Gluten could be making a growing number of Swedes sick


A growing number of Swedes, including adults, may be affected by gluten intolerance. Only a third of individuals with symptoms are diagnosed. And the symptoms may be vague, such as fatigue, GI issues, skin problems and difficulty conceiving.

DN: Gluten Makes a Growing Number of Swedes Sick (Google translated from Swedish)

Why is the number of people apparently affected increasing? Nobody knows for sure. But one reason may be that we’re consuming too much wheat flour, which contains gluten.

In some instances bread may contain even more gluten. For example gluten-rich so called “low-carb bread”, which I strongly discourage consuming. Here’s what a researcher in the area has to say to Swedish paper, DN, about bread with more gluten added:

– This is a terrible thing to do in a country where the problem with gluten is so widespread. I think that we’ll look back at this in a few decades saying “Oh my God, they were insane”, she says.

The uniquely Swedish habit of giving infants grain-based formula may certainly be a major culprit. There are children who drink gluten and nutrient-poor rapidly-digested starch dissolved in water, many times daily. The grain-formula is grossly overrated healthwise. Fortunately my daughter has never needed any.

The most effective way to avoid gluten symptoms is to eat less gluten. Or even better, none at all.

What do you think is behind the ongoing major increase in gluten symptoms?

On grain-based formula and children

Klara Celebrates Her First Birthday!

A Happy Little Meat-Eater 

Kids’ Birthday Party With No Added Sugar

Fake Low-Carb Products

The Problem With Low-Carb Bread

Low-Carb Bread: Another Fairy Tale Bites the Dust

The Dreamfield’s Pasta Fraud


  1. Dave Mayo
    Gut dysbiosis.
  2. FrankG
    I certainly don't discount an unhealthy down-trend in our "natural" gut microbes due to the changing diet -- heck we're not even nourishing our own body cells properly.. all the damn focus on calories has people thoroughly misdirected from everything else our bodies need.

    I'd also consider just the general high levels of many different stressors such as environmental pollutants, poor nutrition, work and financial worries, noise levels, artificial light levels etc... etc... each one by itself perhaps manageable but cumulatively I'm sure they take their toll and leave us vulnerable to the proverbial "straw which broke the camel's back".

    Reply: #3
  3. eddy
    Not all people are impacted by gluten.

    another take on evolution and carbs

    Replies: #5, #6, #7
  4. FrankG
    "A growing number of Swedes, including adults, are affected by gluten intolerance."

    Not sure what language is your first but in English this opening statement in no way even implies that "all people are impacted by gluten."

  5. Paul the rat
    "Not all people are impacted by gluten."

    You can not assume this. It is more likely that most if not all people are affected by gluten but only small number show symptoms, or the reaction to gluten is strong enough to be recognized as such. It is also probable that number of allergic or inflammatory reactions are still not linked to gluten.

  6. murray
    The author makes this claim: "Neurons, which use twice the energy as any other cell type in the body, run almost exclusively on glucose. They don't run on protein and fat."

    Well, neurons do derive energy from glutamine (a protein) and they certainly run on ketones. (I haven't eaten more than 20-50 grams of carbs in a day for over a year and having MCT oil or butter definitely gives a brain boost.) So the entire premise of the blog-post that is referenced is faulty. My leading hypothesis is that early hominids chanced upon ruminant carcasses killed by large cats and used stones (later, selected stones, later still, crafted stones) to obtain marrow and brain, which would have been a very rich source of omega-3 and other brain-enhancing nutrients. Fat, as the nutritionists remind us (the linked blogger is an English major with a masters in nutrition), is calorically dense. It seems the benefit of marrow and brains was so great that hominids evolved into exquisitely well-adapted pursuit hunters, as Tim Noakes describes in Waterlogged. That would have been a lot of unnecessary adaptations if our evolution were being driven by starchy tubers. Rather, it seems hominids went through a period dominated by fat metabolism (ketosis), with the balance starting to shift back to carb-heavy diet with the introduction of cooking. However, Wrangham cannot date the advent of cooking with much confidence beyond 100,000 years ago, although it possibly began much earlier than that. In any event, there is not much evidence of gluten consumption before domesticated grains, just 10,000 years ago, and then only for certain cultures. So whatever adaptations may have evolved to tolerate grain better, they don't seem all that universal. Much like lactose tolerance. And then there is the advent of zonulin in hominids, which primates did not have, and seems to make most humans prone to leaky gut from gluten.

