March 11, 2015

THE VAPORS WITH A SPECIAL DIET THROWN IN:

How gluten intolerance became the fainting spell of the 21st century (Elissa Strauss, March 10, 2015, The Week)

For one, the popularity of gluten-free has exploded for many wrong reasons. It is part of a growing obsession with the purity of food, one that rivals the intensity of my kosher ancestors and has some calling for the classification of a new eating disorder. And yes, eating restrictions, so full of our many vanities and delusions, are ripe for parody.

But I suspect another reason gluten-free gets a bad rap is because of how easily it is associated with women.

For one, dieting is something women do, and men who do it are seen as feminine. Refusing gluten is an entirely un-macho act. There's also the not insignificant fact that women are diagnosed with celiac two to three times more often than men, making women around 70 percent of all celiacs.

This figure isn't exceptional for autoimmune diseases, which affect around 8 percent of the population, 78 percent of whom are women. Studies show that doctors often don't take young women seriously when they present symptoms of an autoimmune disease; 40 percent of women eventually diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease have reported being told by a doctor that they're a hypochondriac. This is partially because the symptoms can be elusive -- bowel issues, fatigue, joint stiffness -- and because doctors still don't fully understand many of these ailments enough to diagnose them. Not only that, they still aren't certain as to why women experience them more, which, if solved, would likely lead to a better detection process and cures.

Elusive, like unicorns.
Posted by at March 11, 2015 7:12 PM
  

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