Some time ago, I was sitting at a dinner listening to a comedian one night and he started talking about how he was trying to lose weight. The diet he decided to adopt was a “GLUTEN FREE” diet.
He said he had lost some weight and he felt better.
He then goes on to say that he figured out what gluten really was.
He said “it’s the stuff in food that makes it taste good”
Everyone busted out in hysterics and he went on to his next joke.
It then got me to thinking….What is Gluten????
Shortly there after, my father was diagnosed with Celiac disease and forced to take up the gluten free lifestyle. So, I figured that I would probably need to know what this spawn from the belly of SATAN ingredient is that everyone is trying to avoid, since I advise people on what to eat.
That’s what made me dig in and start doing some research.
What is Gluten?
It is a general name for proteins found in wheat,rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Most of us unknowingly love it, because gluten gives our favorite foods that special touch: It makes pizza dough stretchy, gives bread its spongy texture, and is used to thicken sauces and soups.
Humans have been eating wheat, and the gluten in it, for at least ten thousand years. For people with celiac disease—about one per cent of the population—the briefest exposure to gluten can trigger an immune reaction powerful enough to severely damage the brushlike surfaces of the small intestine.
I read a book by David Perlmutter, a neurologist and the author of another of the gluten-free movement’s foundational texts, “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain’s Silent Killers,” goes further still. Gluten sensitivity, he writes, “represents one of the greatest and most under-recognized health threats to humanity.’’
Wheat provides about twenty percent of the world’s calories and more nourishment than any other source of food. Last year’s harvest, of seven hundred and eighteen million tons, amounted to roughly two hundred pounds for every person on earth. Wheat is easy to grow, to store and to ship. The chemical properties of flour and dough also make wheat versatile. Most people know that it is integral to bread, pasta, noodles, and cereal. But wheat has become a hidden ingredient in thousands of other products, including soups, sauces, gravies, dressings, spreads, and snack foods, and even processed meats and frozen vegetables. Nearly a third of the foods found in American supermarkets contain some component of wheat—usually gluten or starch, or both.
Why is it bad for you?
Some researchers argue that wheat genes have become toxic. Scientists have said that bread today is nothing like the bread found on tables just fifty years ago: “What’s changed is that wheat’s adverse effects on human health have been amplified many-fold. . . .The version of ‘wheat’ we consume today is a product of genetic research. . . . You and I cannot, to any degree, obtain the forms of wheat that were grown fifty years ago, let alone one hundred, one thousand, or ten thousand years ago. Although dietary patterns have changed dramatically in the past century, our genes have not. The human body has not evolved to consume a modern Western diet, with meals full of sugary substances and refined, high-calorie carbohydrates. Moreover, most of the wheat we eat today has been milled into white flour, which has plenty of gluten but few vitamins or nutrients, and can cause the sharp increases in blood sugar that often lead to diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Gluten causes damage in the small intestine thus causing the small intestine not to work normally. It has been shown to keep from absorbing nutrients and inability to absorb nutrients may lead to chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and even malnutrition. Experts and patients are becoming more aware of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, which causes gas, bloating, mild-to-severe pain, and fatigue.
What kinds of foods?
Wheat is commonly found in:
- baked goods
- salad dressings
Barley is commonly found in:
- food coloring
- malt vinegar
- beer (Yes your beer has GLUTEN)
Rye is commonly found in:
- rye bread, such as pumpernickel
- rye beer
Triticale is a newer grain, specifically grown to have a similar quality as wheat, while being tolerant to a variety of growing conditions like rye. It can potentially be found in:
With all this said, should you avoid gluten? In my opinion, YES. Remember, I am not a doctor and do not claim to be a doctor but out of everything I researched, there are far more negatives than positives to consuming gluten.
Some excerpts from this article have been taken from these articles:
Against the Grain, Should you go gluten-free? BY MICHAEL SPECTER