Could wheat be bad to eat?
I certainly didn’t think so. I thought it was one of those rare allergies that troubled a few unlucky people. In my practice I had a number of patients that had celiac disease. If they ate wheat, they would get sick. I now know that about 1-2% of the population have celiac disease, most often diagnosed when they are 65, having anemia, osteoporosis, digestive problems, malabsorption problems, and atherosclerosis from eating wheat. I have seen those people. They all told me that they got a lot healthier and lost weight when they eliminated wheat. OK, that’s true for them. I really like sour dough bread.
One of my patients had a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. She had all the symptoms. She had it for about ten years, having been diagnosed shortly after getting married. She had been advised to be very cautious about becoming pregnant so they had no children. She told me that she read that some people with the MS diagnosis actually had a sensitivity to wheat gluten. She told me that it occurred to her that it would be worth a try. How hard could it be? I saw her 6 weeks after she stopped eating wheat, wheat related, or wheat containing products. My mouth dropped open in shock. She had dropped weight and she looked healthy! I asked her what happened and she told me what she had done. That got me to look in the literature and read that some people acquired neurologic disease by consuming wheat, multiple sclerosis being a misdiagnosis of some of those people. About three months later, she was pregnant. Still, that didn’t get me to give up my bran flakes.
A friend had been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity. Her husband, in support of his wife, he also went gluten free. In a period of about a year, all his allergies faded away. No more hay fever. He was very enthused because no more allergy meds and more time outside in comfort. Interesting...but I still really enjoyed my bran muffins.
My wife and I have always been careful, trying to eat healthy. We had gradually shifted to eating organic food and became more motivated when we had a child. We tried to be very careful with introducing food to him and were very observant what happened when we introduced food. There were a few things that we avoided. Some testing had suggested that wheat might not be good. He would get irritation around his mouth sometimes and it seemed to be related to eating bread. We decided to mostly eliminate wheat for him. It reduced my consumption but I still ate some. He did do better and for me, I felt the same. After about six months, my wife and I thought, perhaps we should just go 100% gluten free. We did it with only the idea that it might be a good thing and an interesting experiment. I was a little reluctant but why not? I could go back to eating my bran flakes and whole wheat bread after the experiment.
No Diet Weight Loss
In six weeks I lost 25 pounds. I made no effort to diet other than avoid gluten containing products. I then very rarely had gas and I felt different. That got my attention. How could this be?? I started to read the scientific literature. (to be continued)
photo by Dave Carsten