Think before you 'wheat free' ...

Another of the problems caused by free-from brands dissing such allergens as wheat (usually, but sometimes milk) is that fellow free-from brands are tempted to do likewise. Where Genius have led, others have followed.

I don't know much about this small free from company, and judging by the conversation which followed on Twitter today, I've no reason to believe Yummy Tummy Co's hearts are not in the right place and are merely trying to make a name for themselves in a cluttered market. But still ...

I asked what kind of results might you expect from going without wheat for a week?

And it's on that basis, apparently, that these non-dietitians have advised strangers - indiscriminately - to make a major overhaul to their diets. So common have become the 'give up wheat / dairy' messages we see these days, that it's now normal - perhaps even expected - to advise people whose medical histories you know nothing about to alter the nutrition they put into their bodies. Ditching food has become casual everyday 'common sense' advice - like 'take an umbrella'.

The trouble with free from brands entering the market without fully understanding coeliac, food allergy, food intolerance and dietetics is they fail to see how potentially dangerous such advice can be.

The initial tweet was linked to an article on coeliac disease. Giving up wheat before you're investigated for coeliac disease is the opposite of what you should do. What you should do is carry on eating wheat - and go to the doctor. Coeliac tests don't work unless there is gluten in the diet.

The problem with advice to give up wheat for a week is not so much in the recommendation, per se - I'm sure you'll be absolutely fine - but in the absence of follow-up guidance on what to do once the week is over.

What would be needed - at least - is evidence-based advice, depending on how you feel.

Because you may feel better, the same - or worse. All these possibilities I covered in a previous article on this blog, Dear Girl on Twitter, which outlines the problems of giving / taking advice to give up wheat/gluten, and of doing it without medical or dietetic support.

I don't expect free from brands to stop playing the 'wheat is bad' card anytime soon, but I don't think it's a phenomenon the 'free from' community should ignore. As I've said before, I like to see new free from brands come onto the market, and wish them well - but they've got to properly learn the subjects with which they're dealing, and they've got to play fair.

The Yummy Tummy Co make healthy-looking free from lunches for Londoners. Click into their site for more information. 

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