vladimir-putin-193783_640 copyWould it surprise you to know that Mr. Putin is Gluten sensitive?  It would surprise me….as I have no idea.  But…..gluten-free fad, from a scientific standpoint has about as much accuracy as Mr. Putin’s statements have about any topic….there is not much truth there.

If you ask any well-trained physician about gluten, they will explain that it is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and other grains.  These proteins (gluten) can cause a rare condition called Celiac Sprue.  Celiac Sprue is a disease of the immune system.   Immune cells that live in the lining of the small intestine become sensitized to  gluten proteins  and this results in atrophy of villi (surface structure of the intestine) and this leads to malabsorption.  Translated:  Gluten creates a reaction in the surface cells of the small intestine which causes the small intestine to become inefficient at absorbing nutrients causing significant diarrhea.

This condition is rather rare.  I’ve only seen in a few times in my medical practice, but this type of gluten disease is very different than the gluten issue that has led to the widespread shunning of gluten-filled foods.   This was done as a concomitant of the ‘anti-carb/anti-refined grains’ movements that has been in full force for the past decade.  Because gluten is in grains, and grains are a source of carbohydrates, and carbohydrates are now deemed ‘bad’ because they cause high levels of insulin and diabetes, there has been a push to eliminate gluten on that basis that this is an unhealthy dietary choice.   Although it won’t harm you to eliminate gluten, it is by no means the smartest diet restriction, and the thought that gluten is the bane of our collective nutrition existence is wholesale nonsense.

What started as a marketing gimmick for specialty products in the grocery, has turned into a full-fledged movement that knows no bounds and one that has taken nutritionists and doctors by surprise.

So, although gluten and carbohydrates may not be your first choice of food, and you may be concerned that they can have negative effects on your health, there is little evidence to support the notion that widespread gluten sensitivity is causing issues for the majority or even a large minority of Americans.   Now what do you think of that Mr. Putin?