Should Everyone Be Gluten-Free?

Over the last few years, gluten has pretty much become one of the most controversial topics ever, hasn't it? Some people are gluten-free, and insist their kids are too. Other people think the anti-gluten movement is a complete overreaction. Want to know what I think? Then read on!


What is gluten?

First, I think it will help to start with a quick refresher. What is gluten, other than apparently the devil in food form?

Well, despite the fact that it's found in wheat, it isn't a carb. It's a protein in wheat. But just because it's a protein doesn't mean it's good! In fact, there are some people who have celiac disease, which you're probably familiar with. Celiac disease is basically an allergy to gluten.

So, for people with celiac autoimmune issues, gluten actually damages their small intestine. Yeccch!

Is gluten bad?

Now you may be wondering, is gluten bad for people WITHOUT celiac disease? Well, studies have shown that some people are sensitive to gluten, even if they don't have celiac disease. As in, even if you don't have celiac disease, gluten could still inflame your gut. This is called "non-celiac gluten sensitivity."

Let's actually take a look at one of these studies. This particular study I'm about to explain to you was published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Researcher Antonio Di Sabatino took tens of patients who thought they had issues with gluten, but were proven to not have celiac disease. He put all of these people on a gluten-free diet for one week, and then put half of the patients back on gluten, and made the other half think they were back on gluten using a placebo (rice starch).

So to clarify, these people were off gluten for a week, then HALF of them were back on and half of them were still off. That means, if these people really had issues with gluten despite not having celiac disease, then you should see the gluten group having bad symptoms and the placebo group not.

And that is exactly what happened!! It turned out, these patients weren't just making up their gluten problems. The patients who were put back on gluten reported worse brain fog, bloating and stomach pain than the people in the placebo group.

What does all this mean?

Well, the way I would interpret that data is…even if you don't have celiac disease, there is a case to be made for the DANGERS of gluten sensitivity. It does appear to cause gut inflammation in some individuals

So removing gluten from your diet — at least just to see what happens and how you feel — is a great idea.

Annnd sure……a lot of people will say that gluten isn't dangerous if you don't have celiac disease or other wheat sensitivities. But my logic is, how are you supposed to know whether or not you have those sensitivities, if you never try cutting gluten out of your diet?

There's nothing bad that can happen from eliminating gluten. So why not try it?

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