I Don’t Know Everything (Part Two of Two)
“You’re generally good about paying attention to peer-reviewed literature and scientific evidence, which is why I was surprised at your suggestion that people should limit their wheat intake and that ‘eating too much gluten might actually trigger celiac disease.’ What is this based on?”
There have been mentions of large amounts of gluten triggering celiac in articles I’ve read over the years. As far as I know, it was all theoretical or anecdotal. The website I linked to in my post, from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, also implied this possibility:
“The length of time a person was breastfed, the age a person started eating gluten-containing foods, and the amount of gluten-containing foods one eats are three factors thought to play a role in when and how celiac disease appears.”
It make sense that the more someone is exposed to something that can trigger an autoimmune reaction, the more likely that reaction is to be triggered. But to reiterate what I said in my original post, this can only happen if someone is genetically predisposed to celiac disease.
It is true that I try to limit my recommendations to peer-reviewed literature, but in many cases it isn’t possible; there are too many things that have not been studied rigorously. In these cases, I have to go with what I believe to be true in giving recommendations, though I should point out when I’m not aware of research verifying what I recommend.
I did not mean to imply that this is a well-established fact, and that is why I said it “might” trigger rather than it “can” trigger. However, when I re-read that sentence, I can see that it might be taken to mean that it definitely triggers celiac in some cases but might not in other cases. So, to be clear — eating large amounts of gluten might never trigger celiac disease, but I tend to think there is a greater possibility that it can.
Finally, I would feel negligent not to let vegetarians know of this possibility given that they could easily eat very large amounts of gluten if they think there is no reason not to do so.