Rosanna Davison has released a statement following a string of criticism for her controversial gluten comments in a weekend newspaper column. The former Miss World has caused controversy in the past over her comments about nutrition, and yesterday she landed herself in troubled waters yet again thanks to her latest healthy eating remarks.
In an interview to promote her new healthy eating book, ‘Eat Yourself Beautiful’ Davison spoke about how she had suffered from skin irritation and came to the conclusion that it was a result of gluten in her diet. She went on to say that gluten is “responsible for a huge range of medical conditions from autism spectrum disorders to schizophrenia to arthritis”.
The model claimed her husband ditched gluten in a bid to cure his rheumatoid arthritis.
“For someone else, a gluten intolerance could manifest itself in their joints or muscles, but for me everything shows in my skin first,” she said.
Online readers were quick to respond to the claims, now being deemed #glutengate, including Arthritis Ireland who tweeted: “There is no evidence to suggest that the serious auto-immune disease of #RA can be managed through a gluten free diet.”
— Arthritis Ireland (@Arthritisie) August 24, 2015
RTE journalist Philip Boucher-Hayes wrote: “This is dangerous nonsense from Rosanna Davison with real world implications for people’s health and wallets.” Even Channel 4 Embarrassing Bodies’ Dr. Christian Jessen weighed in on the claims, branding the piece “idiotically irresponsible”.
Monumentally misinformed and idiotically irresponsible. I just hope people are a little wiser than she: https://t.co/gNnGtXFCYA
— Dr Christian Jessen (@DoctorChristian) August 25, 2015
In the statement posted to her website, the 31-year-old said: “Comments I made on gluten and its connection to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in the Irish Independent Weekend Magazine have caused quite a reaction this week, and I would like to explain exactly what I said and what I meant,” she wrote . Firstly, I completely agree with Arthritis Ireland, in that those who have been diagnosed with RA must manage their disease with the advice of their GP and consultant, and not through diet alone. “My qualification in Nutritional Therapy from the College of Naturopathic Medicine enables me to advise on a client’s diet and nutritional needs, but always in conjunction with their GP if they’re on medication, have a disease or need to get tests done.
“During the course of the interview, I was asked whether my friends and family had benefited from my influence on their eating habits. I replied by saying that my husband had experienced huge benefits from embarking on a gluten-free diet.
“Earlier this year, he began to show the clinical symptoms of RA, with intense fatigue and painful swollen knuckles in both hands and knees, which he would have upon waking and would only ease up a few hours later. I was naturally very concerned, and having treated a number of clients with RA already, I recognised the symptoms of this autoimmune disease,” she explained. “Possible non coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) was my focus here, along with potential gut permeability, dysbiosis and inflammation.
“Wesley decided that he’d rather look at dietary options first, so I designed a diet specific to him and his nutrition needs, that was free from known pro-inflammatory foods, including gluten products, as his diet had been high in them in the weeks and months leading up to the onset of his pain.”
She continued: “To our amazement, his pain cleared up completely in under three weeks, which made a huge difference to his life. However, when he decided to see if he could eat gluten-containing foods again, the pain returned within 24 hours and it continues to follow that pattern if he does eat gluten. “I was asked what I thought about gluten-free diets and the controversy surrounding them, to which I explained that non coeliac gluten sensitivity is very much an emerging concern, with research showing it being possibly implicated in a number of autoimmune and neurological diseases. “I was by no means stating that gluten causes arthritis or any other diseases, or that they can be cured by removing it from the diet. But I felt that it was acceptable to share the experience that my husband had with making dietary changes to control his pain.
“Arthritis in all of its forms is a serious and debilitating disease, and sharing my personal story was the intention, not to create any sense of false hope for sufferers or state that a change in diet is all that is needed to cure a disease.”