Giving Up Gluten?

What is gluten?  According to Dr. Sheila Crowe, Director of Research in the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of California, San Diego, it is a protein that is found in wheat.  Rye and barley have similar types of protein but they are not the same. 

The Rich and Famous Are Doing It

It appears that going off gluten is becoming popular with the stars as well. For example, Gwyneth Paltrow is not eating gluten which means she is avoiding pasta, bread, cookies and more.  It is often surprising to people just how often gluten appears in food – such as a huge variety of condiments. 

While some swear that avoiding this protein is great for your waistline since it is said to cause hormonal imbalances and thus increase cravings, others dismiss the notion.  Besides, cutting gluten out of the diet runs the risk of causing other deficiencies as well.

Who Should Go Gluten-Free?

For sure if one is diagnosed as a celiac they immediately have to remove all traces of gluten from their diet.  Otherwise it is treated as a toxin and the body goes into attack mode, damaging the small intestine which can cause nausea, vomiting and severe abdominal pain, as well as headaches, neurological problems and skin rashes.  Currently about 1 percent of people are affected by this disease but since statistics show that rates are doubling every 15 years, it is definitely a matter that needs to be understood on a deeper level.  The reason that has been given for this epidemic is the new grains that are being grown in America which are richer in gluten.

Who Should Stay with Gluten?

If your physician has done tests to rule out gluten sensitivity and celiac, you shouldn’t give up gluten as you could miss out – unnecessarily – on vital nutrients like Vitamin B, fiber, iron and zinc. For those who want to lose weight, quitting gluten is not the answer as there has been no scientific evidence to prove that it helps.