What’s The Deal With Gluten

by Monday, July 25, 2016

Gluten.  It is a hot button topic in the health, wellness and food world.  I bet you know at least one person in your life who is now “gluten-free”…I know a few…and they suuuure do love to talk about it!  I mean, Domino’s Pizza,    D o m i n o ‘ s….now serves gluten free pizza.  And you can basically get gluten-free anything at almost every supermarket.

It has become such a thing the past couple of years that it is now sort of like the new fad diet- the new trend that people are falling in line with- but do we all know what the benefit of a gluten-free diet is and if it will change anything for us at all?  Do we need to go gluten-free?  Or is this a weird fad with no real longevity?

gluten-intolerance

Well lets start with the most basic question: What Is Gluten?

Do you know what it is?  What exact foods it is found in?  I would suspect MOST people aren’t too sure….they just know it is supposed to be “bad”.  If you haven’t already seen this AMAZINGLY hilarious Jimmy Kimmel video asking pedestrians what gluten is, watch it now!  You will thank me later.

Ok back on topic now…Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye and barely- it gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and keep its shape. To get all science-y on you: it is a protein made of a combination of gliadin and glutenin, which are joined with starch in various grains and grain products.  Items that gluten is commonly found in are:

  • Breads
  • Bakes goods
  • Beer
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Some salad dressings, sauces and soups (often as a thickening agent)
  • Wheat-sourced vodka and other liquor (yea, I know..its even in your cocktail!

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Wheat products are everywhere- they are a huge part of peoples diet across the world.  But some people have intolerances and sensitivities to gluten, the most major intolerance is experienced by those with Celiac Disease.  

What is Celiac Disease?  It is an autoimmune digestive ailment, and those who suffer from it must avoid foods containing gluten—if they don’t, their immune systems respond to the gluten protein by damaging the small intestine.  The damage caused by gluten in these cases can cause a destroyed intestinal lining; this causes nutrients to not be absorbed into the blood stream, which in turn results in severe malnourishment.  Other symptoms of Celiac Disease are extreme digestive discomfort, indigestion, cramping and VERY frequent bathroom trips.  Sounds like the worst thing ever if you ask me!  Celiac Disease is serious- more serious that the common “I ate too much pasta and now my stomach hurts” thing- it can have devastating long term affects if not taken care of.

Over 2 million people in the United States are affected by Celiac disease (about 1 in every 133 people) so it is common but not SO common where three of your friends will have it, know what I mean?

Other people suffer from gluten intolerance and sensitivities which are different from Celiac in that these are not immune diseases. The symptoms of gluten intolerance and sensitivity appear after eating wheat or any foods containing gluten and result in an upset stomach, cramping and (again) frequent bathroom trips.  Basically gluten makes you feel like literal shit, and super bloated if you have an intolerance.

A gluten sensitivity, which isn’t very severe, and more of just a general discomfort, is most common in the US-affecting approx 18 million people.  Now thats a lot of people.

Still, gluten sensitivities and intolerances DON’T affect everyone right?  Well some people beg to differ- some think that cutting out gluten can change the way your body feels and functions…that it will generally make you feel better every day if you say bye-bye to the wheat protein.

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Gluten Free As a Way to Loose Weight?

Like I said above, some people believe that cutting out gluten can benefit anyone- which is basically why this whole gluten-free craze started I think.  The “diet” has caught on with non-sufferers who think cutting out gluten will help them eat better or lose weight.  Which isn’t wrong…but is it completely right?

First of all- a food billed as “gluten-free” isn’t always healthier. Gluten-free products can be high in calories, fat, and carbs, and in some cases, people who go gluten-free actually gain weight instead of losing it.  But those people are probably doing it wrong!  If you go gluten-free, that doesn’t give you free reign to eat your weight in snack treats and breads touting a sans gluten label.  

