Is Gluten Really So Bad?

A gluten-free diet is a one that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye.  It may seem heretical for a holistic nutrition coach to suggest that all the attention on gluten is unwarranted, but I must say I think it is. 

Gluten free is a  buzz word in the food industry.  Many consumers and dieters  look for the one thing that will make them feel better, or lose weight. It’s the magic bullet phenomenon, and marketers never fail to capitalize on the next big diet phenomenon.  

You need only to remember previous magic bullets to know I am probably right on this one too.  Remember when low-carb was the craze a few years ago and restaurants and food manufacturers promoted their low-carb foods?  Before that it was a low-fat promotion that lured consumers into buying what was sure to slim their waistline and save them from heart disease. It didn’t. 

An exception to this is anyone with Celiac disease.  An autoimmune disorder, those with Celiac cannot digest gluten.  It can destroy cilia, tiny hairs in the small intestine, if eaten, causing serious problems with nutrient absorption. 

Do You Feel Better when You Avoid Gluten?

Some people do.  Gluten can be inflammatory to some.  Often when someone says they feel better without gluten it's because they were eating too much gluten every day. Few if any foods, no matter how nutritious that may be, as good for us if eaten in excess.  Think how you'd feel if you ate 8 apples in one day.  

In addition to wheat products, gluten is used as a filler in packaged, processed foods to 'hold them together' for a long shelf life.  So you need to look at any packaged foods you eat to get a good idea of the amount of gluten you consume. If you're having a bagel or a plate of pancakes for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta with sauce for dinner, with a few snacks in between, you're eating a lot of gluten.  

An Easy Solution

It all goes back to the same answer. Eat simple whole foods, avoid packaged foods, and pay attention to how your body feels after you eat.  If you suspect something is not agreeing with you, eliminate that food for at least one week and re-introduce it.  That will give you a chance to see if it's a food that you best not eat. 

Want More Help?

Seeking help from a holistic nutritionist can help you identify the source of your problems and lead you to workable solutions.  Don't stay in pain.  Schedule a complimentary health consultation with me for analysis and recommendations.