What effects does gluten have on my health?
Gluten is a protein that is found in certain grains, wheat, rye and barley. A certain percentage of the population is Celiac, they are allergic to the gluten protein, however many more of us find we have lesser reactions. Gluten can cause a huge amount of inflammation in the gut, which leads to bloating and poor digestion.
A healthy gut is essential for us to be able to absorb key minerals and vitamins.
It does sound a bit of a challenge initially as gluten is in so many comfort foods and forms the staple of our western diet. If you eliminate it from your diet for a few weeks then you may discover that your health is very much better and you can then decide whether you would benefit from either reducing it or even cutting gluten out.
A study taken from 1969 to 2008 looked at deaths in almost 30,000 patients. The study looked at three categories.
1. Those with a full celiac disease.
2. Those with inflammation but not full-blown celiac disease.
3. A group who were gluten sensitive – they had elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy)
The findings were startling.
In group one, the section with celiac disease, there was a 39 % increased risk of death.
With group 2 there was a 72% increased risk of death with those who had gut inflammation related to gluten.
Group 3, the ones with no celiac disease showed a 35% increased risk.
The study shows that you don’t have to have a full-blown celiac disease to have serious health problems created by eating gluten.
In the UK there has been a 400% increase in celiac disease in the last 20 years. Yes, a 400% increase, just think about it for a moment, if this happened with heart disease there would be an absolute uproar.
Many cases go undiagnosed and although only 0.25% of the population are listed it is believed that 1% have full-blown celiac. This is only the tip of the iceberg though as the numbers with lesser symptoms may affect a third of us.
Gluten intolerance causes an autoimmune response that creates inflammation within the body which can affect the organs and digestive system. It has been linked to many chronic diseases including irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, fatigue even rheumatoid arthritis. Not all cases of these diseases are gluten related but it is worth noting that the links have been made and if you have any of these symptoms you should ask your doctor if avoiding gluten would be of benefit to you.
You might ask yourself why gluten is still in our staple diet when it has a potential for such problems. One of the reasons that gluten intolerance has increased over the last 40 years is the fact that the strains of wheat grown have been modified to include more gluten. The western world likes light fluffy bread and gluten is the key to those pockets of air.
SHOULD YOU ELIMINATE GLUTEN?
If you have bloat, wind or sensitivity then it is definitely worth trying to eliminate gluten for 2 – 4 weeks to see if you feel better. Also if you have general aches and tiredness or suffer from any of the conditions mentioned.
HOW DO I ELIMINATE GLUTEN FROM MY DIET?
The only way is to cut it out totally from your diet, even the tiniest amount can have an effect.
www.celiac.com gives a full list of foods that you should cut out, here are the main culprits.
Barley, oats (unless gluten-free) wheat, spelt & rye.
Check for hidden gluten in soups, salad dressings, supplements.
All our products are gluten-free and always have been, Protein Smoothie was created to be a gluten-free snack that would keep you full for the times that you couldn’t get a gluten-free snack.
You do have to remove gluten totally from your diet to see if it helps you to feel healthier, 2 weeks should give you a good indication. I really hope this article helps if you are considering removing gluten from your diet. Doing so has drastically changed my health, I am no longer doubled up with cramps come the afternoon. Staying well is very much a priority for me, I desperately don’t want my mothers death to be in vain and I know that she would not want me to suffer in the same way or want her grandchildren to endure the heartbreak that we had when she died far too young, with so much still to do.
Do you find that you suffer from bloating, how does gluten affect you?
We’d love to hear from you, please share this post and any tips that you might have.