Is Gluten Free for Everyone?
Gluten is a protein found in products made from wheat and other grains. In today’s food industry, gluten finds its way into practically everything. If you are eating something that tastes thick or chewy, then it probably contains gluten. Celiac disease is the unfortunate condition of being allergic to gluten. To lead normal digestive lives, people with celiac disease must eat completely gluten free.
But you may be able to benefit from a gluten-free diet, even if you don’t have celiac disease. This fact comes from a new study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Researchers took two groups of mice and fed them a diet high in fat. Both groups received an identical amount of calories daily. However, the diet for the first group of mice included gluten, while the second group of mice was gluten-free.
At the end of the study the gluten-free mice had retained less fat. The gluten-free group even showed better glucose sensitivity. This means that a gluten-free diet could have potential health benefits for everyone.
A previous study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology also showed the benefits of a gluten-free diet in people without celiac disease. Researchers took 34 patients with irritable bowel syndrome and broke them into two groups. The first group was allowed to eat gluten for six weeks, while the second group remained gluten-free.
It only took one week for the gluten group to report worsened symptoms. They reported more pain, bloating, and tiredness. The gluten group also reported - brace yourself - less satisfaction with the consistency of their stool. This is particularly upsetting. Life is too short to be disappointed with your poop.
The evidence is mounting. Gluten-free diets can improve the health of everyone, not just those with celiac disease. If you’re skeptical, I encourage you to try a few weeks eating gluten-free. Gluten awareness at grocery stores and restaurants has increased so much over the past few years that eating gluten-free is much easier than it once was. I bet you’ll feel better, perform better at the gym, and probably be more satisfied with life - including your bathroom breaks.
1. Soares, Fabiola et al. Gluten-free diet reduces adiposity, inflammation and insulin resistance associated with the induction of PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma expression. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. June 2013. Vol 24. Issue 6. p1105-1111
2. Biesiekierski, Jessica et al. Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 11 January 2011. doi:10.1038/ajg.2010.487
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