Monday, September 10, 2012
Wheat belly controversy - reply to Guandalini
The “Wheat belly” controversy. Guandalini says, "The assertions made by Dr. Davis (a cardiologist, not a nutritionist nor a gastroenterologist) are not grounded in fact, let alone any evidence-based research." I have many points of concern to make –
1) Why would he first point out that Dr Davis is not a nutritionist (presumable inferring that Davis has no credibility) – surely, to denigrate the author is an irrelevant argument. Also, without foundation he suggests that Davis is inaccurate ("no knowledgeable physician on the program to present a more accurate, balanced viewpoint.") Guandalini should keep to the facts with his statements.
2) Dr Davis has seen the harm of wheat in his patients - he reports that they do remarkably well when they abandon wheat. His observations have merit. He is an experienced physician with compassion for his patients. He asks why is half of America fat/obese and sick? He provides convincing arguments.
3) Davis has subsequently accomplished the huge effort of extensive literature research and presents a number of plausible mechanisms (that need testing). His book is extensively referenced with up-to-date research.
4) Guandalini attempts to ridicule the book by specifically bringing up the morphine-like effect of gluten. He is apparently “stunned” by the statement about the research on gluteo-morphine by Zioudrouj (1979). He dismisses this work because it was published over 30 yeas ago - surely that does not mean the work is worthless or wrong. Also, why would he call the Journal of Biol Chem an “obscure” publication? Others have confirmed this morphine-like effect: "Demonstration of high opioid-like activity in isolated peptides from wheat gluten hydrolysates" (Huebner, 1984).
5) It is easy to rubbish both a book and its author, but it is an entirely different thing to comment constructively and add to the conversation. I challenge any other comments to completely read the Wheat belly” book before being critical. You might be surprised.
6) Guandalini, concludes “CBS This Morning has added to the confusion and did a disservice to its viewership to allow such questionable information be portrayed as fact.” Facts are changing with new knowledge. Because Guandalini disagrees, does not mean that Davis does not have valid facts. Let’s not stifle debate. Yes, more double-blind randomized trails are required, and this needs hypothesis testing.
7) A red flag! By the way, in Seattle next week, my new book “Gluten: ZERO Global” is to be launched. Like Davis, I have also come to the conclusion that everyone would be better off eliminating wheat/gluten from their diets. So, perhaps I am also in line for a book review from Guandalini.
8) By the way I am a pediatrician, gastroenterologist, and allergy specialist, former Professor of Pediatrics, New Zealand (MD, MB. BS., FRACP). Author of “The Gluten Syndrome”.