I would think that if you “go gluten-free” the right way, you’ll be mostly crunching on the antioxidant & vitamin rich veggies and fresh fruits, instead of reaching for a gluten packed, processed baked whatever.  You’ll fill up on healthy proteins, salads, quinoa and veggies instead of a bread-dense sandwich or fattening pasta dishes.

So what’s the real deal?  Can it help all of us, sensitivity or not?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


I am going to go gluten-free for the next month (or more depending on what happens!) and find out for myself if its just a bunch of hype….or the real deal.


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For me- I really want to see how my body feels off of gluten.  I do have a sensitive stomach, so I am curious to see if cutting out gluten does anything to change that….

I don’t eat that much gluten anyway, but I do love it.  I have bran cereal most mornings, or as an afternoon snack, and I certainly love a piece of toast with brunch!  I also have a love affair with pretzels -salty, crunchy snacks and I are just meant to be- so I will have to sadly eliminate those little loves.  I don’t like beer, thank god wine is already gluten free! Ha! 

Some of the recipes I make use flour, so I will have to use oat flour instead, or just omit the flour…but other than those things, I think it will be pretty easy.  I will read labels and make sure I am doing it right.

I will be your guinea pig.  I will do weekly check-ins to let you know how it is all going- what I feel like, how my stomach feels, what I am eating in place of the gluten etc…I want to get to the bottom of this and make an educated decision on the topic via my own experiences.

WISH ME LUCK!  I may need it

XO Katrina

 

4 Responses
  • A Chaos Fairy
    July 25, 2016

    Good luck! Will be interested in seeing how it comes out ( But, if it ain’t broke…LOL) Re: gluten senstivity–I thought it was just a silly fad diet, too, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I always kinda laugh at those fad diets that come around (like Atkins and Paleo), even though I’ve been a vegetarian since ’91, so I should be more sympathic, instead of mockingly skeptical. But I kept having these episodes where I would get REALLY sick. Like, scary sick. thought it was just random bouts of food poisoning. I kept going to doctors, clinics, and once I even went to the emergency room for what I thought was a really severe case of food poisoning. Finally, on my own, I decided to do some elimination diets–cut out dairy and wheat, then added them back in. Turns out, I probably have a gluten sensitivity–of which conclusion my doctor supports ( I checked in with them). And, no more extreme symptoms. Some other minor stuff cleared up, as well, after eliminating gluten.

    • fitkatadmin
      July 25, 2016

      Wow! Well that is great that you figured it out-I know that can be so time consuming and frustrating! I’m excited to see what happens with me, I’m hoping I feel some changes! Weill keep you posted here every Monday!

  • Lita
    August 4, 2016

    I keep finding myself wondering the same thing as you, Kat…”would it benefit everyone in some way to ditch the gluten??” My husband was recently diagnosed with Celiacs disease after suffering a life of its devastating effects and never having any answers. Bottom line for Celiacs is that undiagnosed it can ultimately result in other serious life threatening autoimmune disorders like MS and ALS as well as different forms of lymphomas. If it wasn’t for all the “trendy” people out there driving demand for GF products, people with true Celiacs would have much less access to tasty GF staples like flours/pastas/breads and even most canned foods which should be naturally GF (like beans and legumes) but instead get exposed to cross contamination through manufacturing processes.

    Anyway, back to my point – since I now must cook GF for my husband, I am mainly ditching the gluten for myself and wondering if it will result in any positive results. Like you, I work hard at my fitness and health and I maintain a healthy weight and a clean(ish) eating style. I’ve found that cooking GF is really very simple. In our kitchen it just boiled down to throwing away our wheat flours and pastas and stocking the kitchen with GF versions as well as GF canned foods/condiments. I can cook all the things we normally eat including breaded fried foods (chicken fried chicken breast and even chiles rellenos!) as well as tasty flourless desert treats when we need a sweet indulgence.

    Good luck with your new experiment! I’ll be looking forward to reading your updates. 🙂

    • fitkatadmin
      September 2, 2016

      I finished my month of being gluten-free and I will be posting my personal conclusion on Monday!
      Thanks for reading 🙂

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