Many people nowadays are aware that Gluten can pose a problem for their digestive systems. There are different types of gluten responses, such as Celiac disease, which affects approximately 1% of the population, and gluten sensitivity, which affects approximately 10% of the population. And the variety of such responses keeps growing! Moreover, these statistics are not even especially accurate, as the clinical tests from which they are concluded do not recognise all the peptides that cause immune reactions, meaning that the number of people who are sensitive to gluten is generally higher than the amount officially reported. You can read more about Gluten here: https://liverighteu.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/is-gluten-really-the-bad-guy-for-everyone/
What I really want to stress today, is that you should not follow a gluten-free diet (GFD) blindly. While the GFD is a trend of the moment and many people are trying to follow it under the conviction that it is beneficial for their health, we nevertheless all need to be careful and think a little more before cutting gluten out of our lives completely. The GFD may also have its dark side, full of cautions and warnings, with studies suggesting that it increases the risk of inflammation and mortality (1). How is this possible?
First of all, when people sensitive to gluten eat out, it appears that, in spite of all precautions, they nonetheless expose themselves to gluten. According to research (2) gluten can be detected in 32% of GF labelled foods, with 53.3% of GF pizza and 50.8% of GF labelled pasta testing positive for gluten. These findings demonstrate that EATING GF OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE IS SIMPLY NOT SAFE AND DEFINITELY NOT RELIABLE.
Secondly, commercially available GF products are merely examples of fashionable processed food. These products often lack vital micronutrients and are full of additives, emulsifiers and other toxic reagents. In fact, often the GF products available in supermarkets contain the following ingredients that actively contribute to leaky gut and inflammation: corn, soy, industrial plant oils high in Omega-6 and sugar. Therefore, a GFD BASED ON COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE! It does not support the healing process in the body, creating, instead, further nutritional imbalance and malnourishment.
Research also shows that a prolonged GFD changes the microbiome, modifies its composition and the immune properties of the gut microbiota, causing dysbiosis and further inflammation (3). Therefore, a GFD CAN NEGATIVELY IMPACT OUR GUT HEALTH. Knowing the well-established connection between the microbiome and mental health, it is understandable why many people with Celiac disease also develop psychiatric diagnoses. Studies show that 57% of Celiac patients also experience up to 4 different mental conditions (4).
The bottom line is that a GFD has to be carefully planned and done properly. It should be based on home-made, good quality and varied products. Very often people on a GFD start to eat very repetitive meals with high amounts of certain types of nuts and seeds, products that can also cause sensitivity if eaten in excessive quantities. Any processed food, including food labelled “gluten-free”, should be avoided and the most important thing is that a GFD must be considered as a temporary solution, while bringing your body back into balance. This can be achieved by healing the gut, restoring the microbiome and improving the immune system.
With these thoughts in mind, I wish you an October full of healthy living and lots of delicious home-made food adorning your table!