Kiwi Magazine recently asked me a few questions about the pros and cons of going gluten-free. Is it right for you?
We’ve been seeing a growing trend of people observing “Wheatless Wednesdays,” meaning they don’t eat wheat on Wednesdays. (Also, restaurants may offer a special gluten-free menu on these days.) Is this something you’ve noticed and/or support?
There is a growing number of people who have decided to eliminate gluten from their diet due to various health reasons, including gluten intolerance, leaky gut syndrome and thyroid disease. The problem with “Wheatless Wednesday” is the benefits of eliminating gluten can only happen if gluten and wheat are eliminated for a long period of time, not off and on.
Are there any health benefits to going gluten-free only one day a week? If so, what would those be?
No, going gluten free is a lifestyle that is typically adopted with a major health concern; it is not a trend. The only benefits to eliminating gluten off and on would be if the processed wheat gluten containing flour is replaced with more vegetables, not another high carbohydrate gluten free flour, typically made from rice, potatoes or corn. Gluten free packaged foods are still processed and in some cases they can contribute to weight gain.
Many people talk about the health benefits to being gluten-free, even if you don’t have celiac disease. Even if giving up wheat one day a week is not going to help you see these benefits, could it at least be a good place to start?
Instead of giving up wheat only one day per week, I would recommend eliminating it for 1-2 weeks, and reintroduce it to see if any negative symptoms appear. If there is no difference in the way you feel then gluten intolerance may not be a health concern. The best way to truly see if you are intolerant is to get food intolerance testing done. I.e. food antibody testing is a blood test that shows common food intolerance reactions.
Can you just give a few reasons that people who don’t have celiac may want to give up wheat?
Some research shows that eliminating gluten can improve thyroid function, reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, and from a weight management perspective, eliminating gluten and replacing it with more vegetables and fruits can help reduce body fat.
Are you concerned about the amount of GMO wheat that is grown in the USA? How do you think this might be contributing to health problems?
The amount of GMO is thought to be the root problem of gluten intolerance, it’s not the wheat, it’s how the wheat is produced that is the problem. Although the long-term effects of GMO have not yet been fully discovered, health related issues like gluten intolerance has increased since GMO have taken over our mainstream food processing practices.
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