Flashback Friday: Is Gluten Sensitivity Real? & Separating the Wheat from the Chat

Flashback Friday: Is Gluten Sensitivity Real? & Separating the Wheat from the Chat
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For more than 30 years, the medical profession has debated the existence of an intolerance to the wheat protein, gluten, unrelated to allergy or celiac disease. How common is gluten sensitivity? Are there benefits of gluten? Why does the medical profession explicitly advise against people who suspect they might be gluten intolerant from just going on a gluten-free diet?

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In 1980, researchers in England reported a series of women who suffered from chronic diarrhea that resolved on a gluten-free diet, yet didn’t have evidence of celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder associated with gluten intolerance. The medical profession was skeptical at the time, and even 30 years later, so much so, that much like patients who had irritable bowel syndrome, patients claiming non-celiac gluten sensitivity were commonly referred to psychiatrists because they were believed to have an underlying mental illness. Psychological testing of such patients, however, found no evidence that they were suffering from some psychosomatic hysteria.

The medical profession has a history of dismissing diseases as all in people’s heads—PTSD, ulcerative colitis, migraines, ulcers, asthma, Parkinson’s and MS. Despite resistance from the prevailing medical community each time, however, these health problems have subsequently been confirmed to be credible physiologically-based disorders rather than psychologically-based confabulations.

On the flipside, the internet is rife with unsubstantiated claims about gluten-free diets, which has spilled over into the popular press to make gluten the diet villain du jour. Claims like ‘17 million Americans are gluten sensitive.’ However, it must be remembered that this is also ‘big business.’

When literally billions are at stake it’s hard to trust anybody, so as always, best to stick to the science. What sort of evidence do we have for the existence of a condition presumed to be so widespread?

Not much. The evidence base for such claims was unfortunately very thin because we didn’t have randomized controlled trials demonstrating that the entity even exists. The gold-standard for confirming non-celiac gluten sensitivity requires a gluten-free diet, followed by a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled food challenge. Like they give you a muffin and you’re not told if it’s gluten-free or gluten-filled—to control for placebo effects—and see what happens. The reason this is necessary is because when you actually do this, a number of quote-unquote “gluten-sensitive” patients don’t react at all to disguised gluten and instead react to the gluten-free placebo. So it was truly ‘in their heads.’

But we never had that level of evidence until… 2011, when a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial was published, which tested to see if patients complaining of irritable bowel symptoms who claimed they felt better on a gluten-free diet—despite not having celiac disease—actually could tell if they were given gluten-containing bread and muffins or the placebo gluten-free bread and muffins.

They started out gluten-free and symptom-free for two weeks and then they were challenged with the bread and muffins. Here’s what happened to the 15 patients who got the placebo, meaning they started out on a gluten-free diet and continued on a gluten–free diet. They got worse. Just the thought that they may be eating something that was bad for them made them feel crampy and bloated. This is what’s called the nocebo effect. The placebo effect is when you give someone something useless and they feel better; the nocebo effect is when you give someone something harmless and they feel worse. But the small group that got the actual gluten, felt worse still. So, they concluded, this non-celiac gluten intolerance thing may actually exist.

It was a small study, though, and even though they claimed the gluten-free bread and muffins were indistinguishable, maybe at some level the patients could tell which was which. So in 2012, researchers in Italy took 920 patients that had been diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and put them to the test with a double-blinded wheat challenge by giving them capsules of filled with wheat flour or filled with placebo powder. And more than 2/3’s failed the test, like they got worse on the placebo or better on the wheat. But of those that passed, there was a clear benefit to staying on the wheat-free diet, confirming the existence of a non-celiac wheat sensitivity. Note they said wheat sensitivity, not gluten sensitivity.

Gluten itself may not be causing gut symptoms at all. See most people with wheat sensitivity have a variety of other food sensitivities. Two thirds are sensitive to cow’s milk protein as well, then eggs were the most common culprit.

So if you put people on a diet low in common triggers of irritable bowel symptoms and then challenge them with gluten, there’s no effect. Same increase in symptoms with high gluten, low gluten or no gluten, calling into question the very existence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Interestingly, despite being informed that avoiding gluten wasn’t apparently doing a thing for their gut symptoms, many participants opted to continue following a gluten-free diet as they subjectively described “feeling better,” so the researchers wondered if avoiding gluten might be improve the mood of those with wheat sensitivity and indeed, short-term exposure to gluten appeared to induce feelings of depression in these patients. But whether non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a disease of the mind or the gut, it is no longer a condition that can be dismissed.

Until only a few years ago, almost the whole of the scientific world maintained that the wheat protein gluten would provoke negative effects only in people with rare conditions such as celiac disease or wheat allergies, but by the early part of 2013, it was largely becoming accepted that some nonceliac patients could suffer from gluten or wheat sensitivity

And indeed a consensus panel of experts now officially recognizes three gluten-related conditions: wheat allergy, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity. So what percentage of the population should avoid wheat?

About 1 in a thousand may have a wheat allergy, nearly 1 in a 100 have celiac disease, and it appears to be on the rise, though there’s still less than a 1 in 10,000 chance Americans will get diagnosed with celiac in a given year. How common is wheat sensitivity? Our best estimate at this point is in that same general range, slightly higher than 1%, but still that’s potentially millions of people who may have been suffering for years who could have been cured by simple dietary means, yet were unrecognized and unhelped by the medical profession.

Although gluten sensitivity continues to gain medical credibility, we still don’t know how it works, or how much gluten can be tolerated, if it’s reversible or not and what the long-term complications might be of not sticking to the diet. Considering the lack of knowledge, maybe people with gluten sensitivity should try reintroducing gluten back into their diet every year to see if it’s still causing problems.

The reason health professionals don’t want to see people on gluten-free diets unless absolutely necessary is that for the 98% of people that don’t have gluten issues, whole grains—including the gluten grains wheat, barley and rye—are health promoting, linked to the reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases.

Just like because some people have a peanut allergy, doesn’t mean everyone should avoid peanuts. There is no evidence to suggest that following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity or allergy. They’re talking about this study that found that a month on a gluten-free diet may hurt our gut flora and immune function, potentially setting those on gluten-free diets up for an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in their intestines. Why? Because, ironically, of the beneficial effects of the very components wheat sensitive people have problems with—like the FODMAP fructans that act as prebiotics and feed our good bacteria, or the gluten itself, which may boost immune function. Less than a week of added gluten protein significantly increased natural killer cell activity, which could be expected to improve our body’s ability to fight cancer and viral infections. High gluten bread improves triglyceride levels better than regular gluten bread, as another example.

Ironically, one of the greatest threats gluten-free diets pose, may be the gluten itself. Self-prescription of gluten withdrawal may undermine the ability to pick up celiac disease, the much more serious form of gluten intolerance. The way we diagnose celiac is by looking for the inflammation caused by gluten in celiac sufferers, but if they haven’t been eating a lot of gluten, we might miss the disease.

Hence, rather than being on a gluten-free diet, we want celiac suspects to be on a gluten-loaded diet. We’re talkin’ 4-6 slices of gluten-packed bread every day for at least a month so we can definitively diagnose the disease. Why does it matter to get a formal diagnosis if you’re already on a gluten-free diet? Well it’s a genetic disease so you’ll know to test the family, but most importantly many people on gluten-free diets are not actually on gluten-free diets. Even 20 parts per million can be toxic to someone with celiac. Many on so-called gluten-free diets inadvertently still eat gluten. Sometimes there’s contamination of gluten-free products, so even foods labeled quote-unquote gluten-free may still not be safe for celiac sufferers. That’s why we need to know.

The irony, editorialized in a prominent medical journal, of many celiac patients not knowing their diagnosis, while millions of non-sufferers banish gluten from their lives, can be considered a public health farce.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Melissa Askew / Unsplash.

In 1980, researchers in England reported a series of women who suffered from chronic diarrhea that resolved on a gluten-free diet, yet didn’t have evidence of celiac disease, the autoimmune disorder associated with gluten intolerance. The medical profession was skeptical at the time, and even 30 years later, so much so, that much like patients who had irritable bowel syndrome, patients claiming non-celiac gluten sensitivity were commonly referred to psychiatrists because they were believed to have an underlying mental illness. Psychological testing of such patients, however, found no evidence that they were suffering from some psychosomatic hysteria.

The medical profession has a history of dismissing diseases as all in people’s heads—PTSD, ulcerative colitis, migraines, ulcers, asthma, Parkinson’s and MS. Despite resistance from the prevailing medical community each time, however, these health problems have subsequently been confirmed to be credible physiologically-based disorders rather than psychologically-based confabulations.

On the flipside, the internet is rife with unsubstantiated claims about gluten-free diets, which has spilled over into the popular press to make gluten the diet villain du jour. Claims like ‘17 million Americans are gluten sensitive.’ However, it must be remembered that this is also ‘big business.’

When literally billions are at stake it’s hard to trust anybody, so as always, best to stick to the science. What sort of evidence do we have for the existence of a condition presumed to be so widespread?

Not much. The evidence base for such claims was unfortunately very thin because we didn’t have randomized controlled trials demonstrating that the entity even exists. The gold-standard for confirming non-celiac gluten sensitivity requires a gluten-free diet, followed by a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled food challenge. Like they give you a muffin and you’re not told if it’s gluten-free or gluten-filled—to control for placebo effects—and see what happens. The reason this is necessary is because when you actually do this, a number of quote-unquote “gluten-sensitive” patients don’t react at all to disguised gluten and instead react to the gluten-free placebo. So it was truly ‘in their heads.’

But we never had that level of evidence until… 2011, when a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial was published, which tested to see if patients complaining of irritable bowel symptoms who claimed they felt better on a gluten-free diet—despite not having celiac disease—actually could tell if they were given gluten-containing bread and muffins or the placebo gluten-free bread and muffins.

They started out gluten-free and symptom-free for two weeks and then they were challenged with the bread and muffins. Here’s what happened to the 15 patients who got the placebo, meaning they started out on a gluten-free diet and continued on a gluten–free diet. They got worse. Just the thought that they may be eating something that was bad for them made them feel crampy and bloated. This is what’s called the nocebo effect. The placebo effect is when you give someone something useless and they feel better; the nocebo effect is when you give someone something harmless and they feel worse. But the small group that got the actual gluten, felt worse still. So, they concluded, this non-celiac gluten intolerance thing may actually exist.

It was a small study, though, and even though they claimed the gluten-free bread and muffins were indistinguishable, maybe at some level the patients could tell which was which. So in 2012, researchers in Italy took 920 patients that had been diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and put them to the test with a double-blinded wheat challenge by giving them capsules of filled with wheat flour or filled with placebo powder. And more than 2/3’s failed the test, like they got worse on the placebo or better on the wheat. But of those that passed, there was a clear benefit to staying on the wheat-free diet, confirming the existence of a non-celiac wheat sensitivity. Note they said wheat sensitivity, not gluten sensitivity.

Gluten itself may not be causing gut symptoms at all. See most people with wheat sensitivity have a variety of other food sensitivities. Two thirds are sensitive to cow’s milk protein as well, then eggs were the most common culprit.

So if you put people on a diet low in common triggers of irritable bowel symptoms and then challenge them with gluten, there’s no effect. Same increase in symptoms with high gluten, low gluten or no gluten, calling into question the very existence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Interestingly, despite being informed that avoiding gluten wasn’t apparently doing a thing for their gut symptoms, many participants opted to continue following a gluten-free diet as they subjectively described “feeling better,” so the researchers wondered if avoiding gluten might be improve the mood of those with wheat sensitivity and indeed, short-term exposure to gluten appeared to induce feelings of depression in these patients. But whether non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a disease of the mind or the gut, it is no longer a condition that can be dismissed.

