Just this week, I wrote an article about food-fear mongering. The two topics I dealt with were the fact that gluten is being labelled as harmful for everybody, and the new rumours about corn.
”Why we shouldn’t buy into all food fear campaigns’
Coincidentally, today I came across an article titled ‘Is Corn The Next Gluten?’ by Dr. Amy Myers http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12939/is-corn-the-next-gluten.html.
This article is exactly what I was writing about. It talks about gluten being an inflammatory food, and it goes on to say that adherence to a gluten-free diet is enough to heal the gut and halt systemic inflammation. The thing it, this article is NOT written about people diagnosed with coeliac disease or gluten sensitivity, but for the general population, including perfectly healthy individuals. It continues to spread the notion that gluten is bad for everybody.
Furthermore, in my last blog entry, I stated that a 2012 study published in Plant foods for human nutrition, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22298027, showed that in some coeliacs, as a rare event, maize could induce a coeliac-like immune response by similar or alternative mechanisms to those used by wheat gluten peptides. This study is relevant to people with coeliac disease only, but is sadly being applied to perfectly healthy individuals by people out to make money out of this new trend.
The author who happens to be a doctor, is using fear to cause people to make irrational decisions, all the while promoting her ebooks, eCourses, soon to be released book and food-based program. As I said last time, fear sells. The author of this article also uses extreme extrapolation of the results of real studies to give credit to her claims.
Here are a few points:
1. The article talks about ‘leaky gut syndrome’– there is absolutely no evidence that eliminating certain foods like gluten or corn have any benefit on this ‘condition’ that is yet unproven to even exist.
2. It states:
”Remember that what you eat also eats, and be aware of what that is. Unless certified as grass fed, poultry and livestock are fed corn.Besides the fact that grain-fed meat comes from a less healthy animal and is extremely deficient in nutrients, the seemingly insignificant content of the animal’s diet can be enough to trigger an immune response when you eat that gluten-free hamburger or have your morning nonfat yogurt. ”
Seriously, does anybody actually believe that if an animal eats gluten or corn it will make it’s way into our hamburgers and yoghurt? The animal digests the food and it is broken down. I am surprised a doctor would actually allude to this. But again, fear sells.
2. Moreover it states
”to many people’s bodies, the protein in corn can look like gluten, and they cross-react to it”.
This is false. As I said earlier, it had been proven that in some coeliacs, as a rare event, corn could induce a coeliac-like immune response. The study the author referenced to her claim is new (January, 2013), and concluded that if a coeliac is not responsive to a gluten free diet, reasons may be cross reactivity to certain foods, or gluten cross contamination. These findings may explain why around some people with coeliac disease do not get complete relief of symptoms even when on a gluten free diet. In fact it was not only corn, but several foods were found to cause a reaction in the lab setting including cow’s milk, milk chocolate, the milk proteins: milk butyrophilin, whey protein and casein, yeast, oats, corn, millet, instant coffee and rice.
Again, the author of ‘Is Corn the next Gluten” used this study as a reference but chose only information relevant to her article and applied the results to the general population. She is inadvertently encouraging people to eliminate foods from their diet without a proper diagnosis by first encouraging people to eliminate gluten, and then to eliminate corn if symptoms persist. I still have not understood why corn was targeted from the many foods listed in the study she referenced.
3. ”Gluten is only one of several molecules that imitate our own body tissues and contribute to autoimmunity”.
Yes, gluten triggers auto-immunity- in people with coeliac disease.
Some people may have an allergy or an intolerance to corn, and some coeliacs (extremely rare) who do not respond to the gluten free diet might be having a reaction to corn, but there is no evidence that corn is unsuitable for everybody.
Now, I know that many people may avoid corn since alot of it is GMO. I will not enter into a discussion about GMO because since there has not been independent testing on these GMO grains, it is still a subject of debate as to whether these are safe or not. If anybody is going to argue that corn is unsuitable for human consumption because of GMOs, there is always the option to buy organic. But that is a personal choice.
This spreading of fear should stop!
I strongly suggest that if anybody suspects that their symptoms are the result of a particular food, they should follow the advice of their doctor or dietitian. Eliminating certain foods without guidance can be risky, because the symptoms could be the result of some other condition that would need to be investigated. This is especially true with gluten.
For more information about leaky gut syndrome visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leaky-gut-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx
A. Vojdani and I. Tarash, “Cross-Reaction between Gliadin and Different Food and Tissue Antigens,” Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2013, pp. 20-32. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.41005.
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