When I read the newspapers or watch TV and see all the misinformation that is spread about the gluten free diet, I feel hopeless. And honestly, when I’ve heard yesterday that there is a new article published in Het Parool about celiac disease I was scared to read it.
And wow, that is a good article!
Because this article is in Dutch and thus not understandable to all, I decided to translate it to English. Pity, I am not allowed to post it here but you can send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will gladly send you my translation.
The original article can be found here. (You can make a free account and receive 2.5,- euro credit for starter).
The article is written by Fabienne Meijer and the title is ‘Sick from one crumble’.
It starts with an opening: ‘Gluten free diet became hype that discredits people with coeliac disease. They are not being taken seriously. Even restaurants these days don’t follow strict precautions when preparing a gluten free meal.’
Overall, the article touches upon the following aspects
- The gluten free diet became hype because people believe that gluten is unhealthy and leads to weight gain (there is enough scientific research suggesting that gluten is not that healthy when eaten in excess so I don’t blame them);
- Nobody realizes anymore that the gluten free diet was invented as a treatment for people with celiac disease;
- Barely anyone knows what celiac disease is;
- Gluten-fanatics (people without gluten intolerance) follow a low in gluten diet and call it gluten free. This is misleading. Wrong information’s are spread;
- People (and horeca) don’t realize that a real gluten free diet has to be strict. There is no space for gluten contamination from polluted kitchen utensils etc. ;
- Restaurants offer ‘gluten free’ meals that are polluted with gluten, contain low in gluten ingredients and can make a person with celiac disease sick for a couple of weeks;
- The only good thing coming from the gluten hype is a big choice of gluten free food products in supermarkets (not even sure about that as the products have poor quality and have almost no nutritional value);
- People with celiac disease are not treated seriously anymore when asking for a strictly gluten free food;
- People self-diagnose themselves with gluten intolerance and dispute the credibility of doctors (well, first contact doctors often ignore our symptoms so I would say it goes both ways.. );
- To live gluten free means more than just exclude gluten from a diet. NCV started a new campaign ‘GOOD GLUTENVRIJ’ to spread awareness;
- A number of gluten free bloggers from The Netherlands started a camaigne – MAY Celiac Disease Awareness Month. More about their activities on coeliakiemaand.nl;
- Symptoms of celiac disease are not well known, even in medical world. Not all celiac patients experience gastrointestinal issues. The awareness month is supposed to result in more people getting their diagnose;
- Gluten consumption by people who have celiac disease and don’t know about it or don’t follow a strict diet can lead to serious conditions like infertility, colon cancer or atrophy of the part of brain called cerebellum;
- One needs specific gens to develop celiac disease;
- It is estimated that 160.000 people in The Netherlands have celiac disease but only 25.000 are diagnosed (the proportions are most likely similar in other countries).
I wish we could read more articles like this one. I wish media would stop promoting the gluten hype and stop associating gluten free food with the ‘gluten-fanatics’. I wish restaurants would stop poisoning people with celiac disease. Myself included.
Do you know other good articles about celiac disease and gluten hype?