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Is Gluten Actually Bad For You? (Is Gluten Quietly Ruining Your Life?)

Is Gluten Actually Bad For You?
What's the Real Story?

updated April 8th 2013-

 

Begin Anti-Gluten Commercial:

Do you constantly feel fatigued?

Or are you frequently experiencing headaches?

Maybe you persistently feel bloated or gassy or do you regularly get stomach cramps after eating?

How about your joints, do those hurt?

But maybe even you are depressed and you don’t really know why?

Do you have trouble focusing…?

Does the world seem a bit foggy these days?

Do you fart a lot?

Do you have NO FRIENDS?

(lists every symptom in the world…)

Gluten Free Symbol

But seriously-

There is a legitimate chance that you are allergic to gluten.

Not over dramatize or to promise you “life changing” advice, but this compound called “gluten” might fucking up your entire life and QUALITY OF LIFE and you may not even know it.

I’m sold.

This one isn’t just hype.

I don’t have a major gluten/carbohydrate sensitivity, but I’ve seen others that were always tired and depressed start feeling much better. As a personal trainer/nutritionist (~2008-2010) I showed people how get in shape super fast and stay there with minimal effort. The first thing I had my clients tested for was hyperthyroidism and the second was- gluten intolerance.

Chances are, however, you probably don’t even know if you are ‘gluten sensitive’ (allergic) and it’s equally likely that your doctor doesn’t even know what gluten is.

I hadn’t even heard of the “gluten thing” until I moved to the West Coast in 2007.

Very Good Video- Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You

Dr. Mark Hymen (UltraWellness)

What’s Gluten?

Gluten is the STAPLE of the American Diet.

Gluten is the main protein complex found in wheat, barley, rye and oats. Now you may recall some of our previous articles highlighting the importance of a protein rich diet. But this protein is not going to add inches to your biceps! It’s the one protein you will ever hear us telling you to avoid.

What's the Issue With Gluten?

In certain predisposed individuals, gluten acts as is a toxic protein that causes an immune response that causes damage to the lining of the small intestines. These people have a condition known as Celiac Disease. For most people with celiac disease, it is usually discovered by at a young age. Doctor that aren’t total idiots are usually able to diagnose it in children.

While only approximately 1% of the population is actually diagnosed with celiac disease, a far more significant percentage (up to 10%) is thought to have a general gluten intolerance that is significantly compromising their health and daily well-being.

Most often, however, people with a gluten intolerance only discover it AFTER they eliminate gluten from their diet. Gluten-intolerant people find that, among numerous other improvements, their energy levels go WAY up, they are no longer bloated after a meal and their digestion vastly improves.

The difference is dramatic for some.

This “new” phenomenon is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

NCGS is characterized by individuals experiencing symptoms similar to Celiac Disease such as bloating, stomach pain and a series of gastrointestinal symptoms following gluten consumption. While this feeling of “overeating,” doesn’t cause a totally obvious and nasty auto immune response (like in those with celiac disease experience), still leads to significant discomfort.

Why is Gluten Bad for You?

If you fall into this category (either Celiac Disease, or more likely- Gluten Sensitivity), it is important for you to understand that-

This issue goes far beyond simple general discomfort (damn, I feel like ate too much) (damn, that was a big fart) (damn, I need to lay down) and is possibly evidence of a toxic/allergic response your body is having.

When gluten is consumed it triggers an immune response.

This immune response causes damage to the lining of the small intestines (the part that connects your stomach to your poop).

This results in inflammation.

More specifically, this inflammation causes damage to the villi in the small intestines. Villi are tiny little finger like projections that make up the lining of the small intestines and are critical for nutrient absorption. Continued exposure to gluten and damage to the villi could be limiting your body’s ability to break down macro-nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fats and this could quite well be restricting you from gaining that lean muscle you dream of.

Common digestive symptoms of gluten sensitivity include:

  • Digestive upsets – farting and bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Weight loss or inability to gain weight

BUT WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF GLUTEN?

Although we typically tend to focus on why things are bad for us, sometimes it is equally important to consider the benefits.

So what are the benefits of a gluten?

THERE ARE NONE.

