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Gluten Intolerance Doesn't Exist?!

Last night, I heard David Sax speak to a packed crowd in Los Angeles to promote his new book, "The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue." As a Toronto-based journalist who's written for publications such as New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, the New York times, NPR and GQ, David's won a James Beard award for Writing and Literature, has written before on food topics and has credibility as a food writer. David's topic was food trends, in this case why Angelenos love Kogi BBQ, kale and cupcakes. Before he began, David polled the audience on how they felt about different food topics. When he asked about food trucks, the audience cheered.  When he asked about gluten-free, people booed.

While I was surprised and perturbed by the boos, I understood. From my observation, Angelenos think they're ahead of the curve when it comes to food. In my experience, they're behind. More restaurants than in prior years have a gluten-free item on their menu. Most still don't. This is in contrast to Seattle, my prior home, which is currently ranked #1 for gluten-free offerings. Last week, I made my annual pilgrimage to Seattle and discovered an Italian restaurant that's had a separate, gluten-free kitchen for several years and offers an extensive, entirely gluten-free menu in addition to their non-gluten-free menu.

David didn't address the gluten-free boos during his talk. So, during the post-lecture q and a, I approached the mike. First, I asked David what he thought about Seattle's longtime, public relations-generated, crazy love affair with Copper River salmon. This time of year, Copper River salmon can be had for upwards of $26 per pound. David knew nothing about this. In fact, he managed to simultaneously mispronounce Copper River salmon and dismiss it in the same breath.

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My second question was about gluten-free. David proceeded to dismiss gluten-free with a vengeance. He saw gluten-free as a fad diet that didn't do anything for anyone. He mentioned the Jimmy Kimmel man-on-the-street interviews where Jimmy interviewed three people who said they were gluten-free but couldn't describe what gluten was. David declared that research has shown that gluten intolerance doesn't exist. I found his attitude toward gluten-free as snide and condescending. David said a gluten-free diet was only relevant for those who had celiac disease or other significant health issues.

My takeaway? I hope David Sax gets to eat his words.

As always, welcomes your comments (see below).

Spread The Word

13 Responses:

Heather Twist

said this on
06 Jun 2014 12:20:57 AM PDT
None of the studies I've seen actually let "wheat" off the hook. The FODMAPS diet IS a gluten-free diet for most people, only the FODMAPS diet is harder. Really, if you feel better by just losing gluten, you are ahead. But wheat has loads of health issues attached to it ... gluten is one, fructans is another. Both have been shown to be harmful.

