MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- In the pristine kitchen of her home on Milwaukee’s East Side, Sarah Nielsen whips up a batch of biscuits and pot of potato soup. The meal for a visiting news crew is delicious, hearty and like everything made in Sarah’s kitchen for the past five years, it’s gluten-free.
The gluten-free movement (or G-free as those in it say) is growing in popularity as more people discover digestive problems encountered from gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
Nielsen has Celiac disease -- a condition that affects an estimated one percent of the population. She must eschew all products that contain wheat or suffer the consequences which can include gut aches, acid reflux, cramps and a generally “foggy “ mental state.
A Milwaukee cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, argues that everyone (not just those with Celiac) should avoid wheat. In his best-selling book, “Wheat Belly," Davis argues that the wheat of the last 40 years has been genetically modified in a dangerous way. He contends in a move to increase wheat production, the plant has changed in such a way that it’s unhealthy to consume. Davis advises his patients to cut out wheat altogether.
Below is FOX6's Ted Perry's full interview with Dr. William Davis:
The wheat industry takes issue with Davis’ contention that wheat is unhealthy. In a statement to FOX6 News, the Grain Foods Foundation writes, “The genetic components of wheat have not changed in 10,000 years. While some modern wheat plants are shorter than their ancestors – so they require less energy to grow and produce grain – the genetic makeup of wheat remains the same. Likewise, there is no genetically engineered wheat in the food system."
Davis stands by his position and advises people to give themselves a chance to see for themselves. He suggests cutting out all wheat, barley and rye which is not easy to do at first. Any trip to the grocery store will show you how many products contain wheat -- and not just the obvious ones.
While the experts debate the merits/dangers of wheat, Sarah Nielsen just knows she’s never felt better. In the last five years since being diagnosed, she’s learned which restaurants are good for the G-free crowd and what recipes work in her own kitchen. She’s started a website to help others navigate the gluten-free world.
You can learn more about that by clicking here: http://celiacinthecity.wordpress.com/.