Gluten offers little health benefits due to its nutrient profile and its commercial use. Given that gluten is often found in many of the foods that are not particularly that great for our health, eliminating gluten from your diet is a smart decision on many levels.

Aside from potentially eating away at your stomach lining and screwing up your body’s ability to metabolize protein, fat and carbohydrates,

here are a few more reasons to avoid gluten-

(this is pretty scary actually…)

  1. Gluten is neurotoxic and inflames your brain. Apparently racecar drivers, who need to focus for hours on end while driving 208 mph. are beginning to avoid it.
  2. Gluten kills your brain cells. Gluten contains ‘glutamate’ which is linked to psychiatric disorders and cell death.
  3. Gluten is thought to excite autism. The University of Texas, however, says otherwise.
  4. Gluten is linked to rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
  5. Gluten is linked to depression. This link isn’t new news. The 1999 “American Journal of Gastroenterology” and the 2005 Journal of “BMC Psychiatry” found that gluten-free diets significantly relieved depression in certain special populations.

SO WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GLUTEN-FREE DIET?

The answer is PLENTY!

In addition to eliminating the mentioned symptoms, gluten-free dieting can also help you lose your gut and improve your metabolic hormones significantly.

One particular study conducted in 2012, showed beneficial effects from following a gluten-free diet in reducing body fat, inflammation and insulin resistance. Body fat, inflammation and insulin resistance are all strong risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Although diabetes and gluten is a largely un[der]-researched area within the scientific world, preliminary studies involving rats have shown that a gluten-free diet can help to prevent diabetes. For anyone with diabetes or cardiovascular disease, the decision could not be any easier.

Interestingly, globally there are more people following a gluten-free diet than the number of clinically diagnosed people with celiac disease.

Personal experiences, such as this testimonial published in 2012 in the “British Medical Journal,” confidently support the notion for gluten-free dieting. Many of the mentioned symptoms dissipate or are completely eliminated.

Gluten Free PictureGluten-Free Eating…? 

Adjusting to a gluten-free lifestyle may appear quite difficult at first, but rest assured- it can be done and the benefits will cement your decision to go gluten-free forever. You’ll really have to be conscious of what you eat and what’s likely to be in what you eat.

Unfortunately gluten is a popular ingredient in many foods. This is because it is pretty cheap and can give good thickness and rich[er] flavouring to food. Companies that mass-produce inexpensive food (especially “snacks”) know this and profit.

Common foods and drinks that contain gluten include, non-organic:

  • Baking products – flour, wheaten cornflour, wheat bran, barley, oats
  • Grains – barley, rye, malt, couscous, wheat, bran
  • Breads
  • Cereals – particularly ones containing wheat, oats, rice, bran or barley
  • Pasta
  • Pastries
  • Meats – products containing breadcrumbs such as sausages or crumbed meats
  • Flavoured milks
  • Condiments and sauces – gravy, relishes, pickles, salad dressing
  • Candy, chocolate, crisps and some potato chips
  • Beer

Although, gluten may be found in many of your favourite foods, there are equally just as many foods that do not contain gluten. And best of all most of these foods are actually quite healthy. Gluten free foods include:

  • Meat – unprocessed meats such as beef, chicken, fish and lamb
  • Dairy products – eggs, milk, almond milk cream and cheese
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Baking products – almond meal flour, buckwheat, coconut flour, corn flour, potato flour, quinoa
  • Gluten free products – pasta, bread, cereals

The vast majority of foods on the “Weight Loss A-List” will not have any gluten.

Checking For Gluten (Gluten Inspector)

Checking for gluten isn’t super hard. The ingredients list usually won’t say “gluten” however.

In general, look for gluten look for wheat, rye, barley or oats.

If the ingredients list mentions any one of those- it has gluten.

gluten free ingredients label

Contains Gluten.

How Do I know if I’m Sensitive/Allergic to it?
(Gluten Intolerance Test)

While it is estimated that 1 in 10 people are gluten sensitive, unfortunately, there is no single test to diagnose people with the condition just yet.

Individuals with gluten sensitivity rarely test positive for celiac disease, so there really is no point undergoing a blood test.

Updated April 8 2013-

The best way to be certain is to get a Cyrex Gluten Screening. My friend, Michelle, recently found out that she has a “high-moderate” gluten intolerance and has eliminated gluten from her diet.

