Why Gluten Intolerance is Serious

 

I’ve been trying to learn all about gluten intolerance lately.  I don’t have a problem with gluten…or maybe I do.  I’ve had digestion issues since I was about 7 years old and before I was a diabetic.  I don’t do well with cakes, cookies, bread, muffins so I avoid them except for on occasions. 

I’ve discovered that doctors estimate gluten sensitivity to be present in a good chunk of the population.  Add that to those individuals with celiac disease and you’ve got a large amount of people in the United States who should avoid gluten. 

Here’s why:

In an individual sensitive or allergic to gluten, gluten damages the lining of the small intestines.  This causes the proteins from the gluten (and your feces) to leak into your bloodstream.  This in turn causes your body to produce antibodies against those proteins which can cause autoimmunity but it also means your gut is not digesting well and is permeable.  Supposedly, random food allergies can occur as a result of this gut permeability.  In my case, I’m allergic to (tested by an allergist) pineapple, melon, zucchini, and pickles.  Random is an understatement.  I probably had zucchini four or five times in my life before becoming allergic to it.

Gluten sensitivity or intolerance has been therefore linked to autoimmune diseases.  This includes allergies and diabetes.  I had gluten for every meal for over 20 years and did notice my digestion problems literally disappear when I cut it out from my diet.  (And luckily so because I went to the hospital for stomach problems).  So yes, I’m suspicious of being one of those who are unable to thrive on gluten.

Anyway, it’s too late for me.  I avoid it now to feel well/stay well.  My kids are another story.  I don’t know if they are part of gluten intolerant crowd or not.  I just know they have my genes and they already have allergies and they’re not even two years old, yet.  I feel like I’m gambling every time I give them toast for breakfast.  So lately my husband and I have decided to minimize gluten as much as possible.  In fact, we want to minimize grains as much as possible (this includes corn!) because researchers have found that the proteins in gluten are extremely similar to those in all other grains like oats and therefore cause damage to the lining of the intestines (which as a reminder, we don’t ever want to happen).  This means for a certain number of people, any grains can be very harmful. 

I admit it’s overwhelming to figure out what to eat when none of it is bread-like.  Eventually, though, it is very doable.  In fact, if something just might cause diabetes or allergies or some other health problem, I say avoiding it is indeed, doable.

Reference Links on the subject:

Article by Rob Wolf, former research biochemist and powerlifting champ

The Gluten Doctors

Dangerous Grains by Dr. Mercola

2 Comments

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I have several close friends who have Celiac’s or other gluten allergies. I am grateful that I tend to be allergy free, I don’t even want to imagine having entire food groups I can’t eat, on top of counting carbs. Although I agree that taking out gluten is probably good. Hubby and I generally steer clear of anything that is not made from scratch or a whole food so we don’t get a lot of gluten from packaged products, but I do make our bread and I do use whole grain flours, definitely not gluten free. I love that you talk about the benefits of natural eating for diabetics, I am a believer that eating natural, whole foods does wonder for my control.

Thanks, Melissa! What I like best about eating whole foods is once you get used to it, it’s hard to go back!

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