Is Gluten Bad for You?
Interestingly, only an estimated 5 – 7 percent of the population has Celiac disease, but over 30 percent of adults avoid gluten actively based on their personal experiences. But some continue to ask, “is gluten bad for you?”.
The short answer is yes.
Why Is Gluten Bad For You? Points To Consider:
What is Gluten?
Gluten is actually the protein component of wheat, barley, and rye. When a wheat based product is digested, the body works to extract the gluten. It is also the protein that is responsible for the elasticity of dough.
One of the main reasons that gluten is bad for you stems from its components. Gluten is filled with lectins and phytates. These bind the minerals together, but it does not just bind the minerals together of the bread that you ate. It actually traps other food minerals as well, meaning that the meat on the sandwich you ate is not being absorbed as efficiently as it would have been if you had passed on the bread.
The book “7 Reasons why Gluten is Bad for You and Your Kids” describes gluten as sounding like glue for a very good reason: it clogs everything up and all kinds of good nutrients stick to it and get wasted.
Gluten has been linked so much to problems with gut irritation that it has even developed its own name: leaky gut syndrome. When overexposed to gluten, the gut lining starts to erode.
Additionally, gluten helps to create antibodies that secrete inflammatory chemicals that promote tissue damage throughout the stomach and intestine. If you’re under stress, the effects will only become worse as acid added to the mix only enhances the corrosion.
Ultimately, your body becomes less and less efficient about breaking down the nutrients into the necessary components. It also leads to the erosion and destruction of healthy intestinal flora, a necessary part of healthy living. If left unchecked, the gut irritation will spread along to your pancreas, liver, and gall bladder.
Because of the effect that gluten has on the body, your body has to create antibodies against it. This in turn creates inflammation and slows down the immune system. In fact, it can cause inflammation on any part of the body and any organ. Inflammation manifests in a number of ways. In some cases, it appears simply as a decreased efficiency while in others it develops chronic pain and disease like symptoms.
It should not be taken lightly either. The effects begin to work in conjunction with one another, making them far more severe than when they first started.
One of the biggest reasons that it is so hard for people to give up bread, pasta, and the like is because gluten is addictive. The opioid peptides in wheat create strong cravings that stimulate the palate and increase the urge to eat. When combined with MSG, it’s little wonder that people just have to have their pasta.
Cutting back on carbs can sometimes lead to symptoms that feel quite similar to withdrawal. Most of these effects pass on within the first few days to the first week, but they can be quite uncomfortable in the meantime. So make sure that you avoid gluten as much as you can, even if it claims that it’s actually in a supposed health food.
The added problem with gluten is that it causes drastic blood sugar spikes. All high glycemic carbohydrate foods cause this sort of problem. It in turn stimulates a heavy insulin response. Ultimately, this kind of response makes it difficult for your body to lose weight. The subsequent crash as the levels drop once more result in a significant loss of energy as well.
Although giving up gluten is not an easy task, the overall health benefits to doing so can be stunning.
“7 Reasons why Gluten is Bad for You and Your Kids,” The Raw Food Family, http://www.therawfoodfamily.com/7-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad-for-you-and-your-kids/# (2010).
“Recognizing Gluten Sensitivity: Inflammation,” Food Philosopher http://www.foodphilosopher.com/assets/docs/051907hnut.cfm.
“11 Ways Gluten and Wheat Can Damage Your Health,” Paleo Diet Lifestyle, http://paleodietlifestyle.com/11-ways-gluten-and-wheat-can-damage-your-health/ (2011).