Okay, I'm about to embark on some tricky territory here. I feel like this whole gluten free thing has just really gotten out of hand and it's time to give you guys some food for thought.
I want to start off by saying two things: 1) If you have celiac or an intolerance diagnosed by your doctor and it's medically necessary for you to avoid gluten, then you can pretty much disregard this post. Keep avoiding the gluten like your doctor has instructed you and 2) celiac disease and gluten intolerances are definitely NOT the same thing. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where your intestines literally start to attack themselves every time you eat gluten. It's not fun, and even using a knife that has touched gluten can cause someone with this disease to get sick. If you think you have celiac it's not okay to self diagnose. You need to go to a doctor and get checked out. It's not smart to go gluten free before getting tested for celiac because your doctor needs to see if your body produces antibodies from the gluten you eat and look for intestinal damage. So, please… go get checked out if you think you have this BEFORE you start avoiding gluten. Even if you think you have an intolerance, you really should talk to your doctor. Don't try to self diagnose.
So, I knew the second Miley Cyrus showed up on social media 10-15 pounds thinner claiming giving up gluten was the secret that we were going to see a huge surplus in the gluten free trend. Of course this wrecking ball licking son of a gun knows what she's talking about, right?! Kidding. But seriously, avoiding gluten has become SO trendy and cool. I know, I know… you suffer from gas, bloat, and other intestinal issues, right? I'm no doctor, but I will say that in my profession when people have gas, bloat and intestinal issues it is by far the HARDEST thing to try to pinpoint the cause. I would love to tell you that gluten is to blame, it would make my life so much easier… but the truth is even stress and things completely unrelated to your diet can cause intestinal issues.
I was in the avoiding gluten boat once. I was sure that it was the cause of all my gut problems. No way was it the miscarriage I suffered, the stress of my demanding internship, balancing out being a wife and a student, studying for the most important exam of my life… nope, definitely the gluten. Wellp, I'll be the first to admit it, I was wrong. Since then I'm happy to say that I figured out how to take better care of my body (gluten included) and my intestinal issues have become a thing of the past. Now, I'm not saying that every intestinal issue isn't gluten… I'm just saying maybe you should dig a little deeper before you start blaming it all on gluten and cutting it out of your life like a scorned lover.
In my opinion, gluten has gotten a bad wrap. It's become known as "that one thing that makes you fat" and people think by avoiding gluten they'll lose weight. Yes, there is gluten in cake, pasta, bread and cookies so if you cut those out you may see some weight loss… but you could get the same effect just by cutting down on them. However, those gluten free brownies and cookies you've been eating…. hate to break it to you, but they're probably packing more sugar and fat in them than the real things. Gluten acts like glue and helps hold your food together. When gluten is removed they add fat and sugar to help the food maintain its shape. Is your mind blown?! Mine was.
Now let me persuade you with some science. There have been multiple studies going on looking at gluten free diets and it's affects on gut bacteria. A 2012 review in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) showed that a gluten free diet has no benefit and can even harm gut health in people without celiac disease or an intolerance. They're not the only ones to say that either. There was a 2009 study done in which the British Journal of Nutrition reported the same thing. There's other studies showing yet again, the same thing. On top of that, missing out on gluten can mean that you're also missing out on fiber, B Vitamins, and even iron. There's still research that needs to be done before there's really anything set in stone on this issue… but I'm just pointing out that just because Dr. Oz says something is great, doesn't mean you have to believe him. Other doctors are disagreeing with him… it's okay for you to do the same.
Lets recap. I'm not saying gluten free is bad for everyone… but I'm definitely saying it's not necessary for everyone either. I guess really what I'm saying is that if you want to lose weight there's a healthy way to do it, with gluten included (providing you don't have to avoid gluten for medical reasons). I'm also saying that if you're having gut issues maybe you need to take a look at your stress levels, your sleeping patterns, supplements you're taking, and overall lifestyle. Start there, don't start with the gluten. If you have questions or you think you might truly have an intolerance, email me! I'll be happy to help you through the next steps on figuring all of that out.
Don't be mad at me guys. I don't want to crush your gluten free dreams… I just want to give you some things to think about.
Until next time!