A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and "latent" celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer. (i)
This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).
The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.
This is ground-breaking research that proves you don't have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications--even death--from eating gluten.
This is very important if true-- even though the sample size is large, I suppose there can be a subtle flaw in the reasoning.
Another study comparing the blood of 10,000 people from 50 years ago to 10,000 people today found that the incidences of full-blown celiac disease increased by 400 percent (elevated TTG antibodies) during that time period.
I'm torn between WTF!, how cool is it that we can compare our blood with blood from 50 years ago, and wondering whether the wheat is different.
Well, the wheat is different.
They include our lack of genetic adaptation to grasses, and particularly gluten, in our diet. Wheat was introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages, and 30 percent of people of European descent carry the gene for celiac disease (HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8), (xii) which increases susceptibility to health problems from eating gluten.
American strains of wheat have a much higher gluten content (which is needed to make light, fluffy Wonder Bread and giant bagels) than those traditionally found in Europe. This super-gluten was recently introduced into our agricultural food supply and now has "infected" nearly all wheat strains in America.
I'm not so sure about lack of genetic adaptation to grasses-- would that include rice? I also had no idea that wheat was introduced to Europe so recently.
Whatever happened to the high wheat Mediterranean diet?
Are gluten problems more common in the US than elsewhere?
Anyway, the article has details about finding out whether gluten is bad for you.
I don't see a clear theory about why gluten problems have gone up so much, but this might have some connection to a bit from Diabetes Rising, which claims that diabetes (both types) has gone from a very rare disease a century ago to a fairly common one, and no one knows why.
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