Glutten free items were once a commodity that could only be found in specialty health food stores. With today’s concern for eating healthier many grocery stores are sectioning areas to accommodate all gluten-free products, both frozen food and grocery.
Many people ask if this “trend” is worth the fuss or is it just another dietary craze?
The answer is easy: there are huge potential health benefits to be gained when you go Gluten Free. Here are some things you should know.
Gluten is a protein found in the kernel of wheat, barley and rye. You may not even know it but you’ve most likely been consuming gluten your whole life. Gluten is in so many products including:
- Mustard & Ketchup
- Veggie burgers
- Flavored potato chips
- Lunch meat
- Ice Cream
- Hot dogs
- Potato Chips
- Soy sauce
- Most canned soups
- Salad dressings
- Many sauces
- Certain Vitamins
- Blue cheese
- Breath mints
- Instant coffee
- Malt Vinegar
FACT: Buckwheat contrary to its name, is not actually wheat and does not contain gluten.
Most of us would be better off avoiding Gluten Products
There are many reasons why people should avoid gluten. Everyone to a certain degree has some type of gluten or wheat sensitivity. There is extensive evidence that gluten contributes to overall inflammation in the body, and inflammation is known to cause illnesses- heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s etc.; even difficulty losing and maintaining weight is often caused by inflammation.
Some may not even feel anything while other may have severe symptoms of intolerance such as sneezing, unexplained runny nose, abdominal bloating, hives, diarrhea, headaches and more. Published scientific studies support that ingesting gluten can decrease immunity, increase blood sugars, cause difficulties with digestion, and impair absorption of nutrients.
Then there are studies that show gluten consumption can aggravate existing autoimmune illnesses such as eczema, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and others. Gluten consumption does not cause the disease but it may increase these conditions. Individuals with Celiac disease that consume gluten can have serious digestive problems and malnutrition. Consuming gluten irritates and damages their bowel.
The Department of Agriculture drew up a beautiful “food pyramid” teaching us to eat 8 servings of whole grains every day. Nice profit for farmers, but since they genetically engineered wheat without genetically modifying our GI tract, we simply can’t digest it properly, it causes gut inflammation and we develop—high blood sugars—low vitamin levels—poor immunity—dysbiosis with gas, bloating, pain and more. (I suggest you don’t let your dog eat it either). I’m sure you or some of your friends will tell you they had low Vitamin D fat was undoubtedly secondary to inflammation of the stomach and intestines. In fact, only one person in my practice this whole year tested with optimal Vitamin D levels and she took supplements. (I encourage you to read my blog about why you need high Vitamin D). A One-A-Day or Centrum just isn’t enough.
Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies
Any plan to achieve overall health and wellness must begin with fixing the gut. As far as whole wheat is concerned, the truth is, we could never consume wheat again and not be malnourished in any way. There are various reasons people consume a gluten free diet and whether it’s due to celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or other medical / non medical concerns, anyone can easily meet their nutritional needs with a balanced diet, and a daily multivitamin.
Studies show, people that live a “low carb lifestyle” do live many years longer than the general population. Many if not all diseases dramatically improve with a gluten free diet.
Do I Need to Give Up Pasta, Bread and Cereal?
No! There are many gluten free products available that are good tasting substitutes. Just remember not all gluten-free products have the same taste, texture and consistency of the original ones.
I did find a good-tasting gluten-free bread at Publix with a consistency that holds up for toasting, sandwich making, and French toast and I’m working on stocking it in my office based store.
Note: Everything gluten-free is wheat-free, but something that is wheat-free is not necessarily gluten-free as it may contain other forms of gluten. Use caution, some gluten-free products have more sugar or fat than similar gluten products, so read labels, and be aware of serving sizes.
What’s the Biggest Challenge?
Eating out is tricky because you never know what’s been added to a dish. Remember to ask if any wheat, barley or rye were used, don’t forget soy sauce. (Gluten-free soy sauce is available).
The challenge is learning all the foods and food additives that may contain wheat or gluten such as: some food starch, couscous, spelt, bran, brewer’s yeast and more. More and more companies are voluntarily labeling their products as gluten free and some even go through a gluten free certification process.
Luckily, because so many people have decided to, or need to, go gluten-free or wheat-free, more and more manufacturers, food stores and eating establishments are now providing excellent gluten-free products and labeling is significantly improving. If you have any questions about a Gluten free diet or want to learn more, visit Doctors Best Wellness Center. Our store has all you need to start living a Gluten free life style.