I was quite surprised to see that CBS news would provide unquestioned credibility to Dr. Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, on CBS This Morning on September 3rd, with no knowledgeable physician on the program to present a more accurate, balanced viewpoint on such an important issue as the role of wheat in nutrition and disease.
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. Gliadin a new protein? Gliadin proteins are major components of gluten and their existence has been known since Dicke and Van de Kamer studied wheat in the 1940s. It is not a new protein created by genetic modifications; and it is indeed a poison, but only for those with celiac disease. Gliadin an opioid that binds to the brain? Sure this is a stunning statement. What is the evidence? Aside from an obscure article that appeared almost 30 years ago reporting an opioid-like activity for some gliadin fractions, nothing else is available in the literature and certainly no data are there to show any binding to the brain.
There is enough confusion around celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and the issue of who benefits from a gluten-free diet (only those with wheat allergy, celiac disease or non- celiac gluten sensitivity, I might add). Regrettably, CBS This Morning has added to the confusion and did a disservice to its viewership to allow such questionable information be portrayed as fact.
I have no ties at all to the wheat industry, nor do I have any interest in “protecting” it. My interest, as a physician and specialist in celiac disease lies only in protecting my patients and the public from those who would perpetuate unsubstantiated health claims as fact.
Stefano Guandalini, MD
Professor and Chief, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology
University of Chicago
Founder and Medical Director, Celiac Disease Center