Until only a few years ago, almost the whole of the scientific world maintained that the wheat protein gluten would provoke negative effects only in people with rare conditions such as celiac disease or wheat allergies, but by the early part of 2013, it was largely becoming accepted that some nonceliac patients could suffer from gluten or wheat sensitivity

And indeed a consensus panel of experts now officially recognizes three gluten-related conditions: wheat allergy, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity. So what percentage of the population should avoid wheat?

About 1 in a thousand may have a wheat allergy, nearly 1 in a 100 have celiac disease, and it appears to be on the rise, though there’s still less than a 1 in 10,000 chance Americans will get diagnosed with celiac in a given year. How common is wheat sensitivity? Our best estimate at this point is in that same general range, slightly higher than 1%, but still that’s potentially millions of people who may have been suffering for years who could have been cured by simple dietary means, yet were unrecognized and unhelped by the medical profession.

Although gluten sensitivity continues to gain medical credibility, we still don’t know how it works, or how much gluten can be tolerated, if it’s reversible or not and what the long-term complications might be of not sticking to the diet. Considering the lack of knowledge, maybe people with gluten sensitivity should try reintroducing gluten back into their diet every year to see if it’s still causing problems.

The reason health professionals don’t want to see people on gluten-free diets unless absolutely necessary is that for the 98% of people that don’t have gluten issues, whole grains—including the gluten grains wheat, barley and rye—are health promoting, linked to the reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases.

Just like because some people have a peanut allergy, doesn’t mean everyone should avoid peanuts. There is no evidence to suggest that following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity or allergy. They’re talking about this study that found that a month on a gluten-free diet may hurt our gut flora and immune function, potentially setting those on gluten-free diets up for an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in their intestines. Why? Because, ironically, of the beneficial effects of the very components wheat sensitive people have problems with—like the FODMAP fructans that act as prebiotics and feed our good bacteria, or the gluten itself, which may boost immune function. Less than a week of added gluten protein significantly increased natural killer cell activity, which could be expected to improve our body’s ability to fight cancer and viral infections. High gluten bread improves triglyceride levels better than regular gluten bread, as another example.

Ironically, one of the greatest threats gluten-free diets pose, may be the gluten itself. Self-prescription of gluten withdrawal may undermine the ability to pick up celiac disease, the much more serious form of gluten intolerance. The way we diagnose celiac is by looking for the inflammation caused by gluten in celiac sufferers, but if they haven’t been eating a lot of gluten, we might miss the disease.

Hence, rather than being on a gluten-free diet, we want celiac suspects to be on a gluten-loaded diet. We’re talkin’ 4-6 slices of gluten-packed bread every day for at least a month so we can definitively diagnose the disease. Why does it matter to get a formal diagnosis if you’re already on a gluten-free diet? Well it’s a genetic disease so you’ll know to test the family, but most importantly many people on gluten-free diets are not actually on gluten-free diets. Even 20 parts per million can be toxic to someone with celiac. Many on so-called gluten-free diets inadvertently still eat gluten. Sometimes there’s contamination of gluten-free products, so even foods labeled quote-unquote gluten-free may still not be safe for celiac sufferers. That’s why we need to know.

The irony, editorialized in a prominent medical journal, of many celiac patients not knowing their diagnosis, while millions of non-sufferers banish gluten from their lives, can be considered a public health farce.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Melissa Askew / Unsplash.

Doctor's Note

More than 10,000 articles have been published on gluten in medical journals—intimidating even for me! Combined with the multi-billion dollar financial interests on both sides, it makes for a difficult task. But I think I did it! This is 2 in 1 video, and the other video in this series is: How to Diagnose Gluten Intolerance, where I go step by step how someone may want to proceed who suspects they might be sensitive to gluten-containing grains.

Why this apparent increase in food sensitivities in recent decades? It could be because of pollutant exposure (see Alkylphenol Endocrine Disruptors and Allergies and Dietary Sources of Alkylphenol Endocrine Disruptors).

What can we do about preventing so-called atopic diseases (like allergies, asthma, and eczema)? See my videos Preventing Allergies in Adulthood and Childhood. The weirdest example of an emerging food sensitivity may be the tick-bite related meat allergy story I review in Alpha Gal and the Lone Star Tick and Tick Bites, Meat Allergies, and Chronic Urticaria.

More on the benefits of whole grains in general in Whole Grains May Work as Well as Drugs, Alzheimer’s Disease: Grain Brain or Meathead?, and Gut Microbiome – Strike It Rich with Whole Grains.

For all of my videos on keeping gut flora happy, check out the microbiome topic page.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

222 responses to “Flashback Friday: Is Gluten Sensitivity Real? & Separating the Wheat from the Chat

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  1. I am glad I watched this again.

    I think the elimination diet is part of the problem.

    I have friends plural who have been told to do it and one week they think they might be gluten sensitive and the next week, we’ll, maybe it is yeast sensitivity or maybe it was something else.

    Years and years of back and forth and decades later they still don’t really know what is going on.

    1. Food allergies (autoimmune conditions) do not present with only one symptom (irritable bowel). Autoimmune conditions often express a variety of symptom. Abdominal bloating, chronic diarrhea, vomiting,
      constipation, weight loss/gain, irritability, fatigue, bone or joint pain, depression or anxiety, tingling numbness in the hands and feet, itchy skin rash, etc. Some or all of these symptoms may be expressed depending on where one might be on a continuum between 
optimal functioning and full-blown disease. Inflammation is another symptom often associated with gluten consumption. Dr. William Davis found that taking his patients with cardiovascular conditions off gluten showed vast improvement. Why isn’t his work mentioned or the fact that thorough studies of autoimmune conditions need to consider a variety of symptoms?

      1. Greger reports what published scientific studies show.

        He usually doesn’t discuss the claims of doctors like Davis who make money selling sensational books based on speculations about nutrition and health that are often refuted by well-designed and conducted studies. Not to put too fine a point on it, Davis appears to be either a crank himself or someone who is deliberately targeting the profitable ‘alternative health’ market for personal gain. He denies the evidence identifying high cholesterol is a risk factor for CVD, promotes low carb diets and argues that wheat is toxic. Some people lap this stuff up but the global medical and scientific base their positions on what high quality scientific evidence shows. And that evidence doesn’t support Davis’ claims/arguments.

        For a very brief summary of the difficulties with Davis and his claims, a look at RationalWiki might be a good place to start
        https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_Davis

        or
        https://www.cbc.ca/news/wheat-belly-arguments-are-based-on-shaky-science-critics-say-1.2974214

        or
        https://now.tufts.edu/articles/truth-about-war-wheat

        Caveat emptor.

      1. Greger has separate videos on these broad topics eg

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/treating-ulcerative-colitis-with-diet/
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/achieving-remission-of-crohns-disease/

        This may also be helpful
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4607699/

        Also (NCGS = non-coeliac gluten sensitivity)

        ‘the scientific community agrees that the withdrawal of wheat from the diet can significantly improve symptoms in a subset of IBS patients, who can sometimes be diagnosed as NCGS. The group of IBS patients with gluten sensitivity gathers the vast majority of wheat sensitive patients, since only a minority of NCGS cases do not display a coexistent IBS [56]. The interplay between the various components of wheat, such as gluten, ATIs, WGA and FODMAPs, may elicit a wide array of both intestinal and extraintestinal symptoms in a subgroup of IBS patients by modulating intestinal permeability, microbiota composition, immune activation which, alone or more likely in combination, also affect the gut-brain axis activity thereby leading to symptom perception.’
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707740/

  2. The “gluten police” proclaiming gluten is bad and gives you leaky gut are part of our cultural reality at a.very high level since the internet.

    I do know a few people who decided they were gluten sensitive and then they did the test of going back on it and deciding maybe they weren’t gluten-sensitive. Then, after a year or so, they decided to go gluten-free anyway out of fear of causing leaky gut and they emotionally feel safer being gluten-free.

    I think the gluten-police have created a sense of “I am doing something unhealthy and bad.”

    Supermarkets having large gluten-free sections adds to it.

    I am not gluten-free, but there are times I buy the gluten-free version of things and I think it is that years of being the only person on the opposing side of every diet war has an emotional toll.

    1. I don’t think there are large sections of gluten free food. What – do you want to punish those of us who have very real issues with either gluten or wheat? I become very ill when I eat even a bite of a wheat containing food. I don’t know for myself if other grains with gluten are an issue because I’m afraid to even try them. But I do test out allergic to wheat, and gluten is a wheat protein. This is a common food allergy — so common that any food containing wheat must list it again, in bold at the end of the ingredients.

      Besides that, Celiac’s is common enough that I know a number of families who have it.

      I will tell you that wheat is so pervasive that it is difficult to avoid. As to that, one feels like an outsider at most events because they can’t join in eating with everyone. If you have not had to live this, you totally have no idea how life changing and depressing it can be. So please don’t begrudge us our paltry selection of less than wonderful gluten/wheat free foods.

      1. My 6 month old child was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1975. It was explained to me , that it was an inherited disease. It wasn’t until 2000 that my gastroenterologist ,upon doing a biopsy. Diagnosed me with the disease. You do not out grow it. But if you adhere to the diet religiously you will then recreate some of the intestinal Flora .Then upon doing another test you would test , negative when you do still have the disease.
        For years people have been sick. Then diagnosed and treated for problems they didnt have. To then finally have an intestinal biopsy that clearly showed they had celiacs disease.

        1. I think Deb’s point is merely that many people without wheat/gluten/soy sensitivity (a majority of the population) are also bullied and derided by highly vocal and opinionated individuals who loudly proclaim that those things are the causes of most of society’s ills.

  3. I use the terms “soy police” and “gluten police” and “keto police” but the fact that “authoritative” is a technique most leaders have in their wheel wells to get people to obey. They don’t even seem to understand that they were trained to manipulate people into obeying them by acting arrogant and acting like anybody who does a certain behavior is a threat to global society and is an uneducated imbecilic moron who should be mocked to preserve the greater good.

    1. Deb, re: “I use the terms “soy police” and “gluten police” and “keto police” but the fact that “authoritative” is a technique most leaders have in their wheel wells to get people to obey. ”

      It’s amazing how easy it is to “brainwash” and manipulate people with the “authoritative” attitude. My parents were thoroughly brainwashed about many things because they lived most of their lives before the Internet. They got practically all their information from newspapers, magazines, and TV! Those particular media are “one-way” avenues of communication and used to have an air of authority about them. It wasn’t until the Internet came along that opposing viewpoints became possible and people could carry on discussions amongst themselves yielding a truer “two-way” communications. (LIke the discussions we have here!) I, personally, don’t watch TV nor read newspapers any more.

      The authoritarians with their agendas had a field day before the Internet with no competition. Thank goodness we now have a relatively free Internet today, although the powers behind the scenes are desperately trying to control it. Let’s hope it remains free so we can continue to listen to Dr Greger with his opposing views to the meat, egg, and dairy industries!

      1. Darwin,

        I agree with you. The internet has opened the door for people to do their own research.

        In America, the “normal” person is still watching 5 hours of television per day, so television is still the main source of information. I don’t know if when they use the word “normal” they mean “average” or if there is some other statistical “norm” they are going by, but either way, television still is the biggest authoritative voice there is.

        I go back to the various psychology studies where 65% of people just obey authority figures even if those people are telling them to do something ridiculous.

        Culturally, historically, that has been such a disastrous way of doing things.

