Having a Laugh About Gluten

Posted: Jul 06, 2014 12:01 AM
Having a Laugh About Gluten

It all started while we were on vacation and watched a video on the Daily Caller from the Jimmy Kimmel show. Jimmy likes to continue a tradition of the “Man on the Street” interviews started by the original late night guy – Steve Allen. This time Jimmy was on a mission to show that anti-gluten is fueled mainly by ignorance. Four saps were lured into telling the world that they would never let gluten touch their lips or enter their body. Then when asked to describe what gluten is they were left on the clown pile of life helplessly babbling.

Personally, I was a naysayer on the subject of gluten as the California crazies hopped on the bandwagon of the mania. That was until my endocrinologist told me that avoiding gluten would help me control my blood sugar level while I was losing weight which aided my avoiding diabetes. Mr. Kimmel sent me to the internet to research the subject to avoid the pratfalls of other health-crazed Californians.

What I found was that gluten is a protein found in grains – particularly wheat, rye and barley. Gluten causes dough to rise and gives it a chewy texture. It is true that some people have intolerance to gluten, but it is not an allergy – it is just an intolerance. That is estimated to be one person out of every 133. Here is where the fun starts – there has never (yes, never) been a study that has shown that avoiding gluten for the other 132 people without an intolerance has any beneficial effect. But don’t try to convince the crazed people who have sworn off gluten as if it were a deadly poison.

Then I found out that corn, rice, and potatoes have no gluten. Being the cynical person I am, it occurs to me who might be behind this entire fad. Certainly there is no science behind it, but there sure is plenty of push to avoid gluten. Could it be corn, rice, and potato growers have banded together to convince the American public to eat their product and avoid those other foods? No that would never happen – would it? We never been told something was good for us and then later experienced an Emily Litella (Gilda Radner) moment – Never Mind.

Then I read about Peter Gibson, a professor from Melbourne, Australia, who did a study in 2011 that found gluten intolerance is a genuine condition. The study was widely accepted and accelerated the concern about gluten launching an increase of 50 percent in the sale of gluten-free products in the United States. However, Gibson did not have the “settled science” lobby breathing down his neck and redid his testing. He discovered that the reactions found in the first tests were not actually related to gluten. As stated in the article in Real Clear Science, “The rise in non-celiac gluten sensitivity seems predominantly driven by consumers and commercial interests, not quality scientific research.”

Concurrent with the world realizing that gluten-mania was driven by both false science and irrational exuberance, we have found out that the entire basis of our diet has been founded on bad science. The original research was done by a man named Ancel Keys and then accepted unflinchingly by the establishment that embraces these issues, like the American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and the Agriculture Dept. Some have questioned Keys’ work over the past 50 years, but we have been told that the consumption of animal fat in our diet was too high and we needed to avoid it. It has become “settled science.”

Then the Annals of Internal Medicine actually did an extensive study and found out animal fat is not the leading cause for heart disease, diabetes and obesity. So butter that corn and down that steak because that is not what is causing heart disease. Just do it in moderation.

Now the entire food world has turned over the essence of what is a good diet except – the American Heart Association (AHA). For good fun we read a column in that radical, right-wing publication—The Daily Beast – telling of the AHA’s refusal to alter their guidelines regarding consumption of saturated fats. Wow, nothing more amusing than seeing the left go after the left. But the doctor who wrote the column blamed “commercial interests.” Excuse me! The AHA is part of the left-of-center, East Coast intelligentsia. Don’t try and hang this one on us – the Republicans. We still eat our meat and baby backs. We didn’t fall for all this malarkey. But accepting blame for their errors has never been a big feature of the left – (note their blame of GWB for the last decade).

The reality is that food fads are food fads, science is never settled, and eating a well-balanced diet which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, and yes some fats, will keep you in good stead unless you indulge in gluttony. Also, what you eat is your choice and if you want to die with a cheeseburger hanging from your lips God bless you. But watching the left genuflect to the latest food fad or any other unscientific craze is always great entertainment.

So this 4th of July weekend eat those hot dogs and burgers and enjoy yourself with reckless abandon while you celebrate your freedom from the food police.