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So how's this gluten thing playing out? Photo: Shutterstock

So how’s this gluten thing playing out? Photo: Shutterstock


The Inertia

I used to make jokes about how horrible it would be to have to be “gluten-free.” I have always loved all things gluten, and thought that most people (unless allergic) were silly for not eating it.

Many people will eat or not eat whatever someone says for the quick route to getting skinny and/or healthy, thus the transcendence and continuance of fad diets. Gluten has been popularized almost as “kryptonite,” comparable to how most people avoided all fat in the ’90s.

But gluten may actually just be proving to act like kryptonite (poison) to many people. Dr. Mark Hyman shared The Journal of the American Medical Association’s study from 1969-2008, and the findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.

Dr. Hyman says, “This is ground-breaking research that proves you don’t have to have full-blown celiac disease to have serious health problems and complications–even death–from eating gluten. Yet an estimated 99% of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their ill health or symptoms to other things–not gluten sensitivity, which is 100 percent curable.”

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Symptoms can express as inflammation, headaches, stomach aches, canker sores, anxiety, depression, any number of auto-immune issues like psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases like autism.

So can these things be possibly managed and eradicated by simply eliminating gluten from the diet? My answer is yes and the chances are more than fair.

However, gluten, unlike many other allergies or sensitivities, must be absolutely and completely removed from the diet for a significant amount of time before a change is noticed. Gluten sneakily hides in foods such as soy sauce, oatmeal, soups and even ice cream. This means a lot of research and vigilant adherence to asking questions and reading labels. It can be exhausting; I know because I am now one of those “gluten-free” people.

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So how do you know if you are one of those people? The Institute of Integrative Nutrition suggests removing gluten for two weeks to see if you notice a difference. When one introduces it back into the diet, usually the reaction is very apparent.

For some people it is a more difficult diagnosis. I have to admit, I did the removal test twice and there wasn’t a notable difference. Then I got a saliva test showing that I had a genetic marker for Celiac, even though I do not have the actual disease. Only because I did not want to get Celiac did I stop eating gluten. It took about two months, but I started noticing a huge difference: less joint pain, less brain fog… it literally felt like a cloud was lifted.

I’m not saying eliminating gluten will be the panacea for all your health problems, but I’m not saying that it won’t either. It’s worth at least the two week elimination test for the possible removal of seemingly random and unrelated symptoms.

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