        I think coming from an “abuse of power” situation and growing up in an “abuse of power” culture made me someone who does want to understand things from every side.

        For a while, it makes things way more confusing, but, after a time, things sort out and I think it makes me less prone to be in the 65% as often.

    2. You know what’s worse that the Gluten Police? The GF is a Crock Police! I AM gluten sensitive and the current onslaught of articles teaching people that I’m a lying crackpot has led to me being fed gluten on the sly and enduring debilitating psoriatic arthritis attacks.

      I regard this sort of “it’s all in your head” talk as exactly the same as when doctors in the 1980’s told women with IBS to stop being so emotionally unstable and it would go away.

      And you know what? A lot of us had IBS because we were freakin’ gluten-sensitive!

      Thanks to all the snideness, I was a GF skeptic for too long before I tried a GF diet. I wasted years. And as a note, while going GF relieved my arthritis symptoms very quickly, it took a full year before my skin cleared of psoriasis. It takes a very long time to completely heal your gut.

      So I disagree on who is brainwashed.

      1. Hi Anne. Thanks for your comment. Similar experience here with arthritis inflammation.

        After being off wheat and dairy for a few years, I baked some bread with spelt, ignorant of its gluten content. A slice of spelt bread a day for six days and the pain in my bad knee had me limping. After I googled “spelt” I threw out the last slice of bread. Two or three days later my knee was back to “normal,” which means chronic low-level pain, but limp-free.

        As for my gut, I ate too much Irish brown bread and soda bread while traveling. Discomfort kept me from sleeping well and all the gas I emitted could have caused explosions around open flames.

        When I went back to Ireland this year I found packaged GF bread in most grocery stores. It contains powdered egg whites, but travel sometimes means a bit of compromise in regard to WFPB. Fortunately, people there are kind and don’t make remarks about my choices.

        1. Hi C, glad to hear from another person who can relieve their joint problems with a GF diet. I think we may be the most motivated GF group around. It’s miraculous to get your mobility back.

          Wheat flour is added to a lot of unpredictable things. This past year, I encountered baked potato pieces rolled in flour to make them crisp, vegetable soup with flour inexplicably stirred in at the end, and I learned that “Lebanese rice” means that vermicelli pasta is broken up with the rice. My right knee had a lot to say about that last one, which really was my fault for not asking more questions. I try to be stealthy about my GF needs – sometimes it backfires.

        2. C,

          That is interesting.

          Do you have gut problems? I mean maybe from antibiotics or RoundUp or animal products? Or smoking or alcohol consumption?

          Just a question. Not a judgment. I do have a few people I care deeply about who basically went Low-Fodmap and stopped eating fruits or vegetables or grains or soy and basically eat chicken and fats and they gave up certain nuts, too, but they keep getting sick and needing antibiotics and I have always wondered if they could have just healed their gut microbiome and stopped having problems and if they just are so nutritionally starved and have meat viruses or something, but it was all part of a series of teachings and gluten and soy and lectins and nightshades and phytates and yeast are all part of the same flow of teachings.

          Flour is a processed food, and I imagine if you have leaky gut it flour would cause problems, but that is different than gluten causing problems. Does barley cause problems in its whole food, organic form?

          I am genuinely trying to learn.

          I know that Dr. Greger talked about Fodmap and said that people could work on healing their gut microbiome rather than live on such a restricted diet for a long period of time, but from what I have seen people become afraid of the foods.

      2. I agree with you, Anne S. Try being the mother of a child that reacts to over a dozen foods. Our pediatrician was head of Texas Children’s here in Houston when my children were toddlers. I remember arguing with him when I told him I had removed sucrose from our 4 year old son’s diet. He was adamant that he wasn’t reacting, that it wasn’t an allergic response, that sucrose was just fine. I told him I didn’t care what we called it, it was a negative response and my child and I were the ones that had to deal with the negative social repercussions to the ensuing behavior after ingestion. That’s where the insanity is- in the density of doctor brains. Mothers know. We did the elimination diet and my life became more like other mothers. But of course, there were the unbelievers as in people who would hand my son sugar, corn, etc. Then I’d back off and let them deal with the consequences as they became believers. It only took once. I knew the reactions: Strawberries-withdrawal and depression. Wheat- irritability and noncompliance. Sugar-hyperactivity, exhilaration, increased respiratory rate, Milk-hyperactivity and increased respiratory rate, Apple and Orange juice-nocturnal enuresis, Corn- extreme hyperactivity, exhilaration, increased respiratory rate. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Later, as I became more aware of chemical reactions, I wondered if it could be the pesticides, etc. on foods and we went organic. At that time, only Whole Foods made a spelt bread that he seemed to be okay with. I prepared everything to be sure we didn’t get anything in our meals by mistake. I don’t care what you want to call it. Withdraw the food and life became easier for us both and those in our lives. One day after sugar I had to throw my tantrumming toddler over my shoulder in a store and take him to the car. My sister and niece were with me and witnessed many of these episodes after a meal. I remember that day because I just broke down crying from the stress. I wondered what I was doing wrong as a mother. My sister then assured me that she couldn’t understand how I did it, that she saw what I saw and couldn’t understand it. It wasn’t in my mind. My husband saw it. The sneaky grand parents became believers the hard way. My neighbors didn’t believe it but witnessed a corn reaction at a block party. They couldn’t believe their eyes. That’s when they witnessed the power of Alka-Seltzer Gold: it would stop the reactions (from Is This Your Child, by Doris Rapp). Did we know why? Did we care?! Not when it’s happening to your child. Today, our son is 29 and he won’t touch wheat. He KNOWS he’s better off without it and couldn’t care less why or what anyone, including science, thinks. And neither could we. Because we’ve lived it with and without and without always won in everyone’s opinion.

        1. Carol,

          The reality of RoundUp harming the tight junctions is so devastating. Autoimmune conditions exploding is genuinely devastating.

          I am not talking against people whose children are affected. You obviously have found answers using the elimination diet. I have mostly seen it work the opposite way. People give up all grains and nightshades and are just constantly sick for months at a time and I think it is the number of plant-foods they gave up out of fear that it is gluten or grains or soy or lectins or phytates or nightshades causing them problems.

          The sickest people I know have lived constantly on the elimination diet for decades and I tried to get one to actually get tested by the allergist sent them back to the elimination diet but I haven’t seen them solve anything at all and what they haven’t tried is high fiber, low fat, raising potassium, getting enough Vitamin D and going organic and I know it is frustrating that science and nutrition is so hostile. It is terrible.

          I have not been health-oriented and have only been around since it was in the other direction where people read books and I am thinking “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly” and books like that, though I wasn’t around when they came out, I just saw the hostility that rose up in the communities and it still happens, but I think it may be lessening and I credit people like Dr. Ornish and Dr. Greger for being so polite and kind and friendly and non-authoritative in their teachings.

          1. I guess I won’t ever know whether they were sick all of the time because they were eating grains and fruits and vegetables or whether giving up grains and fruits and vegetables is causing them to be sick all of the time.

            I feel like RoundUp could have been the answer.

            1. When I say sick, I mean needing antibiotics every few months.

              And I mean multiple times per year.

              I think one year, one of them needed antibiotics for half the year.

              People are so afraid of gluten and soy and corn and think all of it is GMO and it is the wider culture that I am talking about, not the people with genuine allergies.

            2. So you don’t think your relative had leaky gut or gut microbiome problems from antibiotics or problems from RoundUp?

              You think it is the food itself, not the gut microbiome or leaky gut?

              I ask because those are different than the food itself.

      3. I would say that the whole shouting authoritatively about how dangerous gluten and soy and all the rest is at every party and picnic and picking on people who eat it is what I am talking about. I have never heard anyone do it from the other direction, and I am talking at wider church gatherings and picnics and family gatherings and even on the internet, but I am sure it does happen.

        But the fact that much of it is fake and some of it is real is important to understand.

        1. I guess that most autoimmune conditions being considered psychiatric by doctors probably is what you are talking about.

          I have only been seeing very rabid pro-gluten-free and soy-free people over the past 3 years and I haven’t even seen anyone argue against them.

      4. Had a friend who had really bad eczema all over his body,the doctors couldn’t treat it at the hospital until they found out he had problems with gluten,once he removed all gluten his eczema cleared up & he was able to live a normal life.So it is a problem for some people,others may have IBS & their symptoms may improve a bit when they cut out gluten… & think gluten is the problem.

        1. Hi Wondering
          Gluten for some, not for others … I have moderate IBS. It is not the gluten. It is the sugars in gluten-containing grains, especially wheat.

    3. People love to jump from fad to fad, even regarding food. As soon as another new claim for all that ails people comes around these same people will jump ship, again.

  4. But the vast majority of people around me are like the television people saying, “But I thought butter was bad.” “well, I am relieved we get to eat eggs again.” And they only know “scientists say…” as if scientists are one group.

    The television people do say that and they never look deeper.

  5. But Dr Greger, you become the friendly authority figure who confused them a little with too much information and gave them information that gluten might be better and not eating it might harm them, but you need a video about whether it causes leaky gut if the science is out there, so they can feel relieved and say “Bread is back” and you can say, “well, technically bread is still a processed food with sodium”

    1. Bread is only a processed food with sodium if you make it one. I make home-made, home milled sourdough regularly. Emphasis on SOURDOUGH and it’s totally whole-grain, with a bit of salt for dough strengthening, but a lot less than commercial bread. I even add my own sprouted grains like rye berries or lentils, mung beans. I’ve used bean-cooking water or beer (yes, home brewed ;)) as liquid, and have not looked back on store bread. I feel a lot better now eating THAT bread. Store bought bread was flavorless or oversalted, made me bloat and gave me heartburn. But — that’s me. Everybody is different.

      1. Sabine Walter,

        Same here for the Sourdough whole grain bread. I’ve been adding whole seeds, toasted first, and recently I’ve added sprouted wheat and rye berries, but I never thought about adding the legumes. So thanks for the suggestion.

        But even so, we don’t eat much, 1 or 2 slices a day. It’s delicious, though!

    1. GreenSmoothieParty,

      Did your read the ingredients on a gluten-free product? I have; as I recall, most of them are junk, or CRAP (Calorie Rich And Processed). So, how is that an improvement?

      Though if folks who think they are “gluten-sensitive” simply avoid processed food, that would be a dietary improvement.

    2. So, having it be more expensive has her buy less bread and processed food. That sounds pretty good.

      The gluten-free thing I sometimes buy is Tamari versus soy sauce.

      Both versions have salt.

      Tamari tastes less salty.

      I tend to go back and forth depending on sales.

        1. Grains containing gluten – wheat (including wheat varieties like spelt, kamut, farro and durum (used in pasta), plus products like bulgar and semolina), barley, rye, triticale and oats. One in five people with Coeliac Disease react to oats.

          1. Thanks for sharing, Reality Bites.

            The oats thing is interesting.

            I was reading that the incidence of celiac disease has remained stable in the US population from 2009 through 2014, although increasing numbers of people are now following gluten-free diets.

            That interests me because it isn’t going up with the environmental factors and it isn’t going down with more people avoiding gluten.

    3. When I went GF, I just stopped buying bread, baked goods, and pasta. It’s actually a great step in the WF direction if you do it that way. The only GF prepared food I ever buy now is the occasional box of Tolerant lentil pasta. Most WF are naturally GF anyway.

      I’m not grain-free- I eat oatmeal, quinoa, and buckwheat regularly.

