In many cases package labels that say “gluten-free” are just another food scam, warns renowned heart physician and cardiologist Dr. Chauncey Crandall.
The next time you’re at the store, stroll down the bread department, and you might be surprised at the number of package labels that say “gluten-free.” You’ll probably find scores of other packaged foods labeled “gluten-free” as well. What’s the big deal about gluten?
“There are people who need to stay away from gluten, but, for most of us, paying more for gluten-free foods, or going out of our way to buy them, is just another food scam,” according to Dr. Chauncey Crandall.
Gluten, a protein found in cereal grains like wheat, barley and rye, is currently being blamed by some for a litany of ailments, which include obesity, autism, depression, arthritis — you name it! But, in most cases, instilling a fear in people over gluten isn’t justified, Dr. Chauncey Crandall says.
“It is absolutely true that people with celiac disease must stay away from gluten, but that is only a small percentage of the population,” notes Dr. Chauncey Crandall.
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. This autoimmune disorder causes gastrointestinal symptoms that may include abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, and constipation, but celiac disease can also manifest itself in other ways, like fatigue, depression or anxiety, seizures, infertility and more.
“With such a constellation of symptoms, it’s not surprising that gluten is being blamed for a host of ailments, but the truth is that only people with celiac disease get sick from eating it,” says Dr. Chauncey Crandall.
Regarding celiac disease, there is some evidence that people with celiac disease may be able to tolerate einkorn wheat, which is the ancient type of wheat that was cultivated by farmers 10,000 years ago and from which our current form of wheat is descended.
“Genetically, einkorn wheat is a simpler form of grain. It is more nutritious than our modern-day wheat, and less likely to cause allergies and adverse reactions,” Dr. Chauncey Crandall says.
“If you think you may have celiac disease, you should be tested for it. But, for most of us, staying away from gluten is not beneficial, and this new emphasis on making sure we eliminate all the gluten from our diet is just a scam,” Dr. Chauncey Crandall added.
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