Sun, Nov 17, 2013 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

The problem is wheat allergies, and specifically gluten sensitivity. The entire food supply of Taiwan seems to contain wheat, even when there is no reason for it. On my last visit, I was unable to find any food in restaurants which I could eat. I had to bring my own food from home.

Your doctors know about this problem, but it will not be obvious to regular people. They will only see friends and relatives who are sick all the time, and die young from cancer. People will say: “He was always sickly.”

Besides causing cancer, gluten causes a whole range of problems. Essentially, the gluten leaks into the blood and the antibodies think it is a bacteria. So they attack the body’s own cells. As these antibodies build up, they can spread to attack parts of the brain.

It does not have to be that way. In the US, and only in the last few years, it has become easy to get food that does not contain wheat. And most restaurants at least understand this issue and can tell customers what they can eat from the menu.

I expect that in another 10 years Taiwan will become aware of this problem, but in the meantime your people are needlessly suffering.

Here is how people can tell if they have a wheat allergy: If they have five or more of the symptoms in this list, they may have celiac disease and must find out as soon as possible: abdominal bloating and pain; chronic diarrhea; vomiting; pale, foul-smelling or fatty stool; unexplained weight loss; unexplained iron-deficiency anemia; bone or joint pain; fatigue; depression or anxiety; tingling numbness in the hands and feet; seizures; missed menstrual periods; canker sores inside the mouth; an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis.

Daniel Lawton

Buena Park, California

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