Home PageGluten-Free PageRon Hoggan Articles

Newsgroup: alt.support.food-allergies
Subject: Re: food allergy and binge eating
From: Ron Hoggan
Date: Wed, 05 Feb 1997 13:27:48 GMT

When food is ingested, we assume that we are absorbing the nutrients from that food, but when food intolerances are at work, that is not the case. Although there are a number of food intolerances that can cause similar intestinal damage, I will focus my discussion on gluten intolerance. It is what I know best. In this intolerance, when we eat gluten, the peptides which derive from gluten, attach to the intestinal wall. Our immune system recognizes these proteins and peptides as invaders, and mounts an autoimmune reaction against them. In the process, the tissues in which these molecules are imbedded, are also damaged. This results in deformed and stunted intestinal villi. These villi the site where nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.

At an earlier stage in this autoimmune process, microvilli which are located at the tip of the villi, have sustained most of the damage. Not all are destroyed, but most are. This leaves patches of microvilli which may still be absorbing fats. You see, the microvilli work a little differently than the villi. They absorb dietary fats into the lymphatic system, which then transports the fats to the liver for processing. Because not all microvilli are destroyed, some fat is still absorbed. Unfortunately, there is a further limiting process going on in the gut.

Gluten, in susceptible people, damages the duodenum in such a way that it stops producing CCK. This is the hormone produced in the healthy duodenum, in response to the presence of fats leaving the stomach. The CCK signals the gall bladder to contract, and send bile down the common bile duct, to be mixed with fats, thus making them easier to absorb into the microvilli. That is not happening in the damaged duodenum. Little or no CCK is produced, so little or no bile is made available for emulsification with fats.

This might aid in staying slim, except that the fats not being absorbed are, in part, essential fatty acids. The body needs them to survive. The body continues to crave them, but they are not well absorbed. That means that there is still a strange urge to eat, due to the body's unfulfilled need for essential fatty acids. Even with a full stomach, and on a calorie rich diet, the desire, the need to eat continues.

Dieting may work, on a short-term basis, but it is unlikely to result in ongoing trimness. The reason is simple. Dieting asks the dieter to behave in a manner contrary to the body's own survival instinct. It needs essential fatty acids, but its capacity to absorb them is terribly limited.

I do not have a problem with being overweight. I have the opposite problem. 2+ years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. The doctor laughed when I requested that my mom be tested. She was quite overweight, and that is not what doctors expect to see in someone with celiac disease. People who are overweight are only rarely tested for food intolerances.

After some months of squabbling, she was given some blood tests, and was diagnosed. She promptly lost more than 40 pounds on a gluten-free diet. Gluten, of course, is not the only food to which a person can have such an intolerance. Gluten intolerance is the one I know about.

For more information, look at: http://donwiss.com/gluten-free/Hoggan/

I hope that is helpful.

Best Wishes,
Ron Hoggan