Is it just a trend or a more serious shift toward better understanding?
Just like disco was to the ‘70s, a gluten-free diet seems to be a sign of our times: a trendy cultural phenomenon thrust upon us like bell-bottoms and platform shoes. In fact, according to a recent study, about 1.6 million people follow a gluten-free diet now, even though they’ve never been diagnosed with celiac or gluten sensitivity. So, what’s the craze?
Well, from my research, there are several critical discoveries in the past several years that make a gluten-free diet look pretty appealing.
Paleolithic diet thinking: The paleo diet has gained enormous popularity and is based on the research and assumption that our prehistoric ancestors had the purest, healthiest diet in our human history, mainly because they only ate grass-fed meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and roots, things that could be eaten without any processing, namely wheat.1 Research also hints at the idea that prior to the agricultural boom (about 10,000 years ago that allowed us to begin to eat wheat products), we had no disease, and that most diseases could be traced to eating wheat. The research also suggests that because eating wheat is relatively new (we’ve only been digesting it for about 10,000 years, compared to the millions of years that we’ve been eating fruits and veggies!), our digestive tracts have not yet adapted to eating it. While the research and archeological discoveries on our prehistoric diets are still relatively new, paleo thinking is huge and may be a leading factor in favor of a gluten-free diet.
Celiac disease: Celiac disease is a genetic “immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.”2 If you are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance, eating gluten products can cause inflammation in the intestines, which then causes poor nutrient absorption. Studies show that there are increased numbers of individuals diagnosed with this gluten-intolerant disorder.
Wheat processing: One of the theories as to why increasing numbers of people are diagnosed with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is that wheat is processed differently than it was 50 years ago. In his book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, cardiologist and author William Davis writes, "Wheat has changed dramatically in the past 50 years under the influence of agricultural scientists who have genetically altered it beyond recognition with little or no questioning of whether these agricultural ‘evolutions’ are compatible with human health.”3 And while modern-day wheat, by definition, may not be “genetically modified,” it is hybridized (crossed with different strains to create new genes and new strains) and infused with chemicals that are toxic to humans.4
Whatever the case, it sounds really unhealthy for our bellies, and ultimately our overall well-being. And whether you recognize that you have a gluten sensitivity, have been diagnosed with celiac disease, or simply want to avoid wheat based on current research, a gluten-free diet might be the way to go, trendy or not. To learn more, we suggest reading Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health and The Paleo Solution, by Robb Wolf.
Hot news: Res-Q products are now gluten-free. Please feel free to ask our consultants about this latest improvement! 800-26-ALIVE.