Gluten is the Devil!!

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Ok so we all know gluten is not the devil, but lets face it with all the bad publicity it’s been getting this past year we may as well call it that! There are always going to be health trends, and one of the most popular trend this past year has been to ban gluten and apparently it’s the healthiest choice you can make. It can be very confusing trying to figure out what is actually healthy and what is not with all the new and emerging health and fitness bloggers that claim to be “health experts” that promote all these different products, and many of them are labelled as “gluten free”.

This post is to straighten out the facts from the fiction and why gluten ISN’T the devil!

Gluten comes from the protein family believe or not, it is found in certain grains such as wheat, rye and barley. It binds baked goods together and gives them a chewy texture. As gluten is also found in flour gluten is actually in lots of foods like sauces, stocks, crackers, chocolate bars, it’s pretty much found everywhere and it always has been. People seem to believe that gluten is some form of additive however it is actually a natural component of most whole grains.

Gluten is not harmful, fattening, unhealthy or toxic, going gluten free is fashionable right now, not many people know what gluten actually is or why a diet that is gluten free would benefit them. There are way too many false articles on the internet written by non professionals claiming that gluten will put holes in your gut, toxins in your blood and even shrink your brain! Just because these people have a 6 pack and a huge following on social media does not make these claims right, when looking for information you should find an article written by a professional in that area or consult your doctor.

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However with that said, gluten is not harmless for all of us and it is the root cause to the symptoms experienced by coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease affects 1 in 100 people in Ireland and Europe and it is diagnosed by a specific blood test. People with this condition get very sick if they consume even the smallest amount of gluten. Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, not a fool allergy, the immune system mistakes gluten as a harmful substance and mounts an attack against it. This reaction by the body to gluten damages the surface of the small bowel which in turn interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. This disease is often picked up in childhood when the infant cannot gain weight, falls behind on growth and experiences digestive symptoms such as bloating and severe abdominal pain.

To further taint the gluten name there is another group of people who are not coeliac (blood test comes back clean) but they still experience similar symptoms when they ingest gluten, however there is not diagnostic test for this and many practitioners are still on the fence as to whether is actually exists as a separate condition.

The spectrum of gluten tolerance is quite broad, and we still have a long way to go in terms of research and development of gold standard tests.

In these situations I recommend that you go with your gut, if you can tolerate gluten and grains then why restrict yourself and cut them out? On the flip side, if you experience symptoms after consuming gluten containing products (ie. bloating, diarrhoea, stomach pain, or wind) then seek out a professional opinion, or consult your doctor.