Manny Zerosa

said this on
06 Jun 2014 7:04:45 PM PDT
Gluten Free is not BULL, even the guy who did the study says Gluten Free is not bull Dr. Peter Gibson. According to a recent article by Dr. Peter Gibson responds to an article by health guru Chris Kresser in which he says Dr. Gibson clearly says ''It does not say that there is no such thing as non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. It is just we could not see any evidence of it in the 37 patients we studied, all of whom fulfilled the current definition of NCGS. Now this study to prove Gluten Intolerance is false was done last year of May 2013 and was funded by a GLUTEN BREAD COMPANY NAMED GEORGE WESTON FOODS who would love to prove Gluten Intolerance is false so they can sell more GLUTEN BREAD with Gluten Free taking off as it is Please Google this title *No Effects of Gluten in Patients With Self-Reported Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity After Dietary Reduction of Fermentable, Poorly Absorbed, Short-Chain Carbohydrates* Next the guy who did the study to prove Gluten Intolerance is false Dr. Peter Gibson also with the help of another Dr. Susan Shepherd created the FODMAP DIET and again Dr. Gibson is doing this study to prove Gluten Intolerance is false and then says low FODMAPS are the problem, however this presents BIAS because Dr. Peter Gibson who created the FODMAP diet is also saying Gluten Intolerant people benefited from his diet over Gluten Free, well of course Dr. Gibson would never say anything bad about a diet he created especially considering next month Dr. Gibson assistant Dr Susan Shepherd is pushing a book called the LOW FODMAP diet, maybe that explains why a study done in 2013 that says Gluten Intolerance is false is coming out now and FODMAPS were meant for people with irritable bowel syndrome NOT GLUTEN INTOLERANCE and yet the guy who created the FODMAP diet does a study that says Gluten Intolerance is false but HIS FODMAP diet works and the media is silent of Dr. Gibson's creation of the FODMAP diet. Please Google this title **FODMAP Wikipedia** One more thing Dr. Gibson in May of 2014 the same Dr. who said Gluten Intolerance is false has OFFICIALLY LINKED GLUTEN INTOLERANCE WITH DEPRESSION an Gluten Free helps Gluten Intolerant people with Depression Please Google Search these 2 titles **Randomised clinical trial: gluten may cause depression in subjects with non-coeliac gluten sensitivity - an exploratory clinical study** & **Study shows link between gluten intake and depression** More information can be found here about this false study that Gluten Intolerance is false. ** Non-celiac gluten sensitivity and lies promoted by I Fucking Love Science** From I LOVE MAD SCIENCE There is much bias in Dr. Gibson's study especially considering a recent study shows Gluten Intolerance and Gluten Free lead to LESS DEPRESSION and this study was not FUNDED BY A BREAD COMPANY NAMED GEORGE WESTON FOODS.

Manny Zerosa

said this on
06 Jun 2014 7:08:50 PM PDT
The title for the link by that has Dr. Gibson saying Gluten Intolerance is not false, here is the title to Google **Getting to the guts of gluten** by SARAH BERRY in which Dr. Gibson clearly says he does believe in Gluten Intolerance From the artlice in which Dr. Peter Gibson that man who says Gluten Intolerance is false tells you what the media and there Bread GLUTEN lobbyist are not saying in regard to this study by Dr. Peter Gibson""'It does not say that there is no such thing as non-coeliac gluten sensitivity. It is just we could not see any evidence of it in the 37 patients we studied, all of whom fulfilled the current definition of NCGS. ""


said this on
09 Jul 2014 11:16:41 AM PDT
Who is David Sax and what are his qualifications to even express a credible opinion on this, or any other health topic? The worst advice you will ever get about gluten-free food, gluten-free dining, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or related auto-immune diseases will come from a non-gluten sensitive food critic.


said this on
27 Jul 2014 3:42:12 PM PDT
Gluten makes me hurt and feel 80 years old and I am only 46. I have regained my life and will never willingly eat gluten!! Gluten Free Today and Gluten Free Forever!!

Rachelle Harris

said this on
10 Aug 2014 5:13:42 PM PDT
Absolute true for me. IBS most likely NCGS is my diagnosis, all I need to do is avoid it like the plague. Not willingly eating it either ! Had some accidental exposure and knew all about it. Why do people think it is their right to question people who have found this diet to be beneficial to their health as if they are somehow making it up. I mean, this diet is time consuming, all encompassing and expensive (not that that is a reason not to follow it if you need to) You don't go on it unless you have to!

Greg Soilder

said this on
12 Aug 2014 9:27:35 PM PDT
Well according to a recent article the Low FODMAP diet can due more harm then good unless you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Teresa D.

said this on
21 Aug 2014 10:50:10 AM PDT
I have a child that is intolerant to gluten. Test from doctor showed what they thought was celiac but he was negative for celiac. Gluten causes him to violently throw up. When gluten was removed from his diet that stopped. This man needs to experience what my son did then see what he thinks about gluten.

thomas mathew

said this on
31 Aug 2014 12:01:09 PM PDT
I am a doctor myself, a pediatric cardiac surgeon. For several years i suffered from IBS, GERD and general health issues, nobody diagnosed it as gluten allergy. It was by chance that I diagnosed it by myself, and now 2 weeks of gluten-free diet I am off medications and feel much better.

