There is a debate raging right now over whether gluten free is beneficial or not. People are choosing sides on the gluten free debate saying that it’s just another fad that food companies are capitalizing on. Of course if you’re a celiac there is no debate, you just flat out can’t have it. The doctor who is credited with starting the gluten free craze, Peter Gibson, reversed himself on Good Morning America last week. Now he’s saying that after additional research people who are responding to a gluten free diet may in fact be sensitive to the complex sugars instead of the gluten itself.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other grains. For some people that protein triggers the immune system to attack the body and prevents the absorption of vital nutrients. It can also cause extreme discomfort. This reaction is known as Celiac’s disease. The gluten free craze was kicked off due to hypothesis that while the immune system of most people don’t respond to gluten they may have a sensitivity causing discomfort and excess weight. The benefits of being gluten free have been listed as weight loss, lower blood sugar, reversing insulin resistance, and calming abdominal discomfort. Some other theories tossed around is that wheat and other grains aren’t really meant to be processed by the body, at least not in the processed form it’s found in today. The way it’s processed today allows for the massive production of wheat in industrialized countries. If you look at non-industrialized countries wheat isn’t as big a staple.
The book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis lays out some compelling arguments for giving up wheat and gluten. The primary reason being based on the fact that it’s a high glycemic food, meaning it raises the blood sugar levels very high. The elevated sugar levels, by his explanation, are leading to insulin resistance and eventually obesity and type II diabetes. The connection the book is making may not be wrong, so what’s with the shocking and sudden reversal on going gluten free? Really, what’s the harm in not having gluten?
First Dr. Gibson explains that if people are just going gluten free without the benefit of physician care they may be missing the real cause of their problem thus prolonging a proper diagnosis. Second, others feel a gluten free diet is depriving the body of vital nutrients. However, there are no vitamins and minerals found in wheat that are not found in other foods.
As for me, I did go gluten free a little over two months ago. I do have IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, that I control primarily through diet, exercise and very little medication (only when needed). I was also experiencing a lot of random bloating. I removed gluten from my diet and had some weight loss, but I believe primarily because I was eating lower-calories foods. I did experience great relief in my bloating and abdominal discomfort.
No one knows for sure. Do the research and talk to your physician to decide what’s best for you. Like, share and comment below. Do you believe it’s fact, faction or just another fad with some truth and some falsehoods? We want to hear from you!
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