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The ‘Gluten-Free’ Boom

Gluten-free is hot — diets, cookbooks and even bread. We’ll look at the logic and dollar signs behind the boom.

In this Thursday, July 14, 2012 photo, Bertha Domimguez prepares gluten-free dough at Pure Knead bakery sandwich bread in Decatur, Ga. Scientists suggest that there may be more Celiac disease today because people eat more processed wheat products than in decades past, which use types of wheat that have a higher gluten content.  (AP)

In this Thursday, July 14, 2012 photo, Bertha Domimguez prepares gluten-free dough at Pure Knead bakery sandwich bread in Decatur, Ga. Scientists suggest that there may be more Celiac disease today because people eat more processed wheat products than in decades past, which use types of wheat that have a higher gluten content. (AP)

“Gluten-free” is everywhere now.  On banners and signs and food labels all over.  As if we are all gluten intolerant, or could all be saved by a gluten-free diet.  The claims are huge.  Save your weight, your heart, your mind, your life.  They put a lot off-limits.  Wheat and rye and barley and couscous.  Most beer and hot dogs, bouillon, soy sauce, baked beans, ice cream, ketchup, vodka.  Is it worth it?  For some, definitely.  For most – that’s another question.  This hour On Point:  we’re talking about the “gluten-free” boom – the science, the hope, the hype, and what it’s all about.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

James Hamblin, senior editor at The Atlantic. (@jameshamblin)

Dr. Peter Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Author of “Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic.”

Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist and author of “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar — Your Brain’s Silent Killers.” (@davidperlmutter)

Mieke Johnson, co-owner and baker at Tula Gluten Free Bakery Cafe. (@WheatFreeTweet)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: This Is Your Brain On Gluten — “I hope people don’t give up on nutrition science, because there is a sense that no one agrees on anything. An outlier comes shouting along every year with a new diet bent on changing our entire perspective, and it’s all the talk. That can leave us with a sense that no one is to be believed. The scientific community on the whole is not as capricious as the bestseller list might make it seem.”

New York Times: A Big Bet on Gluten-Free — “Makers of products that have always been gluten-free, including popcorn, potato chips, nuts and rice crackers, are busy hawking that quality in ads and on their packaging. And consumers are responding with gusto. The portion of households reporting purchases of gluten-free food products to Nielsen hit 11 percent last year, rising from 5 percent in 2010.”

Scientific American: Most People Shouldn’t Eat Gluten-Free — “Many Americans are considering cutting back on the amount of gluten in their diets or avoiding it altogether. However, nutritionists say that if this is not done carefully, the diet can be unhealthy. In a recent poll, 30 percent of adults said they wanted to ‘cut down or be free of gluten,’ according to The NDP Group, the market-research company that conducted the poll. That’s the highest percentage of people to report having this goal since the poll began asking the question in 2009, NDP says.”

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  • Emily4HL

    While I didn’t test positive for Celiac, I have a connective tissue disorder that comes with all kinds of GI issues. When I did an elimination trial, most of them disappeared. As soon as I eat gluten, I feel really sick. Stabbing pains in my stomach used to be normal and now they aren’t!

  • Unterthurn

    People with allergy problems are difficult to include in dinner parties. Egg allergies or gluten allergies are easier to just skip the invite on, but we do the research and adjust the recipes and we all eat to accommodate them, because I refuse to make two different menus. Wish there was an easy fix for these people. Sure their life would be much easier, as well as there circles.

    • NoGluten

      my spouse can’t eat food that’s been prepared in a gluten kitchen – cutting board, colander, etc.

  • Laur5000

    Books like “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly” are based on half-truths and pseudoscience. A good article explaining why these books should not be trusted is linked below. In short, low carb diets are associated with higher mortality. And unless you are allergic to a specific grain or bean, it’s animal foods, not plant foods, that cause inflammation.

    http://www.forksoverknives.com/the-smoke-and-mirrors-behind-wheat-belly-and-grain-brain/

    • Gretchen Ruffner Starke

      Have you read the books? Listen to Dr. Perlmutter today. He is a Neurologist and a Board Certified Nutritionist.(The only doctor in the country certified in both specialties) In his books he cites many studies. I don’t see how anyone could seriously call it “pseudo-science”. Most of this research is very current, within the past 12 years. And your statement that low-carb diets are associated with higher mortality is patently false. The “standard” American diet that is low fat and high carb is responsible for our country’s almost epidemic rates of obesity and diabetes and many other health issues.

      • Don_B1

        When using the term, “carbohydrates,” it is important to identify whether they are plants, like beans, carrots, broccoli, etc., or the processed foods with a high added-sugar content.

        Dr. Robert Lustig of the UC San Francisco has been studying childhood obesity for over a decade, and attributes most of the obesity to the sea of sugar all the current processed foods swim in. See:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM&noredirect=1

        and

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceFyF9px20Y

        for an introduction to the downside of all the added-sugar in the American diet.

  • Brian4000

    I have celiac and do not recommend the gluten free diet unless you have this disease. First, gluten is delicious. This becomes an inescapable fact if you are limited to gluten free….gluten free bread products just dont have the texture that gluten has. Second, it is difficult to eat healthy if you genuinely sticking to the gluten free diet (and celiacs must stay 100% gluten free to prevent symptoms of celiac disease). Third people with gluten sensitivity or on the gluten free diet who don’t have celiac need to stop making a production about it. Celiac disease is serious, when we consume gluten it doesn’t just cause un upset stomache it causes an immune response in the digestive system that can last weeks and lead to to malnutrition, illness, siezures, and eventually stomach cancer. But the gluten intolerant and fad dieters have really made it harder for us by giving us a bit if a bad name and by causing a huge flood of gluten free products that are questionable in their labeling. I simply don’t eat at restaurants. It is too much to expect a place that serves the public to do everything required to keep the food fully gluten free. One area that is tough for celiacs is getting meat and produce from the grocery store that is free of cross contamination.

    • adks12020

      It’s good to hear from a rational person that is gluten free. So many gluten free people make it seem like they are on some kind of crusade and it’s so cool to be gluten free. I understand people with celiac or some other form of intolerance to gluten avoiding it but I just don’t see why, or how, anyone else does. The people that don’t need to be gluten free but are do make it seem trivial and a choice rather than a necessity; I can certainly see how that might be frustrating for people like you.
      A good quality loaf of bread is one of my favorite things. I don’t know why anyone would avoid that by choice just to be in the “in crowd”. Then again, there are hipsters out there getting hair plugs in their faces because it’s cool to have a beard these days. People are nuts sometimes.

      • Brian4000

        And my point is it isn’t a trivial matter for those of us with celiac disease, it is very serious. And the triviliazation is a problem because companies that have no business doing so are slapping gluten free on the box of their product. If you have celiac disease even the smallest particle of gluten is enough to trigger the reaction, that is why gluten free certification is so important. I would much rather see fewer gluten free products that are actually gluten free enough for celiac patients than what we have today (and i can report just from experience alone a large number of products pabeled gluten free definitely are not so).

        The big problem with the gluten free diet is it is not healthy. I struggle to maintain my weight because i literally cant find enough things to eat in the day that are reliably gluten free (since being diagnosed with celiac i have lost seventy pounds). Twenty of those pounds i didn’t mind losing, that was a good thing. The remainder is weight i need. What gluten intolerant people dont understand is this isnt about a tummy ache, this is about getting seriously sick from gluten, and not about vague symptoms. If you feel unwell when consuming gluten, you need a biopsy and a blood test to confirm celiac. If you don’t have this, there is no good reasont o go gluten free at all. The food tastes terrible, it is hard to acquire and you don’t get as much fortified nutrients. I stay on the diet because i have to. Even the best gluten free pizza tastes about as good as middle school cafeteria pizza.

        • TRibs

          I’m sorry you are having such a hard time Brian and while I agree with your comments of mislabeling my wife (who has been diagnosed Celiac for 10 years now) find it great to have more Gluten free options, yes it still takes diligence but we find the options wonderful. As for going out to eat like everything, there are some restaurants that are much better than others at producing a safe Gluten free meal (Elephant Walk and Flat Bread Pizza being two) but that is your choice. We have never had an issue with meat or deli contamination (not talking Deli meats) and she is tested regularly by biopsy. I think some of your comments are very misleading. Yes there are some deficiencies to a gluten free diet and the Bread and beer :-) certainly don’t match up but our experience has been very different from yours.

          • Brian4000

            The problem is estimates from the FDA place the number of gluten free labeled foods that actually contain gluten, at about five percent. If you are buying all gluten free items in your cart, that means your odds of accidentally ingesting gluten are quite high. Now, if you only rely on certified gluten free products, that is a bit better as some of the organizations involved are good at holding companies accountable. But even then there are massive mistakes. I eat applegate certified gluten free chicken nuggets and last year, a whole batch were accentually swapped with their gluten chicken nuggets and I got quite ill.

            I have had serious issues with meat. As someone who used to work in a meat market, this isn’t a surprise to me. The meats i most grocery stores share table tops and are cut with the same equipment as many other items. So if the meat department puts out products like bread crumbed stuffed pork loins, the possibility of cross contamination is there. I actually invested in some home testing kits and you would be surprised how much produce and meat has trace amounts of gluten.

