Gluten or Gluten-Free?

Today gluten-free foods are everywhere and considered as an overall health-promoting type of food. But why is this? While gluten is a protein found it wheat, barley and rye, think of it more like glue as it helps dough stick together. Since our bodies are designed to be able to digest a wide variety of gluten based products, but our modern diet is mostly composed of a single form of gluten-containing grains. Our digestive systemis not equipped to handle such a large intake of gluten, creating a chronically low level of inflammation. Since a large portion of our immune system actually resides in the digestive system, the result is the development of a range of gluten-sensitivity disorders and autoimmune diseases.1

Gluten sensitivity has been proposed as a causative factor in a multitude of conditions ranging from autism, ADHD, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even infertility.2,3 A gluten-free diet may be a proper lifestyle change for those effected by conditions like this. Even those that have other digestive issues may benefit from a gluten-free diet. Trying the lifestyle change for 6-8 weeks is usually long enough to know if gluten is a contributing factor to any digestive issues.

While converting to a gluten-free lifestyle may seem like a daunting task, once you spend a little time to learn what foods you eat contain gluten and look for alternatives everything else is easy. The best way to begin is to either slowly eliminate foods or try to change foods you currently eat that are made of wheat, barley or rye and replace them with quinoa, buckwheat, or millet based foods. As you investigate, you may be surprised to see how many foods actually do contain gluten in them. Many processed foods and breads, deli meat, and soy sauce are just examples. While it might be hard to eliminate these foods, remember the benefit for eliminating them vastly outweighs eating them, in terms of overall health.

  1. Fernandez-Feo M, Wei G, Helmerhorst E, et al. The cultivable human oral gluten-degrading microbiome and its potential implications in coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity. Clinical Microbiology & Infection. September 2013;19(9):E386-E394.
  2. Gasbarrini G, Mangiola F. Wheat-related disorders: A broad spectrum of ‘evolving’ diseases. United European Gastroenterol J. 2014 Aug;2(4):254-62.
  3. Herfarth HH, et al: Prevalence of a gluten-free diet and improvement of clinical symptoms in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2014; 20(7):1194-7.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Scapular Winging

Scapular winging is a condition wherein the shoulder blade moves excessively away from its normal position on the thoracic region of the back. This can cause pain and weakness as well as loss of function and can be a problem cosmetically.