    Reply: #9
  7. eddy
    well evidience has come to light in a cave that dates wheat consumption back 100,000 years ago

    The consumption of wild cereals among prehistoric hunters and gatherers appears to be far more ancient than previously thought, according to a University of Calgary archaeologist who has found the oldest example of extensive reliance on cereal and root staples in the diet of early Homo sapiens more than 100,000 years ago

    It has been hypothesized that starch use represents a critical step in human evolution by improving the quality of the diet in the African savannas and woodlands where the modern human line first evolved. This could be considered one of the earliest examples of this dietary transformation," Mercader said. "The inclusion of cereals in our diet is considered an important step in human evolution because of the technical complexity and the culinary manipulation that are required to turn grains into staples."

    Mercader said the evidence is on par with grass seed use by hunter-gatherers in many parts of the world during the closing stages of the last Ice Age, approximately 12,000 years ago. In this case, the trend dates back to the beginnings of the Ice Age, some 90,000 years earlier.

    Reply: #10
  8. FrankG
    It lost credibility for me also at about that same claim murray... I kept imagining my ice-age European ancestors coming out of the cave after a long cold winter and being unable to function due to a complete absence of any dietary carbohydrates. I just can't see that happening.


    "The consumption of wild cereals among prehistoric hunters and gatherers appears to be far more ancient than previously thought".

    Looking at extant hunter-gatherer groups it seems that the foods which require the most prep-time (in many cases to detoxify) are not their first choice but are turned to in times of need.

  9. murray
    Good point. Although it does not establish they were eating gluten grains. Also, the evidence plainly shows a lot of humans today are gluten sensitive, with leaky gut from gluten triggering zonulin being a common problem.

    Also, perhaps by coincidence, the dating coincides with the shrinking of the size of the hominid brain. There is also the interesting recent research that the annual rate of loss of brain mass varies directly with HgbA1c, with no lower bound!! The lower the average blood sugar (as evidenced by the level of glycation of hemoglobin protein) the less brain mass loss. The higher the HgbA1c, the faster the loss of brain mass with age/AGE. It seems the hominid/human brain requires more than 100,000 years of adaptation to tolerate increased carbohydrate consumption.

    This is not to say there are no short-term benefits to high-carb for the brain--I've had my share of sugar highs during misspent youth--but if the brain grew in size during a ketogenic phase for hominids on the Savannah, the brain would not have co-evolved safeguards against the higher blood sugar of a higher carb diet. Doubtless there are many such adaptations, but humans are plainly work-in-progress.

  10. Wade Henderson
    "Why is the number of people affected increasing?"

    Sounds a lot like the increase in ADD and ADHD in America.

    Its becoming a very popular diagnosis. Nothing else has changed.
    Yes, there are fads in medicine. Gluten sensitivity is very popular now.

    Love the symptoms

    "And the symptoms may be vague, such as fatigue, GI issues, skin problems and difficulty conceiving"

    Opening up the floodgates for such a diagnosis.

  11. Galina L.
    In my son case it took several month for him to see benefits of avoiding gluten , even more time when avoiding gluten made other allergies disappear. If he eats something like pizza , he gets eczema back and it takes at least one month for his skin to clear up. For me it looks rather strange . When he was tested for allergies several years before, no gluten allergy was indicated. It definitely doesn't look like it is in his head, but with such slow reaction time he would have difficult time to convince anyone that he is better off gluten free if he had to.
  12. Steven
    From what I can tell from all the reading I have done...

    1. Extreme forms of hybridizing wheat. The initial crops some 50-60 years ago were bad but as time goes on the traits that made the "new" wheat so hardy also made it far more poisonous. As time goes on the hardiest plants pass their genes on which makes the plants more toxic.

    2. It is amazing how many processed foods contain ingredients you would never expect. "Beef jerky" from mass produced outlets have wheat germ agglutinin added for nothing else than its addictive (heroin like response in the brain) qualities. Chocolates, shakes, hard candies, TV dinners, chips, fries etc... all have some form of WGA added in. Thus resulting in hidden sources of gluten and gluten like substances in most processed foods.