          • TRibs

            As I said we have has never found cross contamination of food prepared in our kitchen to be an issue and we do eat both Gluten free and non gluten foods in our house. I am very careful but do not find it particularly difficult. We eat very little processed food, which is what I see as the largest source of contaminated foods. She bakes her own bagels and bread (Pamelas), I prepare most of our other meals. We go out to eat on occasion and speak with many of the chef’s where we eat. We also try to help educate staff when we speak to them about what truly is and is not GF.

            She has been tested repeatedly by both biopsy, blood and Igg levels and never once shown any contamination or reactions. Her condition was diagnosed after a stay 10 day stay in the ICU and loss of a baby while pregnant due to a bacterial sepsis caused when the Celiac disease caused her spleen to become non functioning (rare but written up by Dr. Green I believe) so we are very careful about the whole issue.

          • Brian4000

            Don;t mean to sound harsh, but I doubt your avoiding cross contamination completely every day for the last ten years if you are sharing a kitchen with gluten ingredients (I do so as well, but every once in a while it is inevitable that things will cross contaminate if they are in the sea kitchen). Like I said, I have a home testing kit to check for gluten, and the FDA’s estimate that 5 percent of things labeled gluten free are contaminated is borne out in my own testings (and I include meat and produce in that). Perhaps your wife’s threshold for a reaction is higher than other’s, I don’t know. But I really think you are downplaying the potential of cross contamination here.

          • Jeff Kelly

            I wholeheartedly agree with you there and the FDA itself hasn’t helped us a bit with its 20PPM standard. Where did you find this “home testing kit” for gluten, may I ask?

          • Brian4000

            The FDA has been very ineffective. They have changed the standards but the new regs have no teeth. If you buy meat from the grocery store, I suggest asking lots of questions from the manager (because many share space with gluten ingredients). The home testing kit is available over amazon. pretty easy to use. The amount of gluten you find in “gluten free products” seems to match the FDA estimate of 5%.

          • Brian4000

            On the subject of eating out, I would say be very cautious if you have celiac. Perhaps your wife isn’t very sensitive as celiac patients can vary before they show symptoms, but even places that go out of their way to keep things gluten free, if they are using flour and other gluten ingredients in the kitchen it is really hard to prevent cross contamination. I have had some good luck at burtons for example, but even had problems eating there.

        • Jeff Kelly

          Your point about the PPM requirement for the gluten free label is most important. As for the “biopsy and blood test route”, I went to more G.I. docs than yuo can shake a stick at, and NONE of them EVER recommended a biopsy PRIOR to my figuring out I had Celiac and confirming this on the diet and the antibody testing on stool samples and gene testing. So my conclusion is these doctors don’t know anything. Biopsies mainly are indicative but can also show false negatives if they miss an area affected in the small intestine. The blood tests miss an awful lot of cases. So, there are pitfalls everwhere here, but mostly the worst one is ignorance and that still persists with great vigor in this area of medicine.

      • Brian4000

        Another point is people who have gluten intolerance (which really is a vague illness and probably a questionable diagnosis) are putting themselves in the same camp as those of us with celiac. We are not the same. It would be like someone who gets a stomache ache from peanuts acting like they have a proper peanut allergy. One of the major reasons the wuality control with gluten free labeling is so bad, is because people who don’t really have an illness are half the market, so they wont even notice if a little gluten gets in, whereas we get quite sick from it. Gluten intolerance, if it even exists, is like being lactose intolerant. They can still eat pizza if they really want (i know because I am lactose intolerant and consume dairy all the time because it is worth the gassiness). I cant do that with gluten. If i eat gluten i will pay for like two weeks, and my health will get bad.

        • Don_B1

          adks12020 TRibs

          There might be good news on the horizon (or closer) for those who are not celiac, but have indications that they have a gluten problem. It may be the less/quick processing that grains undergo with quick-rise yeasts, rather than the longer processing that baked goods used to undergo. See:

          http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-grain-of-truth

        • Jeff Kelly

          Yes, and that is my point precisely. The only way these “minimization diagnoses” short of Celiac help anybody is to help the perennially ignorant physician population who were taught it is so rare none of them would see a single case in a lifetime COPE with the fact they were LIED TO in med school. And my other point is, that physicians as societal elites, care primarly abouit themselves. If this caring about themsevles just so happens to also help patients, great. More often it helps them either ignoring needs of patients or at the expense thereof. And then what often happens is the docs have the attitude of “screw everyone else.” A lot of what we see from that community over gluten and Celiac reveals this dynamic better than anything else could!!

          • Brian4000

            No, we are not on the same page.

      • Jeff Kelly

        I will take 100 million gluten free “nuts” over a single Psychiatrist ANY DAY!! Oh, I don’t think it is so cool either to crusade for science when doing so would destroy the gains of the gluten free food industry. We live in capitalism, and might as well have it work for something decent like this instead of serve to crush the masses at the hands of the elites, as it usually does.

  • Shag_Wevera

    It is too bad that capitalism takes a valid dietary concern for a segment of the population and turns it into a “boom”. Our own ignorance doesn’t help, either.

    • Jeff Kelly

      In point of fact, I have found this the ONLY example of the absolutely astonishing potential benefits of capitalism, and conversely cannot think of a single other one particularly in our current economic era.

  • John Cedar

    The soft science of nutrition is more of a religion than a science.
    There are two unrelated women in my extended family who experience extreme health problems when they eat gluten. Both of them did not develop the problem until they were in their late 30′s and both do not test positive for celiac disease. Both have tried gluten numerous times and reacted to it each and every time.

    People treat them like it is a psychological illness and frequently suggest they could eat a little bit and be fine. What a PITA it must be to live with such a thing. Having other people jump on the “me too” Wheat Belly band wagon when they dodn’t have any real symptoms, only seems like it marginalizes those who really suffer from it.

    • Don_B1

      Their problems might be related, not to their age, but the arrival of techniques to make baked grain products quicker, and the spread of them throughout commercial products. See:

      http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-grain-of-truth

      How that will help when they visit others’ homes and still cannot eat the commercial grains offered, will still be a problem, but at least they would be able to point to a more concrete reason.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Nope, it does no such a thing. I welcome everyone who has driven the gluten free food industry to the heights and depths of where it is today. Without them, my life would be harder. I thank them and I keep telling people to stick it to the mental health industry which has exploited the medical ignorance on Celiac, which has destroyed large portions of my life in addition to the Celiac. The mental health(really mental illness) industry has destroyed vital parts of this nation—both financially and morally–but the gluten free foods industry is one example of the fantastically positive potential of capitalism.

  • James

    At the end of the day, however scientifically illiterate they may be, Gluten free living is a passing fad that hurts no one but that individual.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Yes, and being “hurt” so much daily being gluten free, I will never go back to the days I was being “helped” by experts with degrees who HAD NO CLUE.

  • Alex Khitrik

    I opened a Jewish Deli Cafe in Newton almost three years ago and decided to keep the kitchen gluten-free by default and have a smaller dedicated area for our few gluten containing products. My logic behind this is that almost all of our food is, or could be made, 100% gluten-free if done in a safe environment. There are definitely some increased costs from sourcing GF ingredients (eg. soy sauce, tuna fish, grains, spices …), and also the time needed to train employees, keep vigilant about safe practices, and of course making everything from scratch. But it has been well worth it and I recommend it to other restaurants as well — Even my mom, and business partner, was skeptical but has come around to seeing the benefit business-wise. Wheat flour is often used as a binder, filler, or thickener and can easily be replaced, whether in falafel, latkes, or stews. We actually remove the “gluten-free” from some of our labels because otherwise our non-GF customers are much less likely to purchase them (eg. lasagna).

    We get people traveling an hour or more for brunch regularly on weekends for GF Challah French toast and to stock up on frozen items like buckwheat blintzes, soups, pot pies… They do this because there aren’t many places to eat without feeling like you’re causing the restaurant a headache and the majority of GF offerings in supermarkets are awful, heavily processed, and nutritionally lacking — we make all our own stuff.

    The key is not to treat GF customers as second-tier by serving them inferior commercial products; you should find or make the best. In return they will keep coming back and they will bring with them their families and friends, both gluten-free and not.

    I could talk forever about my experiences with GF customers and the influx of new GF dieters after New Years. Fact is most people eating out GF are NOT ON A FAD DIET, but have celiac or non-celiac gluten intolerance. I think they should be treated just like those with nut or other allergies, which is difficult right now because of the media and marketing hype and all the miss-information out there. I hope the hype will fade and that gluten will be treated like the common allergen it is classified as, hopefully resulting in healthier grains and less processed foods in general, available both at grocery stores and restaurants. One example: Whole-grain Sorghum used to be mostly for animal feed in this country but is a staple grain in other parts of the world. I used to only find it available online but now it’s available at Whole Foods. I joke that it’s the next Quinoa. I don’t think that would have happened without the ‘Gluten-Free Boom.’

    I will listen to this show while baking but I am afraid that it will just feed the hype…

    • anamaria23

      If only such dedication as yours to your clientele and their well being were most prevalent. While most do strive for it, you seem to go the extra mile. I intend to stop by your place when in the area. Do you have a web site?

