Call it “wheat free” instead of “gluten free”

I and several other people I know have experienced health benefits when we went “gluten free”. My eldest daughter had a significant reduction in her autistic behaviors  when we took her off gluten. A gluten-free and/or casein free diet has been shown to help kids with autism, according to studies done in Europe and in the USA.

However, (as I have mentioned before) it turns out gluten is not the problem. It is a different carbohydrate found in wheat – called fructan – which appears to be the real causal factor. It is one of the fermentable, poorly absorbed, short-chain carbohydrates, which are called FODMAPs (fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols).  When you eliminate gluten you don’t eat wheat, which eliminates a big source of this FODMAP and that is why gluten-free diets can often help. The only thing that has changed in ESSENTIALS is that a gluten free diet would be more accurately called a “fructan free” or “wheat free” diet in the vernacular. The same study that showed gluten wasn’t the issue also demonstrated that FODMAPs were the issue.  The results are real, even if blaming gluten was false.

Does the media make that clear?  Of course not. Instead you have articles  trumpeting the fact that “gluten intolerance may be completely fake”. Headlines blare out that gluten-free foods are a “scam” or an “overblown fad”.  Inasmuch as gluten is not the problem a false equivalency is made that people who need to eat gluten free are just  “whiners”.

Every so often I get sent copies of these kinds of articles from those who smirk at the idea of dietary restrictions for autism et al. None of those who have sent me the links have EVER (as of this date) bothered to read the full article. This drives me bananas. Smirking at me is irksome enough but to do so with insufficient or incorrect information is unbearable. I then have to explain the concepts of FODMAPs and fructans and wheat v/s gluten at length. That’s why I decided to blog about it; I can now just send them a copy of this post without having to look up the information/links again.

I think of it as quick-drawn smirk repellant.

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