Now that the holidays are over, I started my New Year food challenge this month to avoid gluten.
My body needs to recuperate after eating tons and tons of pastries, childhood foods and bread. Now, I know you may be thinking, "I don't have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance so this doesn't apply to me."
I do not have Celiac disease. That does NOT mean gluten won't affect me or you. Gluten can still affect inflammation in your body even if you do not have an autoimmune disease or gluten intolerance. To an extent, almost everyone has a level of gluten sensitivity, it's just that it is often ignored or goes unnoticed.
I want to start with the basics first. What is gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins found most commonly in grains like wheat, barley, rye and spelt. The most common proteins in gluten are glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is believed to be the problematic one. Another protein, that is not as abundant in gluten but also has a major negative effect, is amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs). I'll revisit this later in the article.
When flour mixes with water, the glue-like texture that occurs as a result is where the name gluten comes from. Below are some common foods that typically include gluten:
- Cakes, cookies and pastries
- Salad dressing
- Chicken Broth
- Veggie Burgers
The next time you are at the grocery store, look at the label or list of ingredients on the package.
Gluten is known to cause inflammation. There have been many studies on this topic, and I have listed some below that I believe are relevant to discuss.
There was a unique study done in Denmark to determine whether a gluten-heavy diet was worse than a low-gluten diet. A group of healthy adults (meaning no known disorders or diseases) were put in either diet group and then monitored after the food trial ended. The results favored those who were on a low gluten diet. The theory is that lowering their gluten intake altered the bacteria in their gut also known as their gut microbiome. Overall, those in the low gluten diet group had less gastrointestinal discomfort, lost a few pounds and had reported a reduction in bloating.
In layman's terms, gluten can cause inflammation in the gut...but it won't stop there.
Many doctors and scientists believe that inflammation in your joints can worsen with a high gluten diet. There is quite an overlap of people who have rheumatoid arthritis and eventually develop Celiac disease. As you know, there is no cure for arthritis or Celiac disease. However, patients have noticed their joint pain has decreased when they stopped gluten or reduced gluten substantially.
Another interesting study is regarding ATIs (amylase-trypsin inhibitors). This group of protein in gluten can cause inflammation in the gut as well as spread to other parts of your body. Not only do ATIs cause inflammation in your stomach, kidney, brain and other organs, but they may also worsen the condition of people who already suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, to name a few.
I know it's hard to get rid of all gluten in your diet...it's a staple in American cuisine and it tastes delicious; however, try to substitute when you can. And make sure you're taking a joint relief product or a turmeric supplement like our potent Turmeric Gold to help reduce the inflammation.