free.  I tried to get out of it, but my tour leader said they were gluten-free and I had to try it as part of the experience....ewwwww!  lol  gluten-free is quite popular in South Africa...they call in the Banting diet.  Maybe they know it up north as well?  I would definitely stay away from chips because you have no idea what else has been in the same fryer oil.  One chicken nugget and you're toast.  I've never had a problem with rice.  Have a great trip...Africa is amazing!  
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