Is this whole gluten craze just a fad or is gluten actually making you sick? I have a confession. I get a huge kick out of hearing people’s ignorant comments about gluten! Of course informed, educated statements are one thing…but proclaiming that this “whole gluten free era” is nothing more than a widespread delusion, fad or trend is just plain laughable! And, when the same (uneducated) individuals are asked…so, what IS gluten? Typical answer: “Um, I don’t really know but I think it’s like the wheat in bread and stuff.”
On the flip side, another group of individuals has given up gluten, but they have no clue as to why they don’t eat it. They just heard that it was bad for them. Even more classic!
Check out this video.
Gluten. What is it?
According to Wikipedia, Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue“) is a protein composite found in wheat and related grains, including barley and rye.
Gluten gives bread its fluffy, airy texture and is also used as a stabilizing agent in many processed foods. Gluten is in everything from beauty products to packaged foods – and can also be found in many vitamins, supplements and medications.
Gluten is not what it used to be.
In the late 1960’s, gluten was hybridized, cross-bread and re-engineered to increase the supply of grains. According to cardiologist
Dr. William Davis, author of the book, Wheat Belly, today’s hybridized wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin. Gluten also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing. Our bodies no longer digest gluten – and when you understand more about it, it’s obvious why.
What is Celiac Disease and how does it differ from gluten sensitivity or intolerance?
Celiac disease, one of the most common autoimmune diseases, can be diagnosed with a blood test and confirmed with a biopsy of the small intestines. It involves an immune reaction that is severe and sudden. Celiac Disease can also be associated with other autoimmune conditions such as thyroid disease and diabetes.
Gluten sensitivity has a slower onset than Celiac, and a very broad rage of symptoms such as gastrointestinal disturbances, fatigue, migraines, or even changes in mood. Gluten sensitivity can be much harder to diagnose than Celiac, as the symptoms may be both mild and delayed.
When people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity consume gluten, their immune system receives a message that there is a foreign invader that just entered the bloodstream. But instead of attacking the gluten invader, the immune system becomes overactive and attacks the human body. Unfortunately, the attack is not limited to the intestinal tract – it can attack the joints, brain, organs, nerves, cells, muscles, etc.
Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity
According to MD Amy Meyers, more than 55 diseases have been linked to gluten. And, it has been estimated that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant.
Could you be one of them?
Meyers suggests that if you have any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that you have gluten intolerance:
- Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
- Keratosis Pilaris, (also known as ‘chicken skin’ on the back of your arms). This tends to be a result of a fatty acid and vitamin A deficiency secondary to fat-malabsorption caused by gluten damaging the gut.
- Fatigue, brain fog or feeling tired after eating a meal that contains gluten.
- Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis.
- Neurologic symptoms such as dizziness or feeling of being off balance.
- Hormone imbalances such as PMS, PCOS or unexplained infertility.
- Migraine headaches.
- Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia. These diagnoses indicate your conventional doctor cannot pinpoint the cause of your fatigue or pain.
- Inflammation, swelling or pain in your joints such as fingers, knees or hips.
- Mood issues such as anxiety, depression, mood swings and ADD.
Symptoms of Celiac
- Anemia, usually resulting from iron deficiency
- Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of bone (osteomalacia)
- Itchy, blistery skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Damage to dental enamel
- Headaches and fatigue
- Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, and possible problems with balance
- Joint pain
- Reduced functioning of the spleen (hyposplenism)
- Acid reflux and heartburn
Reasons to go Gluten Free.
The journal of the American Medical Association found that individuals with Celiac or gluten sensitivity have a much higher risk of death than those who are disease and sensitivity free. The study looked at 30,000 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined death rate in three groups: Those with Celiac, those with inflamed intestines, and those with gluten sensitivity (or elevated gluten antibodies). The findings were surprising. The individuals with full-blown Celiac had a 39% higher risk of death. The patients with gut inflammation related to gluten had a 72% higher risk of death, and those with gluten sensitivity had a 35% increased risk of death.
The reasons to ditch gluten are endless, but the bottom line is that gluten is very inflammatory to your gut. Your gut is your immune system – and when it becomes inflamed it no longer works, leaving us very susceptible to illness and disease.
Don’t miss the health benefits of going Gluten Free (GF).
- Take care to fully remove gluten from your diet. Gluten is hidden in many foods, especially processed and packaged foods.
- Know that if you don’t remove gluten for a long enough period of time and allow your gut to heal you will not experience the health benefits. This process can take months depending on how inflamed your gut is. If your immune system is reacting to gluten, then even trace amounts will cause an immune reaction.
- While you may be successful at removing gluten, some people start reaching for way too many “gluten free” foods, which they wrongly assume must be healthy because they don’t contain gluten. A cookie is a cookie, folks. A pizza is a pizza. GF does NOT mean healthy!
What should you do about the Gluten in your life?
It has been estimated that 30% of people are sensitive to gluten and 1 in 100 people suffer from full-blown Celiac Disease and those numbers are rising.
The single best way to determine if you are gluten intolerant or if gluten is having a negative effect on your body is to remove it from your diet for at least 30 days (90 days for best results), then reintroduce it.
Christa Orecchio, renown clinical nutritionist says “Avoid gluten like the plague. Gluten is overly acid, genetically-modified, overproduced, and, more often than not, devoid of nutrients (especially in the U.S.). In the U.S., our wheat contains three times the amount of gluten than the wheat in Europe or South America. It is overly acidic and causes immune antibody production in those with elevated TPO (Thyroid antibodies )levels. There are so many other options today.”
There are millions of Americans each day that are reaping the benefits of going gluten free. For some, going gluten free means curing themselves of an incurable disease or managing an underlying autoimmune disease such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), arthritis or Graves disease. People consume gluten all around us, but it’s not necessary or healthful. It’s simple, when you remove the thing that is causing your gut to become inflamed and your immune system has a chance to settle down and regain its strength, your body will thank you. You’ll begin to return to health – your natural state – once again.
If you still think that gluten free is just a fad, here is my advice to you. Set your emotions and gluten free frustrations aside and listen to this.
Please don’t let social media tell you if you’re gluten intolerant- let your body tell you.
Most people who adopt a gluten free lifestyle eat a clean diet. Avoiding gluten can lead to eating far less simple carbohydrates as well as processed sugars. Regardless,whether or not you are allergic or intolerant to gluten, the fact is that gluten is inflammatory. And inflammation is the gateway to disease.
Trust me, I’ve read the studies and consulted with the experts. Gluten can make people very ill – that’s been proven. More important, I have witnessed many of my clients, friends and family members as they reap the health benefits of ditching gluten. Unfortunately, for all you gluten free pessimists out there, the debate has been indisputably settled by multiple scientists and experts – and re-confirmed by millions and millions of individuals whose entire lives have been changed by adopting a GF lifestyle.
So, is there something to this whole GF thing? Um, yes, ma’am. Yes, sir. Definitely. I’ve lived it.
And…who are you to say otherwise until you have really given it a try?
What do you have to lose? Weight, headaches, body aches, low energy, bloating, or inflammation?
Lighten your load. The proof is in the pudding. Gluten free pudding, that is! 🙂
Sources of Gluten.