What the HECK is gluten? (Should you be avoiding it?)

Recently, there has been a lot of press around gluten. Gluten is a protein (amino acid) found in several types of grains, including wheat, spelt, rye and barley. It’s the glue-like substance that gives bread its elastic properties. Gluten isn’t technically harmful to your health unless you have celiac disease, the most severe gluten allergy, or have a gluten sensitivity.

When you have Celiac disease, the immune system attacks gluten and the cells of the digestive tract. It is classified as an autoimmune disease and can lead to nutrient deficiencies, digestive issues, fatigue and an increase risk of many other diseases. It is believed to afflict about 1% of people with over 80% not even knowing they have it.

The other type of gluten intolerance is called ‘gluten sensitivity’ and is much more common. Those who are sensitive to gluten have adverse reactions such as headaches, brain fog, bloating and fatigue. It has been estimated that around 6%-8% of people have gluten sensitivity.

If you have any of the above symptoms or suspect you may have a sensitivity to gluten, simply eliminate it from your diet for 14 days, then reintroduce it and see how your body responds.

Important Note: Just because it says “gluten free” on the label doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Food marketers are smart and play into consumer treads. Since gluten has gotten more and more exposure over the past several years, food marketers are responding with more and more gluten free food products. For example, just because the box of cookies says “gluten free” doesn’t make them any healthier than if they had gluten in them. In fact, sometimes “gluten free” package food can be even more processed and contain even more sugar and other harmful ingredients simply to enhance the flavor and texture of the product.

The bottom line is that many processed artificial foods contain gluten. So by avoiding these foods, you will lose weight, have more energy and generally feel better. This begs the question… is it that you’re avoiding gluten that you’re experiencing all these amazing health benefits? Or is it that the food you were consuming that contained gluten was simply not really healthy to begin with? Hmmmm….

Try this: If you’re someone who eats a lot of processed foods, try avoiding all processed foods for at least 14 days, then reintroduce a healthy food item that contains gluten (such as whole grain bread) back into your diet and see how your body responds. You may find that it really isn’t the gluten you’re sensitive to.

Give this a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below…

Gluten or no gluten…that is the question!
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Thanks for your support and sharing the gift of health with others 🙂

-Devin