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

Ben
11/16/2018 12:41:11 PM

We have friends who were gluten intolerant and had a similar experience with being able to eat pastas in Italy. They have been able to bring over Italian 00 (double zero or doppio zero) flour from Italy and are now able to eat pasta and breads they make with this flour with no problems. You can find 00 flour on Amazon and other web sites. Interestingly there are pizza places in the US, usually called Neopolitana pizza, that use the authentic Italian 00 flour. Our friends have not yet tried one of the pizza places yet but are interetested in trying it and seeing the results.


Ben
11/16/2018 12:41:10 PM

We have friends who were gluten intolerant and had a similar experience with being able to eat pastas in Italy. They have been able to bring over Italian 00 (double zero or doppio zero) flour from Italy and are now able to eat pasta and breads they make with this flour with no problems. You can find 00 flour on Amazon and other web sites. Interestingly there are pizza places in the US, usually called Neopolitana pizza, that use the authentic Italian 00 flour. Our friends have not yet tried one of the pizza places yet but are interetested in trying it and seeing the results.


joanfarmer
11/15/2018 1:29:31 AM

Read the following to find out why American wheat is different from some European wheat https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/







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