Jimmy Kimmel recently had an incredibly funny video asking people who were on a gluten free diet if they even knew what gluten was. Their responses were hilarious; however, although they didn’t know the answer, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the proteins found in wheat, barley (malt), rye and the majority of oats (gluten-gliadin-WGA, etc.) are dangerous to most people according to leading researchers.
Until fairly recently, celiac disease (the intestinal manifestation of gluten sensitivity) was considered rare. The belief was that it only affected 1 in 3000 people in the US. However, with greater awareness of its many other manifestations, it is now realized that that celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (as stated in JAMA 2009) are relatively common affecting up to 1 in 120 people in both Europe and North America.
In addition, an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in January 2002 provided us with a list of 55 non-celiac conditions ranging from iron deficiency and osteoporosis to type-1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis, to depression, schizophrenia and more. The authors considered these conditions, “definite associations” in people who are gluten sensitive.
And for those who consider these grains “the staff of life” you should also know that the ancient wheat of the Bible was known as Einkorn, which only possessed 14 chromosomes, and was diploid. Compare that to today’s wheat that has a chromosome count as high as 64, and you have a grain that has no resemblance to the original species. Combine that with the fact that it was over-hybridized during the “Green Revolution” in the 1960s and 70s and you have the creation of an entirely new plant. Not your grandma’s wheat that’s for sure.
So for those who are gluten free just for the fun of it, I thought you’d want to be armed with the answers just in case a late night talk show host poses the question, “what is gluten?” Chances are, even if no one asks you the question, going gluten free may just save your life. For more information on gluten please read some of my other articles including one published in the Spring issue of New You Magazine entitle Gone With the Gluten and enjoy Discovering Health Without Limits™.
Also, be on the lookout for my upcoming book, The Many Faces of Gluten.
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