Your questions about gluten, answered
So, are you still confused about weather gluten is bad for you or not? There has been numerous studies done on the effect of gluten in humans, and the results are pretty scary.
More than 3 million Americans are affected by celiac disease, and 99% of people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and gut inflammation from gluten (asymptomatic and symptomatic) don't even know they have an issue. Gluten can cause diseases in many people that are very different from the classic digestive symptoms, which is why it is often overlooked. But is going "gluten free" really a good idea?
“87% of the time, patients with gluten sensitivity don't have GI symptoms” -Kelly Brogan, MD
According to one of the world's leading functional medicine doctors, Dr. Mark Hyman, a review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. These include osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage). It has also been linked to autism.
What is gluten, exactly?
Gluten is the protein found in all wheat products such as spelt, rye, barley, and oats (yes, oats are not truly gluten free). Gluten is the latin word for "glue", meaning that it is what holds a substance, such as bread or pasta, together. Gluten is found in most baked products such as bread, cookies, cakes, tortillas, etc. However, gluten can also be hidden in certain foods like bouillon cubes, soy sauce, ketchup, and even salad dressing! But is this "glue" good for the digestive system? Science says, no.
Should I go "gluten free"?
The answer to this question is actually "yes" and "no". Here's the issue with "gluten-free" foods. These foods were created as a marketing strategy for people with celiac disease. A lot of gluten-free items are still junk food, too. The only thing that changes, usually, is the type of flour used and the amount of sugar and fats added to compensate for taste. Again, gluten free pastas, baked goods, and other "gluten-free" foods that are made to replace regularly gluten-containing products are just as unhealthy, if not MORE unhealthy than their gluten-containing counterparts. These types of foods still contain refined flours, loads of sugar, and even trans fats! Not to mention, they are more expensive, simply because they are "gluten-free". Think about it like this, a cupcake is still a cupcake, and a cookie is still a cookie, no matter if it is gluten-free, or not.
However, the part of this question that answers yes, is due to eating naturally "gluten-free" foods, such as carrots, avocados, sweet potatoes, arugula, and tomatoes, for example. Many whole foods are naturally gluten free, and do not promote disease the way that processed gluten-filled and gluten-free products do. The key here is to stick with foods that have been either minimally processed or not processed at all.
How will removing gluten help me?
Removing gluten from your diet can help you in many ways. By removing this harmful protein from your diet, even if you do not suffer from an allergy, celiac or sensitivity, you will experience a decrease in overall inflammation, better blood sugar control, and decreased risk of most all disease. If you do suffer from celiac or other diseases, such as autoimmune disease, you may experience an alleviation of symptoms and with proper coaching, go into complete remission or healing. Eating a naturally "gluten-free" diet full of organic fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meats, wild fish, and some occasional grains such as black rice (if you can tolerate it). Your plate at each meal should be at least 75% vegetables with healthy sources of fats and good quality protein. Eating a naturally gluten free diet is much easier than you might imagine.
What about gluten-free grains?
Unfortunately, grains are the main staple in the American diet, as well as many other countries around the world. Many people eat them in the refined form, which takes away from their natural health properties. Eating gluten-free grains in small amounts, if you can tolerate them, can be a part of an overall healthy diet. But, keep this in mind: we do not need grains to be healthy. Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly; the human body can live without grains and actually thrive in the absence of them! You can get all of your micro and macronutrients through other whole foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, and other foods that do not come with the negative effects of grains.
If there are anymore questions that you would like answered about gluten and your diet, contact me today to learn how to successfully live a heathy, naturally gluten-free lifestyle, and live your life to the fullest!