I work in a restaurant in Renfrew and I’ve noticed a gradual increase of guests who come in requesting gluten-free menu item alternatives. These people are obviously benefiting from a gluten-free diet. Maybe we could, too? Check out today’s post by guest blogger, Chris Bekermeier, who shares with us the issues of modern wheat and the possibility we may have an undiagnosed gluten sensitivity!
In today’s society, gluten-free is becoming more than a buzzword. In fact, for an increasing number of individuals who haven’t been diagnosed with celiac disease, cutting out gluten has become a way of life — do you know why this is? While avoiding gluten may not be for everyone, here’s the truth: there are some real benefits that may come from the gluten-free lifestyle.
Relief from Undiagnosed Celiac Symptoms
According to one study, more than 80 percent of people with celiac disease don’t know they have it. That means, for many individuals suffering from unexplained digestive issues, cutting out gluten could be a solution.
Relief from Modern Wheat’s Side Effects
As Alessio Fasano, M.D., is cited for explaining in a Parents Magazine article, “The grain our grandparents ate was very different from what we eat today.” In other words, today’s wheat has been bred to yield higher crops, with higher concentrations of gluten — and those changes may have negative side effects. “The result is that even if you are not a celiac disease sufferer or gluten sensitive, you still could be suffering from the ill effects of wheat and other grains,” says P.F. Lewis at NaturalNews.com. Therefore, by cutting out gluten, you may be able to cut out the potential side effects of these highly processed grains.
Negative Side Effects from Wheat
What are some of the negative side effects associated with modern grains? Consider the following:
- Digestive Problems (etc.): In an article at Info Wars, Dr. Marcia Alvarez, a nutritional problem specialist, says “In my practice of over two decades, we have documented that for every ten people with digestive problems, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, and even heart disease, eight out of ten have a problem with wheat. Once we remove wheat from their diets, most of their symptoms disappear within three to six months.”
- Inflammation: According to Kris Gunnars at Authority Nutrition, “When gluten reaches the digestive tract and is exposed to the cells of the immune system, they mistakenly believe that it is coming from some sort of foreign invader, like a bacteria.” For people with sensitivities to gluten (many of whom are undiagnosed), this leads to inflammation and associated digestive problems.
- Inflammation-Related Health Problems: According to Dr. Mark Hyman, as quoted at Natural Health 365, “Dwarf wheat contains ‘super gluten,’ a chemical capable of setting off body-wide inflammation. Gluten can help trigger celiac disease along with insulin resistance, weight gain and diabetes. In fact, there are substantial collaborative studies that see the rise in autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, and the list goes on and on.”
- Weight Gain: “Most cereal grains, including wheat, contain a biochemical compound called lectin,” says Aglaee Jacob at Live Strong, quoting results from a study in the December 2005 issue of “BMC Endocrine Disorders.” “A research done with pigs showed that a diet rich in grains and lectins was associated with insulin resistance, higher blood pressure and higher inflammation levels, as measured with the C-reactive protein.”
The Whole Story
Still though, even despite the potentially damaging side effects of wheat, going gluten-free is not a cure-all for health problems. While avoiding modern gluten may cure some digestive symptoms, going gluten-free should be approached with a full understanding of what one eats. Eating a steady diet of gluten-free junk food will not make a person healthy.
“Focusing only on gluten as the problem in wheat makes people do something really bad for health: eating gluten-free foods made with gluten replacements cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch — among the few foods that have more potential for sending blood sugar through the roof than wheat,” said Milwaukee cardiologist William Davis, author of the book “Wheat Belly.”
Do you subscribe to a gluten-free lifestyle? Why or why not? If you’ve experienced digestive or other inflammatory health concerns, have you considered cutting out gluten to manage them? What have you found?
About the Author
Chris Bekermeier is Vice President, Sales & Marketing, for PacMoore, one of the leading contract food manufacturing companies and certified to produce gluten free products. Headquartered in Hammond, Indiana, PacMoore’s capabilities include blending, spray drying, re-packaging, sifting, and consumer packaging.