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Ask The Sage

what is gluten

October 1, 2013
Gluten is quite simply a protein found in wheat. It can helps give products made from it elasticity and the ability to rise. The final product usually results in a chewy texture.

Gluten is in the news a lot because of it's relationship with celiac disease and gluten intolerances. You probably see a lot of foods in the grocery store marketing “gluten free” products. Even though these foods do not contain wheat, they may contain processed rice or potato starches, which are not more healthy. For some reason, it has become popular to go “gluten free” as a way to avoid carbohydrates, whereas a diet with the correct amount of whole grains (as mentioned in my upcoming book The Slice Plan) is much healthier than one avoiding gluten altogether and substituting it for other more processed grains.

Gluten is made up of two things: glutenin and gliadin. Gliadins are immunoreactive, which means that if you have a sensitivity or allergy to this part of the gluten protein, your body reacts to it like a foreign intruder. If you have an Celiac Disease or an sensitivity, you may have adverse reactions such as abdominal discomfort and diarrhea, just to name a few.

The difference? The autoimmune disorder where the body reacts to gluten is known as Celiac Disease, which can result in major complications. This means you can not have any gluten. A gluten sensitivity simply means you may experience some discomfort, but only at certain times and with certain foods. A lot of the time people consume too many carbs, the wrong kind, or start a fiber regimen too harsh and too fast - this makes them think they have a gluten sensitivity. Self diagnosis is never a good thing as it can keep good nutrition from entering the body; avoiding gluten to avoid carbohydrate is not smart either as it may mean consuming more processed grains from other sources.

If you are experiencing symptoms, it's best to see a physician and contact me directly for a 1:1 consultation. I hope this information is useful!

Happy Eating!

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