IS GLUTEN THE DIETARY DEMON many today think it is? If you eat cheeseburgers or French fries all the time or drink six sodas a day, you likely know you are shortening your life. But eating a nice dark, crunchy slice of whole wheat bread–how could that be bad for you? Well, bread contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Clearly, gluten is a staple of the American diet. What most people don’t know is that gluten can cause serious health complications for many. You may be at risk even if you don’t have full blown celiac disease.
In my most recent appearance on the Dr. Oz Show I explained why gluten is a problem for up to 20 million Americans, even though 99 percent of those affected don’t realize it. Interested in learning more about gluten, its effects, why so many are sensitive, and how to determine if you have a problem? Check out my interview with Dr. Oz and then use the resources below for further study.
The Dangers of Gluten
A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer.
This study looked at almost 30,000 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy). To get the full story and learn about the results of this study, see my most recent blog on gluten.
How Do I Know if I Have a Problem?
The wonderful thing about gluten sensitivity is that is a completely curable problem. The answer? Just stay off gluten or eat it in limited quantities.
But how do you know if you’re sensitive in the first place? You can go to a functional medicine or integrative health practitioner and get expensive IgG antibody tests done to identify whether or not this protein is a problem for you. For some this kind of testing may be useful. However, for the majority of people interested in identifying gluten sensitivity, there is an easier and less expensive way. It’s called an elimination diet, and it’s simple. All you have to do is eliminate gluten from your diet for two to six weeks. If you lose weight and your symptoms (even vague symptoms like nasal congestion, joint pain, and digestive problems) disappear, it’s likely gluten is a problem for you. To verify this finding, all you have to do is reintroduce gluten into your diet systematically. If your symptoms reappear, you’ve verified that you have a gluten sensitivity.
The Gluten-Elimination Diet
For a complete six-week, gluten-free meal plan simply enter your name and email address below. When you do, you will automatically be subscribed to my weekly newsletter and you will receive a free copy of The UltraMind 6-Week Meal Plan–a gluten-free way of eating designed to optimize your mind and body and help you lose weight and feel great.