To eat or not to eat gluten? The Internet is replete with articles taking both sides of the issue. Many articles insist that gluten is an evil ingredient one should avoid at all costs. Other articles speak of the splendid goodness of gluten. The comment sections of these articles rage in agreement or dispute. Then there are the doctors and dietitians who weigh in, only to be castigated by those who disagree with them and label them shills for various lobbying groups. So, how, in all this confusion, can one decipher the facts?
Who’s right who’s wrong
But what if both are wrong? Yes, there are some people who are allergic to gluten and therefore should not eat it. However, these people are quite rare. So for most of us, a gluten-free diet is not medically necessary. Yet there are multiple studies documenting improvements in patients who remove gluten from their diets.
The third alternative
So here is the truth about gluten. It’s difficult to digest if the digestive system is not up to par. The reason many people face problems with eating gluten is not because gluten is the culprit; the real problem is a weak digestive system. Gluten intolerance is a side effect of a weak digestive system, not the proximate cause of health problems. As discussed in Eat Wheat, by John Douillard, avoiding gluten rather than improving your digestive health is about as useful for your health as sweeping dirt under the fridge. It’s just a cover up of the problem, not a solution.
Moderation is Key
Another important thing to discuss is the value of moderation. Gluten is difficult to digest, especially at the quantities we over-consume it here in the US. There have been many studies showing the health benefits of eating gluten–but only in moderation. There is also a lot of info on the web regarding the dangers of cutting gluten out of your diet. And just like artificial sweeteners what companies use in replacement of gluten may not be healthy either.
A final note
To sum up, gluten sensitivity is most likely caused by a weak digestive system. The cause of weak digestion can be a myriad of things that should be evaluated by a medical practitioner. Although there are people with Celiac disease that cannot consume gluten. Check out this link to a podcast where a woman talks about what it is like to live with Celiac disease.
Coming soon: Tips to improving your bodies ability to absorb gluten.