      1. Anne S,
        I practically lived on pizza, whole wheat bread and spaghetti for many decades but recently stopped eating wheat for oat groats, kasha, rice and quinoa. My GI tract seems happier. I’ve gone back to sprouted whole wheat bread several times (Alvarado St, Ezekiel) but after less than half a loaf start to feel something is not quite right in my GI tract. It’s possible I’ve negatively conditioned myself but I suspect the somewhat queasy feeling after about an hour and alterations in my GI tract are not psychogenic. Oddly though I seem to have no problems with the roti from our local Indian or the pita at the Greek restaurants. But those are not very frequent. I was tested gluten intolerance and it came back negative. I doubt I’m missing anything significant in germs of nutrition and it’s great to be almost entirely flour free. But I do miss my peanut butter bread snacks.

        1. The funny thing is that I never felt digestively sick from my high gluten diet. I ate a lot of organic whole wheat bread very happily, and same for pasta. It was only when I went to a Rheumatologist for a sudden onset of psoriatic arthritis (I’d had psoriasis all my life, but not arthritis) that the PA suggested that I try a strict GF diet. Not the Rheumatologist, but the PA, who also had psoriasis. The IBS I mentioned earlier was actually resolved several years earlier by eliminating dairy.

          Gosh, I sound like I have all sorts of food issues, but it’s really just dairy and gluten.

          I am not genetically a celiac according to 23andMe.

    1. Why are you reading that book?
      Isn’t that the guy who says you should have 12 tablespoons of olive oil per day?
      That is like 1400 calories of olive oil per day?
      That seems kind of strange.
      Maybe you have read Shakespeare, — but perhaps instead have red pajamas?

      1. Yerky,

        Yes, and my friend who went on that diet lost weight and had the absolute worst lab results her aged-doctor had ever seen.

        She though said that she can’t do WFPB.

        So I guess people have to do what they have to do.

        I felt like healing her gut microbiome might help, but I know it has to be hard when you are way high meat and oil to transition to WFPB.

        I wonder if it is the gut microbiome that causes so many people to fail.

        1. The more complicated you think and the more money you spend the worse your health might be.
          In the 1700’s president John Adams lived to age 90. What type of complicated stuff did he do?

          1. Yerky, >>> In the 1700’s president John Adams lived to age 90. What type of complicated stuff did he do?

            Of what relevance is that anecdote?
            But then I think he read Shakespeare and had red pajamas.

    1. Highly processed plant fiber is still plant fiber (often cellulose from wood in many products). But is it water soluble plant fiber capable of lowering cholesterol such as oat fiber or just bulk (such as wheat bran or cellulose fiber) that will only make you poo big.

  6. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and take thyroid medicine for it. A few years ago I read that gluten may play a role in thyroid disease. I have thyroid peroxidase antibodies. These antibodies, for me at least, rise into the high hundreds when I consume gluten and decrease to normal if I remain gluten free. The higher the antibodies, the more thyroid medicine I require to achieve normal lab results. The lower the antibodies, the less medicine I need. I have tested this multiple times over several years and the results are always the same, so I stay gluten free hoping to cause the least amount of damage to my thyroid. I do not test positive for celiac disease and I have been on a WFPB diet for decades. Any thoughts on this reaction to consuming gluten, Dr. Greger?

    1. Sheila,

      I believe Dr. Greger said that he was thinking about doing a webinar on the thyroid. That was a long, long, long time ago (yesterday) and I have brain problems, but I think I might not be lying.

      My thoughts about what you are saying is that thyroid problems are often autoimmune diseases and those are often related to leaky gut and if you have leaky gut, eating gluten without fixing the leaky gut first could be a problem. That is my “lay person” internal thought process, but they do think thyroid problems are autoimmune and leaky gut can be fixed, but until it is fixed, anything you eat will pass through into your system and antibodies will be made.

      I looked up the link between Celiac and Thyroid autoimmune diseases and they said sentences which both say, that the studies don’t recommend gluten-free, but that it can sometimes fix things.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435852/

      Literature does not support the use of gluten-free diet (GFD) in the routine treatment of ATD. The possible role of gluten in the induction of the anti-thyroid antibodies as well as, in few cases, the consequent organ dysfunction was suggested. Interestingly, thyroid disease was 3-fold higher in CD than that in controls. In most patients who strictly followed a 1-year GFD, there was a normalization of subclinical hypothyroidism, suggesting that in distinct cases, gluten withdrawal may single-handedly reverse the abnormality. It seems that facing thyroid-associated orbitopathy, CD is the only autoimmune disease where complaints and autoantibodies to tTg usually resolve on a GFD. At least one antibody was positive in 10 of 19 untreated celiacs but only in five of 25 gluten-restricted patients. Once again it shows that gluten withdrawal may change thyroid autoimmunity, mainly when associated with CD.

    2. Where did you come across a WFPB diet decades ago? I was vegan for 16 years but never heard of a WFPB diet until I read “How Not to Die” four years ago. Dr. McDougall perhaps?

      1. Blair, we have been doing this since the 80’s but calling it ‘food as grown’ , ‘natural foods’, and the like. Harrowsmith was one of the magazines at the time that promoted whole food, home grown lifestyle. One Acre and Security was a book that also promoted the garden in the backyard idea. Pritikin was also in the news but was not aligned with the whole foods idea of the time.

  7. I was waiting for Dr. Greger to pull one of his “until now” scenarios because it appears that we now have a biomarker for non-celiac gluten sensitivity that can make this real for those who do in fact have it. People like those who suffer from gluten ataxia which is a type of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For those who want to see the published paper on the biomarker for non-celiac gluten sensitivity you can find it here:

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0226478&type=printable

    If this pans out then we can screen people to see who really needs to be on a gluten free diet.

  8. Two comments:
    1. Isn’t gluten a pro-inflammatory protein, so that if there is inflammation anywhere in the body it enhances it? We are finding out that almost everything is due to inflammation, including for example inflammation in the brain that is causing dementia and Alzheimer’s. So why not avoid gluten to reduce this?
    2. Is it risky at all to avoid gluten if a health-diet conscious person can get all the fiber and other good ingredients found in gluten/wheat from gluten-free whole grains such as rice?

    1. If used out of the context of whole plant food, any individual plant part can cause inflammation. The wheat can be toxic because of the herbicide sprayed it at harvest time to ensure bigger harvest. You have to consider all the aspects of what it goes through it reaches your plate.

    2. Elie,
      I don’t see why it would be risky for someone on a WFP diet who eats minimally processed a variety of alternatives, e.g. corn, kasha, rice, quinoa, teff, millet, amaranth, as well as beans/legumes and sweet potatoes. I think the real problem is that many gluten free diets are not WFP and are not well thought out.

      But why avoid all gluten, e.g. that found in oats or barley, if the problem is really wheat sensitivity? There are different kinds of gluten:

      https://www.glnc.org.au/grains/allergies-intolerances/gluten-in-grains/

      “Gluten is the name given to the protein in wheat , rye, barley and oats that affect people with coeliac disease. It is a composite name and so gluten represents:

      Gliadin in Wheat
      Hordein in Barley
      Secalin in Rye
      Avenin in Oats
      The current tests for gluten can measure gliadin, hordein, and secalin but not avenin as it is a slightly different protein.”.

      I would not be surprised if some people react, i.e. have inflammatory reactions, to only a subset of these, e.g. I’m ok on oat groats but seem to have mild problems with wheat. I would not want to give up oats or barley just because they have a type of gluten unless there was a demonstrable problem. (I tested negative for gluten intolerance.)

      Here’s an overview of wheat sensitivity
      https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313514.php#1

      “One group of proteins found in wheat – amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs) – has been shown to trigger an immune response in the gut that can spread to other tissues in the body.”

    3. 1. Yes. But foods containing gluten also have a rich variety of other nutrients, a number of which are anti-inflammatory so that the net overall effect of gluten containing foods is probably antinflammatory. And gluten itself may benefit the immune system (in most people)
      https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/effects-of-a-glutenfree-diet-on-gut-microbiota-and-immune-function-in-healthy-adult-human-subjects/70732F56E5AAA70C4208127B3E43CBF6

      2. probably not if you include a variety of other GF whole grains in your diet (but see the cited reference in my response to your first question). After all, people in parts of Asia and Africa have been eating largely GF diets for millennia with no glaringly obvious problems.

      Everything is swings and roundabouts though including both gluten free and gluten containing foods.

    4. Hi, Elie! Gluten appears to be pro-inflammatory for some people, but not for everyone. That said, I think it is a good idea to eat organic, to avoid exposure to pesticides commonly sprayed on conventionally grown wheat to dry the crop prior to harvest. Some people tolerate older “heirloom” varieties such as spelt better than modern wheat which has been genetically manipulated to have a higher gluten content. I have also been told by people who feel ill after eating wheat products in this country that they did not have the same reaction when eating wheat products in Europe. It may or may not be the gluten, as there are other factors in wheat and other grains that could cause reactions in some people.
      As Dr. Greger states in the video, just because some people are allergic to peanuts does not mean everyone should avoid peanuts. If a person is able to tolerate wheat, then there is no reason to avoid it, and there may be benefits to our gut flora related specifically to eating gluten. It appears to be about more than just fiber, and wheat may provide nutrients that are not present in the same concentrations in other grains. With rice, there is also concern about arsenic contamination, depending on where it is grown. More on that here: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/do-the-pros-of-brown-rice-outweigh-the-cons-of-arsenic/ I am not necessarily saying that people should not eat rice, but it may be wise to consider how much we eat and where it originates. I hope that helps!

  9. The tests do not include whether the samples were organic, GMO etc. The country may also be a factor.

    They may just be sensitive to glyphosate. I have American patients, showing gluten sensitivities. They moved to Italy for a few months, ate the same diet (very specific culture and meals), relatively identical, and all the symptoms went away. Upon returning, all symptoms returned.

    1. There is no GMO commercially grown wheat, but they spray glyphosate on all grains except rice to kill the plant to dry it just before harvest. That makes non-organic whole grain the highest source of the herbicide.

    2. Joe, I was eating only organic wheat products before going GF. However, up to 30% of people with psoriasis seem to have trouble with gluten, so I’m not in the normal population.

      However, in support of your thesis, I seem to have trouble with glyphosate that is not much different from my trouble with gluten. It bothers my gut and revs up my psoriasis. I used to buy all Canadian legumes and started to have mysterious gut issues a few years ago. I switched to all organic legumes and they went away. Much later, the stories broke about Canadian legume farmers using glyphosate to dry their legume crops just before harvesting. This makes me wonder how many people fall for the lectins in beans theory when it’s really the glyphosate.

    3. That is interesting, Joe.

      Dr. Ornish discussed Gluten in relation to how people are dealing with stacking issues such as various levels of increased toxins, increased stress, poor dietary choices and lacking overall nutrition, lack of exercise, social isolation, immune system overwhelm, gut disorders, other allergies, and food allergies/intolerances.

      He said that having all of the factors together can transform what would start as minor intolerances into something more serious.

      My friend’s 19-year-old daughter has been sick for over a year and they are still trying to figure it out and she would be one who has been gluten-free and grain-free and she eats a lot of chicken. I have never seen someone so sickly at her age. She isn’t obese. She is just constantly sick and this last time has lasted a year.

      1. For one thing chicken are fed grains even when they’re organic, then if it’s Kentucky’s she’s having it in batter that contains wheat…..Finally, there’s a fair chance she’s having too much omega-6 pro-inflammatory oil.

  10. Why do you sound like Gluten is only wheat I have gluten sensitivity and I can’t eat wheat rye or barley, I don’t do it because it’s a fad I do it because if I eat it I’m sick both ways for 10 to 12 hours. But for people that do it for no reason, they are ridiculous because it is an awful diet to have to be on, so why would you want to go on it unless you had to.

