fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, heartburn, gas, bloating, joint pain

Do You Really Need to Avoid Gluten?

Wondering what all the buzz is about gluten and if you should avoid it? Let’s talk about what gluten is and why it’s a problem for so many people.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is the large, sticky, complex protein found in several grains that provide the chewy, tender texture to bread, pasta and other flour products.

Where is Gluten Found?

Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, as well as the ancient grains spelt and kamut. There has been some confusion about whether oats contain gluten so let’s clear that up.

Oat groats (the whole oat kernel) do not contain gluten. However, rolled oats and quick oats are processed on the same equipment as wheat and since gluten is sticky it tends to build up on the machinery and then end up in the oats.

The percentage of gluten in oats can vary widely therefore, depending on whether it was an early batch or late batch. Gluten-free oats have simply been processed in a facility that does not process gluten grains.

What is Gluten Intolerance?

There are two forms of Gluten Intolerance:

  • Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that most often presents in childhood with symptoms of gas, bloating and diarrhea after gluten consumption. It can also be triggered later in life by factors such as surgery, pregnancy or severe emotional stress.
  • Non-celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Gluten sensitivity is a disorder of the immune system which can be triggered by an event later in life, such a trauma, medication or surgery, and often does not have bowel symptoms.

Research estimates that 18 million Americans have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. That’s 6 times the amount of Americans who have celiac disease. 

Both Celiac and Non-celiac forms result in inflammation throughout the body, with wide-ranging effects across all organ systems including your

  • brain
  • heart
  • skin
  • joints
  • digestive tract, and more.

It can be the single cause behind many different “diseases.” To correct these diseases, you need to treat the cause – which is often gluten sensitivity – not just the symptoms.

Food Sources of Gluten

Anything made out of flour has gluten in it: pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, cookies, cakes, cereals and most processed foods. For a more complete list click here.

Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet.

Unfortunately, it’s also linked to many diseases and conditions; 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, 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, autism and neuropathy (nerve damage).

Wondering how to test for Gluten Intolerance? Click here.

Tell us about your experience with gluten testing in the comments below.

 

 

5 Comments

  • Jess

    Reply Reply June 27, 2014

    I know personally that eliminating gluten from my diet has done wonders for my energy and has gotten rid of the sluggish feelings I have had in the past after eating meals with gluten.

    • Marina Rose

      Reply Reply June 27, 2014

      Yes, sometimes it’s not digestion problems or even join issues, but a change in energy that is the biggest difference.

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