      • http://www.innaskitchen.com/ Alex Khitrik

        Thanks. We try. We’ve had one case of likely cross-contamination in our three years, we felt horrible but we owned our mistake, traced the cause, and the customer keeps coming back trusting us to keep their well-being our top priority. It’s worth the risk I think both from the business end and the consumer end to build up the trust as I don’t see it being feasible to have many dedicated GF eateries.

        I didn’t want to explicitly name our shop and have the gross self-promotion detract from my impressions and experiences from the food business end. We are Inna’s Kitchen – http://www.innaskitchen.com . Hopefully if they don’t allow linking they will just remove or edit this reply and not my long original comment.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Beautiful post. Best of luck to you. Shalom!!

  • http://www.innaskitchen.com Alex Khitrik

    I met somebody who had several miscarriages over past couple years before being diagnosed celiac. She loved to bake and had no obvious symptoms prior to trying to get pregnant that made her suspect a gluten issue. She is now well along in her first pregnancy since going GF. I will have to check in with her as I think she’s due in a few months but hopefully she will give birth to a healthy child and I wish you the best of luck and health too.

    • mikemarkham

      About 1/2 of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and I’m not sure how you can possibly link gluten this way. They happen now and happened well before the grains of this age.

      • http://www.innaskitchen.com/ Alex Khitrik

        I did not intend to link gluten itself to miscarriages, but this was a clear result of being celiac and not knowing it. I think it’s a result of the body aborting the pregnancy because it could not absorb the nutrients necessary due to damaged GI system. I am not gf, nor is my wife… I have zero interest in her going off gluten if/when we are having a child. Though I will avoid using much if any processed wheat flour at home when cooking for our future kids.

        • mikemarkham

          It is often the case where people believe whole wheat is somehow better for your than refined white. There are definitely more vitamins in whole wheat, but blood sugar affect is as bad or worse than white bread.

          I think the anti-gluten campaign is misguided as it purports wheat still as some healthy food. How much do we have to remove from a “food” item that is toxic before we can actually call it healthy?

          • http://www.innaskitchen.com/ Alex Khitrik

            Even for 100% wholewheat that is not full of added sugar? I personally love bread. I could see it being bad for anybody that cannot readily metabolize available sugars… I have a hard time thinking of an artisanal home-baked loaf of organic wholewheat sourdough as toxic.

          • mikemarkham

            I would encourage you to listen into the 1130am (EST) conversation mentioned on this page. I’m sure Dr. P will explain it better than I.

            You don’t need to add sugar/HFCS to bread to make it not sugary. Bread is comprised almost entirely of carbohydrate – which converts to sugar in the body. Keep in mind, even those in glycolysis can have excessive sugar loads. However, bread has a much different effect on blood glucose than any other food.

            A common example is that ice cream has less of a glycemic impact on your body than a couple slices of whole grain bread. In fact, a Snickers candy bar has less of an impact. Add to the damage, the whole wheat will keep your glucose higher for a longer duration (not to mention circulating triglyceride).

            So, even when you remove gluten, you have the glucose impact.

            We can see as people age in the United States, the majority of us have issues with metabolizing sugars. 66% of this country is either obese or overweight, another byproduct of having a defective metabolism. This doesn’t include those who are thin but internally obese.

            I used to be a big bread eater, but living without it now is easy.

  • AnneDH

    People tell me I should go GF to treat the chronic pain I am in. The pain is primarily in my neck & back, occasionally down my legs, into my feet. NO stomach pain. Is this for gluten??

    • sickofthechit

      What can it hurt to try it for 2-3 months?

  • hellokitty0580

    This fad is kinda ridiculous. I have an aunt who has Celiac disease- a real immune disorder. When she eats gluten, it prevents her small intestines from absorbing nutrients. So essentially, no matter how much she eats, her body is being starved. For her, learning how to eat gluten-free was by no means easy, logistically or emotionally. It’s changed her life by making food more expensive and less easily accessible on the go. There is gluten in so many foods, often added unnecessarily, and she has to scour food labels to make sure there is no gluten because just a little bit can make her very sick. When she wants to cook or bake something that normally calls for wheat flour, she needs to mix her own blend of substitute flours. Luckily she is a woman that likes baking and cooking and making foods from scratch, but these flours are more expensive a lot of the time because they are less common. She says that if she could eat wheat products she would, not just because it would make life more simple, but also because there are real nutrients in whole wheat.

    I think anyone who wants to be gluten-free just because is frankly being moronic. I think that people going to dietary extremes just because is really akin to an eating disorder. It’s a the same mindset as those with anorexia or bulimia: “How much can I limit my diet unnecessarily to demonstrate discipline and control??” I don’t think my aunt would ever wish gluten-free on anyone. I say, everything in moderation. That’s the healthiest way to be.

  • hellokitty0580

    Btdubbs- there is no such thing as a gluten allergy. One either has straight up celiac disease (a genetic immuno-disorder) or they have a sensitivity to gluten (they can eat gluten and it cause various discomforts but doesn’t make one sick). But there is no such thing as a gluten allergy.

    • Jeff Kelly

      What is the difference in your mind between “various discomforts” and the concept or term “disease”? And why wouldn’t “various discomforts” fit into such a concept?

  • JasonB

    I’ve yet to read any real science that says that gluten is unhealthy to consume unless you have an allergy to it or celiac disease. Yet people swear that they feel better when they go on a gluten free diet. I think that this has more to do with the fact that switching to a gluten free diet innately means that they are making a drastic dietary shift to less processed foods without high quantities of flour and carbs. Removing foods with gluten from your diet means removing a bunch of other stuff that is bad for you. Basically, I see this gluten free movement as a fad and is based primarily on misunderstandings of what gluten is, as well as a fanatical religious-like mindset of people who are convinced that gluten is the main problem with our diet.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Go on PubMed and look into the Neuropsyhiatric associations with gluten consumption, then get back to us…..

  • Kathy Karch

    It would be interesting to discuss the potential role that genetic modification of our wheat crops has had on the prevalence of gluten sensitivity (and/or celiac disease, which I know is not the same as an inflammation response, i.e. a gluten sensitivity) in our population. For example, is it true that the wheat crops grown today contain, by weight, significantly more gluten protein than wheat crops grown in the 1940′s/50′s/60′s? Are we simply mega-dosing ourselves with bizarrely high levels of gluten now?

  • adks12020

    Is there really more gluten in our diets than previously? People have been eating bread, grains, legumes, etc. daily, and as a main part if their diets, for thousands of years.

    • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

      Yes – there really is more wheat. If you are talking about the history of man, grains are relatively new in evolutionary history. Also, wheat has been genetically selected over the past few decades to have more dense protein whit greater gluten content.

      • adks12020

        I don’t buy that. I read very recently that American wheat farmers avoid genetic modification because they sell to foreign countries that won’t buy genetically modified foods. In fact, there was a court case where a farmer tried to sue Monsanto because he claimed the modified wheat they were testing out nearby got into his crop and hurt his ability to sell it. They cross current stocks just like people have done for thousands of years in many crops but they don’t use genetic modification.

        • Kathy Karch

          I hear what you’re saying, but I would like to know if over the past 50 or 60 years, via selective breeding, today’s wheat varieties now contain more gluten by weight than the varieties that our grandparents were growing/eating. In my earlier comment, GM was a poor choice of wording. Crops have been gene spliced for several things, but increased gluten isn’t one of them, so GM-free wheat may still contain more gluten now than it did long ago.

        • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

          I said “genetically selected”, not “genetically modified.” Wheat is not GMO, but is has been genetically selected for decades. That means, there are no foreign genes in the DNA, but its been selected over and over and over, to be shorter in stature and denser in protein.

      • Don_B1

        adks12020 Kathy Karch

        ____________

        It is also, and maybe more importantly, the shortcuts that are being taken in processing the grain and fermenting it (the quick yeasts that do not “eat” the grain the same way) as written about here:

        http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-grain-of-truth

  • Mica

    According to Dr. Ciaran Kelly at the BI and Dr. Alex Fassano at MAss General one in a hundred people have celiac whether they know it or not. Also, eating gluten free does not mean eating low carb or no carb. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008 and eat rice, quinoa, sorghum, amaranth, etc…It hurts those of us with celiac disease when people criticize gluten free eating as a fad. When I am at a restaurant I need to be sure that they understand not only what ingredients will be detrimental to me but also that avoiding cross-contamination is critical.
    Leora in Lexington

    • Don_B1

      Ming Tsai operates a fine restaurant and his son’s food allergies led him to push for a law requiring restaurants to deal with food allergy issues, including cross-contamination. See:

      http://abcnews.go.com/Health/food-allergy-awareness-chef-ming-tsai-inspired-son/story?id=17879455

      Hopefully this is improving performance in restaurants; all I can vouch for is that the waitperson almost always asks if anyone has any allergies before taking the order.

    • Jeff Kelly

      It is Allesio Fasano, not Alex. He is from Italy in case the last name didn’t give that away. Fasano and his team while he was at U Maryland did the epidemiologic studies. These are accepted today. As I said, he and his team have done outstanding science. I just wonder how that squares with his illogical statements on the PPM controversy for Celiacs. It neither has the ring of science nor anything scientific to back it up–what it has is Canon Law in the Catholic church, which makes it hard for Catholic Celiacs to receive communion–in fact harmful!!

