Let’s Talk Gluten.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, kamut, barley, spelt, and some oats. It is formed when the two proteins called Gliadin and Glutenin are combined with water. Gluten is touch and rubbery, and responsible for allowing bread o stretch and rise. Chances are you eat a lot of gluten, as the standard western diet consists of pizza, pasta, bread (to find out what is wrong with supermarket bread click HERE) , and processed foods- all very high in gluten.
Just Another Fad?
I know it seems like everyone is talking about going “gluten-free” and critics accuse it of being the new “fat-free” fad. And they are not entirely wrong. Food companies have indeed taken this opportunity to shell out tons of processed, sugary, crap food that are marketed as “gluten-free”.
Don’t buy into it, folks. If you want to live a gluten-free lifestyle, stick to real, whole foods. If you do this you can’t lose.
I have personally found so much success with being gluten-free. It wasn’t until I made this switch that I ditched the extra five-ten stubborn pounds, my brain fog hit the road, and my recurring rash completely disappeared.
So although being gluten-free can seem like the newest fad, this is much more serious than just a quick diet to lose weight. But if weight gain is your goal, eating gluten will sure get you there quickly.
Why Gluten Can Be Harmful:
Gluten intolerance and sensitivity affects millions of Americans, most of whom are unaware. These people complain of bloating, migraines, an inability to lose weight, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, rashes, and more. Many times this is simply an allergic reaction to gluten.
According to a review in The New England Journal of Medicine, there are 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten. (i) These include irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to anxiety, depression, (ii) schizophrenia, dementia, as well as autism. (iii)
Gluten is problematic for people with celiac disease, and for those with gluten sensitivities. Celiac disease is the most extreme, affecting an estimated three million Americans. (iv) A person with celiac disease is completely gluten intolerant and must eliminate gluten entirely from their diet.
The only way to find out if you have celiac disease is to get tested. The blood test is about 95% accurate, and it’s advised to get a biopsy to confirm. An important fact to remember is that you must be eating gluten for the test to be accurate. The removal of gluten for people with celiac disease must be a habit maintained for life.
Gluten is also detrimental to those with gluten sensitivity. It’s estimated that one-third of the American population is gluten sensitive. These people include those who have tested negative for celiac disease but have relief from problematic symptoms when gluten is avoided.
If you suffer from bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, rashes, joint pain, arthritis, depression, anxiety, migraines, constipation, or the inability to lose weight, I encourage you to go two weeks without gluten to see if it could be the cause.
So What Are My Alternatives?
Your options are really limitless on this one! There are so many naturally gluten-free foods that are full of fiber and other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Naturally Gluten-Free Foods:
- brown rice
- gluten-free oats
- most dairy
- fish, poultry, meat
-Barley labeled under malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar, and brewer’s yeast.
– distilled vinegar
Once again, remember to be a label detective. It’s very easy for gluten to hide in processed items and condiments, so the more you stick to real, whole foods, the easier it will be to avoid.
Happy to be Gluten-Free,
Health Coach Jenna
(i) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
(ii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Celiac disease and risk of mood disorders–a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.
(iii) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.
(iv) Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You – Dr. Mark Hyman. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2016, from http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/03/17/gluten-what-you-dont-know-might-kill-you/