The gluten-free movement is often dismissed in the media as a fad. Even so-called experts actively discredit the gluten-free diet and apply a negative connotation to terms like PWAG. Have you ever wondered why there is so much misinformation about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity in the media? And who sponsors the coverage that dissuades people from going gluten-free?

 Today, Nadine explains how the big business of wheat affects which voices we hear in media treatment of the gluten-free movement. In addition, she covers how the for-profit healthcare system in the US affects the timely diagnosis of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

 Celiac disease is a medical, social and economic issue with political implications. Listen and learn how to choose high quality, nutrient dense foods, and leverage your power as a gluten-free consumer!

What’s Discussed: 

Misinformation in the media

  • Some coverage dissuades from adopting a gluten-free diet
  • Program/print sponsors may be corporations that depend on people eating wheat
  • Wheat/grain industry threatened by rise of gluten-free diet (33% of people in US and Canada on variation of gluten free diet)

The illusion of options in the area of food production

  • 8-10 corporations own nearly every food company
  • Nadine patronizes farmer’s markets, co-ops and local companies

Nadine’s rules for buying food products

  • Label must be clear, easy to read
  • Five or fewer ingredients
  • Must be able to picture each ingredient

The importance of reading labels

  • May be gluten in products that are typically gluten-free (i.e.: pesto, kombucha)
  • Companies are given six months to update labels after making changes
  • Barley and rye are not on list of allergens

Nadine’s story

  • Multi-system organ failure
  • Negative test for celiac disease despite being homozygous gene carrier
  • Healed quickly on a Paleo diet

Why countries with universal healthcare take celiac disease seriously

  • Early diagnosis saves money
  • Finland: 70% of people w/ celiac disease have been diagnosed
  • Italy, UK and Canada: 30-40% have been diagnosed
  • US: Less than 1% of those with celiac disease have been diagnosed

How long it takes to be diagnosed with celiac disease (for-profit vs. universal systems)

  • US: 9-15 years
  • Italy: 2-3 weeks

How doctors/experts discredit gluten-free as a fad

  • Use PWAG as derogatory term
  • Placebo effect
  • Nocebo effect (expect to feel poorly)

The inaccuracy of blood tests for celiac disease

  • 70% false negative

How companies profit from undiagnosed celiac patients

  • Products geared toward people with health issues (i.e.: compression socks, hypoallergenic sheets)

The prominence of wheat as a publicly traded commodity

  • Top export of US/Canada

The health risk associated with genetically modified wheat

The benefits of a gluten-free diet

  • Symptoms resolve
  • No longer need medicine, surgery

Nadine’s advice re: selecting gluten-free products

  • Avoid nutrient deficient gluten-free options (cheap fillers, empty carbs)
  • Focus on high quality, nutrient dense foods

How to leverage your power as a gluten-free consumer

  • Hold food producers accountable (standards, production methods)
  • ‘Vote carefully with your dollar’
  • Speak up when you see inaccurate media coverage

Why you cannot assume that gluten-free menu items are truly free of gluten

  • Uneducated restaurant staff
  • Possibility of contamination, cross-contamination

What a ‘gluten free’ designation means in labeling

  • GIG certification indicates less than ten parts per million
  • Standard in US/Europe is less than 20 parts per million

The Gluten Free RN mission

  • Educate people globally about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity
  • Empower people to improve their health and quality of life with food

Resources:

Food Company Infographic

Gluten Intolerance Group

Connect with Nadine: 

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism

Posted by Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

Nadine is a 'food is medicine’ activist and is very proud of her work to educate all people about the power of food in health and wellness. Nadine is an expert consultant, professional speaker with over 1500 lectures to date, author of DOUGH NATION: A Nurse's Memoir of Celiac Disease From Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism, podcaster, mom and former emergency/trauma/critical care nurse. Nadine is co-authoring her next book on the science of celiac disease.

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