If you want to manually do it (in the long run- this might take more time and money than the Cyrex Screening)-

Typically gluten sensitivity is diagnosed through “gluten trialling” – a process involving consuming gluten and then observing for symptom onset.

  1. Eat gluten- see if you react negatively.
  2. Eat gluten again- see if you react negatively.
  3. Repeat.

If you are sensitive to gluten- most symptoms will usually appear immediately after consumption. Other symptoms (progressive fatigue, joint pain) may be slightly delayed.

A group of 15 renowned celiac disease researchers published a consensus opinion of the most common symptoms experienced by those with gluten sensitivity.

Since there’s not a set protocol for gluten trialling and the current tests are expensive, you might just want to follow a gluten-free diet and see how you feel.

Why Haven’t We Heard about this “Gluten Issue” Until Now?

That’s what I wondered.

Over the past 10,000 years the average human diet has evolved significantly.

Relatively speaking, our genetics haven’t however.

The diets of our ancestors followed contained very little wheat due to the labour intensive requirements to turn wheat/grain into bread. The industrial revolution allowed for wheat to be easily converted for the production of processed foods. Wheat began to take a significant stake in the average diet, with most people consuming wheat each day, in every meal.

In the 1990’s, the United States Department of Agriculture released the first food pyramid which depicted wheat based products (breads, pastas, cereals) at the base of the pyramid, suggesting these should make up the bulk of an individual’s daily food intake. Since this time, wheat has continued to rise in popularity and today is the most widely grown crop in America and the world. Biochemically, since the evolution of wheat, the gluten content found within wheat has progressively increased. Unfortunately for us, this has led to the significant increase in amount of “high gluten” foods that sit on grocery store shelves and at restaurants.

The wheat that is grown (manufactured) and eaten today is significantly different to the wheat eaten by our ancestors.

Most proponents of low-carbohydrate diets believe that humans WERE NEVER MEANT to consume the vast majority of toxic, gluten infested carbohydrates that are readily available and labelled as “food.”

As discussed in “Sugar Makes You Fat,” there are political reasons around the decades of non-vilification of carbohydrates. You can safely assume the same is true for gluten foods.

It’s possible that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has known about the side effects of gluten for years but hasn’t exactly been interested in informing the general public.

(remember- they knew smoking cause millions of deaths long before informing us)

America, especially fat America, runs on shitty, inexpensive, mass-produced, gluten-heavy carbohydrates. Literally.

Well, maybe not “runs,” since that is physical activity.

We can’t promise you a gluten-free lifestyle will solve all your problems (or any of them) it might be worth a try.

Two to four weeks. No gluten. Make CERTAIN you aren’t eating any hidden gluten. You’ll know FOR SURE if gluten was messing with your health.

Remember - gluten sensitivity goes beyond just “discomfort,” for 10%+ people it is literally toxic. They probably don’t even know it.

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Comments (18)

  1. Trzer

Well, I literally have almost every symptom at the top some day during the week, thank you for the article. Looks like I'll give it a shot for 2 weeks. The only problem is I'm trying to gain weight which will make this even harder. Do Mass...

Well, I literally have almost every symptom at the top some day during the week, thank you for the article. Looks like I'll give it a shot for 2 weeks. The only problem is I'm trying to gain weight which will make this even harder. Do Mass Gainers like "Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Gainer Vanilla" contain Gluten?

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Trzer

That's a good question. I'm not entirely sure. The Mass gainers tend to have more carbs, so the potential is higher... might want to google it. Let me know actually, im curious too

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  1. Trzer    Good Looking Loser

I did some research and some sources say it contains wheat, so I guess, yes it does contain gluten. I guess I'll just have to eat lots of nuts and drink some more milk to get the missing calories.

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  1. pogybendover

I can 100% vouch for this by real life experience

I've improved my asthma from Shortness of Breathe in winter to able to sprint in below 0 (degree C) environment
Autoimmune diseases such as asthma and eczema, or allergies, in my experience,...

