How The Gluten Free Society is Ripping You Off

Have you heard about the Gluten Free Society? Odds are if you are following a gluten-free diet as a result of Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, or an auto-immune disorder than you’ve come across this site.

Unfortunately, the best scenario is that you’ve heard of it and moved on with your life. And the absolute worst-case scenario is that you’ve made purchases on this site.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this site is an absolute scam. The only other blogger that I have seen write about this is the Gluten Dude. Why has no else written about this?

I hate when misinformation is spread online and on social media because we are susceptible to this information. And unfortunately, to the untrained eye it is difficult to separate the facts from fiction.

I’m here to break down why Dr. Peter Osborne and the Gluten-Free Society is a scam.

How the Gluten Free Society is Ripping You Off
How the Gluten-Free Society is Ripping You Off

Authority Bias:

Authority Bias is defined as “the tendency of an individual to attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure (unrelated to its content) and be more influenced by that opinion” (1).

Dr. Peter Osborne uses his authority bias to sell his products/services because he has the word “Dr.” in front of his name. You can’t find any information about his credentials on his site Gluten Free Society. The only place that briefly mentions his credentials is his website Dr.PeterOsborne.

His credentials are described as the following: Dr. Peter Osborne is the clinical director of Origins Health Care in Sugar Land, Texas. He is a Doctor of pastoral science, and a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist.

According to Town Center Wellness, Dr. Peter Osborne is a graduate of Texas Chiropractic College indicating that he is a doctor of chiropractic. Why was this not mentioned in his about section at Dr.PeterOsborne? I don’t know.

But my guess is that it’s because he violated the regulations of the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners by advertising services on his website beyond his scope and identifying himself as a functional medicine physician (he isn’t).

What did the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners do? They gave Dr. Peter Osborne a $1,750.00 fine. I think the authority bias that he’s created for himself in combination with fear-mongering susceptible individuals to seek his clinical expertise and join his Gluten Free Society will more than cover his expenses. At the moment he is still licensed by the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners until September 1, 2020.

What is Origins Health Care in Sugar Land, Texas?

It is Dr. Peter Osborne’s clinic. Of course, he’ll be the Clinical Director. He is not going to hire someone else to be the Clinical Director.

What is Doctor of pastoral science?

I have never heard of a Doctor of pastoral science. And the reason why I haven’t heard about it is that they are not real medical doctors.

The Pastoral Medical Association (PMA) headquarter is located in Irving, TX with the mission to provide bible-based health. It is not a degree. It is not a license that is recognized by the medical board of Texas.

PMA has a disclaimer on their website stating: “PMA licensed practitioners offer health improvement and counseling services, based on a ministerial license issued by the Pastoral Medical Association (PMA). PMA licensees do not practice medicine. More specifically, they do not examine, diagnose or treat, or offer to treat or cure or attempt to cure, any mental or physical disease, disorder, or illness, or any physical deformity or injury. Also, PMA licensees do not recommend or prescribe any medications or pharmaceutical drugs.

What does it take to be PMA licensed? Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the specifics but I imagine anyone can be a PMA practitioner. The only way to find out if you qualify to be a PMA practitioner is to contact their representative.

Here’s some additional information about the Pastoral Medical Association:

But he is also a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist?

Dr. Peter Osborne is a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist. The words “Board Certified” provides authority. He obtained his credentials from the American Clinical Board of Nutrition (ACBN), which again provokes authority.

First of all, their website is quite out of date. But maybe let’s not judge a book by its cover. Their most up to date handbook is titled: Candidate Handbook American Clinical Board of Nutrition, Last Updated: January 19, 2017.

According to their handbook, any individual is eligible to be certified if they possess:

  • Doctorate: health care professional that holds a doctoral degree that is accredited and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. [Dr. Peter Osborne would qualify due to holding a chiropractor degree]
  • Training: minimum of 300 hours
  • Writing Submission: nutrition-oriented article or white paper with at least 10 references available for publication in approved journals
  • Experience: minimum of 1 year of experience with nutrition
  • Application & Fees
  • Examination: pass an examination created by ACBN

Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. It is not regulated. There are many organizations out there that provide certifications in nutrition. But the ultimate recognized nutrition and food experts are Registered Dietitians regulated by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the United States.

Aside from Dr. Peter Osborne not having adequate credentials and relying on his authority bias, the Gluten-Free Society is a scam because it provides fearmongering misinformation that leads in the perfect sales funnel system [the system that he uses to make him a profit]. Before we move on though, it is important that we understand the difference between a wheat allergy, celiac disease, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

What is the difference between a Wheat Allergy, Celiac Disease, and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?

