Welcome back to the Functional Cure blog. I really need to think of a better name for this than that, well that’s a problem for another day. Today on the blog I wanted to go into another diet that is getting a lot of airtime lately, being gluten free. Why do people search out gluten free options at restaurants? What does it help with? What are glutens and where do they live? We’ll cover all that and more!
What is ‘Gluten?’
Gluten is a protein found in wheat and other similar grains. It gives dough elasticity, which enables it to rise and keep a shape, and further the chewy texture of foods like cookies. Essentially it is what allows grains to be turned into all those baked goods we know and have become addicted to.
Why Would You Avoid Gluten?
A few reasons someone might avoid gluten. They may suffer from Celiac disease, have a sensitivity to gluten, or a wheat allergy. All of which are irritated by the ingesting of glutens. 1-2% of the population has Celiac, while up to 10% suffer from some form of gluten sensitivity. What all of this means, basically, is that when gluten is ingested by those who suffer from any of these illnesses, their immune systems react as if they were being threatened by some foreign body. This leads to symptoms afflicting the digestive system but also other parts of the body, such as headaches, fatigue, or many others. Ever feel completely sapped of energy after a big meal of breads or pastas?
Finding Gluten Free Diet
When it comes to going gluten free, the dividing line between approved and avoid foods is simple. If it has gluten, it should be cut out. Simple. The diet will consist of eggs, meats, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts as well as most dairy. The key foods to avoid are wheat, barley, rye, many kinds of flour. This leads to many foods being restricted such as beer, bread, cereals, fries, pastas. A staggeringly substantial number of the SAD features gluten based foods and unless the food in question is explicitly ‘gluten-free’ then you will want to avoid it.
Notice something familiar about this diet? That’s right, it is similar to the paleo diet we discussed previously. It seems clear that as the research develops, and the science of food becomes more advanced, we are seeing the problems an over reliance on grains in our diets can have on our bodies. While some folks never experience the symptoms of Celiac or have a sensitivity, it is clear our bodies have a natural preference for the nutrients we feed it. How’s that for food for thought? We’ll see you next time on the blog!