The gluten-free diet is the only treatment that exists today for Celiac Disease. However, in recent years a curious fashion has led many healthy people to eliminate gluten from their diet. Some celebrities have created a trend by publicly saying they eat gluten-free. And false specialists recommend this eating pattern arguing that more cases of celiac disease are detected due to the ingestion of genetically modified wheat.
Nancy Babio, a researcher at Center for Biomedical Research on Obesity and Nutrition Network (Ciberobn) and responsible for the degree of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in the Rovira I Virgili University (Tarragona), ensures that adopting or indicating a gluten-free diet to a person who does not suffer from celiac disease is unwise and unnecessary. Reckless because the population generally understands that a diet of this type consists of consuming processed gluten-free products, which, in addition to being more expensive, tend to have more added sugars and fats to replace gluten. Unnecessary because “it is as if a person with good eyesight wears prescription glasses for myopia.”
Francesc Casellas, of the Spanish Society of Digestive Pathology (SEPD), ensures that gluten is a natural and healthy product, except for people who have a disease caused by its ingestion: “A healthy person will not have any problems, they do not have to avoid it and they will not feel better if they do.”. Coinciding with Babio, he assures that gluten-free manufactured products, such as certain types of pasta and sliced bread, produce a higher caloric intake. It is not possible to fall into the generalization that these products are healthier, on the contrary, to try to provide the same properties, they have more additives, different composition of fats and sugars, and less fiber than their gluten counterparts.
May cause health problems
Adopting this eating habit without control and without medical supervision can lead to a diet that is not balanced and that, in the long term, causes health problems. Casellas refers to some studies carried out in the United States that conclude that These people, without any kind of medical supervision, may be at higher risk of cardiac events.
For Babio, this trend can delay the actual diagnosis in people who suffer from celiac disease silently: “Because if it is true that they improve by following this diet, it is likely that they have the disease without being diagnosed. It is essential for the diagnosis not to previously remove the gluten. If you have symptoms, you should go to a specialist”.
Casellas stresses that suppressing gluten has not been shown to provide any benefit when there is no disease and Babio that it is the only way to treat celiac disease. Both insist that it is a therapeutic diet that requires diagnosis and, consequently, a prescription.
The Ciberobn researcher makes a special mention of the false specialists who generally recommend this dietary practice and justify it by stating that genetically modified wheat is the cause of the increase in diagnoses of celiac disease.
Remember that the genetic modification of wheat has occurred regularly since the first agricultural experiences in history and that the number of genes that wheat can have does not always translate into more genes capable of producing gluten: “Recent studies have shown that In the cultivation of ancient wheat varieties, there are cases in which the ancient wheat contains lower amounts of gluten and in others greater, just as the consumption of gluten has varied throughout history. There is no evidence to corroborate that current wheat is the cause of cases of celiac disease”.
Babio urges the health authorities to enforce the Royal Decree 1907/1996, of August 2, on advertising and commercial promotion of products, activities, or services with purported health purposes to stop “the fraudulent practice” of alleged experts that violates the rights of the sick and all citizens.
On the other hand, recommending a gluten-free diet to people who do not need it contributes to trivialize a treatment that those diagnosed with celiac disease or with non-celiac gluten sensitivity must follow for life.
The classic form of this pathology is characterized by malabsorption syndrome, intestinal distention, diarrhea, steatorrhea (loss of fat in stool), character changes, poor appetite, weight curve stagnation, and growth retardation, fat-soluble vitamin deficiency, iron, calcium Y folic acid. However, there are patients who can present a silent and latent form of the disease without suffering these symptoms.
As a direct response to the presence of gluten and prolamines in the diet, and the immune process occurs that damages the intestinal mucosa and leads to atrophy of the intestinal villi and malabsorption of nutrients in people who are genetically sensitive or predisposed.