  • Blerb

    My son has autism and celiac disease (yes, you can have both.) Since being on the GF diet for celiac, he has improved tremendously with his autism symptoms, but it is hard for him to keep the weight on. I am delighted that he has so many more choices in the supermarket and in restaurants. It makes family life so much easier. I hope the food choices do not go away.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Amen, and it is testimonies like these we need more of so that we can minimize the naysayers and placebo effect grinders on this topic. Thank you very much for your input and very best wishes to you and your son.

      • Blerb

        Thanks Jeff. If you know anyone who is thinking of putting their child on the GF diet for autism,please urge them to get a celiac test first, that is how I found out he has it.

        • Jeff Kelly

          The only such tests for Celiac I can currently recommend is that offered by Dr. Fine’s enterolab based in Dallas, Texas, which includes some genetic testing. I am happy this test provided some answers for you, but it has many and deep flaws, sad to say, for many many people….

          • Blerb

            We have autoimmune diseases in our family, so it is not a surprise that celiac presented.

  • Emily

    Has anyone investigated the placebo effect and this diet? For the minimally 70% of the population with NO problem… up to 92%, if the medical literature is to be believed, how much of this “I guess I feel better” response is nonsense? How much of that is due to kicking highly processed junk food (white flour and white sugar) to the curb because eating gluten-free requires a half a second’s worth of thought about what you’re eating?

    I think this is another fad for people who want to be a part of some exclusive club, but people I know with real, true CD with a real, true problem (they can’t use play-doh with their kids, for example) cannot fathom why anyone would choose to do this, much less announce when they’re “cheating” on their diet. It’s just lame. Also, could we have someone with a real evolutionary biology background talk about this? I’m tired of pop-sci’s half-baked explanations.

    • Emily4HL

      I have found myself feeling much better on a gluten-free diet. I have a connective tissue disorder that is associated with GI problems, celiac, and gluten-sensitivity. Still, I have to admit, that part of the improvement probably comes from doing something by actively controlling my intake. I used to drink herbal tea for migraines because it tasted okay, couldn’t hurt, and made me feel empowered. I knew it was minimally helpful at best.

      With so many elements of my condition that I can’t do very much about–I tripped and blew out the ligaments in my ankle, leading to about a year in a walking boot and surgery for instance, and I’m constantly walking a fine line between maintaining strength and stressing joints–empowerment is important!

      Eliminating gluten-intake made me feel better–though I admit I can’t entirely prove that it’s causation rather than correlation. But having something I can control, that seem to help, is huge. It makes sense to question something working when we want it to work for conformation bias. Then again, sometimes, the placebo affect is worth it.

    • Jeff Kelly

      It is just such thinking that plays into the bogus profession of Psychiatry, which drives a great deal of the financial fraud and abuse–not to mention the regular human rights abuses–in modern medicine.

  • sickofthechit

    “Wheat Belly” by William Davis M.D. was given to me by a dear friend. He and many others swear by the benefits of getting wheat out of our diets. For now I am a holdout because I can’t afford it and I love my twinkies and lil’ Ceasers pizza!. charles a. bowsher

  • Crozet_barista

    This gluten issue is ignoring another potential problem: the use of chemicals to generate our flours: glucophosphates etc. Gluten is not a problem for a great majority of people, but what is changing is the industrialized way of producing flour and the modified grain being grown.

  • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

    There is no nutritive value in grains! I don’t know why Hamblin keeps calling it a micro-nutrient. It has to be fortified with vitamins to make it nutritive! Plus, WGA (wheat germ agglutinate) is a known anti-nutrient, AND has been shown to cause Vitamin D deficiency! What is actually healthy about grains?

    • adks12020

      Oh I don’t know maybe the fact that they contain protein, fiber, iron, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Potassium.

      • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

        they just said wheat flour is fortified! if you replace gluten and grains with fresh vegetables and quality protein sources, you will be going far beyond your current diet in terms of nutrition.

        • adks12020

          I’m talking about whole grains…not flour. There is a huge difference. The reason flour is fortified is they remove major parts of the grain when they process it into flour. And I eat all of the above. My diet is at least 65-70% vegetables/fruits and the rest is split between grains and protein.

          • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

            check out this book on Amazon: Whole Grains, Empty Promises: The Surprising Truth About the World’s Most Overrated ‘Health’ Food

        • Jeff Kelly

          True, but you asked literally about ANY nutrition, and you got a good answer. To which I could add carbohydrate, which is a macronutrient, even as overindulgence in same is out of favor, some of it is necessary to health. It is fortified when it is first devitaminized and removed of fiber. If it is whole grain it doesn’t have these particular issues.

  • kaybee63

    So, if gluten ingestion is the cause of potentially 50% of Alzheimer’s cases, then I would expect people with celiac who have faithfully followed a gluten free diet for most of their lives would have half the Alzheimer’s cases seen in the general population. I guess we’ll see, huh?

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    What about lactose intolerance? This is a genetic mutation in the last 10,000 years or so.

    • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

      why do you believe its a genetic mutation? maybe we were never lactose tolerant.

      • J__o__h__n

        I thought that the ability to digest it was the mutation.

        • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

          75% of adults are lactose intolerant…

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Because it is – we know which gene it is. Most people are lactose intolerant, and can only digest milk up until they are ~4 years old. But some of us are fine with milk our whole lives – we are the mutants. :-)

  • kaybee63

    And there’s your tradeoff……more gluten free products available – great for celiac folks, but a gluten free fad causes people to not take this actual disease seriously. I know a few celiac sufferers, and would not gladly jump on this diet unless I absolutely had to.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Is there a gene splice available? If so, it sounds like you’ll have to travel to the UK based on the FDA restrictions reported in the previous show.

  • Pat Ritz

    The overall healthiest diet is plant-based — a vegan diet, with emphasis on whole foods like vegetables, fruit, grains & nuts. Animal products contain cholesterol, which clogs arteries & also affects the brain.

  • Cary

    So, I am one of those individuals who has near total executive function disruption instantaneously when I eat gluten and I would love for medial science to find a way to reverse this because I’ve lost all my favorite foods and it’s so hard to find things to eat when I’m going out.

    My recommendation to people who think they might have problems with gluten is to go totally gluten free for a month and a half, then eat a piece of bread and see if you have any adverse side effects. If you don’t have any problems, don’t make the sacrifice because you’ll have a really hard time finding something to put on your plate.

  • Nicole

    I’ve been gluten free for over four years and feel SO much better. I don’t have Celiac, but have gluten sensitivity. This is not a fad, not our imaginations! The way our food is processed, grown has changed, as this was not an issue 15-20 years ago where they say that 1 in 3 have gluten sensitivity these days. I didn’t have this issue when I was younger with symptoms of GI problems, weight gain, skin rashes, mental fog, and sugar cravings, thyroid issues. All gone when I stay away from Gluten. So funny how the food industry / medical community want to deny the gluten sensitivity because there is no blood test to diagnose.

  • Alicia

    I have been gluten free for 1 1/2 year and my health has improved dramatically. I went from having daily rashes and stomach pains, to a healthy feeling. The biggest effect is that my hypothyroid condition reversed itself. Doctors were ready to prescribe hormones for my thyroid and now it is completely normal.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Excuse me but allow me to correct one statement:your thyroid condition did NOT “reverse itself”. You still need to be on daily thyroid hormone, as do I. It only became treated once you started taking thyroid hormone. This is an example of the “multiple autoimmune disease” concept:rarely do these occur in singles, ie, only Celiac, or only Ulcerative Colitis, or only Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, you see. Withdraw the thyroid hormone, and I guarantee you still have an underfunctioning thyroid. It was the symptoms that were reversed. That’s a very good thing, but not to be confused with a “cure”.

  • Abbe Dalton Clark

    I am very interested in seeing more about the connection between celiac disease or gluten intolerance and the intestinal microbiome. I have in the past taken large doses of antibiotics, including for Lyme and a reaction to another antibiotic, and I noticed that my celiac and additional food allergies developed after this. I want to add that I have problems digesting all grains and have to sprout rice and millet if I don’t want to have issues for days after eating them. Our consumption of grains parallels the consumption of fermented foods, and I would like to see more research into this history.

  • Suzanne Luke

    I have been totally grain free since April 2013 because I just didn’t feel healthy. I have been on a search to find out what my problems are. I have lost weight,feel better,but not fully, and am in the process of being tested for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. The proteins found in both wheat and thyroid tissue are very similar, and one’s immune system can mistakenly attack the thyroid tissue thinking it is wheat. One exposure to wheat by a person who has this illness can trigger inflammation in their body for six months. People who thinkthey might have this kind of issue should look up Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s website and books for explanations of this. By the way, one must be totally off gluten to have results.

