Gluten Sensitivity is Real
Many of our members favor gluten-free diets and pride themselves on making informed choices regarding their health. It may be surprising to learn that there are still doctors and experts out there who believe gluten-sensitivity is isolated strictly to celiac patients (roughly 1% of the population).
Coop member, Lynda, told us in January how her doctor’s disregard for her gluten sensitivity left her bedridden and quite ill when she was prescribed pills packed in gluten. Stories like this are a big reason why we package all of our products in gluten-free veggie capsules, softgels, liquids, and powders.
Numerous studies show 6% or more of the population is sensitive to gluten or has related sensitivities such as:
- dermatitis herpetiformis
- allergies to wheat
- allergies to certain types of carbohydrates that can mix with water in the intestine and ferment, causing digestive problems.
A study published in the journal Gastroenterology Research and Practice notes that gluten-sensitivity is gaining in recognition, and has been associated with numerous other health issues including neuropsychiatric conditions involving mood, energy, and cognition.
Study after study keeps appearing with even small amounts of gluten in the diet disrupting digestive function in sensitive participants. One study published last September found that participants who self-identified as gluten sensitive showed dramatically more abdominal bloating and pain, foggy mind, depression, and canker sores compared to the placebo group.
The evidence clearly shows that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is real.
Going Gluten-Free May Not be for Everyone
Dr. Rodier recommends going gluten-free only for people with a proven sensitivity. He says, “It’s worth looking into the possibility that a patient with ANY health issue may have it. I do this with an elimination diet,” as blood testing and biopsies are not reliable. He recommends patients refrain from gluten for a month then slowly reincorporate it into the diet. If health issues resume with bringing gluten back then the patient will do better on a gluten free diet.
Gluten-Free Diet Tips
Some health experts voice concerns over lost vitamins and minerals from going gluten free. If you choose to go gluten-free, here are a few diet tips:
- Stick to a primarily fresh plant-based diet with some meat and fish if desired
- Shop in the produce aisle; avoid processed foods as they lack nutrients and may be cross-contaminated with wheat
- Replace wheat with whole grains such as rice, faro, quinoa, amaranth, and millet
- Take a daily multi-vitamin to continue to get enough vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats in the diet
Read Package Labels Carefully
If you do want to go gluten-free, make sure to check product labels to make sure they were not manufactured on the same equipment used to process wheat, which is commonly done with oats for example. Cross contamination in processing is a major issue for gluten sensitive people.
The FDA has standards defining gluten-free products as having less than 20 parts-per-million gluten, but does not require manufacturers to test their products. This rule also does not apply to restaurants. Manufacturers are not-required to use the gluten-free label if the product is gluten-free.
Our blog has an entire section devoted to gluten-free recipes. Some of our favorites include: