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I live in Southern CA, an environment where living a gluten-free lifestyle is something that many do; it’s very popular. I am acquainted with some who eat gluten-free when they are out with their friends. However, these same people indulge in gluten-laden foods when they are at home. There are also plenty of people in my life who suffer from Celiac Disease or who are gluten-sensitive.
In fact, I’m one of those people. For me, I try to steer clear of items with gluten, but not due to a gluten-sensitivity. Mine is a FODMAP sensitivity.
There’s so much information out there about what is and what is not good for you. It’s sometimes difficult to know who to trust when they make a recommendation.
We turned to Dr. John Douillard. He is the author of Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet. We wanted to find out what’s going on with the gluten-free industry.
We are in no way suggesting that gluten isn’t a problem for some people. Indeed, it can cause very serious issues. However, a lot of people jump onto new diet trends. Oftentimes, people eat gluten-free for weight loss rather than doing so because of a medical necessity. That’s not always a good idea and Dr. Douillard discusses why.
Five Facts We Haven’t Heard from The Gluten-Free Industry – a Guest Post By Dr. John Douillard
Gluten-free product sales are expected to be as high as 15.6 billion by the end of 2016. With 28 percent of Americans cutting back on bread, it seems a new dietary trend is upon us. Gluten-free is in and bread is out, but such dietary trends are often fads.
Take the cholesterol-free era, for example, which deemed cholesterol-rich foods as the cause of heart disease. Only to find out after almost 60 years and a massive dietary shift that cholesterol actually had little to do with heart disease. In fact, this January, cholesterol was finally taken off the nutrient concern list by the FDA. But this was not after some significant damage to human health that may be linked to the rise of gluten sensitivity today.
The shift from a diet rich in good fats to a diet devoid of them resulted in a global craving for a quicker, faster and more efficient delivery system of fuel for the body. The replacement fats were highly processed to extend their shelf life. Thus rendering them indigestible and undeliverable as a fuel supply. Cravings for energy were satisfied with more highly processed sugar-laden foods that left America craving the new kids on the block: comfort foods and fast foods.
Many of these foods were highly processed from wheat and corn that had been overeaten and coincidentally subsidized to be grown in excess for pennies on the dollar. These quick-energy foods would spike and crash blood sugars, unknowingly sowing the seeds for the epidemics we find today: uncontrollable cravings, obesity, diabetes, depression and cognitive decline.
Facts We Haven’t Heard from The Gluten-Free Industry
There are many more pieces to this puzzle, but there is no denying that major dietary shifts away from the foods that we have genetically adapted to eat can deliver unintended consequences. So, before we completely change our diet once again, let’s look at some of the facts that we haven’t heard from the gluten-free industry:
How long have people been eating wheat?
— The Awesome Muse (@theawesomemuse) May 5, 2017
Experts tells us that we have been only eating wheat for 10,000 years. That is not enough time for us to have genetically adapted to digesting it. New studies at the University of Utah have found evidence –from the teeth of early humans as far back as 3.4 million years ago – that glutinous grasses like wheat and barley were eaten as a significant part of their diet. This suggests that we actually have millions, not thousands, of years of genetics for digesting wheat.
What do we easily digest?
We are more genetically able to digest wheat than we can digest meat. According to the University of Utah study, the earliest definitive evidence that early humans hunted their own meat was 500,000 years ago, while we have been digesting wheat and gluten for more than 3 million years. Ironically, many gluten-sensitive individuals are shifting to a Paleo Diet that is much higher in meat – a food we may be less genetically adapted to digest.
How much wheat do we eat today vs. in the past?
In one report, published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, the average American ate 86 pounds more wheat flour in the year 1900 than they did in 2008. This suggests that the explosion of gluten sensitivity may not be due to gluten itself.
In another study, the ancient wheat, Kamut, was compared with modern wheat varieties. Kamut had twice as much gluten, but reduced inflammation two-fold compared to the modern wheat. In addition, the Kamut, with two times more gluten, also lowered cholesterol and blood sugar.
Studies suggest consumption of whole grains are linked to weight loss and other health benefits
There are also scores of studies that suggest increased consumption of whole grains and whole wheat are linked to weight loss, better blood sugar, better cardiovascular health, improved cognitive function, reduction of cancer risk and increased longevity.
Regardless, gluten has been deemed the new poison on the scene. Gluten sensitivity is real for many people, but are we certain gluten is the cause? Could it be the processed nature of the wheat we eat, a 60-year diet of processed fats and preservatives, overeating wheat, or a stressed and broken down digestive system that plagues most Americans?
Five Suggestions for Wheat Consumption
- Eat sourdough bread, which has been fermented. This can render the bread gluten-free.
- Make sure the ingredients of the bread you eat has only organic wheat, salt, water and a starter, with no added oils or sweeteners. If you do not recognize the ingredients, don’t eat them.
- Eat wheat in season – allowing more to be eaten in the fall and winter when it was originally harvested, and less in the spring and summer.
- Make sure it is organic. Pesticides and preservatives can damage the intestinal tract and set you up for weak digestion and intestinal inflammation.
- Try to eat your wheat in the middle of the day as part of your main meal. This is when digestion is strongest, so attempt to eat less wheat at night.
Before we convict a grain that has been eaten for millions of years, why not change the wheat we eat as the first step to re-booting and rejuvenating our broken-down digestive systems.
Before we convict a grain that has been eaten for millions of years, why not change the wheat we eat as the 1st step to re-booting & rejuvenating our broken-down digestive systems.Click to tweet
About Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP
Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP, is a globally recognized leader in the fields of natural health, Ayurveda and sports medicine. Over the past 30 years, he’s helped over 100,000 patients repair their digestive system and eat wheat and dairy again. He is the creator of LifeSpa.com and author of the book, Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet, releasing nationwide January 2017. For more information, please visit, www.eatwheatbook.com and connect with Dr. Douillard on Twitter, @johndouillard.
Further Reading about good nutrition:
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading about the Top 5 Benefits of a Low FODMAP diet.
You may also find Living Gluten-Free and Happy Through the Holidays helpful.
If you’re trying to give up sugar, you may enjoy: Breaking Up with Sugar: Top 10 Reasons to End Your Relationship.