By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S
Everywhere I go, I always hear “gluten this, gluten that, gluten, gluten, gluten.”
There is a “gluten free” craze going on in the health and nutrition field and people are really jumping on the bandwagon.
I want to discuss gluten in its entirety and I want to help all those who say they are gluten free but don’t even know what gluten is.
Let’s cover that first: what is gluten?
Gluten is literally just a protein compound found in most cereal grains (grains that come from grass).
The cereal grains are wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, oats, rye, and millet. These are all seeds of grasses. Currently, these grains represent 56% of the food calories consumed by humanity. (1)
These cereal grains were created to flourish and reproduce in cohort with grazing mammals. These mammals, like cows, have digestive organs to help process these grains to pass on into their manure, which leads to more grass grain growth.
Humans do not have the ability to process gluten and the other compounds properly except through fermentation and cooking outside the body first like with the making of beer.
Ok, this doesn’t mean you get to drink tons of beer now, but the grain is itself less toxic than other grain containing foods.
So, gluten is a compound found in wheat and some of the other cereal grains, and it is not digested or absorbed properly in the body.
The three main toxins found in wheat specifically are gluten, opioids, and wheat germ agglutinin.
Gluten is the one we are discussing here.
Gluten is in fact a toxin, because it is causing an inflammatory response in the digestive tract. The immune system helps clear gluten from the intestine, but in order to do this, inflammation occurs, thus causing a cascading effect of killing intestinal cells and leading to a leaky gut.
You must understand, the gut lining is only the thickness of our eyelid. You can imagine how a little inflammation can go a long way here.
In fact, about 83% of the population may have an inflammatory reaction to partially digested wheat gluten. (2)
Furthermore, with any level of high immune cell function in the body, autoimmune disease and related issues can occur. Some of you with hypothyroidism or other thyroid issues may have it because of gluten. (3)
Some of you are frustrated with a lack of progress and results in your fat loss journey especially because you are working out consistently and eating “healthy”.
Well, if you are having some hypothyroidism (a slowed metabolism), you can be eating the right portion of food and exercising but not seeing weight loss.
So look at some of the foods in your diet. If you have oatmeal, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and some of these other foods that have a mirage of “healthy” on them, you may be intolerant to the gluten and having some metabolic difficulty because of it.
Better sources of starchy carbs would be white rice (bran is removed so almost no gluten or other toxins present), any type of potato, and tapioca.
Also, if you really do want to enjoy some bread, then have some sprouted grain products like Ezekiel Bread or some other form of sprouted grain as this enables a breakdown of the gluten and other toxins present before eating it so your digestive system can handle the products better.
Lastly, it’s fine if you want to enjoy some good old pizza and burgers and other foods that have lots of wheat and grain based foods as long as it’s every once in awhile. When these foods become a staple of your diet is when all these bad effects can happen.
Hope you enjoyed this.
Please share if you feel like some other people would like to get more informed on gluten.
 Cordain L. Cereal grains: humanity’s double-edged sword. World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics1999;84:19–73, refs. 1 and 3.
 Bernardo D et al. Is gliadin really safe for non-coeliac individuals? Production of interleukin 15 in biopsy culture from non-coeliac individuals challenged with gliadin peptides. Gut 2007 Jun;56(6):889–90,http://pmid.us/17519496.
 Ch’ng CL et al. Celiac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease. Clinical Medicine & Research 2007 October; 5(3): 184–192, http://pmid.us/18056028. Naiyer AJ et al. Tissue transglutaminase antibodies in individuals with celiac disease bind to thyroid follicles and extracellular matrix and may contribute to thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid 2008 Nov;18(11):1171–8, http://pmid.us/19014325.
By Taylor Robbins, C.S.C.S