  11. Hi. I am one of those people who is sensitive to wheat/grains. I found out through doing a low-FODMAP elimination diet as recommended by my gastroenterologist. I do not have celiac disease.

    Could you do a video on low-FODMAP? I’d really appreciate it. I get most of my info from the Monash University in Australia. They also have a really good app that I purchased that I often refer to.

    Enjoying your work! Keep it up.

    Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW
    http://www.AngelaGGentile.com

    1. Angela,

      They have a study where 71.4% were doing gluten-free for reasons other than health-related benefits and slightly over half of them were doing it without medical doctors or dietitians advice. They said that the main motivations for going gluten-free were weight control and the perception that it is healthier.

      Another study showed that most of the people who think they are doing gluten-free are actually eating a whole lot of gluten.

      Doing it for weight loss surprises me a little bit.

      I would have put:

      Generally perceiving it as healthier.
      Thinking it explains their digestive problems.
      Teachings about leaky gut/ fear of hypothyroid as the main teaching as why people around me do it.

      1. Most of the people I have met just do a vague notion of something being good for them or bad for them based on what they heard something called, “science” says, which they follow closer to a child-like version of Simon Says.

      2. Deb, the thing is that most doctors will never recommend a dietary change of any kind, much less supervise it. By a fluke, I encountered a Rheumatology PA who had the same disease I did who recommended a GF trial, but it wasn’t official or supervised. Later, I mentioned it to my dermatologist when my psoriasis cleared, a little jokingly, but he said that GF really was helpful to a significant percentage of people with psoriasis. However, even though he mentioned some studies, when I asked if he’d ever recommended a GF trial to his psoriasis patients, he said no. I don’t think the fact that people trying GF diets are unsupervised means anything other than that mainstream medicine does not use diet as medicine. I don’t think there is any controversy about stating that a true GF diet helps a significant number of gluten-sensitive people who are not celiacs. Those of us in that group are not receiving medical direction because it is rarely available. We have to find our way from our own research. Just as most WFPB and vegans do. I also have never found a doctor who wanted to recommend WFPB.

        1. Anne,

          Yes, you are right about that.

          I just was giving an official study result of why people were doing it.

          I looked up gluten-free diets and psoriasis and they said that there was some efficacy, but that there were mixed results. Vitamin D supplements and Omega 3’s and lower-calorie diets had some benefits.

          Turmeric seems to be a good thing for it. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5816303/

          The Mediterranean Diet has a study and the guidelines worked with a Whole Food Plant-Based diet and there is anecdotal evidence for that.

          Infrared helped my skin conditions tremendously after months of trying everything I could find.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5756569/

          Okay, potassium deficiency is one thing Dr. Greger pointed out.

          https://nutritionfacts.org/2013/05/30/plant-based-diets-for-psoriasis/

          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/potassium-and-autoimmune-disease/

          1. Low-Fiber diets and High-Fat diets are associated with the bad gut bacteria contributing to leaky gut.

            In a recent study by Desai et al., a low-fiber diet consumption was found to trigger the expansion of mucus-degrading bacteria, including Akkermansia muciniphila and Bacteroides caccae (45). As a result, the thickness of mucus is significantly decreased in mice fed with fiber-deficient diets, although the transcription of Muc2 gene was surprisingly heightened, possibly as a compensatory response. The thinner mucus and compromised intestinal barrier function lead to a higher susceptibility to certain colitis-causing pathogens (45). Moreover, a diet high in saturated fat has been shown to greatly decrease Lactobacillus and increase Oscillibacter, and these changes were correlated with significantly increased permeability in the proximal colon (86). Furthermore, studies revealed that the abundance of the Oscillospira genus was negatively correlated with the mRNA expression of barrier-forming TJ protein ZO-1.

            1. That complements the results from another recent mouse study

              ‘Mice fed a plant-rich diet are less susceptible to gastrointestinal (GI) infection from a pathogen such as the one currently under investigation for a widespread E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce, UT Southwestern researchers report’
              https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191223122851.htm

              Eating more lettuce, not less, may therefore be the best protection against e.coli infections. It’s worth remembering also that e.coli on produce almost always comes from contamination via animal faeces or human handling but according to the CDC ‘The major source for human illnesses is cattle’ Presumably this comes via contaminated irrigation water or animal dung used as manure for lettuce and other crops?
              https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html

              Thorough washing of produce before consumption may be advisable.

      1. If people are eating the standard American diet, I’m sure that’s true. However, if you are WFPB, going GF is almost guaranteed to make you even more WF than you were before. I don’t know a single person whose wheat and rye intake is entirely whole-berry with no bread or pasta (though most people eat barley whole). The other easy precaution to avoid gluten is to avoid all prepared salad dressings and sauces. Even more WF.

        1. Though I agree with what you said earlier, that most people doing GF are not actually staying 100% GF, and from my experience, you must be 100% to reap the benefits. Most people can’t deal with the fact that you have to move to whole foods and ditch almost all prepared foods to go truly GF.

          1. That is probably true, Anne.

            That makes it harder to study though.

            The difference between a WFPB diet with barley and rye and wheat versus one without it is what we would need to see.

              1. For my own skin issues, eczema was really related to animal products. Acne was related to dairy.

                The thing that looked more like psoriasis seemed to respond to infrared and possibly eating vegetables – potassium and that would have been an increase in fiber and a decrease in fat during that time.

                I can say that I am free of all skin problems entirely.

                The only blip was when I was probably low in B12 and switching types of B12 helped it.

                I have figured out definitively that I need to take cyano B12 because I forget to take it so often that I need the most effective kind.

        2. Anne

          You are correct although I personally find it difficult to give up whole grain bread and pasta. And rolled oats for breakfast for that matter. The big question though is, will going GF also make us healthier? Not for most people seems to be the current assessment.

          But the general principle of the less processed the better brings us to broadly the same conclusion even ignoring the GF issue which seems to be of particular concern only for the minority of people who are genetically susceptible. For the rest of us, the fibre, vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory elements in whole grains may provide benefits that substantially outweigh any pro-inflammatory effects from gluten. There is even some suggestion that low gluten diets may be associated with higher rates of CVD (mainly because they result in lower consumption of whole grains).
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5421459/

          However, choosing whole grain rice, amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa instead of wheat etc may enable us to have the best of both worlds..

  12. Thank you Dr. Greger for the many video’s and information you share. First of all wheat may be mentioned in
    the bible but it has been gene altered any times over the years and is not the same wheat as back then. If
    you want to try spelt or kamut it may be healthier for you. Second of all I have read that many of todays
    allergies have been caused by glyphosate and roundup sprayed on many crops creating gut and other problems.
    Glyphosate and Roundup are crimes against humanity and our criminal FDA allowed it to be used for years.
    I do not believe in vaccines, and vaccine companies are allowed to add ingredients that are GRAS such as wheat,
    milk, soy, peanut, nuts, fish and shellfish–without listing these on labels. Some people believe that the massive increase in childhood peanut
    allergies is a result of the massive amounts of (aluminum and) GRAS ingredients in vaccines kids are infected with (70 toxic vaccine shots by age 18). There are many gluten free food options for those with sensitivities.

    1. But by the same token, wheat is not just gluten. Even the video interchanged wheat and gluten, so a question I can’t seem to get answered is, “can gluten be isolated so that is all that is used in these sort of tests?”

  13. I’m curious to see if the measurement of glyphosate was ever brought into this argument. I do know that in the past, farmers only sprayed glyphosate to clear fields and get crops ready to be planted. But what a lot of people don’t know is they now spray glyphosate at the time of harvest, to kill and dry the wheat out, to make harvesting faster. To me that seems to be a huge difference in how much we are consuming with our wheat, and possibly causing all kinds of internal problems.
    What are the thoughts on that?

    1. David,

      I have been thinking about this because glyphosate does cause tight junction problems.

      But South America is where Celiac Disease is highest and, if I am understanding Dr. Klaper, Celiac is the condition with the leaky gut and antibodies for that.

      South America has 4% versus Africa’s .5% and our 1-ish%.

      Genetics? More RoundUp?

      Hard to imagine they eat more sugar than the USA does?

      Are they still smoking and we have stopped?

      But then Europe would be who I would have to look up.

  14. I too have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and take Levothyroxin daily to control that. I went to a naturopathic MD for several years in my early 70s and she suggested gluten free might help keep me from acquiring a second autoimmune condition. Oddly, at age five my many allergies prompted my mother to have me tested and the results were allergies to animal dander, grasses(including wheat), molds(including penicillin). My mother’s reaction to the wheat allergy was, “That’s ridiculous she has to eat bread!” So I went on eating wheat for the rest of my life. In my thirties I finally found a Dr. who diagnosed my skin lesions as an allergy to salycilates(mainly aspirin). And in my 40s I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. I did suffer from constipation for most of my life, but that’s the opposite of what others with a gut sensitivity usually describe. My mother also proudly described me as a “Carnation baby” so that may have caused a leaky gut. Looking at my general health I can attribute allergies as far back as my great grandmother who died at 75 from Athsmatic bronchitis and my grandmother who had a skin disorder and my mother who was also allergic to animals, grasses and molds and my father who was allergic to the nickel on the keys of his clarinet(he was a jazz musician) and to wine which made him sneeze! So there’s an inherited side to all of this. Though I now avoid foods with wheat I see no real difference in my health except more constipation when I eat something that’s not gluten free. The only difference for me was that I lost some weight, though I really didn’t need to.

    1. Eleisa,

      Thanks for sharing.

      By the way, leaky gut can be healed with diet.

      Cabbage juice and Broccoli Sprouts are two things that help to heal it.

      I think I read Sulforaphane might have been the mechanism even for the cabbage juice, so that would add in all cruciferous.

  15. I wonder what was in the gluten free, placebo muffins in the early British test. Why conclude “it was all in their heads” when the patients who received the placebo felt worse? Why not ask what was in the muffins that caused the symptoms?

    Perhaps the muffins contained almond meal, which is high FODMAP for GOS or oatmeal, which can be high FODMAP for fructans, depending on the quantity.

    I agree with Angela that a video on the low FODMAP diet would be helpful.

    Thank you to Dr. Greger and the staff of NutritionFacts for your dedication.

    1. Sheila E
      Yes – Fodmap info for we who are dedicated to plant-based wholefoods, and who are, or may be Fodmap sensitive, since it is the sugars not gluten that is the culprit with IBS, (I put gluten flour into my brown rice & quinoa burgers, in fact …).. Eating low-fodmap whole grains, moderate, regular servings of lentis, beans, etc, and including tofu, and pea-protein pasta, etc, it is easy to maintain PBWF. Eat a few pieces of fresh, whole fruit at breakfast and there is no need to cut out most fruits – or veges, (other than maybe drastically reduce garlic). I’ve been healthy-as eating PBWF Low Fodmap for many decades now.

  16. My question… Has their been any studies performed on the differences in tollerance between heirloom wheat of the variety that our anceisters ate as late as the mid-20th Century… and that of our modern day “Monsanto” GMO varieties?

      1. You are correct but my understanding is that no GMO wheat has been sold in the US (or anywhere else) for human consumption.

        It’s possible though that the GMO wheat grown in trial crops has been used for animal feed.

          1. Thanks Gengo.

            Even though ‘There was no evidence the wheat had entered the food supply’ ………. there is presumably some risk of it happening eventually..