    3. Take out, fast food, limitless bread sticks not only at restaurants but in gas stations, convenience stores, catered office lunches etc... lends to more exposure.

    4. Plus with all the processing comes PUFA's which exacerbate the inflammation. Oleo/margarine is often what is served in lieu of butter with those limitless bread sticks. You have to ask for real butter otherwise you get a bowl of poison.

    5. Still on the PUFA thing (which I feel is all linked to higher rates of disease when all combined) the olive oil most people use is not really olive oil. I have read (conservative numbers) of 65% of all store bought EVOO is cut with canola oil and then deodorized.

    I am sure their is more but I think this covers most things.

    Reply: #14
  13. robert
    Well, it seems the only way out of this mess is to rigorously avoid / boycott anything of questionable origin and quality. I hope butter is still a safe food.
  14. Galina L.
    I think the rise in the amount of people who are affected with a gluten sensitivity is easily explained by the raised awareness. Problems caused by gluten is easy to mistake for something else, and public perception matters not only in a hypochondria cases. It could work in an opposite direction - bread looks in many eyes as a very clean, holy, easiest food to digest, while meat has reputation of something suspiciously heavy.
  15. Karen Scribner
    It is not about gluten, but about the new proteins that modern wheat made for itself when it was created in a laboratory. (This was done in the 1960s and 1970s. Wheat is NOT GMO.) The easiest thing to do is read Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis, a cardiologist. He realized he was doing everything right, eating "healthy whole grains" and exercizing. He realized the hybrid wheat was the cause of his "beer belly" and had his patients eat using his new theory. The cave man did not eat all day long. He ate when there was food to be found. He didn't eat starches at every meal like we have been encourged to do by the food corporations. Everyone is affected by wheat, no allergy needed. Wheat makes you eat more and crave sugars (honey, maple syrup, date sugar, etc.....they all are bad.) Cancer cells are in every body and the sugar feeds them. Cut the wheat and the sugars will not be craved. Dr Davis has a blog also.
  16. Takeda
    Well I don't know if it's a regional thing with Swedes (as I'm at least 1/4 swede) but gluten and my gut do not get along at all! As I've been on Paleo/LCHF I rarely have grain let alone anything with gluten but occasionally I will go "off the reservation" as my wife and I call it ... but carbs don't really hurt me too much short-term (I'm Type 2 Diabetic) but if there's gluten in there I'm back to IBS-sufferer for 1-2 days. Bloating, cramping, constipation and diarrhea. I've had gluten-free pizza as an example and was fine aside from all the carbs. Wheat pizza even thin-crust and I pay for it for days. Same pizza, same restaurant, all the same ingredients so the only difference is wheat and gluten compared to the Gluten-free crust they offer which I believe was some kind of corn meal concoction ... that let's face it ... sadly it didn't cut it for taste or texture compared to wheat crust.

    Sure some people will blame gluten for everything and IMHO make those doubtful of the concerns around Gluten throw up their hands at the seeming absurdity of the claims. But ... and this is a big But ... as cited in this thread GMO's are turning a lot of our food into suspiciously low-nutrient/high profit Franken-Foods with a lot of hidden dangers and costs to the consumer. Compare bulgar wheat from 1900 and now with GMO and you will find them to be EXTREMELY different.

  17. Michael Gelber
    It's not only the gluten. Everyone sprays grains with Glyphosate 3 days before harvest to kill the plant and plump up the grain.

    Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?
    Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, is recognized as the world's most widely used weed killer. What is not so well known is that farmers also use glyphosate on crops such as wheat, oats, edible beans and other crops right before harvest, raising concerns that the herbicide could get into food products.

    Escalating Use of Probable Carcinogen

    Glyphosate has come under increased scrutiny in the past year. Last year the World Health Organization's cancer group, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified it as a probable carcinogen. The state of California has also moved to classify the herbicide as a probable carcinogen. A growing body of research is documenting health concerns of glyphosate as an endocrine disruptor and that it kills beneficial gut bacteria, damages the DNA in human embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells and is linked to birth defects and reproductive problems in laboratory animals.

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