Friday, December 20, 2013

Gluten and carbs

Attention to food, what should or should not be eaten, the consequences of various diets and similar matters is a significant issue for many people. Our written records, as well as religious and oral traditions, are indicative of how significant similar themes, with different rationales, seem to have been for people throughout much of recorded history.

Recently, there has been much talk in the US and other parts of the developed world of the consequences of eating foods with gluten or which are primarily carbohydrates. While I do not have the expertise to evaluate the scientific and other evidence regarding this, I am surprised at the disagreements and blindness  [and the seeming self-interest]   of some having these discussions.

There are people for whom eating gluten is definitely a major danger - causing disease, even life threatening conditions. This is a small percentage of the total population, but for those sensitive to gluten in this way these dietary choices are major issues, even matters of life-and-death.

And there are many for whom eating a diet too heavy in carbs has health consequences that may not be life-threatening or disabling but nevertheless are significant.

At the same time, there are large numbers of people, both in the USA and throughout the world, for whom the lack of adequate food in any form, for whom hunger and starvation, are a daily threat. For them, the important issues are  about getting enough calories and their basic dietary needs - these are vital;  the issues around gluten or carbs are minor or non-existent. Appreciating this, we can appreciate the good fortune we have, and our responsibility, if we have a life with enough food, time and income, among other things, to further explore our options in food choices and their consequences.

Especially for those of us for whom gluten is not a matter of life-and-death, not a matter of major illness, how do we evaluate and understand the significance and consequences of dietary gluten and carbohydrates in our life?

Below is a link to a critique which explores the gluten and carb issues, primarily focusing on the anti-gluten and anti-carb presentations by Dr. David Perlmutter [which are receiving media attentions recently with best-selling books and videos]; in the article there are links to the scientific-evidence based literature:


No matter what your conclusions after/if you read this article, I hope you enjoy your year-end gatherings and festivities, and are appreciative of all those with whom you share this life.