  17. Okay, I would ask if, because of molecular mimicry if Gluten should be avoided by people with leaky gut / autoimmune conditions, at least until they heal their leaky gut and with that, I am back to whether it was the gluten or animal products or RoundUp that caused the leaky gut in the first place.

    I think they talk about Thyroid autoimmune conditions, Type 1 Diabetes, and bone osteopenia as related to the molecular mimicry.

    I know that Type 1 Diabetes, they look at molecular mimicry related to dairy as potentially causal.

    If you have leaky gut, causing gluten to be a problem, I would consider that different than “gluten sensitivity” though researchers might see it as the same thing.

    Is there any “sensitivity” at all without leaky gut?

    1. They say that 7% of people in America have autoimmune diseases.

      Should people with some or all autoimmune conditions be more careful with gluten?

      How about smokers or drinkers?

      They are more likely to have leaky gut. Should heavy smokers and drinkers avoid gluten?

  18. All I can say is that I was already WFPB and mostly organic for years and still struggling with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. It was improved from my SAD days, but still there. My IBS had been cured for about 20 years by eliminating dairy. Only when I went GF WFPB did I get relief from psoriasis. I think the leaky gut was CAUSED by gluten. I don’t think I was especially sensitive to gluten because I had a leaky gut. Don’t forget, celiac disease, the genetic, undeniable form of gluten sensitivity, destroys the intestine. People aren’t celiacs because their small intestine villi are destroyed, their small intestine villi are destroyed because they are celiacs. The harmful action of gluten on sensitive people takes place in the gut.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Anne.

      Most of my skin problems probably went away when I went off of meat.

      I still would get acne with dairy.

      Before I went WFPB, I had something which just wouldn’t ever go away which looked identical to my cousin’s diagnosed psoriasis and my family had a history of psoriasis. Infrared was amazing with it. I mean so amazing. Before it, I was scratching my skin raw. After one session the itching was down to a bearable level. It cleared up so quickly after that. And that was not eating WFPB. Though I did do Gerson’s at one point, so it could have been the potassium and infrared. Not sure.

    2. Perhaps I should try GF.

      I have had psoriasis since birth that has been extremely well-managed (but not completely eliminated) by adoption of a WFPB diet.

      1. Mr Fumblefingersy, it’s a long road. I kept on it because I had such fast and good results for my psoriatic arthritis. It was a full year before my skin completely cleared. I was certainly much more controlled on WFPB than before, but I actually cleared 100% about a year after going GF for the first time in 58 years. Accidental exposures will bring on some scales on my elbows, but a little topical treatment and being very careful about GF and I’m good again. Like I said above though, it takes 100% compliance. People put flour in the craziest things. And the backlash against GF has led to people lying about it at family gatherings and potlucks, so I pretty much only eat what I’ve brought. In the past year, hostility toward anyone keeping GF has grown tremendously. I wouldn’t deal with that if I didn’t need to. I keep at it for my joints and my (unproven) idea that my psoriasis is an indication of problems in my gut which may have worse health effects.

  19. I am so enjoying all of these interesting videos.
    Thank you for refining the plethora of nutrition noise into sound, evidence based and consumable bite sized chunks!

    I am a MD and hoping to up skill my plant-based nutrition understanding.
    Does anyone have advice as to which courses are the most inline with the NutritionFacts teachings?
    The eCornel course seems popular but might not be the depth I’m needing.

    Any thoughts welcome, Thanks!

    1. Jacqui,

      In past years, he recommended conferences.

      I don’t know if they are still running or if there are better teaching resources now – but from a few years ago, Dr. Greger recommended the following and I erased the dates because the information is old, but it is a place to start:

      There are several excellent conferences you should consider attending.
      1) Plantrician Project Conference in Anaheim, CA
      2) American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference in Naples, FL,
      Both of these first two options also offer training in the CHIP program for a reduced price.
      3) Plant-based Prevention of Disease Conference in Albuquerque, NM

      Training programs:
      1) eCornell certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, an online course lasting 2 months, 30-36 total hours.
      2) CHIP — see above.

  20. Off topic: Is there a known lowest limit to the amount of fat needed to optimally or near optimally absorb fat soluble nutrients in otherwise fat free or extremely low fat foods?

    1. S,

      World Health Organization advocates 15%.

      Some of the societies with little illness had 15 to 16%.

      For people reversing disease, Pritikin put people on less than 10% for at least a while.

      That was as low as I found.

      The AHA felt that was too little, and, no, I am not agreeing with them.

      I looked at what Esselstyn said and his answer was more related to whether people had heart problems and whether they could maintain good blood pressure and weight and cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

      It was more of an: If you can eat some nuts and keep your levels really good and you don’t have heart problems, then okay.

    2. My understanding is that we may not necessarily need to eat fat at the same time as other foods to enable nutrient absorption …. at least in the case of vitamin E
      https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/110/5/1148/5560280?redirectedFrom=fulltext
      https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-09/osu-ffn090619.php

      The Okinawans and Japanese eating traditional diets ate very low fat but still had the longest lifespans in the world ….. 6% and 8% of total calories respectively.
      http://www.hsph.jp/JT2009/documents/Caloric%20Restriction,%20the%20Traditional%20Okinawan%20Diet,%20and%20Healthy%20Aging.pdf

      We also need to remember that this is a two-edged sword. Eating fatty foods will facilitate absorption of fat-soluble toxins as well as nutrients. For example, many people in the comments above attribute various health problems to possible residues of glyphosate on foods. Glyphosate is fat soluble.

      1. Also, let’s remember that the human body makes almost all of the fats we need from carbohydrates.

        The amount of fat needed from therefore the diet may be considerably less than currently estimated …. as is suggested by the Okinawan/Japanese data and results from eg Pritikin, Esselstyn. Ornish etc therapeutic diets.

        1. Thanks for the responses, I appreciate it! Tom, thanks for all the great links. That is really interesting and helps take some of the pressure off of worrying if I’m getting enough fat with recipes that for me, are typically fat free so I usually try to add a fat source if not just a couple nuts and I had wondered if that was enough in these cases. It makes more sense that we wouldn’t need it with meals as much as purported, such as in thinking about the Okinawans like you mentioned.

      2. Me Fumblefingers,

        I have read that a few studies indicate that it may be the formulation for spraying glyphosate that causes health issues, and not the glyphosphste itself. The formulations include emulsifiers to keep the glyphosphate in solution (since as you noted it’s fat soluble, so not water soluble), dispersants, adherents or stickers to keep it on the plant surface, and penetrants to help it get inside the plant. I could imagine other chemicals as wells, such as preservatives, etc. A virtual cocktail of proprietary chemicals.

        1. I’ve not considered the issue but that sounds very reasonable since I’ve seen studies that suggest that glyphosate itself is largely harmless..

          That’s also one of the issues with supplements for that matter – the amount of stuff with unknown long term effects they put into capsules and tablets along with the ‘active’ ingredients, such as emulsifiers, antioxidants,fillers etc) – and all processed foods.

    3. S – Consider that of all the grazing mammals (those who birth their young alive) in the world – deer, elk, elephants, giraffe’s, antelope, rhinocerous, whales, etc.), not one of them goes around wondering where on earth they’re going to find sufficient fat in their diets. Think about it.

      ALL vegetation has fat in it. For example, broccoli is 27% fat: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/3034/2
      Brown rice is 7% fat: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5707/2
      Black beans are 3% fat: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4283/2
      It is absurd to worry if one is getting enough fat – look at the friggin obesity rates!!! American’s have more than enough fat in their diet.

      1. RRand,

        I think you misread my comment to an extent–I’m not worried about getting enough fat in my diet lol, my concern was how much fat was needed to absorb fat soluble nutrients in a virtually fat free meal. For example, when I have my chili which has no added oils or anything like that, I will just consume a couple walnuts or so with it. My only worry was in wondering if that was enough for the purpose of the fat soluble vitamins and fat soluble antioxidants.

        I like your example of the grazing animals–common sense examples have a lot to offer in my opinion.

      2. But we are not grazing animals. A grazing human can become obese. The fact that we have such a high obesity rate -in the world- is proof to me that we need to better understand fat metabolism.

  21. Dr Greger,

    I am going to back up and say, that I vote “yes” for thyroid as a Webinar.

    Or autoimmune.

    I have been thinking about this video all day and of all of my friends who have autoimmune conditions and they all ended up NOT WFPB and I really am trying to understand whether gluten causes leaky gut or whether RoundUp causes leaky gut and leaky gut causes flour to be a problem. I am also not sure if “sensitivity” means allergy of some sort or whether it is a gut microbiome or leaky gut issue.

    I know that things like cabbage juice and broccoli sprouts are used with leaky gut, but it is like some people do feel like it is all permanent.

    Is it permanent and avoid all of the foods you are sensitive to or is it heal your gut and slowly reintroduce the foods?

    I do have so many people who are permanently leaky gut avoid everything oriented and they aren’t really even sure whether it is leaky gut or gut microbiome issues and they have no idea really what they are allergic to or what they are sensitive to.

    There just is a “give up things” orientation and I am not trying to say they are wrong.

    I just know that I was at Christmas with one person who eats zero vegetables or fruits and she is avoiding gluten for her health and so is her mother and I have another friend whose daughter has been sick for a year and she is always sick and both of them are gluten free and I think her daughter might eat one vegetable, but it feels like a revolving door.

    Get sick and get on antibiotics and mess up your gut microbiome.
    Stop eating everything because everything makes you digestively sick now.
    Have zero nutrition and get sick and get back on antibiotics over and over and over again literally every year.

    1. I watched Dr McDougall and he was talking about molecular mimicry and he said that it was animal proteins that look like our proteins.

      Does gluten look like any of our proteins?

      I know that Dr McDougall said that the animal proteins have been compared to something like 17 amino acids.

      I am asking because if people have leaky gut, then not eating things that can be mimicked would be wise.

      Dr Christianson doesn’t think it is real because of the studies with gluten and celiac, but I was waiting for him to say that the thyroid doesn’t have the same amino acids as gluten but he didn’t say it. He just said that it was a hypothesis with no studies attached.

      1. Also, he said that the studies where they think it causes damage were in a Petri dish, but I am wondering if they separated our gluten versus flour versus RoundUp on wheat.

    2. Deb,

      Anyone not eating vegetables to the extent you described, is going to have gut microbiome issues in that they’re not going to have the bacteria to properly digest the foods they should be eating. All they have to do is start slowly incorporating more whole plant foods and eating less animal products and heavily processed foods would likely help in the journey of gaining the type of microbiome they need.

      I know someone very similar to this as well and the problem with people from what I’ve seen, is they just assume that if something doesn’t work as a magic pill and doesn’t fix things for them over night, that it isn’t going to work so they keep staying sick and looking for that magic pill they’ll never find instead of accepting that to regain health, you have to actually allow your body to heal, and that takes time and commitment. If you think about it, pharmaceuticals really plays off of that self-destructive part of human nature in a really big way.

  22. Okay, never mind.

    I learned that the 1% of people who have sensitivity have a response before the leaky gut and autoimmune responses and that there is a stool test to find out about the sensitivity.

  23. Dr Christianson said that people who went gluten-free without Celiac developed more cardiovascular problems and died more often.

    It has been so many hours since I watched this video that I don’t know if you said those words, but he said that dying earlier would be more important to avoid than sensitivity.

    1. Yes, the study authors suggested it was the reduction in whole grain consumption rather than actual gluten reduction per se that seemed to be the key factor.

    2. “people who went gluten-free without Celiac developed more cardiovascular problems and died more often.”

