November 2013 | Newsletter archives
The good life of living gluten-free
By Eva Cwynar
I often get asked whether a gluten-free diet is wise, especially given how many people have turned away from grains like wheat. However, the main nutrients in wheat, not to mention the fiber, come from its hard outer layer, called bran, and the germ, the inner part of a wheat kernel, both of which are removed when the grain is milled to produce white flour. This is what leads to the problem.
Wheat has gluten, a gluey protein substance that also occurs in cereal grains like rye, barley and corn. A little bit won’t harm most people, but most people ingest more than a little gluten every day. In fact, most of us aren’t even aware of how much wheat we eat every day.
Gluten sensitivity is categorized as stomach bloating and even depression, and can be brought on by regular eating. Cereal in the morning, a midmorning snack of pretzels, a lunch consisting of pizza, another snack of a crunchy granola bar, and then dinner of cold Chinese noodles and a spring roll. Let’s review: that’s wheat for breakfast, wheat for a snack, wheat for lunch, wheat for a late-day snack and then wheat for dinner. Can you say gluten overload?
The human body doesn’t really have the capability to digest this much gluten so gluten causes any number of problems from ear infections and stomachaches to common problems of gas and bloating, constipation and lethargy. Some people are truly allergic to gluten and suffer from what is known as celiac disease, a digestive disorder that interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food.
News flash: Although here are an increasing number of gluten-free products on the market, including gluten-free breads and pastas. It’s important to note that wheat free doesn’t always mean gluten-free. The product may still contain rye, barley or other ingredients that contain gluten. Many products that are labeled gluten-free can sometimes be higher in sugar, fat, calories and carbohydrates.
If you decide to live gluten-free, whether by choice or by necessity, you’ll probably feel much better, you’ll start losing weight, you’ll sleep better and your energy level will increase.
Read more in my book The Fatigue Solution.