Is Being Gluten-Intolerant an American Problem?

One reader asks why gluten-intolerance is so prevalent in America, but not in Europe.

| August/September 2013

  • Why would European breads sit well in a gluten-intolerant American stomach? Is the problem gluten, or the wheat itself?
    Photo By Fotolia/Contrastwerkstatt

I recently had a puzzling experience and wonder whether you might be able to shed some light on it. Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly unable to eat wheat without experiencing significant gastrointestinal distress, and I’ve been eating a gluten-free diet for about two years as a result.

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Hungary and succumbed to the temptation of eating some irresistibly fabulous, crusty European bread. I figured I’d pay the price but that it would be worth it. However, nothing happened. By the end of the trip I was feasting on croissants, thin-crust pizza, layer cake and giant pretzels, and though my clothes are tighter, my digestive system was completely unaffected. In fact, it felt better than it had in a long time.

A quick Google search turned up many similar stories of those in the United States who believed they were gluten-intolerant but had no trouble eating wheat in Europe.

Why are so many Americans gluten-intolerant now? Is something going on with our wheat supply? Is the problem even gluten, or is it the wheat itself? Could it be the varieties grown here, or the way it’s processed? Surely it’s not normal for so many people to develop this problem over such a short period of time.



Any chance you could look into this? I and many others would be most grateful.

Carolyn Welch
Lawrence, Kansas

DLee
7/10/2019 10:41:15 PM

I can't explain it either. I just returned from 4 weeks in Italy. I consider myself gluten-intolerant here in the US. I also was tempted by the lovely breads and tried some. No issues! I was able to eat pastries and crusty bread every day in Italy for a month with NO problems. I felt amazing the while time and my tummy never felt bloated. My two daughters witnessed this with me and were also amazed at my lack of problems from eating breads. Now I'm home and have tried eating wheat again here. Disaster. I feel terrible again. There is definitely something going on here...and it's concerning.


Tom
7/2/2019 6:41:19 PM

Do they use roundup on the wheat crops in Europe? Are they using Russian wheat? The Russians do not use roundup.


Skeptical Eye
6/30/2019 3:00:21 PM

I wonder how many assertions about gluten and food processing could withstand double blind clinical trials. The greatest advance in medicine in the 20th Century was the double blind clinical trial.







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