Unfit for the Paleo Rodeo

Diana Hsieh of the Modern Paleo blog does yeoman’s work running the Paleo Rodeo each week, which is a fun collection of Paleo posts. (Here’s this week’s rodeo.)

It turns out that a contribution got rejected from this week’s Rodeo as spam. It was titled “Linguine with Seafood Sun-dried Tomatoes and Lemon”:

I must admit that for a time I couldn’t see anything wrong with this meal, other than that it is rather light in the meat, vegetables, and sauce. But de gustibus non est disputandum. After a half minute of puzzlement I remembered that pasta is forbidden by conventional Paleo.

Of course, the Perfect Health Diet forbids wheat noodles but happily supports rice noodles. In our house we often have rice-noodle dishes, as I mentioned recently to Kratos.

I guess it’s just as well I didn’t submit Cambridge Fried Rice to the Rodeo!

  1. haha! Yes, gluten grains seem to have near ‘evil’ status in the Paleo world.

    And you’re so right about the perils of submitting even a non-gluten grain dish to anything marked “Paleo”.

    I must avoid gluten grains, but it seems to be in question about whether they are as toxic to everyone as some people say.

    What do you think of Chris Masterjohn’s recent post on this subject?

    Wheat: In Search of Scientific Objectivity and New Year’s Resolutions

    http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2011/01/wheat-in-search-of-scientific.html

  2. Hi Lillea,

    [Edit: I’ve commented in Chris’s thread, and am updating this comment to reflect conclusions from that discussion.]

    It does look like the Bernardo et al series of papers are not convincing. The letter to Gut in 2007 did have lousy western blot images and little on the methods. They did a 2008 paper in Clinical and Experimental Immunology with detailed methods and more extensive data, including PCR measurement of mRNA expression. That second paper is free full access here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2561095/?tool=pubmed. However, as Chris points out in the comment thread, that paper doesn’t independently report results of a gliadin challenge of biopsy samples.

    We cite both Bernardo et al papers in our book. Maybe we should give up those cites and look elsewhere for evidence on the inflammatory nature of wheat. We’ve done blog posts on that topic, see http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=873.

    Many people do eat wheat for years without obvious ill effects. But I think there’s plentiful evidence of wheat toxicity. Our book enumerates a lot, and our blog series on wheat (http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?cat=57) adds more.

    For those who seem healthy while eating wheat, it may be like playing Russian roulette: most of the chambers may be blank, but why take the chance?

    Also, there may be subtle effects that only show up with large statistics and over the course of a lifetime. In the China Study — see our posts drawing on analysis by Denise Minger, http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?cat=43 — you’ll see wheat consumption strongly correlates with poor health whereas rice consumption strongly correlates with good health. These are the strongest correlations in the China Study. Since these are alternative starches, I think this supports the inference that over decades wheat is health-damaging for a large fraction of the population whereas rice is not. Since there are many Chinese provinces in which nearly everyone eats rice exclusively or wheat exclusively, a lot of the confounding effects of aggregation over populations in epidemiological studies are absent in this particular set of correlations.

    Best, Paul

  3. Thanks Paul!

    Oh yes, I’ll bet that things would be a LOT better health-wise if people ate rice for their starch instead of gluten grains.

    I would actually be quite relieved if wheat was conclusively shown to be really bad for many people because overall I see more harm than good from it. But of course I want the truth, so I appreciate people like yourself who look at studies to see if they seem valid or not.

    I’m definitely an example of someone who didn’t realise that gluten was causing problems health-wise. When I was trying to figure out how to correct various seemingly unrelated issues, none of them fatal, I was dismissive of anyone who talked about gluten being a possible culprit. “Yeah right,” I’d think, “gluten, schmuten”.

    I had chronic joint pain and fatigue starting in my early 20s, despite eating a “healthy” diet that included lots of fresh vegetables, and exercising adequately. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by my MD (it was the early 90s, but he was unusual in believing that chronic fatigue and related problems existed. Most MDs didn’t). He knew of no cure, but told me to continue to exercise regularly, at least walking, and take a mild sleep medication to help me get more restful sleep. So I did that, only taking a wee dose of the drug twice a week at most, and I felt better doing that than if I didn’t.

    BUT when I dropped gluten years later, within 2 weeks the pain was gone. Totally gone. I was very surprised. And at that time I was doing things “correctly” – soaking whole organic wheat berries and then drying them and grinding them to make my own flour so I could make homemade bread without additives and that kind of thing.

    Twice in the years following I had gluten, once by mistake, once on purpose, only a small amount, and in the latter case, it was high quality white bread with no additives from a famous bakery. Within 24 hrs both times I was in pain again! I hadn’t felt that pain for so long, it was really striking. I also felt anxious as I had for so many years before dropping gluten. It was eery to return to a previous state like that.

    Also, some of the other problems I have had, including poor tooth enamel, have been linked to nutrient deficiencies from gluten damage, so although I can’t conclusively say that gluten did all of that to me, it is compelling and NO WAY do I want to eat gluten again! Even thinking about it makes me cringe because I remember the pain I was in, and how bad I felt compared to how I feel now.

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