Cross Contamination of Gluten or Processed Food?
Why The Gluten Free Food Industry Perpetuates Disease…
The gluten free aisle at the grocery store continues to grow along with the popularity of the gluten free diet. Unfortunately, the majority of the foods being sold are highly processed. Many of them contain genetically modified ingredients. Many of them contain other grains like corn and rice (glutens in these have been shown to create damage in celiacs). Many of them are cross contaminated with gluten.
A recent study published in Biomed Central Gastroenterology confirms that avoiding these processed foods improves healing in those who have previously gone traditionally gluten free and not responded (this is often referred to as non responsive disease). A summary of the study is below:
Patients with persistent symptoms and/or villous atrophy despite strict adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) have non-responsive celiac disease (NRCD). A subset of these patients has refractory celiac disease (RCD), yet some NRCD patients may simply be reacting to gluten cross-contamination. Here we describe the effects of a 3-6 month diet of whole, unprocessed foods, termed the Gluten Contamination Elimination Diet (GCED), on NRCD.
Prior to the GCED, all patients were interviewed by an experienced dietitian and no sources of hidden gluten ingestion were identified.
Sources: BMC Gastroenterol. 2013 Feb 28;13:40. doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-13-40.
The Danger of Processed Foods
The label below was taken from a popular “gluten free” bread. As one can easily see, there are multiple non organic ingredients. Many from GMO sources. Many of the ingredients are also substitute grains – i.e. corn and rice, both of which have been shown to cause inflammatory damage in those with celiac disease. The product also contains two forms of sugar. Now take the average person who is going gluten free after years of food induced damage and ask a simple question – Will the food below help restore health or will it hinder the process?
Aside from simply being unhealthy, processed foods prevent the recovery process in patients with long standing gluten induced damage. The medical treatment for those who don’t respond to a gluten free diet is the use of immuno therapies. Drugs commonly used for this include:Prednisone
These types of treatments come with many dangerous side effects. Long term use of steroids cause bone loss, induce vitamin and mineral deficiencies, contribute to diabetes, and cause hormonal imbalance. Immune suppressants contribute to congestive heart failure, blood based cancers like lymphoma, and increased risk for serious infections.
The study above demonstrates that 82% of those who did not respond to a traditional gluten free diet made a full recovery by eliminating processed food. Interesting…
As stated above, processed food can be cross contaminated, but the big take away message here should really be that processed food isn’t good for you. Bottom line – default to common sense and the three cardinal rules of nutrition:
One cannot achieve or maintain health eating unhealthy foods.
One cannot achieve or maintain health eating foods they are allergic, sensitive, or intolerant to.
If you eat it and it makes you feel bad, stop eating it. Don’t medicate the symptoms away.
All the best,
Dr. O – The Gluten Free Warrior