I personally avoid eating gluten about 99% of the time and today I want to talk about why that is. To set the stage, I do not have celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease that is triggered by eating gluten. However, I have experimented over the past several years and have noticed that I feel the best when I avoid eating it, which is always how I decide which foods to incorporate into my diet. As a quick refresher, gluten is the general name used for proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. Beyond just feeling better, here are some other reasons why I choose to avoid it:
- You might be thinking ‘but aren’t whole grains supposed to be good for you?’. My answer to that is that the ‘wheat’ of today isn’t what it used to be.. it’s the product of 40 years of genetics research aimed at increasing yield-per-acre. The result is a product that hardly resembles what our ancestors ate. It’s highly processed with most nutritional value stripped away. This is why you hear some people say that they can go to a foreign country and eat wheat without any issues – it’s a totally different product.
- Wheat raises blood sugar higher than nearly all other foods, including table sugar and many candy bars and it’s never fun to go on a blood sugar ride! Related to that is the fact there is a protein unique to wheat that actually increases appetite and causes addiction-like behaviors.
- GUT issues such as inflammation which can lead to intestinal permeability (leaky gut), and damage to the gut biome (bacteria make-up of gut). While all of that may sound abstract it leads to symptoms such as diarrhea and/or constipation, heartburn, pain, bloating, etc.
- Brain symptoms. While most of the issues related to eating gluten can be tied back to the gut, the brain is another organ at risk. I’ve personally experienced brain fog and increased anxiety when I consume wheat.