  • Alicia

    A new article has come out in Interdiscip. Txicology, Samsel and Seneff that points out a correlation between the use of round-up and the gluten free epidemic

  • sorrel hatch

    I’m a small farmer and baker in Western MA. We grow about 20 acres of organic grains. I bake bread with our whole grain flours daily for our farm store. Many of my customers comment that though they beleived they were gluten-intolerant, our bread and flour is delicious and without negative side effects. I have a thoeory based on my experience as a baker. 99% of grocery store brands and grocery bakeries rely heavily on “vital wheat gluten” and “dough conditioners” as additives to enhance the texture of the bread. Bread baked with pure whole grain flour is naturally crumbly, and has diffuculty rising. I think most grocery store bread has an excessive amount of extra gluten, and this is to blame for most cases of gluten sensitivity.

    • dust truck

      Though note there is still a difference between “gluten sensitivity” and Celiac disease.

      • Jeff Kelly

        Please stop repeating things that have not been determined scientifically but only by physicians who are interested in covering their sorry levels of ignorance. Thank you.

        • dust truck

          Seriously, what? Celiac disease HAS been proven scientifically, and can be diagnosed with a blood test and an endoscopy.

          • Jeff Kelly

            The “what” is the notion–proposed and promoted endlessly by physicians, who as a group remain seriously impaired in their understanding of Celiac–that there is a real meaningful difference between Celiac sprue and “mere” “gluten sensitivity.” I feel it is a lie. I used the analogy to pregnancy–it is either/or–not a matter of a “little and a lot.” If you read my other posts you might have learned this.

          • dust truck

            What do you mean “other posts” you just came in the middle of a conversation from four days ago Please. Do us a favor and go back on your meds.

          • Jeff Kelly

            I will tell you what I mean presently:”MY other posts.” You are welcome now to go back on YOUR meds.

  • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

    No – you can’t go partially gluten-free. NO – especially people with celiac disease cannot have a TINY bit of gluten! Hamblin – you are misinformed! Please read this post is < 20ppm safe?! http://www.stuffed-pepper.com/is-fdas-gluten-free-labeling-requirement-of-less-than-20-ppm-gluten-really-safe/

    • Jeff Kelly

      For the Celiac, ZERO parts per gazillion is safe. Period. No further questions? LOL

  • TRibs

    Perlmuter just destroyed any credibility he might have had with regard to knowing what a gluten free diet truly is said when he claimed there was a certain level of Gluten even celiacs could injest (unless he’s talking micro PPM which it didn’t sound like) . Totally and completely false As Peter Green said partially gluten free is not gluten free, Period!

    • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

      That wasn’t Perlmutter that said that. It was Hamblin. And you are correct – he was wrong!

      • TRibs

        My mistake, thank you

    • Jeff Kelly

      Welp, and you’re absolutely right, Dr. Fasano of U Maryland makes this same scientific error, but in his case the Catholic church’s Canon Law on the sacredness of the communion host and all of that appears to be the culprit in his illogic. Can’t fault his monumental research discoveries, but you have to wonder why some such figures so much as dare to make such statements and then expect themselves to be credible in any other topic. Jeeze.

  • Brian4000

    Share your concern. Also have celiac and I have noticed a shift in how seriously people treat it. They mostly assume you just are on the gluten free fad diet.

  • cicibee

    Your caller just now couldn’t have expressed my sentiments more precisely…

    How could it possibly be just one thing, like gluten? Or consider the many allergies arising from peanuts for example – we’re just discovering these allergies?

    I can’t imagine ever cutting out gluten, though I don’t eat items that have “specialized or concentrated” gluten like soft breads, but just what may be an integral part of many grains. And it’s only part of my diet.

    It’s also amazing to hear on this show that GMO hasn’t effected grains and wheat (or maybe even peanuts and other staples). Really now?

    • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

      how do you know GMOs haven’t? There is an epidemic rise in food allergies among children.

      • cicibee

        Right – hence my sentiment…”Really now?” The statement isn’t believable – the wind blows everyday!

        • Jeff Kelly

          Welp, hate to rain on this parade, but neither is the evidence there to show GMO’s are harmful. And may never appear. Or may. But certainly isn’t there YET by ANY stretch….of course, as a Celiac, I have a much different perspective on gluten…plus I do believe that preservatives and additives the body simply isn’t DESIGNED to break down efficiently if at all are indeed harmful, and a focus of attention there on the enemy we KNOW about is a much better approach than focusing on a supposed enemy that we don’t know much about.

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      High fructose corn syrup is a likely cause of problems. And/or the fact that it is made from GMO corn …

      • CeCe Bee

        I wonder about that too and wouldn’t be surprised about a combination of many things in our diet and environment creating the perfect storm in our foods, unless we’re selective about where and what we buy. (and even then, you can only do so much). And that raises an entirely new topic, often discussed here.

  • Give_Me_Liberty_92

    Tom, Tom: are you perhaps asking why we Americans are so gullible and ready to buy so many fad-books mixing science, pseudoscience and popular sources of parental anxiety?

    skipping the obvious -pervasive scientific ignorance; lack of habit to analyze evidence and inability to understand the scientific literature; our time-honored tradition of snake-oil peddlers and our susceptibility to them, etc.-, human beings tend to like easy answers to difficult problems.

    After such a market-place of anxious people is created, it’s easy to fill it with well designed “products”.

    so let’s blame a protein that’s been around the planet for 40 million years and domesticated for 12000 years for ALL -not just some- of our evils and call it a day.

    …don’t you feel better, more focused, alert already?

    • naturebatslast

      It’s been around for 50 years. FIFTY YEARS….Don’t pretend you’re a know-it-all until you’ve done your research…..Wheat was changed in 1960.

      • Jeff Kelly

        Oh, and here’s a tidbit of history that DOCS STILL REFUSE TO ADMIT(because to admit these FACTS, they would have to admit they screwed up the medical care of a U.S. President). John F. Kennedy was a CLASSIC CELIAC. Probably had Ulcerative Colitis too. Neither diagnosed. But, despite this, he in a sense, “lucked out”:his bogus “Addison’s Disease” diagnosis allowed docs to prescribe CORITCOSTEROIDS, which knocked his Celiac and related autoimmune diseases BACK TO THE 19TH CENTURY. Of course, his bone loss worsened over time on steroids and he took an inadvisable series of back operations to combat a relatively minor injury that never healed(and it never does heal entirely in such untreated syndromes like Celiac without immediate and lifelong adherence to banning gluten from the diet). However, the docs have recently done “The Dipsy Doodle” in order to make some attempt seen as credible to wiggle out of this problem of theirs in this historical figure:they decided that not only his “Addison’s” disease was real(a NUMBER OF tests during his life adequately laid this misdiagnosis to rest as well as his autopsy findings on his adrenals), but he had “Autoimmune Syndrome Type Two”, which then allows for a stellar assessment of his pain management(the latter of which may well be true–but would never occur in the typical Celiac patient, whose disease by the time it is identified, has bankrupted the sufferer). So they have done literally EVERYTHING to wiggle OUT of the notion that they goofed bigtime in failing to diagnose Celiac in President Kennedy, whilst Dr. Green knows the truth about that as do all THINKING people , physicians included who “DARE TO GIVE THAT APPROACH A GO”.

  • Stacy Katzenstein

    My 2-year old son is doctor-diagnosed Celiac Disease; his twin brother has no issue with gluten. Having a GF toddler has unique challenges; toddlers want to eat what you have, want to eat off others’ plates, and don’t know how to tell you that they’re sick. After 2 weeks in Pediatric ICU, my entire family eats gluten-free for our meals together, but my husband, other son, and I eat gluten occasionally. The fad status helps me mimic my CD son’s meals at daycare to what his classmates are eating, so I can limit him from eating off other plates. The major downside to fad is the higher cost (such as paying $8 for 10 ounces of GF chicken nuggets). It also makes people less likely to take my requests at restaurants seriously, so we don’t eat out much. Finally, because his condition isn’t like a peanut allergy, daycare is less cognizant of the repercussions since the effects aren’t immediate. It’s difficult, but we manage.

  • John_Hamilton

    Something neglected in conversations about food sensitivities in the relationship between our over-pharmaceuticalized medical culture and its influence on disease and immune function.

    I can give a perfect example. Because I receive my medical care in a large, government system, conventional wisdom becomes entrenched as sacred writ. Certain standards are set, such as numerical readings for such things as cholesterol, blood pressure, lipids and numerous other “metrics.”

    Because of a slightly “high” cholesterol reading a few years ago, I was prescribed Simvastatin, a pharmaceutical concoction that does something or other in the body to lower the numbers. It also has other effects, self-forgiven by the pharmaceutical and medical industries as “side effects.” Within five days of taking the drug I was in intense pain from head to toe, joint and muscle. I missed a week of work, then forced myself to return. My “primary care practitioner” prescribed Prednisone, a steroid, which worked, but at great risk of causing its own harm. I only took it for a week.

    I started seeing a naturopath, who did some tests that orthodox medical practitioners don’t do, which showed my body wasn’t assimilating protein. One of the things I was advised to do was avoid gluten. Also avoid sugar, yeast, soy products, nightshades, dairy and foods containing pesticides. In other words, the American diet.

    So a combination of pharmaceuticals and the American diet, along with the glut of pollutants we are exposed to are causing our immune systems to go haywire. I have had success in eliminating some harmful foods, but it takes a lot of work to live free of all the things we shouldn’t be eating. At least I know not to take Simvastatin, and have a healthy suspicion of ANY pharmaceutical.

