More than 18 million people are said to have some intolerance to gluten, the sticky protein that can be found in breads, barley, and other wheat products. But how scientifically grounded is this sudden wave of large-scale gluten intolerance?
As it turns out, it may not be gluten that is triggering health problems, but a reaction to agrochemicals being used in the harvesting of wheat.
So we have to ask: Is Monsanto’s glyphosate the true cause of sensitivity to glutenous foods?
Gluten is a protein composite that acts as a glue for bread, holding it together and giving it that fluffy, chewy texture that people enjoy. It is also used as a chewy meat substitute called seitan, widely used by vegetarians and vegans. Although some experts believe that only 1 percent of Americans have Celiac Disease, the auto-immune disorder that results in gluten intolerance, 18 percent of adults now reportedly regularly purchase gluten-free foods and about 30 percent say they want to eat less gluten.
In 2011, an Australian scientist named Peter Gibson at Monash University conducted an experiment to determine whether gluten in the diet can cause gastrointestinal distress in people who did not have celiac disease. When experiments confirmed this hypothesis, they named this condition ‘non-celiac gluten sensitivity‘ or NCGS, thus beginning the gluten-free trend, which has resulted in an estimated $15 billion industry by 2016.
Gibson was not satisfied with his findings, however, and because of how common gluten is in the diets of so many people, both modern and historically, he wanted to know why and how gluten could be causing this reaction in people who were not suffering from celiac disease. Consequently, he decided to take his research to a new level and conduct an experiment more rigorous than anything typically found in nutritional studies.
For this new experiment, Gibson sought out 37 self-identified gluten sensitive patients. The study was done double-blind with subjects that had NCGS and irritable bowel syndrome, but not celiac disease. For two weeks, the patients were given high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten meals (as the control group), followed by a two-week “washout” period.
The findings of the study showed that although in opposition to the results found in the first experiment, gluten intolerance actually does not exist in people without celiac disease. A third study, also by Gibson, further supports these findings, suggesting perhaps that much of what we see as gluten sensitivity is psychosomatic.
Although gluten is no longer believed to be the culprit of health problems reportedly associated with consuming glutenous wheat, that does not mean that conventionally grown wheat is completely safe to eat. In fact, until 2005, GMO wheat was being tested in 16 states, and is known to have escaped testings grounds, genetically polluting nearby fields via airborne seeds and cross-pollination.
In addition, even non-GMO wheat is drenched with Monsanto’s carcinogenic glyphosate Round-up just days before harvest, because, as it turns out, wheat fields produce slightly more seed when sprayed with this poison 7-10 days before harvest, as researched by Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT.
Not only has glyphosate been found to be a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization, but has been linked to a variety of other health issues including depression, diabetes, celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
This study from 2013 shows that fish exposed to glyphosate develop digestive issues similar to celiac disease.
“If Glyphosate ends up in bread it’s impossible for people to avoid it, unless they are eating organic. On the other hand, farmers could easily choose not to use Glyphosate as a spray on wheat crops – just before they are harvested. This is why the Soil Association is calling for the immediate ending of the use of Glyphosate sprays on wheat destined for use in bread.” – Peter Melchett of the Soil Association
It is true that not every food fad ends up being true. However, we should still take caution when choosing the foods we feed our families. Although it has been found that gluten itself is not causing an intolerance in people without celiac disease, there are still other issues with wheat production that we need to be aware of. Get your wheat from local, organic farms when possible and do what you can to avoid Monsanto and other pesticide company’s chemical toxins finding their way into your body.