O.K. That’s it. In my last post I ended with a quote from Eldridge Cleaver. “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” Well, I realized as I finished the post that I was part of the problem, also. Not because I am neutral – DECIDEDLY not, but because I have not been speaking out against those that would have us continue business as usual with our gluten filled diets. Those who, thinking they are experts on the subject (because a friend of a friend who has a child with ADHD told them,) get it not. Those like the ones I mentioned in the last post, who would ridicule and minimize people with legitimate medical problems that remain untreated due to the ignorance of others. No longer.
Don’t worry, Michael and Julia. I will take you apart in detail in later posts. This blog will be dedicated to Rodale Inc. and its socially irresponsible periodical “Prevention.”
WHAT?! Socially irresponsible? How can a rag be socially irresponsible when it is (supposedly) dedicated to our good health?
A (true) horror story:
We were in the checkout line at our local grocery, (yes, the one that puts the gluten free bread products in the middle of the bakery and refuses to move them to the gluten free section despite management promises to do so and timelines that have long since passed for getting it done. Another blog to come on that one) when I spotted PreventionGuide “Gluten-Free made easy”. Nicely shaped blond on the cover, so I picked it up. Turned the page and about bit a hole through my lip. Why?
“DIETS THAT SHUN wheat are trendy, but are they really effective?” [sic]
“The truth of the matter is that no one foodstuff can be that evil.”
“That’s what this special magazine is all about-clearing the confusion about gluten”
Yeah, first page (letter from the editors,) first (and only) paragraph, sentences placed where you will see them if you’re skimming. The checker was chasing it through the air for 2 minutes before she finally got it scanned ($4.99- expensive for nothing more than emergency TP.)
So what did I find so offensive in those sentences that I would wave the rag in the air for two minutes while gnawing on my lip? I’d like to take the whole thing apart in explanation, each consecutive sentence at a time, but computer memory may not allow that.
“DIETS THAT SHUN wheat are trendy, but are they really effective?” YES. Just not for losing weight. As these editors should know. Come on, I’m older than most folks, and I’ve heard it all my life. The ONLY way to lose weight is to consume a more nutritious diet, consume less calories, and exercise more. Gluten has nothing to do with that if you are not a Celiac. Gluten has EVERYTHING to do with it if you are a Celiac. (Hint: 40% of the population are Celiacs.)
I could go on. In fact, I realize that if I do go on about the “clearing the confusion about gluten” in this rag, I’ll be writing a full book just about their inaccuracies. So, I am going to limit myself to just 2 of the many things that really bother me about it. I’ll also throw in some SCIENCE FACT at the end.
First: The editors are moral minimizers. This is (or should be) of concern to everyone, Celiac or not. Here’s the thing. They say “The truth of the matter is that no one foodstuff can be that evil. We need to keep things in perspective. Although about 18 million Americans are gluten sensitive, that’s still only about 5% of the population.”
Only? Lets think about that number. 18 MILLION Americans.
That’s ONLY about 15 times the number of Americans that died from combat action in World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam and the Civil War (both sides) combined. ONLY.
That’s ONLY about 1 1/2 MILLION more than the population of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. Combined. ONLY.
How can they “keep things in perspective” with an attitude like that.
Here’s some real perspective: “Small intestinal adenocarcinoma (cancer), refractory sprue and enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma (again, cancer) are complications of celiac disease that must be ruled out when alarming symptoms such as… weight loss develop despite a strict gluten-free diet.” (N Engl J Med 2007; 1731-43.)
That’s right. Weight loss is an “alarming symptom” when a Celiac is on a gluten free diet, not the goal of a gluten free diet. A person needs to be DAMN SURE they are NOT a Celiac (Celiacs Disease is not the issue) before they start a gluten free diet to lose weight.
The second thing that really bothers me about this rag is that, like many people (including the majority of the medical community,) they persist in living in the past when it comes to gluten. Far in the past. In fact, you can recognize what they list as “common symptoms” as coming from the extant works of Arataeus the Cappadocian. Only 2000 year old diagnostic procedures!
So Rodale Inc. is suffering from cranial-rectal impactus as regards gluten. Lets give them some modern medical science to think about.
FACT: “Ingestion of gluten by genetically predisposed individuals causes Celiacs Disease.” This phrase or one very similar has appeared in a majority of research studies published in the last 20 years that concern the effects of gluten on humans. Which people are “genetically predisposed?”
Those that have the genes HLA-DQ2, HLA-DQ8, OR HLA-DQ7.5.
That’s about 40% of the population (or, 129 MILLION, not the 18 million you claim.)
Why is that important?
FACT: And pay attention to this one, Rodale. Published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2006. (9 years ago, not 2000 years ago) “Overweight in celiac disease: prevalence, clinical characteristics, and effect of a gluten-free diet.” In this report, the researchers show that, while 5% of celiacs present with the “classic symptoms” of Celiacs Disease including underweight (as you and Arataeus say,) a whopping 39% are overweight at diagnosis. It gets worse.
“Of patients (yes, patients!) compliant with a gluten-free diet, 81% had gained weight after 2 years, including 82% of initially overweight patients.”
And yet you, Rodale, would have people go gluten free to lose weight or get a flatter belly.
I’ll leave you with the conclusion from this study.
“The increase in weight of already overweight patients after dietary gluten exclusion is a potential cause of morbidity, and the gluten-free diet as conventionally prescribed needs to be modified accordingly.”
PRESCRIBED. PATIENTS. MORBIDITY. Your magazine IS part of the problem.
Where did your editors get their medical degrees?