    • DrJoani

      Why not move to a country w people do not thrive on baked and fried and sugared up, as well as salted crap foods.?
      Not many of the “gluten intolerant” people have had allergy tests. EVERYone I know who claims to be gluten intolerant has never been tested. They are self-diagnosed. Good for them if life is better without gluten. BUT…They are still fat, overweight, self-indulgent and unhappy.

      Foods full of any kind of flour -any kind of flour—, fats and sugar, whether fried, steamed or baked, cause overweight people to remain so. It’s foolish to try to teach
      lazy or helpless people how to eat well, and healthily.

      Remember when butter was bad, margarine good? what about oat bran/germ, another cure-all. And dairy? low fat everything, which is now being questioned since low fat dairy etc. is meaningless in terms of weight stability or weight loss and health. Oh and Vitamin D, another cure-all abolutely necessary for your daily dosage of vitamin pills. The avoidance+Cure-all list is long and even longer than the above.
      “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

      • John_Hamilton

        Dr? I doubt it. “Why not move to a country…” On second thought, yes, a doctor would be so arrogant. It reminds me of the “America, love it or leave it” hysteria in the late 60s. Binary choice, only binary choice.

        I actually have been tested. I also have allergies that standard testing has not been able to determine. We have competing models of medical knowledge, and for now the orthodox, and hence money-making adherents want their voice to be the only voice.

        I use both systems. Because of the condition I still have after taking Simvastatin, known as Polymyalgia Rheumatica (which may actually be a misdiagnosis, because I still have it), I am distrustful of pharmaceuticals. Because the drug companies behave like organized crime I am even more distrustful.

        I’m not overweight. I eat moderately, walk, ride a bike, do yoga and tai chi, meditate, and do some other things like Qi Gong, jump on a trampoline, a little weight lifting, and a few other things. Though it is easy to paint with a broad brush, the paint may be more imaginary than real. We don’t live in a black-and-white world, though most Americans think we do. Nuance is all around us.

      • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

        Dr (?) Joani, you’re comments are rude, offensive and helpful to no one. I have never been fat or overweight in my life. Neither, self-indulgent. And only unhappy when I accidentally eat gluten. To say that all gluten intolerant people are the same, is like saying that all people with Alzheimer’s or peanut allergies are the same. You sound ridiculous.

      • Jeff Kelly

        Well that’s funny since I’ve been underweight all my life and I did have allergy testing(which was scientifically bogus as I later discovered). So–the fact of the matter is, you are not seeing the forest through the trees, and I doubt pruning any branches in this forest will ever help you achieve this goal.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Let me play devil’s advocate here and opine your medical advice was as bad with the naturopath as it was with the conventional doc here.

  • Don_B1

    It might be the new “types” of gluten and the quick yeasts used in commercial bakeries? See;

    http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-grain-of-truth

    Whatever you find out, I hope things go better for you.

  • kevnorth

    This whole fad is absurd. For the 6% (or less ) of people who actually suffer from these conditions, obviously a gluten-free or low gluten diet is important. For the other 94% of people, the health concerns raised about gluten should not be an issue at all as long as they eat a healthy, balanced diet. If I had a nickle for everyone I know who claims to have gluten problems but have never had them verified, I would be sitting on a HUGE pile of nickles.

    • Sy2502

      My theory is that they need to feel special, and being “gluten intolerant” and then having to be catered to with special foods different from what everyone else is eating makes them feel so much more special.

      • Andrew Wass

        Your hypothesis is questionable. As someone who reacts to gluten, I would rather be able to eat pizza and drink beer. It has nothing to do with feeling special.

        • Jeff Kelly

          Oh, it ALWAYS does because you see Psychologists and Psychiatrists have invented this “expert-sounding” term of “Secondary Gain” to describe why people would draw attention to themselves as a general psychodynamic. But of course NOTHING can either 1)dissuade those running the coercive human rights busting bullshit mental schmental system from “knowing” they have absolute knowledge about everything OR 2)get them to consider anything outside the boundaries of their own twisted profession and thinking. So instead of critical thinking about those idiot professions–which suck up billions upon trillions of dollars with a negligible benefit to the entire nation at best(and perhaps a worsening of the nation’s overall mental health in the process), we have a debate about this as if we are Russia or the USA battling over Ukraine.

    • maraith

      Who does it hurt (this “fad”)? If they become more conscious of how food affects their bodies, then yay!

      • Kevin Burber

        Who does this hurt? Me. There are the reasonable people who have a real issue. However, there are some who take it to the extreme and beyond. I am a Pharmacist and have had to argue with people (not one — many) not to stop taking their critical blood pressure, thyroid or other medications because I could not determine conclusively whether it has gluten or not.

        Here’s how it goes – They come in and tell me that they cannot ingest any gluten at all. Most of the drug manufacturers do not include certification regarding whether their product is gluten-free or not. You can look at the inactive ingredients and make a best guess, but to be sure, you need to call the manufacturer. Most of them will say something like there is no gluten in the product, but we cannot guarantee that it is gluten free because the facility where this product is manufactured…

        So…you go on a hunt for a product that will satisfy the patient. Three wasted hours later, nothing but vague non-assurances from the rest of the companies that manufacture the product you are looking for. Then the patient says that they will stop taking the med altogether. The danger in this is of course dependent on the med. I have had diabetics, patients with severe hypertension, etc tell me that they are going to stop their meds because they are not gluten free and I can’t find a supplier that will certify that their product is gluten free. Another several hours later, the doctor has been called and a new medication called in….

        And we wonder why the US healthcare system is so darn expensive.

        • Andrew Wass

          I don’t think this is the reason the US health care system is so expensive.

          • Jeff Kelly

            Well of course it isn’t!!! See my post above–Psychiatry and the mental schmental system does a good job of wasting money, and failure to diagnose automatically places patients within their realm….sweet, huh??!!(yeah–sweet for bank accounts but not those of the PATIENTS!!)

        • Jeff Kelly

          O contrare–it does not hurt YOU so much as patients. You sound like a bloviating misinformed physician, which are a dime a dozen still today on this topic(in my life 45 years’ worth of uninformed baloney!). It is a lot like having doctors who simply don’t believe in the worldwide flu pandemic of 1908. So why SHOULDN’T these medications be labelled properly or at least the patient or the physician be ABLE to get a straight answer to this simple question, for the sake of all us nonexistent patients with Celiac Sprue at the very least? Betcha don’t have a GOOD answer to that–and you blame the expensive healthcare system on THIS? One word–”PSYCHIATRY”–which has more financial fraud and abuse attached to it than anything else, and is a favored status as the only thing you ignoramuses default to when you cannot find within your universe of diagnostic knowledge the real Celiac sprue patients EITHER!!

    • Jeff Kelly

      “Having them verified” is a lot harder than: a)the medical profession prefers to present to the public that it is and b)the current status of screening tests generally is–or at least widely known screening tests. So, the patient is between a rock and a hard place. I should know…and I DO know!!

  • Bill

    No, gluconeogenesis produces glucose for use by the brain from fats.

  • Bill

    Asking the wrong question. Gluten foods are mostly crap, as well as their gluten-free counterparts. Eat real food. Vegetables, Sweet Potatoes, Good quality meat, eggs, drink water. Compare these foods using the USDA database (http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/) to cereal for breakfast, sandwich w/chips for lunch and pasta for dinner. Too much of the same beige foods and not enough of a variety of nutrient dense real food.

    • SlackerInc

      I agree. I eat whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. But otherwise, I don’t eat really anything that’s processed at all. I eat lots of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables (with no added sweeteners), oats, walnuts, flax, unsweetened yogurt, and plenty of extra virgin olive oil. And I feel great.

  • Erik

    Just like so called experts and naysayers to call bogus on something that is not “proven” or well studied. This diet has worked for me and many others. If it did not work for be I would be back to pizza and beer in the half a blink of an eye. Not for everyone, but for some it will do wonders. I would ask anyone this; what is the harm in going GF for a month to see how your body reacts. If nothing else that exercise will give you a keen awareness of how poor most food choices are and you will start reading labels.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Let me explain the biggest harm in doing this:this attacks the GIANT EGO of the Physicians who feel they have a corner on truth in this regard from their clearly deficient medical education and bogus thinking. The next greatest harm is it tends to be richer in carbs than usual, which is generally at issue in our obeseity-laden culture, but even more of a potential issue is lack of fiber in the diet that could render one irregular in bowel movements. Other than these, of course the biggest harm is to the huge ego of DOCTORS!!

  • Sabrina Rahim

    Tom, thank you for this show. You have some great guests on, especially Dr. Green and Dr. Perlmutter.

    Having been a life-long gluten junkie, I was diagnosed with Celiac at the age of thirty-two, right after my third pregnancy. After suffering from extreme digestive distress, anemia, B-12 deficiency, and what I now recognize as anxiety–the diagnosis came as a relief. I switched to a strict gluten free diet and am doing very well five years later. The gluten free diet restored my health slowly but steadily. All my health markers are excellent, and I do not feel deprived in any way. I stick to meats, eggs, fish, vegetables, nuts, fruits. Once in a while, I indulge in dairy and rice.

