Gluten isn’t inherently evil?
Everyone, it seems, is gluten-intolerant these days. It’s the new lactose. Industry of course has jumped on the bandwagon with all sorts of products that can help you avoid the demon protein yet still have your cake.
Well, a small study published this week in the British Journal of Nutrition may be the beginning of the end of the ‘we’re all gluten-intolerant’ phase. The study found that those who ate a gluten free diet had lower gut levels of healthy bacteria, and higher levels of unhealthy bacteria.
It all comes back to following the diet that’s meant for you. Gluten intolerance is a real condition and many people do suffer from it. One of the problems is that the symptoms of Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance) seem to be universal: tiredness, weight gain OR loss, and other general symptoms many suffer intermittently that can be caused by anything from what you ate to something your boss said. If you’re not gluten intolerant, you may be doing more harm than good by scarfing down gluten-free processed baked goods. Gluten intolerance is an immune condition, or triggers an immune reaction, and the immune system is a curious and complex thing. Sometimes being overly clean can backfire with a weaker immune system, which I know does not compute for many Americans.
If you think you may have trouble digesting wheat proteins, take a look at this brochure from the Celiac Foundation. It will give you the basics about symptoms and testing. The NIH also has good information to compare. If you do get a diagnosis, a bright spot is that there has been an explosion of processed gluten-free products, so you can still avoid a whole foods diet (just kidding).