Sheila Walton

said this on
07 Oct 2014 1:07:26 PM PDT
Happy for you, just wish my daughters doctors would believe or even consider other than mainstream allergy testing.

L Perry

said this on
28 Oct 2014 10:59:43 AM PDT
Your daughter needs a new doctor. Her current one is inept or arrogant, neither of which will heal her. (I'm a nurse, this is all too common.)

Joe Cassano

said this on
04 Nov 2014 12:21:45 AM PDT
I'm intolerant to Gluten. It started April 2013. I also had Heliobacter Pylori. A great combination.

My Mum had been suffering from IBS for years and when I was diagnosed with HP I told her about it. Her Dr refused to believe she had it and said I was wrong when I said that it can be hereditary. She then changes Dr's and gets tested. She had it and when treated, it cleared up 30 years off pain, well temporarily.

I used to think I had what she had, now I don't have a clue. Despite spending thousands.

I really don't pay no mind to what Doctors say or this guy. He probably has some deal with or is linked to a Farmers Union or something. Frankenwheat or whatever that Nobel price winner concocted has created billions of dollars worth of companies. People don't want to give that up.

What I know is that my pain is real and the change in my life is dramatic. I have no energy and don't go to the gym any more. I look terrible most days and most things, especially eating out, no longer appeal.

I find breakfast easy enough, but lunch is a nightmare. I eat sushi, salad or plain meat / fish with veggies.

Dinner is a meal I could gladly do with it. As it's the same as lunch.

Wallace Noll

said this on
21 Jun 2015 1:22:00 PM PDT
You have my sympathies. I was negative on h pylori. but they found candidas in me. I'm gluten free for about 16 months. But I was very ill for years prior to that. I admit that I'm improving. But my diet restrictions are massive. I try to exclude all potential allergens. And I limit cooked food as well. Because I'll stoke my symptoms if I don't.

So, extreme illness from this with doctors ridiculing you for years at a time. Yes I can relate in a big way.

I first told doctors in 2007 that food made me very ill. I'm getting tested for celiac next week. It was not until 2014 that I was tested for the gluten sensitivity in the blood. I tested slightly positive and then the lab company changed the results and said I was negative. I'm not making this up. My medical records show I am not gluten sensitive. Yet I had given up bread because I knew it hurt me. I ate 5 pieces of bread in 2 days because the doctor told me to so that I could take the blood test. And I went to the ER 3 times in 36 hours because I feared for my life due to inability to breathe. and after that I did not eat bread for 7 days, then i took the blood test. I was only very slightly in the 'high' range. Then the lab company changed my results. Now my blood work actually has a document that says I was negative for celiac after all that. But next week I get the actual biopsy.

I'm fortunate in a way to finally get tested. But I first became very ill over it in late 2006. Its taken all this time over which many doctors have ridiculed my illness. It is a long story, but their theories of my illness were proven incorrect. They had me down for conventional COPD. But when a scope went into my lungs my lungs were clean and normal with no disease whatsoever. Why did I test positive for COPD- because of asthma which is from food 100%.

Based on my experience I can never say that doctors are anything but idiots. The blood test costs less than $100. And they'll do anything but give it out. My doctor wanted me to take a fourth stress test for my heart in 3 years even though the 3 previous showed my heart to be very excellent. Like I said doctors will do anything to avoid the gluten test. And when they finally give it the lab might destroy or change the results. That was my experience.

I did improve a month after I went gluten free. But improvement has been so slow and like I said I stoke my illness all the time no matter what I eat. My only choice is weight loss or illness. I've lost 60 pounds in 5 years. Just last week a doctor who advertises celiac expertise told me that was normal. Just 5 years ago I was very strong and muscular in my upper body. Now I am skinny like a twig, my muscles gone. and doctors say it is normal. I cannot say anything good about that 'profession'.

But I am a medicaid patient. They'll say anything to you to get you to go home and pretend not to be ill.

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