      I would guess this would be due to the replacement of gluten-containing foods with highly processed junk. Just look at the gluten free option shelves, it’s pretty equivalent to wonder bread most of the time. And a lot of the time, the only whole grains people are getting is in their whole wheat or rye bread. Then you have people eating this highly processed junk thinking it’s healthy for them because it’s gluten free so they likely eat more of it as a consequence.

  24. So is there any way of getting rid of leaky gut/gut permeability once a person has it? What does the science say? Avoid the trigger foods & re-introduce or supplement with glutamine etc…? Anybody know any good reputable studies? Thanks!

    1. You could try reviewing these videos below. However, I am not aware of any studies of the type you seek. The advice basically seems to be to adopt a high fibre. low fat, anti-inflammatory diet that also avoids processed foods/ Whether this will cure/reverse leaky gut or just manage symptoms is unclear.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-leaky-gut-theory-of-why-animal-products-cause-inflammation/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-exogenous-endotoxin-theory/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dead-meat-bacteria-endotoxemia/

      These links may also be helpful
      https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/putting-a-stop-to-leaky-gut-2018111815289
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988153/

      1. Tom,

        Thanks for sharing.

        There are doctors online who say it can be healed with things like cabbage juice and sulforaphane, but I didn’t see studies.

        I know that those things help with stomach ulcers, and the cabbage juice works pretty quickly.

        My cousin who is a lifetime smoker had a lot of holes in his stomach lining and kept needing infusions and he tried it and had several months where he didn’t need infusions, but he didn’t stop smoking and this past year he had to have some again, but back then he was freezing, feeezing cold in every weather and spent a large fortune on electricity heating his apartment year round.

        This year, he hasn’t complained about that even once and he no longer is anemic every month.

        So with his thing it helped significantly but didn’t permanently solve anything, but that was stomach not “gut” that he said.

          1. I just remembered that Dr Klaper said that it can take 4 months for the gut lining to grow back, so it may repair itself.

            The cabbage juice took 10 days for stomach ulcers and worked better than meds for it.

            What I remember also was that broccoli sprouts I believe were 80% effective
            against H pylori.

            Things like SIBO and infections can cause leaky gut and so can drinking alcohol and smoking, so I would suspect that you need to deal with those things before seeing healing.

        1. Well, I think the issue is that all those claims on the internet about ‘curing’ leaky gut are based on anecdotes and/or unpublished case reports not rigorous scientific studies.

      2. Fumbles, thanks for the links. Dr Klaper speaks on curing leaky gut in the first link, here. He says the GI tract lining is constantly renewing itself and will take about 2 weeks if a person eats well… basically as you describe in your comments. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QRDoqS6QHQw
        Here is a page from his website which I have posted many times through the last few years. The paddison protocol is excellent, and I have used it a couple of times. Clint Paddison has youtube vids. I think people cause themselves more angst than necessary by not being diagnosed. An upper GI scope is (I have had 2) is where they take tissue biopsy samples along the way, from throat to duodenum. Wheat allergy itself is more common than celiac disease.

        https://www.doctorklaper.com/diet-arthritis-autoimmune

        1. Thanks Barb.

          It is interesting that that Klaper also recommends a six-week course of certain supplements.

          Klsper points the finger at wheat and soy but I have eaten large amounts of wheat and soy for decades with no problem while European societies have subsisted on wheat for millennia and Asian societies have eaten soy for millennia,.again with no obvious problems. The current epidemic seems mystifying therefore. I wonder if these things only become problematic with some third factor triggering difficulties – like high fat and/or high sugar diets for example. Or chlorinated water. I usually drink my water in the form of black tea and coffee, and boiling evaporates off chlorine. As a disinfactant, chlorine is antibacterial and as Klaper suggests may well damage the balance of our gut microbiota.

          1. Tom,

            Those are things both Dr. Klaper and Dr. Ornish have mentioned.

            You are right that it is the sense of a modern epidemic that makes it a mystery and RoundUp and antibiotics and sugar seem more likely than other explanations.

            I would say smoking and drinking but those probably go back pretty far, but if all of those cause leaky gut and if everybody messed up their gut microbiome one way or another, then it is enough of an explanation.

            Flour, rather than wheat is probably another. Though that might go pretty far back, too.

        2. Barb, One thing that puzzled me is why Klaper listed tea and coffee as problematic for the gut microbiome. Do you happen to know?

          I’ve come across several studies supporting the opposite conclusion, e.g.

          https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/10/2364/htm “Altogether 24 publications were included in the main review—six were human trials and 18 mechanistic studies. Of these, the largest body of evidence related to green tea with up to 1000 mL daily (4–5 cups) reported to increase proportions of Bifidobacterium. Mechanistic studies also show promise suggesting that black, oolong, Pu-erh and Fuzhuan teas (microbially fermented ‘dark tea’) can modulate microbial diversity and the ratio of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. These findings appear to support the hypothesis that tea ingestion could favourably regulate the profile of the gut microbiome and help to offset dysbiosis triggered by obesity or high-fat diets. Further well-designed human trials are now required to build on provisional findings.”

          “Higher caffeine consumption was associated with increased richness and evenness of the mucosa-associated gut microbiota, and higher relative abundance of anti-inflammatory bacteria, such as *Faecalibacterium* and *Roseburia* and lower levels of potentially harmful *Erysipelatoclostridium* .”

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19217682 “Although faecal profiles of the dominant microbiota were not significantly affected after the consumption of the coffee (Dice’s similarity index=92%, n=16), the population of Bifidobacterium spp.
          increased after the 3-week test period (P=0.02). Moreover, in some subjects, there was a specific increase in the metabolic activity of Bifidobacterium spp. Our results show that the consumption of the coffee preparation resulting from water co-extraction of green and roasted coffee beans produce an increase in the metabolic activity and/or numbers of the Bifidobacterium spp. population, a bacterial group of reputed beneficial effects, without major impact on the dominant microbiota.”

          1. gengo-gakusha, ty for your links and posting tthe excerpts. Very interesting and welcome news for me! Up til now I had looked at coffee and tea only in heart issue studies, not in leaky gut /microbiome questions.

            well, short answer is no, I don’t know why he came to that conclusion. The thought that flashed through my mind when he mentioned 6 weeks of supplements was that he is a part of the water fasting program at True North. He does say supplements are not required though, and the gut will heal 2 or 3 times over in a 6 week period if we do not continue to hurt it. It’s a big IF.

        3. * correction: Celiac disease (1% of the population in north america) vs wheat allergy (o.4%).

          I downloaded page fact sheet on Celiac Disease Facts and Figures prepared by the University of Chicago Medicine. I did not realise that the majority of sufferers do not realise they have it.

  25. As the blood test for coeliac is only 90% accurate but doctors act as if it is 100% this could be part of the problem. My daughter’s blood test was negative but further test disproved this. When my symptoms were dismissed as depression I went gf and got my life back. Brain fog, muscle pain, lethargic, inability to concentrate as well as bloating and extreme stomach cramps. I am fed up with people saying it’s not real. I am sure if a lot of people suffering depression went gf it would help them. My doctor just wanted to give me pills when my blood tests were negative. How many more people are the same?

    1. The stool test is the other test and it tests for sensitivity versus the blood test which tests for celiac.

      I don’t know if that would help for the ones where the test failed, but it seems like celiacs might have both measured, where sensitives won’t have the autoimmune antibodies.

  26. I used to have a saying “Durum is deadly and Semolina is semi safe” for wheat consumption. As time went by (last 20 years) this does not work anymore. I am not Celiac positive, however, when I eat certain types of wheat I have a reaction. The reaction includes immediate coughing, a heart rate increase of 30-40 BPM, sweating, my face flushes and it feels like blood flow through my neck is cut off. This lasts for 20-30 minutes where I cough and have to sit down. This is a gluten sensitivity in my opinion so I am 100% gluten free and have never felt better. Also following WPFB way of eating and I will never go back to the SAD.

    1. Mark,

      That is good.

      You are doing a WFPB diet and have walked through a genuine sensitivity.

      All good.

      Dr Christianson said that up to 30% of our population has tried gluten-free.

      When he said it, that is what I understood, it is a popular movement, even amongst SAD eaters.

      It is nice to hear that people are doing it while doing WFPB.

      For the people I know it is mostly keeping them from considering WFPB.

  27. I’ve kept a diet journal for the past 3 years and have found a STRONG correlation between my headaches and foods with wheat and soy.Call it “gluten” or whatever, I’m avoiding it and I do much better. Wheat and soy are put in SO many foods in the US and if I eat out, it’s hard to avoid them. There is a good chance I will feel bad the next day after eating out.

    My wife also had issues with wheat here in the US. When she went to India and had homemade foods with wheat (roti, paratha) she didn’t have issues.Maybe its GMO or glyphosate that is causing the issue?

    1. Jesse,

      Glyphosate does cause problems. That part is known.

      Also, flour causes more problems than whole grains.

      I had forgotten to look up Dr. Fuhrman and he pointed out that gluten is found in grains like farro, freekah, bulgur, spelt, kamut, barley, rye, and triticale.

      He also said that 17% of the American diet comes from wheat, which is interesting to me.

      I started to think about it and pizza, calzones, sandwiches, baked goods, hamburger rolls, casseroles, gravies, candy bars, ice cream etc. all tend to have gluten.

      Suddenly, I am wondering how it is only 17%.

  28. Could the gluten issue really be because farmers spray roundup on their crops at time of harvest? I saw it first hand on a N.Dakota farm and was shocked.

  29. I stopped wheat and in 4 days all my massive cravings to eat all day completely stopped. I lost 30 pounds in 3 months and mainly because I lost my appetite for all junk and was able to maintain my normal (but massive caloried) vegan diet. I ate perfectly but was so hungry all the time I was fat. Without wheat miraculously 30 pounds fell off — my eczema completely cleared up after 25 years of being covered in it. I believe Dr. Williams book (sans the eat meat and fat advice) Wheat Belly — I will never ever eat wheat again. In fact, Ill never eat anything with gluten in it again. Read Wheat Belly – it completely changed my life. But Im vegan — GENESIS 1:29 forever.

    1. I get cravings to eat when my body is stressed out. Maybe wheat or some component was causing you issues. If I don’t have wheat or soy then I don’t get a migraine (light and sound sensitivity, nausea, pain and fatigue) and I don’t feel like eating so much.

  30. There are so many variables. Varieties of wheat, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides used, wheat bran, germ, gluten, and exposure thresholds. We are just beginning to understand the gluten sensitivity phenomena, which, thanks to science, is discovering more variables to put in the equation.
    I personally can eat gluten in a TVP form, but not a bran muffin. Confirmed with a blood test showing I was negative for gluten, as the test was structured. I don’t know of wheat fiber or germ testing. I am lactose intolerant as well. Both are miserable GI problems. For me, the bran is catastrophic. Bloating, pain, and so on. Since going nearly wheat free, and dairy free, my health has improved in many areas. I really miss eating bagels and wheat, but a necessary change.
    Many thanks to the researchers helping to figure this out…..

      1. Deb,

        I don’t understand an allergy to oat bran but not to oats. Whole oat grains contain bran, which is just the seed coat. Oat bran is the seedcoat removed from the whole oat grains. Unless it’s a problem of concentration, such that eating oat bran gives you a higher amount of seedcoat per meal then eating whole oats, I don’t understand how you could be allergic to oat bran and not to whole oat grains. Even rolled oats contains their bran or seed coats, as far as I know.

        1. Dr. J.,

          I understand what you are saying.

