Is gluten bad?

There’s a lot of press around gluten, and many people are now avoiding it. Some writers have associated it with bloating, weight gain and ill health and none of us want those things! So surely, avoidance is best?

Not so fast…

There is clear evidence that gluten is very damaging to those who have Coeliac Disease. But there is no evidence that either gluten or grains are bad for the rest of us, despite books like ‘Grain Brain’.

So what does science show beyond doubt? (very little, actually).

It shows that high fibre diets, that include whole grains (and gluten) are very beneficial for health as they help ward of cancer and heart disease. Increasingly, it looks as though part of the reason is because they encourage beneficial microbiome (gut bacteria).

What about if you think you have a reaction to gluten?

Many experiments have been run on people who have a diagnosed gluten-intolerance, and when given gluten in random doses, they displayed no reaction to it. So it looks as though something else is going on, but what?

Firstly, any carbohydrate consumed in a large quantity will cause bloating, and as our portion sizes are now completely out of whack, it’s hard to know when to stop. We’re talking half a bagel, or one to two slices of bread (depending on the size of the slice and the loaf). That’s a serving, and some of us are feeling bloated because we’re eating too much.

Secondly, in some instances, the use of herbicides on the grain prior to harvesting (yes, this is common practice in some countries, especially America – where wheat is sprayed with Glyphosate a few days before harvest to make it easier because the wheat is already dying). These herbicides remain in the grain and do us no favours at all.

Thirdly, highly processed carbs don’t always sit well in the body.

Many people are fine with barley and oats – both whole grains that contain gluten.

It seems that the gluten itself isn’t a problem for most people, but some of the processing of the grain might be.

What suits your body?

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