Arguing Cause Courtney Haas

I found this part of my paper to be particularly interesting: learning about why people eat gluten free diets and learning that it is actually healthier.
This part was surprisingly difficult: actually writing the paper and trying to get the minimum amount of words. Every resource that I found had a lot of the same information and it was difficult to write without repeating myself.
Next time I would do this differently: attempt to find any other resources that had more information (I spent hours and couldn't find anymore) and give myself a little more time to get it done.

Writing this paper was kind of a mess. I had to keep switching back and forth between my sources and had to double check that I hadn't repeated myself in my paper. I also ran out of information. It was all pretty much the same stuff no matter how many resources I looked up.

Health Risks of Consuming Gluten

Research has shown that there are many different reasons people follow a gluten free diet. The main reason is due to gluten intolerance or a gluten allergy. There is actually a spectrum now on gluten intolerance and gluten allergy, or Celiac Disease, with many places in between or “no man’s land” (Quoted from Storrs). The next popular reason is to lose weight, (or) in other words, a fad diet. There are also a couple reasons that have not been researched as much and have just become popular within the last couple years: diabetes control and treating autism. (did you find a statistic as to how many Americans follow a gluten free diet? or the market for gluten free foods? Either would be good support here)

Celiac disease is a hereditary, autoimmune disease (Abel) that affects only about one percent of the human population (or 1 out of every 133 people [Purcell]) while about ten percent of the human population suffers from gluten sensitivity, or intolerance (Storrs). Celiac disease is extremely underdiagnosed, about 97% of people who suffer from Celiac disease just in the United States are not diagnosed (Purcell). The number of people diagnosed though is believed to rise in the next few years due to an increase in awareness (Purcell). It mostly affects the gastrointestinal system, but can affect other areas of the body (Abel). The biggest difference between Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, or intolerance, is that the intestines do not show any damage with gluten sensitivity/intolerance (Storrs). The intestines of a gluten-sensitive person has proteins that cause a “harmful immune response” (Quoted from Storrs).(do the intestines of Celiac sufferers show damage? Why? What is/causes Celiac's disease?)

People who are sensitive to gluten will test negative to Celiac disease but will have certain reactions such as: skin reactions, throat, ears, or sinus congestion, digestive upset, or other problems such as fatigue and aching joints (Purcell). People can become sensitive to foods after being over-exposed or from a gradual breakdown of the digestive lining from the exposure of medications, toxins, and vaccinations (Purcell).

There are two different proteins in gluten: gliadins and glutenins. Gliadin is the protein that causes the immune reaction in people who are allergic or sensitive to gluten (Purcell). Gliadin is found in wheat, but there is a similar protein in barley and rye causing the same reaction (Purcell).

Eating gluten has been linked to health risks. Some doctors, including Dr. Daniel Leffler, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, believe that there is “probably some kind of gluten intolerance in all of us” (qtd. in Storrs) and even though some people may not have symptoms, gluten may still be harming a person’s inner lining of the small intestine (Mayo Clinic Staff, Gluten-free diet: What’s allowed, what’s not). Uncontrolled gluten intolerance or allergy can cause anemia (which is when you do not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your tissues [Mayo Clinic Staff, Anemia]), osteoporosis, seizures, lymphoma, and cancer of the small intestine (“No Test to Diagnose Wheat or Gluten Sensitivity”). Some symptoms include: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal discomfort, along with headaches, rashes, “brain fog,” or fatigue (“No Test to Diagnose Wheat or Gluten Sensitivity”) along with: organ pain (specifically the liver and kidney), irritability, mood swings, anxiety, eczema, dry skin, the inability to lose or gain weight, acid reflux, insomnia, restless sleep, and recurrent infections (specifically sinus, respiratory, vaginal, and urinary) (Purcell).

There has been a significant rise in gluten intolerance and allergy. There was a study done and posted in the Annals of Medicine in 2010 which stated that people can lose their gluten tolerance as they get older. The people who lose their tolerance as they age are not born with it unlike those who have Celiac disease, they develop the intolerance. Scientists believe this is caused by consuming gluten along with other food allergens repeatedly. This then causes a weakening of the “digestive functioning” (Purcell) of the body (Purcell). This exposure then causes the “slow breakdown of the digestive lining” (Purcell) which is also known as “leaky gut” (Quoted from Purcell). There is also research showing that certain medications can weaken and damage a person’s digestive functioning (Purcell).