          I am mainly looking at culture because culture is a part of it to me and people on various sites have said that they have problems with the bran versus the oats and it may be too much fiber for them or something else, and that is my whole point of wondering about this topic, because some people may well be responding to too much fiber or might have leaky gut from something like smoking or drinking or RoundUp and be sensitive to flour. People go off dairy and gluten at the same time and feel much better, but does that verify a gluten sensitivity or was it going off dairy that improved things for them. I feel like “gluten” is used when it often isn’t gluten, but I am reading the conversations and watching what is talked about on television and on the internet.

          It helps me to understand the wider culture. Most of the people on the internet discussing things do not understand science or nutrition or medicine at all.

          Watching the Jimmy Fallon piece on gluten, that was so authentic to the masses that I see. They don’t know the whole protein thing. They don’t really know why gluten is bad, but 30% know that it is and that is a more effective movement than WFPB and has successfully separated millions of people from grains and soy and corn. No wonder John McDougall has an ornery personality out of frustration of fighting every diet war on every front for so long.

          The people who genuinely are sensitive probably have doctors’ who think they are insane and relatives who think they are insane and they get frustrated and they symbolically “kick the dog” and lecture every person they can find at parties and social gatherings and in their families. Those family members are probably either SAD and will make fun of the cardboard gluten-free cookies and the texture of the gluten-free pizza’s, which have gotten better. Some of the family members will be Keto and it will become like the dual screen impeachment hearings and some of us will become the “No politics or diet talk at Christmas” police.

          1. I am interacting with engineers and people who designed their own race cars and can repair Colt guns and who know calculus and history, but none of them have ever heard of any of this and when I say, “PubMed” not one of them has ever heard of it. It is some Pub, someplace to them.

  31. A doctor in 2013 suggested a GF diet because of my Hashimoto’s disease. To my surprise, it cured my 30 years of irritable bowel syndrome. To test it, I ate items with flour and my diarrhea returned. All of my doctors for those 30 years required various tests made because of my chronic diarrhea, all of which were inconclusive, so they told me I had IBS. A gluten free diet definitely works for me in terms of my chronic diarrhea and hopefully may be helping with my thyroid antibodies. I have no other food allergies.

  32. I found this interesting. I eliminated glutin from my diet not due to gastrointestinal symptoms but rather inflammitory joint disease. I was diagnosed with Sero-negative Rheumatoid arthritis over 10 years ago. My doctor wisely suggested limiting animal products and refined foods. I became vegan and have found that if I remove sugar, animal products and wheat from my diet my symptoms are dramatically reduced. The inflammation and pain have been so we’ll contolled by diet I am off all medications. I have periodically tried to introduce wheat back in my diet (I love home made bread) and within a short period of time have increased inflammation and pain. I’m not sure what the mechanism is that causes these symptoms, I just know it works for my body.

  33. Gluten intolerance is real. 10 years ago i found I am allergic to gluten since then I avoided all food and drinks containing gluten. All these years I don’t have any of the symptoms I used have. In addition to that I don’t consume egg yolks and lactose containing products. You have to have a clear understanding that not all the food you buy from the grocery are 100% gluten free. The best solution is make your own gluten free food from scratch.

  34. I found this article interesting.

    I am not sure if the study mentioned in it is one of the studies used by Dr. Greger or not.

    There are so many things to read, but they did a bar test of people to see if their problems were caused by FODmaps or Gluten and only the FODMaps group showed a barely statistical significance to the bar they made them eat. I say that for the people who are spending the rest of their lives on the elimination diet.

    https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/what-s-really-behind-gluten-sensitivity

  35. So, Dr. Greger, if more than one of these studies it was the fructan, rather than the gluten, then back to the whole FODMaps question.

    Can they just heal their gut microbiome?

  36. By coincidence, I wrote to a cereal/grains company that I used to buy products from just last Monday. I complained about the (unnecessary) use of round up in the harvesting of cereal grains.

    I didn’t expect a reply but they did email me back right away. They said all their products come under the allowed levels but that given my concern they would recommend using organic products. They added in closing that if people do not complain, things will not change.

    1. Barb Makes me wonder if “we” didn’t learn anything from the Agent Orange usage in Viet Nam. Had a lot of friends that were adversely affected, and now we are using Round Up and really don’t know what the long term effects will be.

    2. Barb,
      Thank you for that and the reminder that in some contexts, seven calls, comments, complaints is a groundswell. Can be easy to forget or get distracted fromm calling manufacturers, retailers and elected officials. 8 ))

        1. Interestingly, Homocysteine is only a problem for people with T1D who have complications, not for the ones with T1D who don’t have complications.

          So….. yup…. it is still ten zillion miles over my head, but somehow, somebody smart probably can line Homocysteine up next to all of the autoimmune conditions, because it really looks like there must be a lot of scientists out there testing every single thing.

          Based on our results, we may conclude that in T1DM patients without any complications, plasma Hcy concentrations keep in normal range. While as the disease progresses, T1DM microvascular complications, such as DR and DN, may accompany with elevated plasma Hcy concentrations.

  37. I have often wondered whether or not the fact that most of our tweet that we have in the United States is GMO. Have there been any studies on that?

    1. Kathy,

      I want to make a Twitter joke, for such a fabulous typo.

      They have looked at how Roundup and food additives affect the tight junctions and many people suspect that it contributes, but i didn’t see studies confirming that it is why so many people went gluten-free and so far there aren’t studies that going gluten-free helped people. They don’t believe they were all gluten-sensitive.

      There are other things like high fat diets that contribute to gut permeability and keto is one of the other big dietary movements.

      If that’s was a definitive study on the subject, Dr Greger and his colleagues would be writing about it.

      Instead, many of the studies are about how many people who think they are gluten-sensitive aren’t really testing as gluten-sensitive and a small but statistically significant number end up fructan-sensitive.

      The rate of Celiac hasn’t changed since 2009 but I. Am not sure what that tells us.

      I already can’t figure out the logic about that.

      1. If it was gluten causing autoimmune, this past decade, with 30% of people going gluten-free, autoimmune should have dropped dramatically.

        I think the WFPB movement will bring it down, but gluten free had a better societal test than most any dirt other than SAD.

        1. Think about it, 30% of the people went gluten-free and only 1% had celiac which is the leaky gut autoimmune version.

          There has to be a way to look at Hashimoto’s and say, Look, the numbers went down correlating with gluten-free going up.

          1. But I guess since people are also going off dairy enough to put 90-year-old milk companies out of business, I do suspect autoimmune immune cases should have dropped.

            I guess I am waiting for Dr Barnard or Dr Greger to show me whether the autoimmune graph corresponds to gluten free or to the rise in plant-milks or neither, and if either, then Roundup, food additives and Keto go on the block and the paleo people put all grains and Gundry would be lectins and phytates And Tom already added water-purification processes and Zach Bush added lack of minerals in the soil and has a product which the masses are confused whether it is yet another scam product or not and it has a study but 80% of product studies can’t be duplicated so I am not smart enough to say he is legitimate or not, but he is fun to listen to.

            1. Okay, to the smart people:

              If people have autoimmune and it is caused by leaky gut, and only 1% have celiac, let’s say that another 1% of the people who went gluten-free had Hashimoto’s and they have a leaky gut, too, but don’t have celiac?

              Meaning the gluten was not leaking through their already leaky gut?!?!

              Ensuing minds would like to understand if that is possible.

              1. I ask it because a lot of people with autoimmune do go gluten-free and dairy-free and I read that nobody who had autoimmune should ever eat gluten, but why didn’t their gluten pass through their already leaky gut?!?!

                  1. Okay, 7% of the population has autoimmune, and 1% of the population has celiac?

                    So it would be something like 6% of people have autoimmune but didn’t have gluten antibodies from gluten passing through their leaky gut.

                    1. They also link celiac with Type 1 Diabetes, has the gluten-free movement affected the rates if that or Graves Disease?

                    2. I am interested if there is directionality within autoimmune.

                      Do people with celiac get Type 1 Diabetes and Hashimoto’s?

                      Or do Type 1 Diabetics get celiac?
                      .Or do people with Hashimoto’s get Type 1.5 or adult Type 1 Diabetes?

                    3. If 7% have autoimmune starting from leaky gut but 6% don’t have the gluten antibodies, maybe it is the size of the holes getting leaked through?

                      Does milk leak faster?

                      Or is Roundup smaller?

  38. I have a question not concerning gluten, but since I wrote an email to the wrong address before I give it again here:

    Dear Colleagues,

    Thank You for Your effort to make this world a healthier place. I have one question about the amount of Anthocyanine in cranberries. In „how not to die“ You wrote: for the same amount of anthocynine we find in one cup of fresh or frozen cranberries we need seven cups of dried cranberries. Why they loose such an extraordinary amount in the process of drying. And I assume, dried cranberries have less volume and weight after being dried so the difference is astounding.
    I am an orthopedic surgeon north of Hamburg, Germany and it is much harder to find fresh cranberries all year long than to order dried cranberries.
    May be You can tell me?

    Thanks for helping me

    Dr. Frank Goebels

    1. ‘Anthocyanins are thought to be subject to physiochemical degradation in vivo and in vitro. Structure, pH, temperature, light, oxygen, metal ions, intramolecular association, and intermolecular association with other compounds (copigments, sugars, proteins, degradation products, etc.) generally are known to affect the color and stability of anthocyanins.[52] B-ring hydroxylation status and pH have been shown to mediate the degradation of anthocyanins to their phenolic acid and aldehyde constituents.[53] Indeed, significant portions of ingested anthocyanins are likely to degrade to phenolic acids and aldehyde in vivo, following consumption.’
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthocyanin

    2. If you have access to wild blue berries (it’s pretty easy to get frozen wild blueberries in the US), I believe those have the most anthocyanins. Wild has a lot more than regular blueberries.

  39. When I changed my wheat bread to spelt bread including pasta, I noticed one day many months later, how I suddenly felt that my body was going through a shrinkage phase, literally it happened suddenly and long enough for me to feel it actually happening. I couldn’t believe it but my body in that instance felt like a balloon was deflating. Awesome and amazing.

    Now I do notice the difference when I eat wheat or spelt. Organic wheat makes feel the same as a conventional wheat bread. Eating Spelt, I don’t have the the same severity of brain fog and bloating and constipation as with the conventional wheat.

    BUT, I would like to add that wheat fields around the world are spraying with Glyphosate, 3 times before they are even harvested. So I would be doing a comprehensive research into wheat that is loaded with chemicals versus wheat that is organically grown. This important point has never been published nor addressed in any research I have heard thus far. I wonder WHY?

    I would be asking questions of the Glyphosate/Roundup industries to provide us with truth and honest research. Hmmm… I think change will have to come from the grassroots before these polluting industry will be willing to face the music from the sick people around the globe.

  40. I have been reading about anemia and I guess turmeric can cause it.

    Ginger might be used in treating it.

    Soy gets ridiculously confusing.

    I was looking for food ways to decrease hepcidin the master regulator of anemia.

    Testosterone helps.

    Estradiol helped in one study and not in another.

  41. It goes against my grain to disagree with the Doc’s conclusions. But his comment on the depression study by Peters et al (concluding based on purported effects on mood (there may in fact be a condition involving gluten sensitivity) doesn’t make a lot of sense. first of all, the Peters study only involved 22 subjects. Second, the statistical values reported (95% CI (0.55-3.51), P = 0.010] show a confidence interval (CI) too large to justify a true effect of gluten. The P-value is also also uninspiring. Lost of different elements in foods have the ability to affect mood negatively (saturated fats, magnesium, B-vitamins) so goodness knows what else these folks ate that could be responsible for the increased depression scores.

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