I can 100% vouch for this by real life experience

I've improved my asthma from Shortness of Breathe in winter to able to sprint in below 0 (degree C) environment
Autoimmune diseases such as asthma and eczema, or allergies, in my experience, improves drastically once you kick gluten out of your daily consumption

I also notice that people have a fear that diet such as "paleo diet" is considered another "fad" diet, but honestly it boils down to eating REAL food, from better quality food source, limit processed food you consumed

I did however, incorporate this lifestyle at first, by kicking out ALL GLUTEN
It's not easy, but it's a step

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  1. Good Looking Loser    pogybendover

That's awesome man. I've heard it's super good for asthmatics actually.

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  1. Tom

I agree with this article, todays wheat isnt good for you in the long run. It has been hybridized and genetically modified into something wicked. Also the milled wheat is bleached. Its not a neutral food, it is a net negative food. Also, ...

I agree with this article, todays wheat isnt good for you in the long run. It has been hybridized and genetically modified into something wicked. Also the milled wheat is bleached. Its not a neutral food, it is a net negative food. Also, until 100 years ago, Rye was the stable grain in the European Diet. The reason wheat is so aggressively promoted by industry and government is because there is so much money in it. Think about it, something like Kelloggs is marking up stale grain by 10x for profit. So they have a vested interest. Also the government and medical industry see this bad habit of society as a cash cow! If your dumb enough to try and live on wheat, your brain will start shrinking, and so the government controls you, and the medical industry is waiting to rob you of your life savings.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Tom

Thanks Tom- I learned a little bit writing it (and reading it because I co-authored this article with a guy who has a masters in nutrition). I'm not a gluten expert by any means (as compared other stuff I know pretty well)... and you are correct-...

Thanks Tom- I learned a little bit writing it (and reading it because I co-authored this article with a guy who has a masters in nutrition). I'm not a gluten expert by any means (as compared other stuff I know pretty well)... and you are correct- low quality food ties back to $$$$

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  1. Jason~

Thanks, this post comes at just the right time for me. Had real bad stomach and breathing problems for nearly a year now. Had a blood test for celiac disease - negative.

But definitely notice an improvement when I eat less grains.

Starting a...

Thanks, this post comes at just the right time for me. Had real bad stomach and breathing problems for nearly a year now. Had a blood test for celiac disease - negative.

But definitely notice an improvement when I eat less grains.

Starting a two week gluten free diet tomorrow and see if it helps me.

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Jason~

Awesome Jason, please report back to us. Make sure you get rid of an "hidden' gluten that might be tucked into your diet.

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  1. Sam

Hi Chris I have problem with once I start eating organic gluten free food I am feeling much better. And for high protein I drink the high protein drink they have with veggie for energy I use chia seed on juice and yogurt. And drink warm water...

Hi Chris I have problem with once I start eating organic gluten free food I am feeling much better. And for high protein I drink the high protein drink they have with veggie for energy I use chia seed on juice and yogurt. And drink warm water with half of a lemon juice every morning first thing after I brush my teeth it helps cleans the liver

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  1. Good Looking Loser    Sam

thats interesting man, yeah those most sensitive will 'feel' the difference right away

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  1. G

What about oatmeal, should we stay away from it too?

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  1. Good Looking Loser    G

if you are trying to avoid gluten, make sure to grab a gluten-free oatmeal... i believe these exist

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  1. Sam

Yep I only use organic food from whole foods since then I feel much better

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  1. Jason~

OK. I've just done 33 days gluten free.

I'd say my breathing and stomach problems are about 80 per cent better.

For me, it's the difference between sleeping 8 hours a night and sleeping less than 6. (I used to wake up gasping for breath)



Rec...

OK. I've just done 33 days gluten free.

I'd say my breathing and stomach problems are about 80 per cent better.

For me, it's the difference between sleeping 8 hours a night and sleeping less than 6. (I used to wake up gasping for breath)



Recommend anyone with mystery illnesses to try this!

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  1. Jase

When I had back problems a couple of years ago, my chiropractor was adamant that I should try giving up gluten. At the time I was working at a bakery so there was no way that I was going to be able to do it.
I've just left the job, so now might...

When I had back problems a couple of years ago, my chiropractor was adamant that I should try giving up gluten. At the time I was working at a bakery so there was no way that I was going to be able to do it.
I've just left the job, so now might be a good time to see if it makes any difference. It seems SO hard though!

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