  • Wheat Allergy is an immune response (mediated by IgE antibodies) against wheat proteins that lead to various symptoms.
  • Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered by the consumption of gluten [wheat, barley, rye, and triticale] in genetically predisposed individuals leading to the destruction of the small intestine.
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity occurs when the consumption of gluten leads to various symptoms without the presence of the immune response seen in wheat allergy or destruction of the small intestine in Celiac Disease.
Wheat Allergy versus Celiac Disease versus Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Wheat Allergy versus Celiac Disease versus Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Gluten-Free Society Exists to Scare You

They provide information stating that Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity can be tested by only genetic testing because traditional testing methods are inadequate.

First of all, Dr. Peter Osborne, you are not even qualified to diagnose anyone with Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. He can’t order traditional testing methods. It’s not a coincidence that he wants you to purchase genetic testing, which doesn’t require a physician’s order.

Did I mention that the genetic testing he wants you to order costs $385?

The only way to know if you have Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is through traditional testing methods, which includes at the minimum blood testing and small intestinal biopsy.

Why is genetic testing not an accurate diagnostic protocol?

The genes that Dr. Peter Osborne tests include a variation of the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes.

  • 40% of the population carries the variation of HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 required for the development of Celiac Disease.
  • Only 2-3% of those individuals develop Celiac Disease.

Individuals with Celiac Disease have a genetic predisposition to develop the condition but not all of them will develop it (2).

However, there is no genetic predisposition for Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (2). So, what exactly is Dr. Peter Osborne testing and calling “gluten-sensitivity”?

Genetic testing alone cannot diagnose anyone with Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

At the bare minimum, a blood test and small intestinal biopsy are required to test for Celiac Disease.

There is no diagnostic test for Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is diagnosed by process of elimination of other medical conditions and the presence of variable symptoms that occur with ingestion of gluten. These symptoms are resolved on a gluten-free diet.

Why does Dr. Peter Osborne want you to get genetic testing done?

40% of the population carries the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes (but remember only 2-3% of them actually develop Celiac Disease). If you test positive for these genes, Dr. Peter Osborne recommends that you go on a gluten-free diet.

Dr. Peter Osborone’s recommendation is purely fear-mongering and not evidence-based. You can still consume gluten if you test positive for these genes without any consequences. The only time it is recommended that you stop consuming gluten is if you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

Imagine ordering Dr. Peter Osborne’s genetic test. It comes back that you are “positive” for these genes. You are probably scared. You don’t want to develop Celiac Disease and/or its associated conditions. [Again, these genes are not associated with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity].

What do you do? You buy more products that Dr. Peter Osborne sells, which increases his profit.

Is what Dr. Peter Osborne doing a fantastic capitalistic business strategy? Yes.

Is it ethical? No. He doesn’t care about your health.

Dr. Peter Osborne is here to make a quick buck. He claims that this site has 60,000 followers a month. Do you think the $1, 7500.00 fine from the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners impacted his life? No.

Let’s take a look at the products that he sells:

  • Genetic Testing: $385
  • Gluten-Free Supplements with Dr. Peter Osborne’s Label:  
    • Supplements are not regulated by the F.D.A. 
    • Anyone can create their own line of supplements and sell them.
  • Food and Drink Resources
    • These are affiliate links but he “forgets” to mention that.
  • Lifestyle
    • These are affiliate links but he “forgets” to mention that.
  • Cookbooks
  • Membership: $69 initial fee + $12.99 a month

He’s just increasing his profit margins through fear-mongering you to buy a genetic test that he claims without evidence is better than traditional testing protocols. The overall aim is then to get you to buy his other products.

What if I have Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?

Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity are real medical conditions but it is unfortunate that Dr. Peter Osborne is looking to make a quick buck out of you.

If you are concerned about having Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity then you need to stop googling online, searching forums on Reddit and Facebook, and asking influencers on social media.

Physicians (the people with the M.D. or D.O. behind their name) are the only individuals that can diagnose you with Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

I am aware of the limitations of seeking and receiving health care in the U.S. and around the world but at the moment that is beyond the limitations of this post.

Do I have Celiac Disease or NCGS?
Do I have Celiac Disease or NCGS?

Summary:

  • Dr. Peter Osborne is using authority bias to sell his services/products to susceptible individuals.
  • Dr. Peter Osborne is a doctor of chiropractic and pastoral science.
  • Dr. Peter Osborne is not a physician.
  • Gluten-Free Society misinforms you about the accurate, evidence-based protocols necessary to diagnose Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
  • Genetic Testing can determine if you are predisposed to developing Celiac Disease but not if you actually have Celiac Disease.
  • There is no genetic testing available for Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.
  • If you think you have Celiac Disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, consult your physician (the ones with the M.D. or D.O. behind their name).

What can you do?

Share this blog post with your family, friends, and social media followers. No one deserves to be scammed by individuals interested in making a quick buck out of providing you with misinformation. The unfortunate reality is that sites like this exist because they capture our attention with fear. Let’s help educate others.

References:

  1. “Authority Bias.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 June 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authority_bias.
  2. Leonard, Maureen M., et al. “Celiac Disease and Nonceliac Gluten Sensitivity.” Jama, vol. 318, no. 7, 2017, p. 647., doi:10.1001/jama.2017

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