Guest post: On celiac disease, fat deposition, and nonsense on PBS

Originally a comment by quixote on What next, How to Homeopathy?

@m-la, your two links relate to borderline celiac conditions. (I’m a biology prof with quite a bit of knowledge of both nutrition and human physiology, so forgive me for going all “Imma gonna lecture” on you.)

The links have no relation to the claim that GMO foods will somehow alter fat deposition. GMO foods, as far as I’m concerned, have plenty of other problems. (Bad agricultural practices, lower nutritional quality, potential introduction of allergens, lack of long term, independent research demonstrating safety, the list goes on for a while. I did a post on it a while back.)

None of the objections, though, have any relation to fat deposition. Or, for that matter, to causing celiac disease. Aggravating it is a different topic entirely.

For research on what can be a contributing cause to celiac disease, recent research implicates emulsifiers added to hundreds of commercial food products. That makes rather obvious biological sense. Emulsifiers emulsify fats. Cell membranes are fats. Emulsifiers can cause enough damage to the cells lining the intestines of some people to cause a problem.

Fat deposition can be altered by endocrine disruptors. These are any pollutants or additives that interfere with hormones, things like BPA, plenty of pesticides and herbicides, and so on. A recent general article is here with links to the research publications in that article. Endocrine disruptors are not the same as GMO food.

tl:dr It is nonsense to say that eating wheat is going to give you belly fat, except insofar as extra calories of any kind can have that effect. It’s also nonsense to say that GMO wheat will somehow have more of that effect than any other kind of wheat. And it’s nonsense to say that wheat or GMO wheat causes celiac disease. It may be poorly tolerated if you already have celiac disease. PBS should not be promoting nonsense. Very disappointing.


  1. says

    Ophelia, pardon the quibble, but your attempted link to the original thread actually goes to some sort of edit function, and all I get is a message saying I’m not allowed to edit something.

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