If there was a survey among various people with a question asking for the most dangerous component found in food, majority of the respondents would point at... gluten. The truth is, that there has been a lot of information lately about the negative influence of gluten on human body. The consumption of products including this component is connected with the development of many diseases and disorders, and even – with the problems of overweight and obesity. What's more, there are slogans saying that every person who wants to stay healthy, should avoid gluten. But are those recommendations and the common fear from this component justified?
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The infamous gluten
Gluten has been presented as poison which destroys health and causes many, sometimes surprising, health problems. That issue could be trivialised, but not for the fact that it is fueled by celebrities and people knowing nothing about the nutrition physiology, or even some doctors and dietitians. That topic has been used by food producers who are very interested in sustaining the anti-gluten hysteria, as they earn a fortune on gluten-free products nowadays (just like they did once on low-fat products). Similarly, the media is interested in this topic, especially in the USA, where the anti-gluten gurus, who convince that gluten is always harmful for everybody and that avoiding it is a milestone in improving health, are the regular guests of TV shows. There are also sports people, actors and celebrities who decide to start gluten-free diet, and if we were to believe the common sources of knowledge, we could think that such change is good for everybody.
Tales about sports people
Once, the story of Novak Djokovic, the world-class Serbian tennin player who complained about chronic tiredness, asthma attacks and periods of worse effort tolerance, was popular. At the end of 2010 that competitor did many tests, which ended up with the diagnosis that gluten is responsible for his problems. According to that tennis player, excluding gluten from diet resulted in many positive changes in his body, which also improved his sports results. It should be admitted, looking at the development of his sports career, that after introducing gluten-free diet, Djokovic achieved a lot of success. In 2011 he finished the dominance of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on world's courts. That's not the only example, when the gluten-free diet turned out to be helpful and beneficial. Similar stories are presented as a reference to the beliefs, according to which eliminating gluten is something like “holy grail” of dietetics letting people remove a lot of ailments and diseases, as well as improve sports results.
The anti-gluten gurus
Not only those who – according to their own words – have experienced the beneficial power of gluten-free diet, but also specialists with medical or dietetic education and who are experienced with health prophylaxis and medical practise, scare us with gluten. A good example is a cardiologist Dr William Davis, who wrote a real bestseller “Wheat belly”, where he describes the negative influence of wheat and its protein components on health, and where he presents the advantages of using gluten-free diet. The book wirtten by Dr David Perlmutter “Grain brain” (which I did not read till the end, because the amount of the basic factual errors stating that e.g. “glucose is created out of fat in human body”, was so big that I was not able to read it) can be a good continuation of the first book.
This topic is also often undertaken by bloggers who can create quite a complex argumentation from shallow grounds. For example, George Dvorsky, who created publication similar to that linked below:
W artykule mówimy o: Health