There has been much said about Gluten Free diets. Before you write it all off as just another “hype” we are going to help you understand the truth behind what the experts and many featured news shows say a great health choice. This diet works.
For the skeptics, read this blog and make a more informed decision about whether you would benefit from no more gluten.
Food is a Drug
Before we start with gluten, we will first discuss an important component of nutrition. Food is a drug. That’s right; a drug is defined as a chemical that can make us change the way we think, feel, or act, then food is definitely a drug. Don’t believe us? Just consider the first time you ate sugar.
The old way of thinking of food as a social experience and a pleasurable one is not right and might do more harm than good. Eating food is a battle. Every time you eat, a war in your gut ensues. What you eat makes a great impact in who the winner is of each battle.
The job of the gastrointestinal tract is to rip, tear, and chemically break down the food you eat into smaller parts so that it can be absorbed and used to make proteins, carbs, fats, hormones, and other key elements necessary for your body. The job of the gut is to create vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for absorption. This is done through the use of mechanical shredding (teeth), chemical acids, and digestive enzymes whose main purpose is to break food components down. Realize that some foods have the ability to fight back. Many foods are resistant to human digestion (such as beans). Some foods can inhibit the release of enzymes, some have elements that make them hard to break down. Some foods simply don’t get along with the chemical composition of our body, and the outcome of eating them is an immune response that can damage the gut.
Negative effects of food:
There are so many reactions people can have to food, a few are listed here:
1. Acute allergy
Some reactions are obvious, acute, and the effects can be immediate such as peanut anaphylaxis (swollen lips, hives, airway constriction) is quite obvious. This is what we would typically refer to as an acute allergy.
2. Delayed Allergy (hypersensitivity)
Some food induce immune reactions are delayed. These reactions are not quite so obvious or immediate. They are called delayed hypersensitivity reactions. These foods reactions can cause chronic inflammation. The damage of this inflammation can build over time causing a breakdown in your GI tract – also called leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Additionally, these types of food reactions can trigger a process called molecular mimicry and lead to autoimmune disease.
Food sensitivity reactions are less well defined. Many believe these to be reactions caused by a different part of the immune system than delayed allergies. This is thought to be one of the main culprits behind gluten sensitivity reactions.
Food intolerance is loosely defined as the inability to appropriately digest a particular food; the most common example is dairy. Many lack the enzyme to break down the sugar in dairy called lactose. This can cause excessive gas, bloating, and even gut dysbiosis (an imbalance in the type of bacteria that live in your gut). Intolerance symptoms are typically doses dependent. So the more you eat, the worse you might feel.
Our society and culture places the importance of food has been minimized by the plethora of misinformation and marketing hype. We are told to eat a balanced diet without being told what exactly a “balanced diet” is.
We have been conditioned to believe that the onslaught of pizza, cake, fast foods, genetically modified foods, and soda, are all “just fine” and don’t have anything to do with health and disease – we can eat it so long as we work out or some such nonsense. The problem with this lie is that unhealthy foods do affect our health in a drastic way and why America is one of the sickest countries in the world. Food has everything to do with the development of diseases.
With all that said, Gluten can cause Universal Inflammation…
Gluten sensitivity is a very real condition. Many are under the impression that when the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten which leads to a difficulty in disgusting food – or celiac disease – is the worst indicator of gluten sensitivity. This is not true. There are over 200 medical conditions that gluten can cause or contribute to. Celiac is just one outcome of many possible outcomes. The diagram below illustrates some common disease outcomes of gluten ingestion over time (not all but a few):
…and Destroy Muscle
In more than decade of treating patients and dealing with the consequences of gluten, one of the most common side effects gluten causes is inflammation in the muscle and joints. The protein creates an inflammatory reaction in the tissues that over time leads to many negative outcomes:
- Muscle pain
- Muscle atrophy/loss
- Joint pain and arthritis
- Weight gain (increase in visceral fat – AKA belly fat!)
- Weight loss (not the good kind – due to muscle loss)
- Restricted mobility
- Increased risk for injury in those trying to exercise
The way muscle atrophy is affected by gluten is in two primary ways:
- Inflammation – Gluten can cause the immune system to literally attack the muscle and joints leading to chronic pain and inflammation. A prolonged immune system attack contributes to chronic degradation of tissues and subsequently muscle atrophy and joint arthritis.
- Hormone Release – in order to deal with this chronic damage, the body produces cortisol as an anti-inflammatory hormone. The diagram provided shows how cortisol leads to increased visceral fat (belly fat) and so on:
If you would like to begin eating right and learning the right “balanced diet,” make a Wellness Consultation with us today! We will walk with you step-by-step to achieve all of your health goals but you have to make the decision and that first step.
Tags: Allergies, Digestive Problems, Gluten Sensitivity, Health and Wellness, Healthy Living, Hormone Health, Hormone Imbalance, Houston Health and Wellness Center, Joint Pain, Muscle Pain, Nutrition, Nutritional Levels, Obesity, Overweight, Wellness Consultations