gfrn_podcast_banner

Celiac Disease and the Media EP026

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

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *