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I am taking a one-day reprieve from our wonderful Gluten-Free Love Stories series because today…I am not feeling the love.

Once again, I feel the need to go into celiac defense mode. I am so friggin’ sick of this.

Dr. Davis wrote a book called Wheat Belly. I assume most of you have heard of it as it is a NY Times bestseller.

I have not read the book and this blog post is not about whether wheat is inherently good or bad for the general population. I’ll let the farmers, the food companies, the scientists and the medical community fight that one out.

Yesterday, Dr.Davis wrote an article on his website titled “Celiac is not a disease”.

That’s right. Celiac…is…not….a…disease.

His arguments? I’m not even sure.

Here’s the article. Let me know if you can figure it out.

The gist of it is that celiac is not a disease. The disease is wheat.

Forget the fact that celiac is an autoimmune disease where the body actually attacks itself.

Forget the fact that celiacs cannot ingest other grains besides wheat (rye, barley, etc.)

Forget the fact that he says that his “point was partly to piss off the celiac community.”

Why have we become punching bags? So Dr. Davis can sell more books?

What other disease comes under constant attack about its legitimacy and its affect on the human body?

There were two other articles online yesterday that caught my attention.

One was titled “Is Going Gluten-Free the New Anorexia?”

It made some decent points but the title is damaging enough to us and our continued battle to be taken seriously.

The second article was from Psychology Today and was titled “Gluten Sensitivity as Eating Disorder”.

While I didn’t appreciate how it questioned the significance of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, I loved this sentence: Gluten-free has become the latest clarion call to those who fear food, advertised wherever food is, announced from labels in the aisles of supermarkets, and making us think that gluten-free is a necessary part of life.

You see folks…fear sells. And gluten has become the new face of evil.

And the marketing companies, food manufacturers and those peddling their best-selling books will do anything it takes to put more money in their pockets.

And the next time you get glutened because the restaurant didn’t take your gluten-free request seriously, you know who to blame.

Like I said…just not feeling the love.

67 thoughts on “Hey Dr. Davis: Celiac IS a Disease

  1. I work at a bookstore and every time I see or sell this book, I cringe. I get to hear so many ridiculous things about this book and have to bite my tongue every time. For him to say that Celiac is NOT a disease is both flat out dangerous and freaking ignorant. Who the eff made him a specialist ?

    I want to see the NFCA, University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center ect chastise him.

    UGGGGGHHHHHH So not what I wanted to read this morning.

    When will we stop being pawns to help people make money?

    • “When will we stop being pawns to help people make money?”

      When people learn to think for themselves and not be sheep.

  2. Though I kind of get what Dr. Davis is saying (and I did interview him about his book well over a year ago), I’m not sure that this blog post does anything more than piss off folks who are seeking to be acknowledged and get them to travel over to his site to 1) get more traffic and 2) get more books. It appeared to me that the actual point was more… “if you have celiac and you don’t know these points listed in my book as every other Wheat Belly reader does, you better go read it and educate yourself or else you’ll be left in the dark.”

    I think it’s a marketing ploy to sell more books and everyone adding to the ruckus will simply send more folks to the site. Kudos to you for pointing it out, but I actually think this is about selling books and creating fear in folks who aren’t already a part of his readership/tribe.

  3. “Is Going Gluten-Free the New Anorexia?” I’m sick of all these celebrities and people trying out gluten free to lose weight. Celiac disease is losing credibility anytime this happens because others assume you’re just on it for weight loss. If I didn’t have Celiac’s there’s no way I would eat gluten free.

  4. This is a ploy to sell his book, no doubt.
    When I want valid information about Celiac, I consult a Celiac Specialist like Dr. Fasano, Dr. Green, Dr. Guandalini, or Dr.Murray.

    I would not consult a cardiologist trying to sell his book.

    I sincerely hope the Celiac Disease Research Centers make a statement about this nonsense.

    I honestly did not bother to read the book because I read Peter Bronski’s review on his site No Gluten, No Problem. He’s a fellow celiac and I thought his review was thorough, valid and well-supported.

    http://noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com/2012/03/wheat-belly-busted.html

    “But I’m more than disappointed with Davis and Wheat Belly; I’m downright angry. This book can and should be better. We, the gluten-free community, deserve as much. It does an injustice to the very legitimate case against wheat and gluten, and it is insulting to us, the readers. Sadly, Wheat Belly looks polished from a distance, but upon closer inspection it goes belly up. Sections of the book amount to propaganda, fallacies, and unsubstantiated claims. For me, Wheat Belly is a bust.
    Are wheat and gluten a health problem? For many of us, undoubtedly. But there’s much more to the story than meets the eye, and you’re not always getting the straight story in Wheat Belly.”

  5. Ironic…I read his first book, in which he specifically says celiac is a disease. If I remember correctly, he spent a whole chapter on it. And celiac has been around since humans started cultivating grain 10,000 years ago – a lot longer than his pet villain modern wheat.

    His analogies are absolute crap. You can’t say one thing isn’t a disease just because there are less serious conditions that have similar causes. Those other conditions are problems that need medical care too. But it doesn’t make the first condition “not a disease.”

    This guy has totally gone off his rocker…which is awful for the gluten-free community. As are these “eating disorder” articles floating around. I’ve seen a couple of them too. Like Dr. Davis’s stories, they are based on anecdotal evidence and only very loose correlations. Argh! So frustrating for us!

  6. Yeah… this fluffy old lady is a poster for anorexia. Wait, Celiac DID cause me to have an eating disorder turned anorexia in my teens. All because eating caused so much pain that I gave it up! And did I waste away? Nope! Just lowered my metabolism into survival mode and wreaked it forever. I guess you could say that I still have an eating disorder as I am still really, REALLY picky about what I eat. I would like to stop fearing food, but as long as it has the potential to harm me, I will always be wary.

    • I can sympathize with your fear of food. I developed a whole host of allergies last year, I’m anaphalactic to nuts, pysllium fiber, peas and I’m also allergic to eggs, milk, soy, legumes and sensitive to sulphites and MSG. I dropped 40 lb due to the fact that I was forced to eat ridiculously healthy (kicking and screaming), but there was some days where I honestly just didn’t feel like eating because I was scared of how I would feel or if I would randomly have another anaphalactic attack to some new unknown allergen.

      I developed severe depression and went through a horrible relationship where my now ex-boyfriend told me (While I was still developing new allergies) that I may as well get used to the fact that I’m going to die because everything I eat is related to something else so I’ll eventually starve to death. Thank goodness I left that toxic relationship and thankfully I’ve had a much better grip on what I can and can’t eat.

      I had had a few tests done to see if I was celiac but they kept coming back as inconclusive. Not showing positive results but not enough to be completely negative. I decided with my doctor to do a trial run with no gluten for a week and then try something with gluten. I felt fantastic until the gluten was reintroduced so I’m fairly certain now that I am celiac/gluten intolerant. I’m also now with a new boyfriend who has actually been my best friend since I was about 4 years old and he’s really really supportive. Things are starting to look up. :)

  7. Have we always had so many gullible people who believed anything they are told, if its wrapped in a slick or official looking package? If you say you are a doctor and have a nice website or book, everything you say must be true?

    It’s not these snake oil salesmen that say things like ” Celiac is not a real disease” or ” Buy my ” all- natural” cancer cure” that piss me off. It’s the idiots that believe them over real Celiac doctors or even a high school biology book. We have 1 guy saying this nonsense. We have multiple medical center websites as well as national celiac association websites (of various countries) saying the opposite. Why do people fall for the one guy?

    Is the ability to use common sense becoming extinct in the human species?

    • “We have 1 guy saying this nonsense. We have multiple medical center websites as well as national celiac association websites (of various countries) saying the opposite. Why do people fall for the one guy?”

      Hmm, I don’t know why any large groups of people ever fall for “the one guy” spouting nonsense. Why, that’s never happened before — has it?!

      ( marshall applewhite, hitler, jim jones, david koresh, aum shinrikyo, charles manson, claude vorilhon, l ron hubbard, joseph di mambro, sun myung moon…)

      “Is the ability to use common sense becoming extinct in the human species?”

      Yes.

  8. By the way… Maybe the Dude can explain it better. My understanding is that everyone that views some of these websites is counted and may be used to get advertising dollars. Or used in some advertising fashion – ” the most popular false medical info website with 50,000 views this month”

    • That’s accurate but I think he’s more interesting in drumming up book sales than he is page views. Either way, he’s a tool.

  9. I get what you’re saying. I also get what he is saying as well. Yes, celiac is a disease and a very serious and real one! My BIL who was recently diagnosed with celiac feels that perhaps it’s the GMOs, the hybridization, the chemical tinkering that is leading to more food allergies in soceity — I agree with him on that to a point, because for a lot of people, it’s just plain gluten that gets you, no matter what. But I do wonder if the frankenfood as something to do with it as well.

    The point that this doctor made, and not very well, is that wheat is in the junk we eat and it’s the junk we eat that’s making us fat. His contention is that wheat is making us fat, so cut out the wheat and get skinny. No that does not help celiacs or any food allergy sufferer, because food allergies are REAL and seriious and deadly. I do think he makes a wrong association that celiacs are somehow “playing celiac –equating celiac to crying wolf” to lose weight. Now , that I’ve rolled my eyes at this clown, a reminder to him, celiacs are not, not eating gluten to get skinny, they do it to live. Perhaps when this GF fad is over and your books are collecting dust at the Goodwill you’ll get that.

  10. I read the article. I’m not sure you are clear on his point.

    I think the title is provocative, but he’s not saying celiac disease doesn’t exist or that it isn’t valid, just that there are good reasons not to eat wheat even if you don’t have celiac. His point is we focus on celiac like we focus on lung cancer, but cigarettes (and wheat) can kill you in other ways. Wheat can be destructive in the body even if you don’t have celiac.

    I think it’s the title that maybe isn’t a perfect fit for the message. It does sound like he is going to make a different point then he does. But, this message is an important one, I think, for people who do not have celiac but “feel better” when they cut wheat consumption.

    Thanks for writing about it.

    Kim

    • I SO agree, Kim!!
      I have read his book, I have watched a couple of his U-Tube Videos – & I’d remind folks that Dr Davis actually DOESN’T eat wheat himself!! Many of the Celiac docs, if they’re MDs, DO EAT GLUTEN!! (ask Gluten Free RN, if you’re interested which ones – she attends the conferences, which until recently didn’t even have GF options! She watches what the docs put on their plates …)

      Yes, there is a chapter in Wheat Belly where Dr Davis addresses Celiac disease, & he’s very clear in supporting the gluten free community. THAT’S what this post is about – that there are many ways people react to wheat & to gluten (though he also identifies other fractions of wheat – especially wheat, but rye, barley, etc as well – that cause damage. The addictive portions are in the starches, not the gluten. So all those friends who ‘can’t imagine ever doing without’ MAY be addicted to wheat – because of the endorphin exciters in the STARCH.
      If someone who isn’t celiac, but has depression which can be triggered by gluten is given that ‘little bit’ of gluten that ‘shouldn’t hurt him, because he doesn’t have celiac (but has chosen to go gluten free), commits suicide, is that any less a gluten triggered death? If they don’t throw up or run to the bathroom, because their reaction isn’t neurological, is that reaction any less valid?

      I’m gluten intolerant, probably. My daughter has double genes for intolerance, but she has DH – probably. No dermatologist caught that. She had anxiety – with intrusions & heart palpitations – DAILY FOR TWELVE YEARS!! That was gone the 4th day into a Gluten Zero diet! GONE!

      She had genetic testing that showed two genes linked to intolerance. she went gluten free & yet, because she’s not been ‘diagnosed’ with ‘celiac,’ (though with DH, or whatever her skin condition is, she could be called celiac) …. she gets told that ‘oh, this wouldn’t be safe if you had CELIAC, but if you’re just gluten sensitive or have an allergy you can eat it …’ My anxiety was milder, I also had heart palpitations, I didn’t bother with genetic testing, I figured I passed a gene on, my granddaughters (then 4 & 9) would find it easier to follow a GZ diet if I also ate that way, so I’m neither tested nor Dx, yet I lost 30# over the last 3.5 years, my head no longer itches, I don’t get afternoon brain fog …. and I DON’T eat gluten intentionally! And it’s not ‘all in my head,’ though gluten crosses the blood brain barrier, & so in a way, it IS!

      With all the articles saying it’s not ‘safe’ to go Gluten Free (nor necessary) unless you really have a problem with it … I applaud Dr Davis for saying it IS safe to nix gluten! It IS OK to do so without a ‘proper diagnosis’ … some folks need a diagnosis to go gluten free (or simply wheat free) … & I understand that.
      Our local GF expert, Gluten Free RN, finds many folks who fall through the cracks with testing still need to go Gluten Free. She’s now gone Paleo, & avoids all grains, legumes, dairy ….

      • With all due respect, (I may be missing something here) , but
        I am not sure what difference it makes if the celiac specialists eat wheat. How does this impact their credibility, their expertise, their published research and their collective years of experience? If they do not have a gluten intolerance, why can’t they eat wheat?
        What does that have to do with anything?

        Just because Dr. Davis does not eat wheat himself –it does not make him an authority on celiac.

  11. On the topic of eating disorders: as someone with a not-so-ancient history of disordered eating, I must admit that one of my earliest thoughts upon receiving my celiac diagnosis (after “Oh my God, I am going to firebomb my doctor’s office for the way he and his receptionists treated me”) was “Yes! A new, valid excuse to refuse food when it’s offered to me. Maybe I’ll lose weight!” Of course, following directly on its heels were more reasonable thoughts such as, “Actually, I’m statistically more likely to gain weight,” “I don’t need to lose weight and should really be focusing on getting healthy,” and “Where does one even find firebombs, anyway?”

    The unfortunate truth is that as real of a disease as celiac is (and as real of a problem as gluten sensitivity seems more and more likely to be), an eating disorder is also a disease, and it’s one that both causes and thrives on restricted, ritualistic eating. Anorexia is actually associated with celiac disease, probably because it’s easier to get into disordered eating habits when it hurts to eat. So there’s that confusion, and then you have to add on the fact that people with eating disorders DO tend to lie about why they’re not eating, and many of them probably DO seize upon gluten sensitivity these days as a handy excuse, just the way some percentage of (but by no means all) vegans and vegetarians are using their diet to mask an eating disorder.

    So…all that’s to say, as long as eating disorders and gluten exist, some people with gluten troubles are going to be pegged as having an ED, and some doubly unlucky folks really are going to have both. While it’s a bummer that the two are so linked in many people’s minds, it’s also true that both celiac/gluten sensitivity and eating disorders are conditions that deserve awareness. Advocates are just going to have to work to ensure that people aren’t aware of them only in connection with each other. I for one am excited about the prospect of getting well intestinally and otherwise, all while doing my darnedest not to give us all a reputation for weight obsession. Now, about those firebombs…

  12. I got the book but never finished it. This article reminds me of it. Enthusiast, but badly written and argued.

    If he wants to say celiac is recognized as a disease, but how about we consider adding some other conditions, also caused by wheat, perhaps on a spectum or continuum, why doesn’t he say that?

    My other concern is that he doesn’t go so much into the wider gluten issues. I spent 9 years failing to recover from non celiac gluten intolerance, because I thought wheat was all I needed to cut out.

    My biggest sense with his work is disappointment at a missed opportunity.

  13. I read the media blurb and perhaps I missed something, but his argument did not make sense. His claim is that no one can eat wheat because it is bad for all. He uses the analogy of smoking, that no one should smoke because it is bad for all. Some get lung cancer from smoking though, so it seems to be worse for some. He does not say that lung cancer related to smoking is not a disease. But he says that Celiac is not a disease. Am I missing something, or is it pointless to even to to understand?

  14. I just posted a reply on his site. Not sure it will be in the thread, it is being “moderated.” However, this infuriates me. His analogy with lung cancer and smoking/celiac disease, makes no sense whatsoever. As the Dude commented on; he doe not mention the fact that we can’t have rye or barley either. Where does that fit into his theory that celiac disease is just a “manifestation” to eating wheat?

    Geez, it makes no sense. Did he wake up this morning pissed off at people with celiac disease? Maybe b/c we won’t buy his book knowing we can’t eat wheat anyway, what would be the point. Just stretching the thought process, just like he has done.

  15. His post is meant to be infuriating to celiacs. It is meant to be thought provoking. He is upset because specialists in the Celiac community are not advocating that everyone eat a gluten free diet. Instead, they advocate it only for those medically required to eat gluten free (ie those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance). That’s not good for his business.

    Granted, I do understand that many people would likely benefit from eating a wheat free or gluten free diet due to undiagnosed intolerance, I think it’s a gross overstatement to provoke the celiac community with his comment that celiac isn’t a disease. In response to those who get upset about ‘celiac ain’t a disease’ he says ‘You aren’t getting my point’ or ‘read it again.’ Thus undermining their point of view and trying to make them look like idiots.

    This is just a classic case of pushing another person down to make yourself shine a little brighter. Hasn’t he heard the quote that ‘a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle’? He’s turning his back on the one community that will always advocate for gluten free, and soon he will find himself alone in the dark.

  16. I saw Dr. Davis’s post yesterday on his Wheat Belly blog and was also confused about his point. I decided it was probably just nothing more than a statement to get people riled up, get his article linked on other sites where people were talking about, and get his name out there even more. It’ll increase visitors to his site for sure. Inflammatory posts like that get attention and the link gets shared as people say, “Wow, check this out. I can’t believe it!”

    • I thought about this some more but wasn’t able to post to now! This is exactly what I was thinking!

      If he had just said ” Remember, Celiac isn’t the only problem caused by wheat” we wouldn’t be talking about it and going to his websites. He says this stuff to generate publicity.

  17. While i did not see the quoted txt in your article that his intention is to piss off celiacs, I cannot BELIEVE he had the balls to insult Dr. Stefano Guadalini of the University of Chicago. And what’s up with the word research in quotation marks? What an insulting man. And I do agree that we as celiacs need to take those with gluten sensitivy into account and not write them, his attitude is not helping bridge the gap between the two. Thanks for making this blog post open to the the Celiac Community.

  18. Read the post from “Alta” and his response. What a jerk—

    Saying the disease is wheat is like saying the disease is cigarettes, in your analogy. I get that. While I see what you are TRYING to say, it’s incorrect. Celiac IS a disease. Lung cancer IS a disease. I do see and agree that you are trying to portray that we don’t see the “forest” of other health issues that are caused by wheat (and cigarettes) for the “trees” – the so-called gravest of diseases caused by these triggers – celiac disease or lung cancer. People’s eyes need to be opened that wheat can cause a myriad of diseases. (as can smoking). Unfortunately, Dr. Davis, the voice in which you make this analogy comes across as manipulative and inflammatory for those that truly have celiac disease and in spite of abstaining from all gluten grains, continue to feel the effects of this disease. That group doesn’t need more voices out there minimizing the seriousness of their disease – even if that was not your intention. I feel there are more effective ways to get this message across and educate the masses.

    Dr. Davis says:

    February 6, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Well, then, Alta: Expect plenty more manipulation and inflammation from me!

    All partial kidding aside, we are collectively achieving a surge in awareness of the health-destroying properties of wheat, celiac or otherwise.

  19. I saw an article from Fitsugar yesterday that pissed me off. “Gluten Free Foods Cause Weight Gain.” It was about how rice, chocolate, and cheese can make a person fat. Well, no shit. If you just eat a bunch of white rice, pound down a bar of chocolate a day, and gorge yourself on chocolate you’re going to get fat whether you’re eating gluten free or not!

    http://www.fitsugar.com/Gluten-Free-Foods-Cause-Weight-Gain-26968943

    The other is “Gluten-Free Diet is Bad for your Heart.”

    http://www.glutenfreeschool.com/2013/02/06/gluten-free-diet-is-bad-for-your-heart/

    Similarly, this article rails against empty calories, large amounts of sugar and bad fats, acidic, and low fiber foods. That’s bad whether you eat gluten or not.

    I think both of these articles were made just to drive attention to their site by using the new “fad” of “gluten free.”

    Mmph.

    I wrote an article on my website on how to make sure you can have healthy meals if you’ve got little time or energy to devote to them. Did I use gluten free in the post title? No.

    I can get so peeved at these people, and companies, using gluten free to promote their product when it has nothing to do with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity at all. It’s especially shameful when they bash the gluten free diet the way these articles, Dr. Davis, and others have done.

  20. Oh, and seriously, what’s up with that cheesy, sexist, computer generated woman at the top of the screen? She’s just up there promoting the cultural body ideal. She’s not up there promoting a healthy body or diet.

  21. Honestly I went into the article to give it a read, because I felt I could not put together a proper response until I read the article, and then I started reading through the comments and Dr. Davis’ replies. I don’t even know what to call this ugly heavy sick feeling in my stomach … just because of the arrogance and insensitivity I believe the Doctor shows to the “Celiac Community” as he lumps us all together to be.

    I really think he is among the number of the ignorant he says we are … as he shows a complete lack of understanding. I am actually at loss for any words I believe I could string together to have him understand while we understand the passion of his message … that his delivery is insulting to simple intelligence and as many of you have stated very damaging in our cause, OUR everyday life cause – of people understanding Celiac Disease and the difference between that and the gluten free fad diet.

    Yes there may be a great many people … Celiac and non celiac alike who do not understand the damage that wheat by itself can cause … but to dismiss – and no matter what else he tries to say or how he says “oh just read the article again you missed the point” that he states that Celiac Disease is not a Disease. Ignorance. And while we can all understand the almost obsessive passion he feels to get his point across (for we fight with this every waking day and more so as this “gluten free” fad has taken hold) ~ to do so at the detriment of those with Celiac Disease – who honestly don’t have the education or research abilities to know better … and are so dependent on the “public” and “professionals” to keep us safe, is really sad and pathetic.

    I get the passion … I don’t get the arrogance or cruelty. And I especially do not care for being dubbed as “ignorant” being one of the “Celiac Community”. He does nothing in furthering awareness when he attacks a person’s intelligence and belief system. But maybe that is how he does his best work.

  22. It has been a while since I have felt this enraged by ignorance. I rarely ever post comments on these types of things but I just could not keep it in. Below is my response to Dr. Davis. We will see if it makes it out of moderation.

    Dr. Davis,

    So basically you are saying that you realize the damaging nature of your statement but other doctors are doing the same re: wheat? That hardly seems like a defense.

    I appreciate that celiac is just one manifestation of the issues associated with consuming wheat; however, to use your fame to declare that celiac is not a disease is incredibly damaging to those of us who struggle to eliminate wheat and gluten from our lives in order to be healthy. And also, that statement in no way actually makes your point. We did not misinterpret your intent – it is just flawed logic you are using to drive traffic to your website and sell more books.

    To declare in a title that our autoimmune disorder is not a disease is not only inaccurate but borders on negligence. Thank you for making it my mission to tell people – celiacs, wheat eaters and wheat lovers – that you have no idea what you are talking about.

  23. What an a-hole. It’s really sad that he has to stoop to this level. Why does he have to discredit Celiac disease – and the community at large? He’s alienating a large group of people that could truly support him in his work. If his intent is to get people off of wheat, why start kicking Celiacs in the face?? He’s also making himself look like an ignorant d-bag. Maybe we should start a petition on Change.org – entitled “Dr. Davis has no clue.”

    Sigh… Thank you all for sharing your thoughts & heartfelt opinions. I’m right there with you all. Like Dani said above, “He’s turning his back on the one community that will always advocate for gluten free, and soon he will find himself alone in the dark.”

  24. I for one am really looking forward to us getting back to the LOVE Gluten Dude …

    All this above has just depressed me today … feel like a big sigh stuck in my soul … if that makes sense.

    Looking forward to getting back to the LOVE LOVE LOVE stories!!!
    And adding a smile to my day …

    Hugs to US ALL!

  25. GD, I posted as follow up to your comment. I am not sure it will get posted, but here is what I said:

    “On the contrary! Dr. Guandalini (and you could show some respect for a colleague by spelling his name correctly ) and Dr. Fasano , both leading Celiac experts have said gluten sensitivity is a very real medical condition and there are people working on developing testing and diagnostic criteria. (No validated testing exists at this point, despite the plethora of “lab test kits” on the internet.)
    I almost died from this disease before I was diagnosed, so your article today was not only mocking, but irresponsible. You’re a medical professional and you are using “italics” around the word “celiac” which implies you do not recognize it as a “disease”.
    As to your assertion: “some people from the celiac community would misinterpret the message”– well, no, actually, MANY people from the celiac community are seeing your message for exactly what it is. You want to sell your book, so you wrote an intentionally inflammatory headline, knowing full well you’d get a strong response.
    I am not misinterpreting anything— and neither are any of the other proactive celiacs who take the time to promote celiac awareness.

  26. I’m too angry to read the article. This blog post was enough. Today I had to fire off a strongly worded email to a formerly trusted restaurant after I discovered they were suggesting on their website that Celiacs could eat spelt. And even worse, it was part of an information package for potential franchisees so they were spreading the lies and the danger even further.

  27. This article just makes me sad.
    We spend years trying to find out what’s wrong with us, get a diagnosis, work towards being healthy and managing our disease… all to have supposed specialists and celebrities denouncing the condition that has turned our lives upside down.
    Having CD fucking sucks… but give it (and us) some god damned respect. We sure as hell have to.

  28. Wheat belly book=Angry Jersey Girl.

    My background is science and mathematics. Scanning the previews of this best seller i was insulted. Um hey, what kind or research did you do to prove to us that this so called “new, post industrial wheat” was the problem and that celiac disease has been around for a very long time but until recently not diagnosed or understood. Where they hell is the compassion, sensitivity that we as celiacs have been suffering for years in pain and not recognized. Do they still hold book burnings? Just a thought.

    XO-
    Jersey Girl

    All right! I confess, I confess. I confess to your being a bigger idiot than I thought.”
    Doctor Who

    • Thanks for posting this, Else!

      I listened to it. It was hardly a debate, (no fireworks at all :) ) but it was a rather tame discussion between Dr. Davis and and Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta.

      Actually, many of the things Dr. Davis says made some sense.
      ( I know. I was surprised too!) :)

      He says people can feel better off wheat (even suggesting paleo diets are very healthy) and he offered anecdotal evidence of patients whose blood pressure normalizes, diabetes is managed or resolved, arthritis is helped, etc.
      We see this often in celiacs who go GF, so that is not so far-fetched.

      Note: he does not say all gluten –he is specific about WHEAT.

      But, he blames ALL health ills on GMO’d wheat. (Celiac researchers also suggest that this change in wheat protein may be a possible explanation for the rise in gluten sensitivity, so that, too, is not that hard to believe).

      However, Mr. Caulfield refuted this idea with scientific data that cites thousands of healthy individuals whose dietary habits were studied. These people include whole grain wheat in their diets and they have no medical problems. He mentioned the Mediterranean diet –which includes whole wheat– as being one of the most heart-healthy diets for the general population (and there is plenty of science and data to support this, too) He asked people to be skeptical of any exclusionary dieting fad (not just the GF trend) unless they have a specific medical need (as in celiac).

      Mr. Caulfied also said he felt the claims of a wider spectrum of gluten sensitivity may be overblown and was skeptical that gluten can be blamed for so many health problems. He wants to see more evidence. (But this skeptical view is often held by someone who does not have any gastro or other serious problems and has never had to seek help for pain and suffering. )

      There was no mention of celiac disease except for the host and Mr. Caulfield mentioning it as a serious” autoimmune condition” in a small percentage of the population. I am not so sure 1% is a “small percentage” (is 3 Million people in just the US a “small” amount? try fitting 3 million people in your living room )

      Then, Dr. Davis made this claim: “Take wheat out of your diet and you will lose your appetite for sugar.”

      Yup. He said that.

      Really?
      I’ve been wheat free for over 2 years since my DX, and I still have a small “appetite for sugar”. I do not know any celiacs who don’t love a good muffin or cookie or piece of cake every once and a while.
      It may take more than just the removal of wheat to make someone not want sugar. Just sayin.

      Here’s the thing: He is stuck on this premise that wheat is evil. For all we know, he may well be right.

      But his delivery is arrogant and rude, he has no respect for reputable celiac specialists, and to dismiss celiac as “not a real disease” is just going to alienate people. For these reasons alone, his basic premise may well be lost in the bruhaha. Maybe he needs a better spokesperson?

  29. “Gluten Sensitivity as Eating Disorder”. ?!?!?!? I’m sorry, but this is stupid, ignorant, and down right mean. My pride is hurt and I feel the need to punch who ever wrote that.

  30. Looking back, my words were pretty harsh. I apologize for that. I’d like to know, however, why this Dr. Davis recognizes Chron’s Disease, but not Celiac Disease? And why does he think that it is legitimate to liken gluten to cigarette smoke?

    • I did not think your words were harsh .:)
      You have the right to be upset and frankly, I do not think any of us know why this man has said half the things he has said.

      Most of it has no medical or scientific basis and his “proof” is largely anecdotal.

      I get his idea that wheat may cause inflammatory diseases.I believe that is true, actually. I really do. I do not think wheat is the best food protein for most of us humans. (very hard to digest)

      Yet, I do not understand some of his other thoughts. I do not know why he bashed the leading celiac authorities..

      And I do not think we should not give him any more of our time :) nor should we allow him to make us upset.

      IMHO

  31. Say this today and thought it interesting!

    “NEW WHEAT STRAINS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR CELIAC INCREASE

    February 8, 2013
    WASHINGTON—Higher gluten levels in new wheat strains are not responsible for an increased prevalence of celiac disease, according to an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Overall gluten consumption has increased due to other factors.

    Donald D. Kasarda, Western Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Albany, CA, cites evidence that the incidence of celiac disease increased during the second half of the 20th century. Some estimates indicate that the disease is four times more common today. Also known as gluten intolerance, celiac disease occurs when gluten, a protein in wheat, barley and rye, damages the lining of the small intestine, causing a variety of symptoms. There is no current explanation for the increased prevalence of the disease.

    One leading possibility had suggested it results from wheat breeding that led to the production of wheat varieties containing higher levels of gluten.

    Kasarda’s perspective article examined the scientific evidence for that hypothesis and found that gluten levels in various wheat varieties have changed little on average since the 1920s. Overall gluten consumption has increased. Consumption of “vital gluten” has tripled since 1977.

    Vital gluten is a food additive made from wheat flour and is added to various food products to improve characteristics such as texture. Overall consumption of wheat flour has increased 25% over a thirty year period from 1977 to 2000, amounting to an average of 2.9 pounds more per person.”

  32. Well, my comments on his blog were not published, surprise surprise.

    Looks like this Dr. Davis has also brainwashed “Gluten Free Nation” because this popped up in my email inbox today from Gluten Free Nation:
    (Needless to say I’m not attending). $30 a ticket. Wow!

    “Dr. William Davis, author of the best-selling book “Wheat Belly” will be speaking at a luncheon at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott, this Tuesday, Feb. 19th at 11:30am.

