With the gluten free craze that’s been going on for the past how many years, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype and cut gluten from our diets whether it’s necessary or not. I mean, with experts telling us this and that about how bad gluten is for us, why wouldn’t we??
Recently, however, there has been information coming out that completely eliminating gluten from your diet when you don’t have a gluten sensitivity is actually not that great for us. Some studies show that a gluten free diet can be linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
What is going on here?
This new information can be extremely confusing! We’ve been told for years that eating a gluten free diet is the secret to weight loss, solving stomach problems, clearing up skin issues, and much more.
To help clear this up, we’ve asked health expert Dr. John Douillard a number of questions about gluten free diets to help us understand the difference between needing to be gluten free vs. being gluten free because we think it’s healthy.
I think you’ll be surprised by the information, so make sure to take a read! It’s extremely interesting and might change the way you eat.
Q&A – Should I be eating a gluten free diet?
When is it absolutely necessary to eliminate gluten from your diet?
One percent of the population has been diagnosed with celiac disease and should not consume wheat or glutinous grains. Celiac is an auto-immune reaction to the protein gluten that causes intestinal inflammation, abdominal pain and malabsorption. (1)
If you don’t have Celiacs, is there such a thing as “gluten sensitivity”? If so, about how many people does it affect?
The number of people becoming gluten free is growing rapidly. In one study some 2-15 percent of the population have a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity affecting as many as 41 million people. (2) The number of folks choosing to eat gluten-free for perceived health benefits has hit one-third of the American population or almost 106 million people. (3)
Why do you think the gluten-free industry has grown so quickly if it’s not necessarily healthy?
When cholesterol rich saturated fats were taken out of our diets in 1960 they were replaced with vegetable oils or the “so-called” heart healthy omega-6 poly unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s). To keep these oils from going rancid they were bleached, boiled and deodorized rendering them unappetizing to any microbes including the beneficial ones in our gut.
They became the hallmark of refined and processed foods because as food preservatives, they would extend shelf life. What they are doing to our health is only now being understood. Processed foods including highly refined and processed wheat is difficult to digest. A diet of processed wheat, three times a day for the past 50 years has left many folks unable to digest much of anything. Organic whole wheat has been shown in study after study to lower the risk of type II diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. (4-6)
The billions of dollars the gluten-free industry has invested in going gluten free has motivated people to stop eating wheat and instead consume highly processed gluten free foods which ironically is the cause of many peoples gluten sensitivity.
How do you know when you should be checked for gluten allergy (celiac)?
The symptoms of celiac disease often resemble Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Leaky Gut Syndrome or chronic food allergies. The symptoms can range from chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas and bloating to skin rashes, brain fog, fatigue and mood disorders. If any of these symptoms persist then it’s time to be evaluated by your doctor.
What is the problem with eliminating gluten if you don’t need to?
Yes, gluten is a hard to digest protein but many challenging foods that are hard to digest act as immune system stimulants in the gut. When we eat highly processed and refined food, kill all the microbes with antibiotics and anti-bacterial soaps, the gut slowly loses its immune strength. Gut immunity which makes up some 80 percent of the body’s immune system depends on foods like whole wheat to stimulate the immune system. (7-10)
How can people effectively give a gluten-free diet a try?
Read labels! To make bread you only need three ingredients: organic whole wheat, salt and water and perhaps an organic starter. Finding bread without additives and cooked vegetable oil as preservatives to keep the bread soft for months is getting easier to find —even in super markets. Most sourdough breads use minimal ingredients as do refrigerated breads. Refrigerated breads will go bad quickly without refrigeration—that’s a good thing!
Does the correlation in increased heart disease and diabetes rates apply to those who have decided to try a gluten free diet with an emphasis on fresh foods instead of swapping baked goods, pasta, etc, with other highly processed gluten free alternatives?
The studies that were done on gluten free diets that found the low gluten diets were linked to a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes were both 25 year-long studies that measured the diets of hundreds of thousands of adults. The diets were varied! The lack of whole grains and gluten was not due to a diet of gluten-free foods as the majority of the study period pre-dated the gluten-free era.
- http://www.drschaer-institute.com/us/non- celiac-gluten- sensitivity/epidemiology-1073.html
- https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/percentage- of-us- adults-trying-to- cut-down- or-avoid- gluten-in- their-diets- reaches-new- high-in- 2013-reports- npd/
Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP, author of Eat Wheat (www.LifeSpa.com), is a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural heath, Ayurveda and sports medicine, and is author of six previous health books. He is the creator of LifeSpa.com, the leading Ayurveda health and wellness resource on the internet. Douillard also is the former Director of Player Development and nutrition counselor for the New Jersey Nets NBA team. He has been a repeat guest on the Dr. Oz show, and has been featured in Woman’s World magazine, Huffington Post, Yoga Journal and dozens of other national publications.
Photo credits: EMSI Public Relations
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