Since I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease I “met” lots of nutritionists and health coaches/experts. And with them came all the pseudo science about what and how we should or should not eat. Here is a list with my favourite urban legends, pseudo science “facts” and fads.
- Going gluten free is good for you, even if you don’t have Coeliac disease or NCGI. – gluten is a naturally occuring proteine and was consumed by humans for thousands of years. Eating gluten is perfectly fine for most people. There are a number of health issues that are more and more often blamed on gluten. Avoiding gluten could mean you will cook more and have a healthier diet, therefore you might think it made a massive difference for you, but it’s not the gluten, it’s how and what you eat. Gluten or not. A gluten free diet can be just as unhealthy. People with CD still eat junk food, ready meals and fast food. And cake, lots of cake.
- Dairy is not only not the best source of Calcium but it’s downright harmful for people – again, most people are fine with dairy and it’s something humans consumed for a good while now. Granted it’s not the best source of Calcium but it’s still one of the most obvious ones and it’s easily accessible.
- Doctors don’t know anything about nutrition and a nutritionist is better at diagnosing intolerances – there is a way to diagnose intolerances and other food related health issues but it will take time. Anyone can take an online course, for as little as £30 and it only takes a few hours and there you go, you are a nutritonist. So how exactly does a nutritionist know more than a doctor, who spent at least 6 years at university?! There are certain things that can be treated without heavy medication but dismissing modern medicine can actually be dangerous. Ever heard about this guy called Steve Jobs? Well, he learned it the hard way.
- Allergy tests – there are a few different tests out there, some of them legit, some of them… Well, some believe Santa Claus is real, so who knows?! Skin prick tests are real, but they are not always 100% accurate. Sometimes they only narrow it down to a category, such as dust. But dust could be pollen as well as the dust produced by dust mite. Hair strand tests are my favourite. These tests usually come back with pretty daunting results: the patient is allergic to 10+ different things, gluten, dairy and soy being the top things people need to remove from their diet. Think about it this way: there are many things that have nothing to do with your hair. There is no way gluten or the antibodies Coeliacs have, and can be tested for, will end up in your hair. Hair is practiacally dead tissue. The quality of your hair can indicate a few things, but that is nowhere near accurate enough to draw these kinds of conclusions. Just because arsenic can be picked up on a hair strand test doesn’t mean an allergy is the same. Where these tests are performed should also give you an idea about how reliable they are. So called health shops seem to hire all the experts lately and some of these do hair strand tests. Before you pay for/get any tests done and then take the results seriously you should check who is doing the test, wether the test meets any gold standards and if it is a reliable testing method.
- Seeking medical advice online and making decisions based on other people’s life choices and diagnosis – get diagnosed properly, by a doctor who knows your medical history.
- You know your body and what it needs better than anyone else – do you really? do you have x-ray vision too? or do you know what causes your headaches because you were able to perform an MRI scan in your kitchen while sipping your morning coffee?
- Juice Plus and the rest of the miracle pills and treatments – you swallow a pill, every day, preferably the most expensive one your local rep has and you will be instantly healthy, you’ll lose weight, your hair will grow 30cm in a week and you don’t need to worry about anything else. Your life will be even more fabulous if you join in on the fun and become a rep yourself.
- There are more and more people with CD and gluten intolerance because the wheat is now genetically modified and sprayed with all sorts of chemicals – take your tinfoil hat off. CD was first described in Greece in the 1st century AD. I’m pretty sure “the government” did not mess around with the wheat back then.
- Following the advice of a “coach”, PT or “nutritionist” who has no relevant knowledge, experience and education – so if I throw a few big words around will you pay me to tell you what to eat? Even better, will you pay a ton of money for my branded products, even if they are not healthier/better than what you can buy in a supermarket? I’m obviously not a big corporation who only wants the profit, I don’t care about my bills being paid, I only want to help you (as long as you pay for it, because I’m selfelss and I’m only in this to make things better for you).
I wish autoimmune diseases and intolerances didn’t switch off common sense in people and critical thinking was considered as important as gluten free bread on prescription.