    For me, the gluten free boom has been a wonderful thing. Although, I rarely purchase processed gluten free products, it is comforting to know that I can walk into a Kroger or a Trader Joe’s and find a wide variety of gluten free items such as cake or pizza for special occasions. Eating out has never been easier. Many restaurants have a gluten free menu, and servers and managers tend to be quite knowledgable about Celiac and wheat allergies.

  • naturebatslast

    read the studies on gluten sensitivity. Additionally, wheat was changed in 1960 by bombarding it with radiation and soaking in strong solutions of sodium azide. (the point being this is a “new food” in terms of our time on the planet). This changed the DNA from 26 to 42 chromosomes, introducing new proteins we have not evolved with and changing the carbohydrate fraction to a highly glycemic one. Wheat bread is higher than 2 TBS of sugar. The gluten fraction in bread has increased with this change and is a difficult for many. It appears to open up small holes in the intestine, introducing foreign proteins to the blood stream and inducing antibody formation which is thought to be responsible for many auto -immune disorders. Wheat itself is only 10,000 years old regarding being used by humans. The archaeological record of this change is enough to make one question even eating “old wheat.

  • naturebatslast

    Carbohydrates are not necessary. They are in fact, new evolutionarily speaking. Their consumption tracks with the obesity crisis.

  • Chuck

    Great discussion! However I think wheat and starch result in multiple health hazards, and the reason “gluten free” has caught on is that people just feel better avoiding gluten containing foods. Lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is higher intestinal yeast count as a result of higher starch diet, and of course increased caloric intake which is recognized health threat for many diseases.

  • Maureen Roy

    We really do need to go down the rabbit holes (at least when the ground thaws)… http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/email-from-author-of-study-on-roundupgluten-intolerance/

    • Jeff Kelly

      Rappoport is about the only totally honest journalist alive today.

  • SlackerInc

    Personally, I found it hilarious when, after he was hogging the conversation and campaigning for more time “after the break”, he got summarily dismissed. He got in plenty of verbiage while he was there, don’t you worry.

    • floatingbones

      Perlmutter’s point was that there is a huge amount of science linking gluten to brain disease. He was asking the panel to discuss ADHD after the break, but they were more interested in talking about the “craze” of celiac disease. Anybody who goes to sciencedirect.com and does a search on
      neurology gluten
      will get hundreds of hits. Currently, the most relevant hit returned from that search is “Gluten-related neurologic dysfunction” from the 2014 Handbook of Clinical Neurology.

      Think: if these radio-heads wanted to chat about celiac for the entire hour, why did they get a neurologist on their program? Anyone who listens closely to this program and looks up the science that Perlmutter reference will realize that GI problems with gluten are the tip of the iceberg. I suggest getting a copy of Grain Brain and looking at the science yourself. If you don’t want to buy a copy, get it at the library (that’s what I did). Or just start doing some research into brain disease and gluten. After doing that, start to look at the more-general issue of ROS in the brain and why a HFLC diet can dramatically decrease ROS — and improve brain health.

      After doing that research, ask yourself why the Scientific American article referenced above fails to talk about any of the neurological impact of gluten. AFAICT, that article isn’t science; it is a sponsored placement. :(

  • SlackerInc

    I agree, it’s a bit like juice cleanses and so on.

    My mother-in-law has bonafide, diagnosed celiac disease. This fad is a great boon to her because just a few years ago, it was not easy at all to get gluten-free food, especially when travelling or eating out. Now she can pretty easily get a variety of types of food (not be limited to eating rice and vegetables like she often had to in the past) wherever she goes.

    But while it makes things more convenient for her, all the shelf and menu space devoted to it is frankly out of proportion to the need.

    • Jeff Kelly

      Yep–my point exactly. Let’s ask ourselves what has the medical profession done to alleviate its history of misdiagnosis? Returned a single DIME to us consumers? Of course not. The food industry has for once in its life, come through on this. “Hallelujah and pass more ammunition!!”

  • Angela Glatz

    if you have severe gluten intolerance than all arguments against gluten-free eating & gluten-free labeling are null and void. only people who have no immediate ill effects from eating gluten could be so intolerant. if food needs to be labeled for peanut allergens, same goes for glutens.

    • dust truck

      Exactly. Celiac disease is not the same thing as gluten sensitivity.

      • Jeff Kelly

        “Gluten sensitivity” was INVENTED by the medical profession to cover their own institutional IGNORANCE on this matter. This is a lot like being a little pregnant–either you ARE or you AREN’T–they invent an “in-between” designation anyway!!

        • dust truck

          Yes. Exactly. Celiac disease is a disease and yet morons like you like to claim that people who have it are making the symptoms up.

          • Jeff Kelly

            No, not only did I never SAY that—I don’t believe it. Read again:I have Celiac disease. I had it for 45 years BEFORE I discovered this fact. So you are attacking someone who believes basically as you do, with the possible exception of the propaganda that there is a SEPARATE ENTITY CALLED “GLUTEN SENSITIVITY.” I THINK IT IS ALL CELIAC, and the Physician community has merely created this game of semantics IN ORDER TO BRUSH ASIDE THEIR OWN IGNORANCE. Read my other posts and you will learn more(perhaps).

          • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

            There is actually a distinction between Celiac Disease (CD) and Gluten Sensitivity (GS) and that is that gluten antibodies don’t show up in tests for GS patients, while they do for CD. Although, as Jeff says, it is a game of semantics and I believe that they probably are one in the same. I also believe that the definition of CD should eventually be broadened, and that we should be going wheat-free, not just gluten-free, since its impossible to completely separate out all portions of the wheat plant that are bothering us.

          • Brian4000

            There is another crucial difference people with gluten sensitivity do not show the same damaging inflamation to the intestines. They do not suffer from malnurishment and other consequences from consuming gluten. Their’s is not a serious illness, celiac is.

          • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

            Actually, several experts in the field believe that GS is just a pre-cursor to CD and so treat it just as seriously!

          • Brian4000

            I have not hear from any experts stating this. But if it were true, it still wouldn’t be a problem until you actually develop celiac. It the the specific changes to the small intestines that celiac patients experience with gluten exposure that is the problem. That can be detected with a biopsy, and if you dont have that, then you are not going to suffer all the serious issues celiacs deal with. Please stop pushing pseudoscience in a scientific discussion.

          • Jeff Kelly

            Then how, I would ask, does one determine scientifically whether a person has gluten sensitivity (or not)? (I ask this question not to be annoying, but because it is a good question to throw out there and I have no knowledge about this myself).
            On symptoms alone? If so, I agree that Symptomatology as a discipline has been greatly overlooked in recent years in medicine in favor of high-tech gadgetry testing, which in the end also has to be read and interpreted correctly.

          • Brian4000

            Right now, as far as I know, there is no real way to measure gluten sensitivity other than symptoms. It is presently not clear if it is a real condition or not, but it seems to affect some people. However, IT IS NOT CELIAC. Having gluten sensitivity does not produce the damaging inflammation that is so dangerous to the digestive system. If you merely have gluten sensitivity you can consume gluten and will probably just get gas or bloating. Not really a big deal. Now, it may well be gluten sensitivity is some kind of precursor to celiac. If that is the case my advice is: Enjoy gluten while you still can.

          • Jeff Kelly

            I really think the issue here is debating terms which are inherently undefined and or fuzzy in terms of definition, so ultimately it is pointless. I stand with my belief that physicians invented this term in order to deal with their insufferable ignorance on the fundamentals of Celiac Sprue, and have probably created a controversy themelves in the process that was unecessary. However, I will leave it to the sages of the ages to determine where all of it falls. I’m just happy to have the knowledge of Celiac and the means to deal with it. Most of the rest is extraneous anyway at least in individual terms.

          • Brian4000

            Umm, no that isnt what is going on at all. These words actually mean something and there are objective measures we can use to test for Celiac. This isn’t an issue where everyone is entitled to their opinion.

          • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

            Having spent a lot of time researching the definition of gluten, celiac disease and how we go about testing for it, I would say there is no clear black and white answer as to what is Celiac Disease and what constitutes legitimate reactions to gluten. If we only test for alpha-gliadin, and biopsy specimens are spotty at best, we are probably missing a lot… we aren’t seeing the forest for the trees.

            Gluten Sensitivity is way beyond gas and bloating. It can cause autoimmune disorders other than celiac, as well as neurological disorders and much more. I believe we’re just at the tip of the iceberg of unraveling just how serious gluten is to many of us. Not just the <1% with a CD diagnosis.

          • Brian4000

            Everything you say here is simply wrong. Your research is not accurate, you should use reliable sources and not anything you happen to find on the net. Gluten Sensitivity does not produce autoimmmune problems, this is an idea that the medical community rejects, celiac does, through a speciifc mechanism, and there is a clear, black and white definition of celiac. If you don’t have celiac, gluten wilil not cause malnourishment, cancer, and other problems.

          • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

            that’s fine. you don’t have to believe me! you can check out the Gluten e-Summit though, where there are number of highly reputable, top experts in the field of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity and see what they have to say. I’m confident in my facts. And am not worried if you have don’t believe me. You have celiac disease. So why should you care about the rest of us with gluten sensitivity. You know what your issues are. We’re still unraveling ours. But the science is changing rapidly. If you want to talk about it like you’re an expert, I suggest you keep up with it!