    Tickets are $30.00 and are available from Woodlands Wellness:

    http://www.woodlandswellness.com/wheatbelly

  33. I got the message from Gluten Free Nation today as well. I don’t know if they’ve been brainwashed or perhaps are unaware of his latest blog intended to “piss off the celiac community.” The owner has celiac disease and the company is dedicated to providing food safe for everyone on the gluten spectrum. Perhaps I’ll send them a private message.

    I did write Woodlands Wellness to ask if the lunch being served is just wheat free or actually gluten free and safe for someone with celiac disease.

    Regardless, I wouldn’t pay a dime to attend!

    It took me a while to calm down after reading Dr. Davis’s blog and subsequent comments to the point that I could articulate any response to what he’s written.

    Knowing my comments would probably not be posted on his site or that his retort would be “You missed the point,” allow me to share the most eloquent response I can muster…

    ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME?!?!? What a bunch of hooey!!

    *deep sigh*

  34. And I’m back.

    Why does he say wheat causes auto-immune diseases then negates celiac disease, which is a proven auto-immune disease? I can even follow that logic. It just sends me ’round and ’round in circles.

    Why does he only use the word wheat? Did “Barley Belly” not have a enough commericial appeal? He could be officially known as the Rye Guy… it might sell more books?

    He purports he wants the medical community to acknowledge ‘wheat’ as an enemy, yet hasn’t stayed up to date on Guandalini’s recent statements and research acknowleding non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

    This ain’t the way to bring the gluten gang together; alienating and degrading the one group of people who can provide measurable proof that his theory might have a leg to stand on.

    If he wanted to sell more books, this wasn’t the way to do it. I actually considered attending his presentation on Tuesday, but now I can’t bring myself to put one dime in his pocket.

    Peace out.

  35. Well, I think the actual point he is trying to make is that since INGESTING a specific food item is what causes the disease, it’s not a disease in the true sense of the definition of the word. We can avoid any celiac disease process by avoiding the cause of it. But that’s in a perfect world where whaet is not Govt subsidized and in EVERYTHING!!! As it is, it’s 100% impossible to avoid gluten, even in things that are supposed to be naturally gluten free because of the way our food is handled and because so many lines are shared with gluten foods.

  36. I read Wheat Belly and I can tell you that Dr. Davis cares more about people’s health than any doctor I’ve been to in my entire life. I posted a comment on the Wheat Belly Facebook page asking if Dr. Davis knew of any Cardiologists in my area (my husband had a hard attack 1.5 years ago) that are somewhat like minded, and he actually replied himself to the post. If you read his book, he is actually trying to educate people about the harmful affects of wheat and how wheat and other grains are some of the causes of many autoimmune diseases. When I gave up grains in January I immediately knew something was different, I no longer felt lethargic and achy after eating out, I no longer had to spend half of the time at a restaurant in the bathroom. I realized that if I don’t have Celiac, I at least have extreme sensitivity to grain. When I get glutened, I know usually within 15-30 minutes and the results last 3-5 days if not more. I can agree with the Celiac community that having this type of gluten sensitivity is extremely frustrating when it comes to buying anything processed (which most is trash anyway) and going out to eat. I’m always nervous the first, second, third…time I go anywhere because of my experiences in the last 6 months. I do boycott wheat in every form because I feel like it’s not just about the way it makes me feel, it’s about the lack of the food/healthcare/beauty product industries caring at all about anyone’s health. It’s about the fact that everything that this country subsidizes finds its way into every single part of our lives regardless of its safety or health factors. To me, not eating grains/gluten isn’t just for me, it is necessary for everyone’s health, it’s not just a bandwagon to jump on, it’s the right way to a healthy future. My husband doesn’t have any gluten sensitivity that we are aware of, but he doesn’t eat any grain any longer either and he’s much healthier than he was before. I know a lot of the articles you write are just to make people aware of this disease and how it affects people, and I appreciate that, but if you haven’t read Wheat Belly yet, I do suggest it.

  37. I have gluten intolerance. I know this because I lost 120 pounds in 9 months following the birth of my 3rd child, without trying.

    And then I stopped eating gluten and gained it all back.

    There were other symptoms… dumping, hairloss, brittle nails, and oh, seizures. When I stopped eating wheat, they all stopped, and the weight came back on.

    That being said, I think there is more to celiac than what we know right now. I think a viral component brings changes to our bodies, possibly connected to modern chemicals we are exposed to, like adjuvants, pesticides, and preservatives, that 200 years ago did not exist.

    Wheat used to be worshiped. Wheat did not change, we did, and so did everything else around us and the wheat.

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