If you're like me then you feel annoyed when somebody asks you to prove that gluten is harmful to the body. People will say things like, "I feel fine and I've been eating bread and pasta and cereal my whole life."
Anything short of a celiac diagnosis and people will defend gluten, literally to the death. Proponents of wheat-based products think that unless a physician examines their gastrointestinal track and records an acute autoimmune response to the gluten protein molecule, then they're safe to eat gluten until their heart's content...or at least until someone proves gluten causes ill effects in non-celiacs. They quickly dismiss your advice against gluten as silly, misguided or even offensive.
Paleo types tend to adopt a defensive stance in trying to prove that gluten can be harmful for all people regardless of celiac status. We scramble for links and studies that might expose gluten. Often these searches turn up nothing compelling enough to overturn hidden biases cleverly implanted by bread-makers, propagandists and spinsters who are allowed to make unjust claims on food packages that make people believe whole wheat bread reduces cholesterol, cancer or heart disease.
Most endocrinologists recommend whole wheat bread to their diabetic patients!
Well, is anybody out there getting sick of caving and scrambling for evidence that exposes gluten?
Would it be easier to reach people and more effective if we extract the bias and simply find out why they think bread or cereal is nutritious? Then deal head-on with each specific misconception about each purported benefit?
Let's say you own a self-proclaimed health store with jars and crates of gluten on the shelves.
Give me one reason to buy your product.
Celiac disease is estimated at 1% of the population. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity estimates range from 10-30%. One can have immunological reactions to gluten and not have symptoms. Gluten affects all organs and systems not just the gut. Most of my symptoms from gluten were neurological. Funny thing is my dog had problems similar to mine that cleared up with a gluten free diet.
Here is a nutrition data sheet on gluten http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/7738/1 Of course I don't know how available these nutrients are when ingested. Gluten is a large and difficult molecule to break apart. There are enzymes undergoing clinical trials that may help with this but will not take the place of the GF diet. There are papers that describe the pathway of the immunological reaction to gluten, but I don't think I have ever seen anything about the body using it in a positive way.
I have to be 100% GF and I never cheat because I never want to get that ill again.
The only benefit of regularly consuming gluten is that it allows you to continue regularly consuming gluten without apparent ill effect. Talk about a circular argument.
i tend to shrug and say, "gluten makes me feel like shit, and i feel great when i avoid it." thats usually enough to not only make people stop trying to convince me how impossible it is to live without bread. i mean, from that point on they just look like an asshole if they keep pressing the issue.
but, some people are assholes and they press the issue (like this guy im on a board with and when we met at a chinese restaurant and all i had was water who made every horrible caveman joke as he scarfed down his egg rolls) and that, my friend, is when i play my MS card. when i tell them that avoiding gluten has helped to keep my multiple sclerosis in remission, they tend to shut up with a quickness. its nice to have that one to lay down for them. im a big fan of publicly shaming someone who is overstepping their boundaries. plus, it makes an impression that sticks with them, perhaps plants a seed to look at their own dietary behavior.
as far as health benefits of gluten.......i cant imagine there would be one. its just some little protein molecule, right?
I honestly don't have a gluten allergy or even an issue with dairy. My husband does! BUT I believe their are no nutritional benefits to consuming ANY grains. I can tell you since going Paleo my body has never looked better. I was a lot more bloated (especially in my face) and now I look healthy and lean. My husband suffers from psoriasis and used to suffer from IBS. Since going Paleo, IBS is gone and his psoriasis is clearing up! If he went to a dermatologist they would try and argue that it has nothing to do with nutrition, when in fact he is proving it does! Dr.'s want to put you on medication for your issues because it makes THEM lots of money. As long as people are sick, healthcare prevails! If everyone starting turning to nutritional healing, they would really start to panic!
I prefer to get all of my protein from animals. No beans, quinoa, ect. for me. I feed myself the best (remember people in 3rd world countries live on rice and beans!) and as a result I feel the best, I thrive!
