A gluten free diet has improved my health and now I help my clients do the same, but I wanted to share with you even MORE benefits of this diet, and clear up some of the stuff you’ve been hearing about it. Sometimes the information out there can seem too good to be true. Will cutting this food really give me a flat belly? What information is actually true? Well, I’m here to bring you the facts about gluten, so you can decide for yourself if you should eat it or ditch it!
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye, and oats that can wreak havoc on your digestive tract, and in turn, harm the rest of your body. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) can experience long term affects from eating this protein, such as decreased bone mineral density, weight gain or loss, and micronutrient deficiencies . In addition, research is showing the importance of gut health in everything from depression to skin health. So yeah, this stuff is not off to a great start.
Okay, so is it really that bad?
People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) can experience gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or gas. Just as a note, none of those things are natural to experience after eating. Even if it’s the normal for you and some other people you know, it’s not actually supposed to happen regularly. Ouch.
The amount of gluten you consume, and how often, is related to the severity of the symptoms. So, the more often you eat gluten and the more of it you eat in one sitting, the worse your symptoms will be . Some research shows a small amount of gluten over just ONE WEEK in non-celiac or wheat allergy patients can cause abdominal bloating, pain, brain fog, depression, canker sores, and additional intestinal symptoms . Just a small amount! In one week, gluten can do that.
Alright then, is it just gluten?
Many people with gluten sensitivity have other food intolerances, notably to lactose (the sugar in dairy), casein (the protein in dairy) and FODMAPs. For this reason, you may find a small amount of relief cutting out gluten. You may feel even better by going one step further and eating Paleo or low-FODMAP (and that’s for another post).
We’re not 100% sure why this overlap occurs yet, but it likely is related to the damage gluten causes to your intestines. This damage to your digestive organs hinders the ability to digest everything, not just gluten. So keep in mind that eliminating other foods like dairy or FODMAPS may truly heal your gut, but eating gluten free is an excellent place to begin.
Okay, I’m interested in gluten free – but research says NCGS isn’t a thing?
Well, gluten free research IS a little bit controversial, but remember – scientific studies come with their own set of flaws. For example, some research suggests that the irritation for NCGS and IBS patients comes from non-gluten components of wheat. Therefore, “gluten free” is a misnomer for that diet.
Well, gluten free ALWAYS equals wheat free, so if it helps – it helps. It’s not like you are going to sit in your lab, isolate the gluten protein from sugars and just consume that. Also, please watch the South Park episode titled “Gluten Free Ebola” if you haven’t already, because that’s exactly what I pictured.
In that case, a study ONLY eliminating gluten might not show stellar results. Remember how we said many NCGS people have other intolerances? Well, the limitations of studies don’t always allow for our guts to heal. The proper foods may not be eliminated, and the amount of gut damage may not be fully healed during the study.
Lastly, you have to look at WHO is doing the research. You think the folks behind your favorite cookies are going to put out research telling you NOT to eat what makes up their billion dollar industry? Hmmm. We can hope that the scientists involved are reporting what is best, but unfortunately that is not always the case.
Does gluten free actually work in real life?
So really, all we can do is learn what we can, and see what works for our own bodies. If you would like some help, sign up for a free clarity call with me here and we’ll find the right plan for you. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes and view my full disclaimer here. So, in addition to the scientific sources I consulted, I got some real testimonials from people I actually know. And yes, I know some people who have flattened their bellies by giving up the g-word! These testimonials are some gluten-freers I personally know:
“A flat stomach!!”
“Now I have more energy & no longer feel bloated after meals – it’s amazing.”
“Helped me to conceive and carry a healthy baby after 6 years of infertility!”
“Fatigue is less.”
“Brain Fog improved.”
“Less body and joint pain.”
Have I convinced you to eat gluten free yet? I would LOVE to have you in my community coaching program, Gluten Freedom. Talk with me about it for free by signing up here. How does gluten affect you? Are you willing to give it up?