Gluten is a hot topic these days quite controversial and pretty misunderstood. Should we eat it? Should we cut it out of our diets? Will avoiding it help us lose weight? People are more aware of gluten than ever and are choosing to avoid it even if they are not intolerant to it.
According to a market research company NPD group, 29% of Americans actively try to avoid eating gluten. In the UK, The pollster YouGov reports that 60% of adults have bought a gluten-free product and 10% of households contain someone who believes gluten is bad for them.
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, spelt and barley. It basically acts as a glue to hold food together. The two main proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin.
Gluten can cause problems for people with certain health conditions like coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity and wheat allergies. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder that makes the body attack gluten in the digestive system. It is possible to have a bad reaction to gluten and not be a coeliac – meaning you have a sensitivity to it, symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, tiredness, bloating and depression. One of the main reasons for this is caused by leaky gut and can be remedied by working on gastric health.
Gluten free diets seem to be the trend across cookbooks, social media, celebrities and within the health industry as a whole. I see a lot of people in clinic who ‘feel so much better since the cut out gluten’ Therefore gluten must be the baddie! But I want you to think for a while about what foods you find gluten in. It is in bread, cakes, pasta, biscuits, sausages, muffins, pancakes etc the list goes on, do you see what I see? The food gluten occurs in isn’t the best is it? Of course feel better when they cut out gluten because they cut out a lot of sh*t food, and start to eat better food less processed foods. I would argue that it isn’t the gluten causing the positive effect but the increase in more nutrient dense foods.
Listen, gluten is a tricky protein to break down but it is not necessarily the enemy, if you do react badly to it then think of it as a sign that your gut isn’t in the best shape and try to improve your gut health.
You can get tested for intolerance of gliadin if you would prefer, and obviously if you have a really bad reaction then you will need to be tested for coeliac disease which your doctor can do for you.
Any questions let me know!