Are you wondering why so many people are going gluten free?
Why there are special sections of the grocery store allocated to gluten free? or
Why most new age restaurants offer a lot of GF items on their menu? and Why now?
Let’s go back a few steps and nut out what even is Wheat and Gluten and how they are different.
Wheat is a grass widely cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain which is a worldwide staple food.
Gluten refers to a group of proteins called Prolamins that are found inside those seeds or cereal grains (wheat, barley, rye). Gluten is the magic ingredients that gives bread that delicious stretchy ability and also why a lot of gluten free breads and wraps fall apart easily (fellow Gluten Free friends will know what I’m talking about). Gluten makes up about 75-85% of the total protein in wheat. Gluten free foods will always be free of wheat but wheat free foods won’t necessarily be free of gluten.
I am led to believe that the wheat that is consumed in today’s western diet is far different from the wheat that that was consumed decades ago. A man by the name of Norman Borlaug won a Nobel Peace Prize for his creation of high-yielding short-strawed, disease-resistant Wheat also referred to as Dwarf Wheat. Norman had good intentions and his goal was to create new cereal strains in order to feed the hungry people of the world. This new breed of wheat was now extremely hardy, weather resistant, pest resistant and grows a starchy kernel. Dwarf Wheat is high in Amylopectin A (super starch) which is why bread in fact has a higher Glycemic Index than sugar! As this particular starch has been bred (excuse the pun ;)), it has more genes, more proteins, more gluten which therefore makes it more inflammatory than typical wheat. To make matters worse they then preserve the wheat in Calcium Propionate which is a preservative that keeps the flour fresh and is strongly linked to Autism/ADD and behavioral issues as it is a neurotoxin. This has been proven through animal studies when they inject an animal with Calcium Propionate they show Autistic tendencies almost instantaneously.
Part of the problem however is in the way that it is harvested, the majority of wheat that is used for food production in the country is sprayed with Glyphosate (Round Up) to make the harvesting process easier. This very ingredient has been shown when consumed over a longer period of time to cause cancer and a whole host of health issues.
It is not only the type of wheat or the way it is sprayed that is the problem it is also the over use of wheat and gluten as a food additive which has increased three-fold in the last 15 years. For those that currently are on a gluten free/wheat free diet or shop for someone who is will realize pretty quickly when actually reviewing labels that it is in EVERYTHING used often to preserve or thicken.
Further to this Gluten has been linked to damage the gut through the protein Zonulin that modulates the permeability of tight junctions between cells of the wall of the digestive tract leading to intestinal permeability or you may have heard it referred to as ‘Leaky Gut’ (something I unfortunately know a lot about). Leaky Gut is where you no longer have tight junctions between the intestinal mucousal cells which now allow proteins such as gluten, undigested food, and pathogens and other nutrients and waste into your blood stream causing many auto immune conditions, bloating, gas, food sensitivities, aches and pains and much more.
The bigger picture is that our gut isn’t as strong as it used be, making us more susceptible to things like Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity because gluten followed closely by casein in dairy is a difficult protein to digest. However we are constantly living with so many health issues on a daily basis which we are becoming more susceptible too because of our weakened gut health and therefore weakened immunity. The increasing decline in gut health is due to many reasons but some common ones include;
- Eating far less plants than our ancestors
- Increased use of antibiotics which wipe out good bacteria and bad in the gut
- The rise in Caesarian deliveries, which bypass the mother’s usual transfer of bacteria to the baby
- The fact that we are too clean, which theorizes that our immune systems don’t develop properly anymore because our super-clean homes don’t give them enough early exercise
- The over consumption of processed foods
- Bugs and pathogens in our drinking water
- Daily stress
- Poor sleep hygiene and the list goes on
Research has shown that there has been an increase in Celiac Disease in the last 50 years by a massive 400%. Something to consider alongside this interesting statistic is to be properly diagnosed as a celiac you need to be eating a full gluten diet which a lot of people are choosing not to do because they know it makes them sick. This however is the key to having enough gluten in your system for an accurate diagnosis. It is also important to consider the fact that being a celiac doesn’t necessarily show in just digestive symptoms it can show up in your body in different way such as regular headaches, fatigue or brain fog. It is important to make a proactive decision to be tested if you do have any family history or suspect that something else may be at play.
The biggest take away I want you to grasp is that gut health is EVERYTHING. Ensuring you look after your gut really is the key to optimal health. I will be sharing much more about gut health so stay tuned to keep your pipes clean and healthy.
So there you have it, that’s my educated view point on why we are seeing so much more gluten sensitivity. Get in touch if you learnt something new or enjoyed this article till next time.
I am passionate about sharing my health journey in the hope it will help others improve their health. Instead of taking 10 years like it did to me it is accessible now! I have a bachelor of Public Health with Majors of Nutrition and Health Promotion. I will soon be undertaking an Integrative Health Practitioner Certification.