Chris Masterjohn on How to Properly Interpret Ex Vivo Studies -- Gluten and Leaky Gut As an Example:
Consequently, neither Dr. Fasano's most recent study showing that non-celiac gluten-sensitive patients do not have leaky gut nor the double-blind controlled trial showing that gluten does not cause leaky gut in non-celiac gluten-sensitive patients rule out the possibility that there is some subset of non-celiac subjects, somewhere on the face of the earth, perhaps autistics, perhaps not, who actually do respond to gluten by developing leaky guts. But to my knowledge there is no solid evidence of this and if anyone knows of some, again, please post it in the comments.
The health benefit of gluten is you can eat foods with gluten. This might not seem like a health benefit to a lot of paleo hackers but chronically denying yourself food can have many negative health effects.
I personally eat sourdough wheat bread and have no problem with gluten(though sourdough does have low to no gluten depending on the fermentation process). My quality of life is a lot better not fearing gluten.
I follow this board and don't really consume much gluten (because I'm VLC/pretty darn paleo) but I don't actively go out of my way to avoid it. I don't believe I have any noticeable negative reactions to it, so I honestly need to be convinced that it's harmful to those of us without celiac disease or other issues that are blatantly affected by gluten consumption. I have tried to follow the anti-gluten arguments but there doesn't seem to be any solid proof that those of us who eat the way I do and occasionally consume gluten are really negatively affected by it.
Oh and while we're at it, what's the story with someone who eats low carb paleo and consumes items like seitan (vital wheat gluten) once in a while? I feel great when I eat this way, I really need to be convinced that I'm somehow destroying my body by ingesting gluten.
Not all of us who are not jumping on the anti-gluten bandwagon are SAD followers/uneducated lowfat dieters/Western medicine zombies, we just need some real convincing evidence.
I found an article on Livestrong that's promoting seitan, and the best the author could come up with was that gluten is high in protein, and is a source of calcium (a whole 4% RDA per 1/4 cup serving, wow), and iron (9% per 1/4 cup serving).
So, if I were a health store that had jars and crates of gluten on the shelves (as per your question), I would be touting it as an excellent replacement for meat (23 grams of protein per 1/4 cup) and totally ignore that all protein is not equal.
Granted, I didn't look hard, but I suspect that if there were any real health benefits to gluten that Livestrong would certainly be a place to find out about them.
Really though, when people are defending gluten, it's generally because they know that you're cutting out the bulk of available grains- not because you're cutting out gluten itself. If they sold a gluten free wheat, rye, and barley, most people wouldn't care if you cut out gluten. Most understand that there are non-gluten containing grains, but don't seem to actually know anything about them. Those who aren't nutrition geeks seem to think of any non-wheat/rye/barley/oat grain much as they do white rice. Harmless but not nutritious.
Imo let people do what they wanna do. Feel free to give people the info you have against gluten but don't force it on them and remember it's their life they can make there own decisions.
For all we know gluten isn't that bad if you don't have gut problems, doesn't mean we have to do it but if others want to that's their choice.
Some people believe it doesnt seem to bother them taking in gluten products, others have issues but just choose to blame other things for those issues.
Frankly I've tired of trying to defend myself and my decision, I now just tell people it was the right decision for me and my GI issues and that usually shuts them up.
People who don't want to get rid of their grains or buy into SAD are very defensive and won't change unless they choose to.
When I was pregnant, gluten-containing foods were the only thing that helped my appetite during the first trimester. If I ate bread, I could manage to choke down some other food along with it. If I didn't, I couldn't eat.
Given that I lost 15lbs during the first trimester even with that, it was kind of important.
It wasn't just the carbs - I tried other grains without the same effect.
I can't say for certain that it wasn't a placebo effect, but I've seen others who are otherwise totally onboard with being gluten-free report similar in situations involving severe nausea.
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