    • floatingbones

      Anybody who has studied the science of gluten interaction with our bodies should be asking: why the heck did this show focus on the “craze” of celiac disease? Other than Perlmutter, were all the medical professionals on this show oblivious to the influence of gluten on our brain?

      Anyone who wishes to hear a superior interview with Perlmutter should listen to last December’s show of The People’s Pharmacy: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/12/14/927-how-grains-and-gluten-could-be-sapping-your-brain-power/

    • Jeff Kelly

      Well said.

  • momomentous

    I read the rambling Atlantic article by Hamblin that prompted this discussion and found it quite weak – Hamblin is a kid with a MD degree but appears to have no training in nutrition or experience in actually practicing clinical medicine. Why didn’t the show spend more time on evidence and studies referenced in the book. Plus the author skips over the widely lambasted recent cholesterol recommendations – which have now been revealed as created by pharma industry puppets that would result in 70% of all adults needing statins. The way Hamblin ignores this blatant attempt by mainstream medicine to sell us another big pharma drug was astonishing. The issue is not gluten – it is refined carbs – look at the level of diabetes and obesity in fat America- Perlmutter I think is on to something and rather than rally Big Mecine and Big Pharma to attack him why not give him more time to discuss his points. Tom let the show meander aimlessly and spent way too much time with this Harbin kid. Very unsatisfying show but I’m glad Tom addressed this topic. Tom is the best host in the country.

    • donny_t

      Right on. Exactly what I was thinking.

      • momomentous

        I tried to find Donny’s actual reply on your thread and could not locate it. How does one find the reply. I”m surprised Disqus does not work that well – I can’t even find my own comment in context of the whole thread – I see it alone but don’t see it in sequence – is this how Disqus is always? Very disappointing – organizationally it is kind of messed up – please fix!

        • donny_t

          Yes, Disqus isn’t that good a comment tool. You can alternatively try their website http://www.disqus.com

  • Jeff Kelly

    I don’t care how scientific or unscientific it may be for “most” people. I am not “most” people and am a Celiac. Thus, the fact that this makes it much easier for those of us who must to protect our health adhere to a strict gluten free diet is wonderful. The naysayers come from the medical community, which has been singularly without any use when it comes to this bona fide medical issue. Let them all flap their gums in the wind for all I care!!

    • Brian4000

      No, just no. If you are not testing positive for antibodies and dont have a biopsy that shows celiac, you do not have celiac disease. This is exactly the problem. Peole self diagnosing because they feel a bit foggy or queezy and think its from the gluten. That isn’t celiac disease and claiming it is, is like telling people you have cancer because you have a wart on your finger. It really creates a problem for those of us with celiac, because people stop taking us seriously in response to you.

      • Jeff Kelly

        No, just no! it is an acknowledged FACT that such biopsies CAN and DO miss those areas of villi flattening in the small intestine. So it is not in any way a perfect diagnostic test, although I do agree it is a very good test. I would not permit anyone to wag their finger at me because they are “biopsy proven” when I am “stool tested, diet tested, gene tested proven”. You are simply spouting the party line of medicine, which sadly is simply not representative of absolute truth in every case. Somehow all of these other autoimmune diseases just came up by themselves, Hashimoto’s, Ulcerative colitis, and the potentially very deadly Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis(all of which are connected to Celiac Sprue). My gallbladder stopped working and gave me typical symptoms too–I no longer have it because by the time they diagnosed that, I was in deadly danger of losing my life on that before agreeing to that necessary surgery on an emergent basis. Now, add ALL of that to the fact of Osteoporosis and insufferable levels of fatigue over the years BEFORE going gluten free—and you’ve got a whole lot of smoke there, you have to admit—AND you are free to stick to the “biopsy-proven, blood test proven” B.S. but I will stick to what experience tells me, what SYMPTOMATOLOGY ONCE TOLD DOCTORS PRE-TECHNOLOGIC EXPLOSION AND INCURSION INTO MEDICINE—and hopefully we BOTH will remain happy. You are free to disagree but you will never persuade me to agree with you because I have done the in depth research to discover the various diagnositc pitfalls and although I would be happier than almost anyone to have a FOOLPROOF diagnostic test, despite the medical party line, NO SUCH A THING SIMPLY EXISTS TODAY. And also anyone is free to say I am unscientific, which is not true especially when the diagnostic process is not foolproof. That is what it is.
        Thank you, comrade, for helping produce what I hope is this very interesting discussion and exchange, and hopefully you will refrain from attacking me personally, as I have no intention to attack you personally.

        • http://www.stuffed-pepper.com Heather Jacobsen

          You’re right, Jeff. Antibody tests only look for reactions to the alpha-gliadin portion of wheat – a tiny, tiny, fraction but medical studies show that people can react to so many other aspects of gluten and even parts of wheat outside gluten. So none of these tests are definitive. For anyone interested, you can see my explanation of What is Gluten here: http://www.stuffed-pepper.com/what-gluten-wait-are-you-sure-you-know-answer/

          Oh, and by the way, you’ll love this, Jeff. I’ve been called a Celiac Wannabe by other celiacs (because I don’t have positive antibodies or definitive intestinal damage)! No offense to my dear celiac friends, but is this a disorder that anyone really wants to have?

          • Jeff Kelly

            That wasn’t my main point in my reply to the putz but thank you for your vote of confidence anyway. Your point about a “Celiac Wannabe” also hits the nail right on the head. Indeed, who would want to be? That doesn’t stop the actual Psychiatrists and Psychologists from proclaiming we are all nut cases, nor the armchair ones joining this bandwagon either. Se la vie. None of us can change stupid;we can only add to our own information and education. We have, in the words of the late Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist born in Hungary and thus respective of the actual principles of freedom this nation supposedly stands for, and mostly does apart from psychiatric coercion and mental illness laws, a “Therapeutic State”–not to mention this mentality throughout all of society. “Experts” can NEVER do any wrong, you see, and can never BE wrong either. The human condition renders this a false presumption often enough to remain on guard of such a claim. “And by the time people realize the Therapeutic State is not about beneficience but about control and self-perpetuation, it will be too late.” AMEN.

  • Jeff Kelly

    Good answer. The doc doesn’t HAVE a better answer–that is for CERTAIN!! Just a whining complainer who blames bogus things for healthcare costs and fails to blame his or her own FAILED MEDICAL EDUCATION. It would be like blaming their RELIGION. PFFFF!!

  • Jeff Kelly

    And Celiacs have been DYING for that length of time also. Read Dr. Fasano. Gluten free diet may to a large extent be a fad, but as a Celiac, anything that gives me an advantage and an edge over this condition is preferable to the alternative.

  • Jeff Kelly

    They are treating this like it is politics, well, let’s invent some compromises here and there. That is not what real science does, and reveals the sad fact that medicine is not all about science.

  • Jeff Kelly

    Are you saying the cup metal is gluten free or the wine is gluten free(the latter we already knew as we did the former, the issue is with the hosts)?

  • Jeff Kelly

    For what it’s worth, I don’t let it bother me. It has had numerous positive effects, most notably an easier availability of gluten-free foods. Labels are improving monthly or so it seems. These are fantastic improvements for us Celiacs. With people who serve food, here’s some advice:there are preprinted cards you can present to them. If after explaining the diet to them there is a hopeless inability to follow it by the cooks and waiters, I recommend not staying mad, but getting even. Yep, the great American Lawsuit. At a men’s store near you–or an attorney!! Or, you can simply decide not to leave a tip and never go back there. Solutions do exist.

  • Jeff Kelly

    Well, that’s what these Putzes called Doctors want you to believe, anyway…..

  • Anita Patel

    There is a point that there is no genetically modified wheat BUT there is genetically engineered wheat and I understand that this wheat has much higher levels of gluten then it did decades ago.

  • Jeff Kelly

    Very good points indeed.

  • donny_t

    Tom, as always you have great topics but very poor guests. Hamblin said he didn’t know of any studies which linked pesticide/herbicide chemicals to gluten and other food allergies. Maybe he should look into that. I’m sure he’ll find a lot. You put chemicals that kill bugs and plants into your crops and you’re going to get food which your body thinks are toxins.

  • Regular_Listener

    It probably is true that a good number of people are sensitive to gluten, and that this is something that needs to be thoroughly investigated. But Dr. Perlmutter and other proponents of paleo-type diets also need to be questioned. Is eating lots of meat and fat really closer to what makes the human body perform at its best? Would that really be closer to the way our ancestors ate, and to what our digestive systems have evolved toward processing? I have heard the opposite – not that we used to eat lots of gluten, but that we eat more meat today than ever before. Vegetables, fruits, and seeds were probably the mainstays of our diets (along with bugs and rodents most likely), and that a big catch like a cow or goat was a rare treat, not an everyday pleasure.

    • Gtls Luis Marquez

      Absolutely… we create one of the biggest myths and is that we need proteins but the digestion system can not assimilate… we need to breaking down to amino acids levels… guess what doesn;t have too much proteins but rich in amino acids? vegetables and fruits…

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