There is a problem with not eating gluten though: nutrient imbalance. People who do not eat gluten sometimes will not realize that they are missing the foods that give them a bunch of nutrients such as: iron, calcium, fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate (Mayo Clinic Staff, Gluten-free diet: What’s allowed, what’s not) along with vitamins B and D (Storrs). This causes a problem when it comes to the fad diet that people follow. People do not usually look into a diet thoroughly before following it, which means many of the people who follow this diet do not know they are missing key nutrients. People who have been diagnosed by a doctor as having Celiac disease or something where the doctor tells them to follow a gluten free diet though will be informed as to how they should follow the diet and will not miss key nutrients.

Like stated above, there is not a lot of research on following a gluten free diet to control diabetes and treating autism. A study was posted though stating that following a gluten free diet does not treat autism or hinder the characteristics of autism (Harrisons Elder). A study posted about diabetes, though, did see a lower rate of diabetes among the mice that followed a gluten free diet (Funda et al).
Research has shown that following a gluten free diet is better for a person’s health, especially if the person suffers from Celiac disease. It has been proven to reduce the likelihood of getting Type 1 Diabetes. Unfortunately, following a gluten free diet does not help treat certain aspects of Autism, though not a lot of research has been done, so a gluten free diet may be proven to help later on after more research has been done. It also prevents people from getting a gluten intolerance or sensitivity from over consumption. Following a gluten free diet has become easier and easier over the past few years due to people becoming more aware of the problem. Manufacturers have seen that more people are interested in following a gluten free diet, so they produce more foods that do not contain gluten. One problem with gluten free food is that it is more expensive than the regular, gluten containing food. Another problem with gluten free food is the lack of nutrients in the food. People may not realize that they are missing out on getting certain necessary nutrients and can have bodily problems that affect a person’s energy or even their organs if they do not get a certain amount of those nutrients. Another problem with following a gluten free diet as a fad diet is that not all gluten free foods ishealthy. Extra sugar and fat is added to gluten free food to help with the texture and “fluffiness” (Storrs). It is still very difficult to follow a gluten free diet because wheat, rye, and barley are in almost everything and do not necessarily pop out on the ingredients list so people can easily eat food that contains gluten without even knowing it and end up causing havoc on their bodies. There are foods where gluten is hidden completely like soy sauce and salad dressing (Storrs). A gluten free diet is worth following though in order to avoid all the other health dangers that can occur from consuming gluten.

Works Cited

Abel, Emily K. "The Rise and Fall of Celiac Disease in the United States." Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 65.1 (2010): 81-105. Project MUSE. Web. February 12th, 2014.

Funda, D. P., Kaas, A., Bock, T., Tlaskalová-Hogenová, H. and Buschard, K. (1999), Gluten-free diet prevents diabetes in NOD mice. Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews, 15: 323–327. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-7560(199909/10)15:5<323::AID-DMRR53>3.0.CO;2-P;2-P/full

Harrisons Elder, Jennifer. "The Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet in Autism: An Overview With Clinical Implications." Nutrition in Clinical Practice 23.6 (2008-2009): 583-588. Web. February 13th, 2014.

The Mayo Clinic Staff. "Anemia." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 08 Mar. 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.

The Mayo Clinic Staff. "Gluten-free diet: What's allowed, what's not." Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, December 20th, 2011. Web. February 10th, 2014.

"No Test to Diagnose Wheat or Gluten Sensitivity." Mayo Clinic News Network. Mayo Clinic, 12 Aug. 2013. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.

Purcell NMD, Dr, Andrea. "Gluten-free- The Inside Story." Nutricala Magazine, December 18th, 2012. Web. February 13th, 2014.

Storrs, Carina. "Will a Gluten-Free Diet Improve Your Health." Health Media Ventures, Inc., April 5th, 2011. Web. February 7th, 2014.,,20479423_last,00.html

Arguing Cause Peer Review Courtney Haas

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License