Should you cut out gluten?

Should you cut out gluten?

A gluten free diet may be one of the biggest health trends recently. However, there seems to be confusion over whether gluten is problematic for everyone or just those with specific medical issues. Many suggest that everyone should follow a gluten free diet. This has led people to cut out gluten in order to lose weight, feel more energized and become healthier.

I often get questions about gluten.  I recommend that all of my clients discover if they have a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, either by elimination and reintroduction or a blood test.  If you find you do have a sensitivity, it is best to avoid it completely. If you are not sensitive, feel free to enjoy it occasionally. However, be aware that it is best for all of us to reduce our gluten intake as much as possible.

The History

The reason for this is the hybridization of wheat that has occurred over the past few centuries.  This has changed the composition, and therefore the effects of gluten on our bodies. The gluten we eat now is very different from what was grown a hundred years ago. Today’s gluten can be much more inflammatory.  This is why some people do better with heritage grains like Einkorn.

Food Alternatives

There are plenty of healthy gluten free grains to enjoy, including brown or wild rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet.  Oats are also naturally gluten free, but can be contaminated due to processing in facilities that share glutinous grains. Therefore, it’s best to buy oats marked gluten free if you have a sensitivity.

One important mistake to avoid is assuming that a product marked “gluten free” is healthy.  There are many highly processed gluten free foods that are refined, nutrient deficient and inflammatory.  Always read labels and choose the least processed foods.