On rare occasions we dine out with our son, and as soon as we mention food allergies, the server brings us the gluten-free menu. Since my son can eat gluten, the gluten-free menu doesn’t help us much. When we try to explain we have a dairy and peanut allergy, not gluten, the server generally gets confused and has to get the manager because in the food industry right now, food allergies are thought to be all gluten allergies.
For those suffering from Celiacs or gluten intolerance, this new world with gluten-free food offered at every restaurant and grocery store must be a Godsend. To the rest of us, not so much, or so I thought. Upon taking a closer look at the gluten-free food fad, I realized that it isn’t just trendy – more and more people are feeling genuine discomfort after ingesting gluten. Why? And could this be linked to food allergies in general?
Studies are coming out the indicate the rise in gluten intolerance may not be due to a sensitivity to the gluten itself but to the pesticide used in wheat production. The pesticide Roundup, a glyphosate herbicide, is used to kill the weeds that surround wheat and (more recently) speed up the wheat drying process. Roundup works by inhibiting weeds from producing amino acids needed in the creation of bacteria thereby preventing the weeds from fighting normal diseases. Glyphosate is starving the weeds of the nutrients it needs to survive.
In humans, technically, the pesticide is supposed to be harmless since we don’t produce bacteria. However, the glyphosate is affecting humans because we need to eat food containing bacteria. It turns out that the Roundup residue is sticking to the wheat and the soil, in addition to the weeds, since the spray is airborne. The food that is grown in the area where the Roundup is sprayed is unable to develop bacteria since it is also starved of amino acids. This leads to humans being unable to consume food that has the necessary bacteria we need to keep our gut bacteria (flora) in balance. Since we cannot produce bacteria, we are being starved like the weeds of the essential nutrients we need to survive.
Flora in our gut breaks down food, fights infection, even prevents our body from attacking itself. It is highly possible that people aren’t sensitive to gluten, they are sensitive to the effects Roundup is having on their systems. There are also links between lack of flora and food allergies – food allergies may be related to flora imbalance. So the question is – does the recent rise in food allergies (up 50% in children between 1997-2011) link to the rise in Roundup use? Roundup has been around for over 30 years, but it is only in the last 15 that it has started to be used pervasively and used in the wheat drying process. And it is also coming out that Roundup is a possible carcinogen.
The gluten-free menu may not be of immediate use to the general public, but understanding why it has come into existence and why it is needed could be beneficial to us all.