Updated: Nov 6
Gluten has been a buzz word for several years now, and not in a good way. It has gotten quite a bad rap in the past few years when studies showed that gluten can not only cause Celiac Disease but also Gluten Sensitivity, now recognized as another separate and distinct gluten-related condition. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease which causes an immune reaction that damages the small intestine following gluten consumption and may lead to serious illness, malnutrition, fatigue, skin disorders, and long-term digestive issues. A strict gluten free diet is currently the only treatment option for Celiac Disease and it is estimated to effect 1 in every 100 people worldwide.
Most conventional breads, pastas, and pastries contain gluten. But, it doesn't stop there.
For many years, those with Gluten Intolerance or Celiac Disease didn't know where to turn. Many were completely dismissed or wrongly diagnosed. Unfortunately, we are seeing the same thing with gluten sensitivity as it has no specific or reliable diagnostic test. But even if you are not sensitive to gluten at all, you still may notice a huge shift in overall wellbeing by cutting out gluten temporarily. Gluten is actually a natural protein that is found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. Most conventional breads, pastas, and pastries contain gluten. But, it doesn't stop there. Gluten is also found in a host of other items such as salad dressings, condiments, and baked goods. Gluten is often used to change the texture or consistency of a product due to its chewy and elastic nature, therefore many processed foods will contain gluten. By cutting out gluten in your diet for a period of 30 days or longer you may notice the following changes:
Increased energy and overall wellbeing
May ease digestion, bloating, and diarrhea
Improve skin conditions and acne
Better sleep and mental clarity
Improved allergies and sinus issues
It has been shown that gluten may cause damage to lining of the small intestine for some people. The degree to which this damage occurs can vary. The function of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients and to serve as the filtering system into the bloodstream. Without proper lining of the small intestine, the blood is exposed to things that it shouldn't be which can cause a variety of health conditions. My thoughts on gluten and food in general is simple: Eat whole, naturally occurring food frequently, and everything else in moderation. The problem with gluten, (and a host of other ingredients like corn and soy) is that food companies are putting it in everything! Gluten itself may not cause much damage to the average individual, but when you consume gluten in high quantities in combination with use of antibiotics, refined sugar, processed foods it is likely gluten may add to the inflammatory response already occurring in the body. To put it visually, think of a classic beach bucket. Imagine your body has a Toxic Load bucket that is filled slowly (or quickly) depending on your food and lifestyle choices. Things that fill the bucket include stress, poor sleep, poor eating habits such as increased trans fats, refined sugar, and you guessed it.... high amounts of Gluten! With an overflowing Toxic Load bucket the body is in a state of constant and chronic inflammation. This can lead to dis-ease almost anywhere in the body.
"Recent research over the past several decades suggests that gluten intolerance symptoms show up in almost every system within the body: the central nervous system (including the brain), endocrine system, cardiovascular system (including the health of the heart and blood vessels), reproductive system and skeletal system."
Don't be fooled, the gluten-free diet is NOT for weight loss.
If you want to take your health to next level and empty that Toxic Load bucket, avoid gluten for 30 days, or better yet 90 and see how you feel! You must be consistent and focus on all aspects of health (like exercise and hydration) to get the most bang for your buck so to speak. Also, if you eliminate gluten from your diet be VERY mindful of what you are replacing it with. Don't be fooled, the gluten free diet is NOT for weight loss. It is extremely easy to load up on all the 'gluten-free' cookies, cakes, pancakes, etc. but these foods are completely void of any nutrients and just full of other harmful carbohydrates. Highly processed carbohydrates quickly convert to glucose sugar upon digestion and cause a major blood sugar spike. These products also tend to have more corn, soy, sugar, and inflammatory oils (canola, soybean, palm) which are almost always genetically modified. This WON'T help you with your health goals. In addition, remember to replace fiber and grains with healthier options such as Quinoa, Rice, and plenty of fruits and vegetables!
Here are some helpful resources to learn more:
From the desk of Dr. Lisette Miller Kondrad. Dr. Miller has been in clinical practice for 7 years treating hundreds of patients with chiropractic care and acupuncture. Click here to contact Clark Road Chiropractic Center with any questions or to schedule your appointment!