I do not doubt that gluten is involved in both moderate and very serious health issues. Even though I have witnessed it many times from my own clinical practice, I still find it miraculous that it is possible to improve ones health dramatically by excluding one particular type of food from the diet.
With this article I want to guide you through the complex issue of ”gluten”, and hope that those of you who get ill from gluten find some of the answers you need to take the next step on the road towards a healthier life.
WHERE IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is to a varying degree in the cereals wheat, rye, barley, oat and spelt. These types of grain contain 3 macro nutritions, which are:
- The protein, called gluten. This is the part of the grain that gives bakery elasticity.
- The carbohydrate, which mainly is starch.
- Fat, in very small quantities.
The part of the grain which is carbohydrates and fat is tolerable to those who do not tolerate gluten. These three components in grain can be segregated and constitute 3 different types of food.
GLUTEN AND HEALTH
Those who suffer from celiac disease are intolerent to the protein gluten and can therefore not eat any of the above mentioned cererals without becoming very ill. Some may tolerate ”Glutenfree oat” which is purified oat. Those who suffer from celiac disease do tolerate on the other hand the starch in any types of grain, since starch is a carbohydrate.
Glutenfree types of food
Many glutenfree products are based on wheat starch, and are therefore very carbohydrate rich. When you read the declaration of content on types of food such as glutenfree pizza dough and glutenfree bread, you will see that the share of carbohydrates very often are very high. Very often considerable higher than for instance rye crisp bread, wheat bread and other products made of whole grains, where also the protein in the form of gluten is a part of the product. Such carbohydrate rich glutenfree types of food are not suited as a part of a low carbo diet.
Low carbo bread
Flour made of the protein in the grain is called gluten flour. Wheat is the flour often used to produce gluten flour. The wheat gluten flour has excellent baking qualities. Because of this, and the fact that it is without carbohydrates, makes gluten flour a much preferred ingredient in low carbo bread. On the declaration of content of this bread you will read ”gluten flour” or ”wheat gluten”, which is the same. If wheat protein is tolerated, such a bread can be a good choice for those who follow a low carbo diet as long as the bread is low on carbohydrates. On the other hand, if wheat protein is not tolerated, you need to be extra observant when you check the content of types of food which are supposed to represent a low carbo alternative to carbobhydrate rich types of food such as pasta, flour and bread.
Ill from wheat gluten or from gluten?
If we exclude those who suffer from celiac disease, I experience that most people have a tolerance for spelt, rye, barley and oat even though wheat is not tolerated. For most people it is sufficient to exclude wheat gluten from their diet, while the other types of grains containing gluten can be kept in the diet.
When it is wheat gluten that is not tolerated in the diet, it is not called gluten intolerance or gluten allergy since there is gluten in the other types of grains. Then one suffers from wheat protein intolerance.
I assume and suspect that all kinds of grains containing gluten will have an impact on the symptom picture with regard to autism and ADHD. I do not however posess the sufficient experience with regard to nutrition treatment of these types of conditions to claim a professional foundation for maintaining that this is the case.
It is also worth to mention that many people are troubled with flatulence when eating bakery, no matter what sort of grain, but tolerate spaghetti from wheat or spelt, and crisp bread of all sorts of grains. Then it is not the grains that cause the troubles, but the ingredients in the bakery. If you tolerate wheat spaghetti or crisp bread with wheat, you tolerate wheat.
My conclusion is that most people who experience a reaction when eating grains, can assume that it is only wheat or fresh bakery that provides the health issues. If there is a reaction from wheat, it can be caused by allergy or intolerance.
Wheat protein allergy
Some has wheat protein allergy, a condition that can be confirmed through a blood test. This condition is very rare, just like milk protein allergy is rare. The blood tests are not completely reliable, so the symptom picture has to be taken into consideration.
Wheat protein intolerance
Many people who experience that they react to wheat, do not get their reactions confirmed on tests for celiac disease and wheat protein allergy. Some choose still to exclude wheat or all kinds of grain containing gluten from their diet, and experience a completely improved health condition.
Even though wheat protein intolerance is not revealed through tests carried out by the civil health service, my experience tells me that for some people wheat provides symptoms of intolerence.
My experience with wheat protein intolerence is based on many hundred clients´ experiences with diets of exclusion and provocation. The conditions that can be improved based on my observations, often almost cured, by excluding wheat from the diet, is in particular:
- Fibromyalgia or equivalent pains in tissue and joints.
- Chron´s disease.
- Atopic syndrome (My concept. In this case it is about more than the wheat protein. I will return with a more whole treatment strategy for this condition later)
- Those who suffer from binding of fluid, independant of menstrual cycle. This binding of fluid also causes pain in the joints.
NB! Chron´s disease is a serious condition with inflammation in the intestinal wall. A change of diet shall not replace medication that prevents the disease to develop. If a change of diet improves the condition, your doctor will be able to give advice how you should relate to the change in your health condition.
To shoot sparrows with cannons
All stories about people who have become well from the above mentioned conditions on a low carbo diet, are mainly the stories of people who have exchanged the slices of wheat bread with eggs and bacon and the wheat pasta with fried vegetables. It is not the low carbo diet that has helped them to become well, but the exclusion of a type of food that made them ill. If they had not followed a low carbo diet, but only excluded wheat from their diet, many would have experienced the same result.
Only to exclude wheat, and have the opportunity to choose spelt, rye, oat and barley in the diet make the diet considerably more manageable to follow than to exclude the whole group of gluten. If one, different reasons, for a period of time wishes to exclude more types of grain, is another matter. To ”not want just now” is something completely different than ”not to tolerate forever”.
All food is good food
Some people tolerate a type of food that makes others ill. It is therefore not the type of food which is the problem, but the fact that we are not all equally resistant to some types of food. The body is intelligent, and knows how to tell when we do not tolerate a type of food. Then it gives us signals in the shape of symptoms, frequently in our digestive system, tissues, joints and skin. Our energy and mental capacity will as a rule be influenced.
If you feel well and quick it is probably because you tolerate the food you are eating. If you on the other hand are troubled with health issues you cannot find the reasons for, it can be worth to consider if the causes are food intolerence.
I wish you happy meals
and a good health!
Trine Dahlmo – Healthinspirer– NLP Coach Team AS