In a segment called 'The worst things of the twenty-first century' Polly states:
"Gluten free diets. I think there's only like four people who are allergic to wheat and the rest of us are just being stupid."
Thank goodness Doctor Polly has cleared that up for us all. Gluten intolerance is obviously an illness of the clinically ridiculous and only people who are "allergic to wheat" need to be on a gluten-free diet.
<this paragraph is written in italics to highlight the sarcasm>
Polly's actually a really awesome lady. She has a lot to say, and most of what she says is empowering, engaging and informative. But today she got it wrong.
Here is the truth of the matter:
- Gluten intolerance is a real medical condition, as is Coeliac Disease
- Coeliac disease is an auto-immune disease, not an allergy, and can only be managed by effectively excluding all gluten: which includes products containing barley, rye, wheat and often oats too (because of the protein avenin and it's cross-reactive powers)
- There are thousands of New Zealanders who have Coeliac Disease, and thousands more who are gluten intolerant.
- The impact of gluten on health is not a new thing. The first reports of Coeliac Disease go back as far as the second century AD.
- Increased awareness of a medical condition does not make the treatment a 'fad'
Moving to a gluten-free diet to improve your health (whether you are gluten intolerant or a Coeliac) is hard. I personally don't know anybody who has done it without good reason.
It's not always easy to be gluten-free, and the support of people who can eat normally is really important. Polly, please don't make us gluteys feel like we're stupid for looking after our health.
Enjoy your gluten (we wish we could eat it too without getting sick) - mmm hamburgers.
You can listen to the full segment from The Hits here (at 30:30).