I've just read an article (photo here) that says you shouldn't stop eating gluten, because "You can actually make it harder for your body to digest gluten if you cut most of it from your diet without good reason”".
Is there any science behind this whatsoever? I don't understand how a magazine can publish such a statement without some science behind it.
Everything I've read up on about gluten lead me to believe even a small amount is really bad - and I didn't think the issue was in the process of digestion itself?
Interested to hear if you've seen any studies that might have lead to this statement.
This is just one of those cases where there's a bit of truth but it's used in the wrong way. If gluten is unavoidable in the diet, then you need to learn to live with it. You will experience (or at least perceive) more problems eating gluten after a long period without it than if you've been eating it regularly. But you need to weigh that against the risks of eating gluten regularly - which is why they slip the 'without good reason' clause in. Most people here have a pretty clear idea that there are many many good reasons even if you're not celiac so they're being disingenuous.
It's like saying you can see cars better from the middle of the road so you shouldn't walk on the sidewalk without good reason
It's really a matter of acute versus chronic inflammation. If you are constantly being exposed to gluten, your body is in a state of chronic inflammation. Therefore, you do not notice the same dose/response acute inflammatory response that you would when your body is not chronically inflamed.
So if you think it's better to be in a state of chronic inflammation all the time to aviod the occasional feeling of acute inflammation, then keep consuming gluten. I frankly do not think that is in my (or anyone's) best interest.
I know I've heard Robb Wolf say, in response to questions as to whether people should allow their young kids to have small amounts of gluten, that there simply is no such thing as building a resistance to it.
The same thing follows here -- gluten is bad is bad is bad. Period.
Given the amazing number of chronic symptoms that disappeared in my first 30 days off gluten, it's clear I was never "handling" gluten in the first place. As a young child, I had a constant runny nose and vague joint symptoms already so if we'd only known what that meant my life could have been much different.
What they SHOULD be saying is that parents should introduce foods carefully and be suspicious of any mild symptoms, particularly from grains.
That is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. The only reason to stay on gluten is if you think you might have celiac, you can't be (accurately) tested once you've been gluten free for more than a few weeks.
I travel a lot to places where food insecurity is a big problem. I'm fortunate in that it's in sub-Saharan Africa, and the staple foods are usually cornmeal, rice, or cassava. (Wheat is not good for me. Point made by my body in the first two weeks of paleo.) If you are going places where you will have to eat gluten for some reason, it might be a good idea to make sure your stomach can continue to handle them. In some ways, the notion that we can choose to avoid foods is a very Western one and an affluent Western one at that. In some places, people have to eat whatever is there. (srsly I am delighted that my hosts rely on these massive plates of cornmeal to keep them going...it's not the best thing for you but geez it's better for me than wheat globs.)
I think you build up a tolerance to it. Like those stories about taking a small amount of poison for a long time -to build up a tolerance to avoid being big-time poisoned. (Yes I am comparing Gluten to Poison).
In any case, before my doctor told me to go gluten free, I was eating toast every single morning (my whole life) and I never had digestive troubles -ever.
Now I can't even eat a dusting of gluten without serious GI issues. Makes sense when you think of the poison tolerance scenario.
Dangerous: Yes. Long term -underlying GI damage can lead to a host of issues. Short Term -ruins my evening out when I get poisoned and must spend the rest of the night at home in the restroom.
I don't know if there's been any actual studies on it for gluten, so it's just a theory. Plus it's probably fairly specific to individuals.
A possible example of something similar that they may be going off of for their theory is adult lactose-intolerance/lactase persistence . People digest milk ok in youth, they stop as an adult for a while. The enzymes for digesting down-regulate, and they have issues digesting milk as an adult. If they don't stop drinking milk, the enzymes are still around, and they don't have issues digesting it.