I am still not sure the jury is in on gluten being quite the absolute evil it is generally assumed to be in the paleosphere although I do agree we don't need grains, they are poor food sources compared to meat, fish, veg, roots etc and pretty much everyone is probably better off without gluten.
But.... I really, REALLY like a tiny (i.e. inch-square) piece of sourdough (usually rye) toast loaded with butter with my morning eggs. This is my ultimate paleo sticking point and why I can't really call myself primal/paleo though the rest of my diet is pretty clean. So my question is, if you are not celiac where gluten damages via an auto-immune response (been tested) have no autoimmune issues, have tried a gluten-free trial and felt no different without it or then re-introducing it, is any damage I am potentially causing via the gliadin/leaky gut hypothesis related to the dose of gluten I am ingesting?
I have read Chris Masterjohn, who I think is a pretty solid researcher, and I think, Stephan Guyenet, both state that there are no hard studies that prove gluten causes leaky gut however I have read enough about the possible effect on zonulin that in turn causes leaky gut to never eat much of the stuff again. But is a tiny amount (and, obsessive that I am, I've worked out it is probably only about 20mg of gluten at most!) Is this going to cause me leaky gut/arthritis/who-knows-what in the future - thoughts?
Obviously I realise there is no hard answer to this, it is my life and actually I feel the continued stress of wrestling over whether I should or should not be eating gluten is more likely to trigger ill health but I am open to opinion!
There is no evidence that gluten causes increased gut permeability in healthy people, just some speculation based on animal models and a letter from a journey about gliadin, not gluten. Do you given know that you have increased gut permeability? Studies show that a lot of conditions people here blame on it are not actually related to it.
You can go with the speculation based on animal models and stress out about it, or you can ask yourself if you are really showing any evidence of harm.
Gluten isn't evil. Only moral beings can be evil.
As an anecdotal answer, I can say that an isolated gluten off-plan food choice doesn't seem to wreak much havoc, but if I dare try to have a few in a row (like on vacation or something), then I'm in trouble. Like, tied-up-in-knots-can't-get-off-the-couch-trouble. I also sometimes get a fabulous case of joint inflammation. On vacation a few months ago, my jaw was so inflamed that my teeth didn't line up correctly. Yowza. Thankfully, I knew what it was and didn't go to the dentist where they would've done who-knows-what damage and probably diagnosed me with TMJ.
The thing that skeeves me out about gluten and such is that we don't get to control how it affects us. It may be intestinal, it may not. It could be neurological, it could go for our heart, our joints...such is the way of the immune response.
After following some of Kurt Harris's musings on the immune system, I think he's right that gluten itself is not evil. It's our immune response that is problematic. So you may just be one of the lucky ones who doesn't respond this way. In which case, I'd say, go for your morning toast!
But then...how do you know for sure? The neurological thing in particular really worries me.
I don't really know the answer to your question and I hope there will be some really really brainy people on this board that will answer it BUT
I do have a personal observation (recent) that I thought was very odd and interesting.
I follow a very strict Paleo except on some days (very very rarely, like once or twice per month) I allow myself a "cheat".
I am gluten intolerant and feel much much better after giving up gluten, although developed all kinds of other intolerances.
So, about a month or two ago I bought gluten-free chocolate ice-cream. I had a very very bad reaction after I ate it. I thought I would die. Really. I prayed the whole night that I would be okay in the morning. The pain was just agonizing and excruciating.
Then a week ago I bought an ice-cream (same brand) that clearly had gluten (it even stated that it has traces of gluten on the box). I knew I would get sick, and I expected the worse.
Yes, I had "glutened" reaction but it was very mild compared to the gluten-free version. So I am puzzled now. What is it about gluten-free ice-cream that makes me so sick? I bet the gluten-free version has more chemical additives so my body reacted so violently. Not sure.
So to answer your question - if you like it so much, go ahead and eat it, but I would not make it a regular habit. Not because it has gluten (and gluten is evil, it is true), not because it is Neolithic, but because it is processed and depleted on nutrients that your body so desperately needs. As Terry Wahls put it, "You need to realize that the only person your are cheating is yourself." If it makes you feel good - why deprive yourself?
My parents actually knew a person who was allergic to strawberries. Allergic to the point of developing severe asphyxiation caused by an asthma attack (or asthma-like symptoms). The problem was that person also loved strawberries. He knew that strawberries would put him on a brink of dying, yet he wanted them so much... he ate the whole plate. I remember he told my dad that he did not care if he die or not as long as he has some strawberries.
If you really love that bread, why deprive yourself? I'd say - give in your craving. You only live once. Enjoy.
P.S. If you were gluten intolerant or a celiac my answer would be different. But it is still would be your choice.
I think that if you're not one of the predisposed who make more zonulin then the dose will make the poison.
This small study suggests that there is some immune response in all people, but I would think a small piece of bread a day will be much easier to tolerate than a regular diet of pizza/cereal/pasta, etc
It is my understanding that if you have leaky gut, there is no safe or acceptable amount of gluten and that as long as you continue to have any kind of exposure you will never fully heal. Once it is healed, you may be able to tolerate small amounts sporadically.
If you do not have leaky gut or any kind of gluten sensitivity and you really love your little piece of toast every morning, chalk it up to your 20% and be done with it.
As someone with an autoimmune disease and leaky gut who LOVES rye toast with butter...I am jealous. But if you can handle it, good for you!
Sourdough is at least a far better cheat than modern "synthetic" bread with artificially increased amount of gluten. They use gluten for bulking, a "better" taste and texture.
Current science is not settled yet.
It is also possible that people without gluten sensitivity can well handle gluten. Nevertheless, gluten is a low budget source of proteins of questionable quality. Its up to you to.
Here is an article that might help you reconsider that sour dough bread-- http://towncenterwellness.com/announcements/dangers-of-wheat-germ-agglutinin-wga/
There's a podcast episode here "Detecting Gluten Sensitivity with Dr. Thomas O'Bryan 01/10 by Underground Wellness | Blog Talk Radio" where Dr. O'Bryan describes how a gluten sensitive nun, taking in a single wafer, got enough damage to her gut, to prevent it from healing, and how this wafer has something like 1/8th of the size of a fingernail's worth of gluten (or was it gliadin) in it, but it's enough to continue the damage.
It may well be dose dependent in non-sensitive people, but for those of us who are, it's very damaging stuff.
There may well be a few people out there with a genetic adaptation to grains that allows them to not be affected, but for the rest, it's toxic stuff.
My endocrinologist wants me to eat gluten. 14 Answers