Is the Gluten Free Fad Just a Fad, or an Important Part of a Healthy Gastrointestinal System?

by Kylie Smart

Having a Gluten Free Diet is definitely the ‘in thing’ right now, it is now common to see restaurants and cafés advertising their Gluten Free options, even country bakeries are stocking Gluten Free breads!

But the question is why all of a sudden is Gluten a problem? Our parents grew up eating white bread and they are fine? Right???

There are two answers to this question, and I’m sure it is a combination of both that is the answer. But before I get there let’s look at what Gluten actually is and what the difference is between Gluten Intolerance and Coeliac Disease.

What is Gluten?
gluten1Gluten is a protein carbohydrate mixture* found in wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats.

What is the Difference Between Gluten Intolerance & Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune (the immune system attacks itself) inflammatory disease affecting the small intestine**. The protein gliadin# found in gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction which kills the mucous membrane of the villi in the small intestine**. The mucous membrane is where most of our nutrients are absorbed, therefore damage to them can cause a range of secondary conditions including diarrhoea, flatulence, abdominal distension (bloating) or in more severe cases, failure to thrive, muscle wasting, stunting of growth, anaemia, bone disorders, neurological symptoms, fertility problems**#, chronic fatigue, general weakness, muscle or joint pain, depression & dermatitis##.

Coeliac disease can be diagnosed with a biopsy of the small intestinal mucosa and is said to occur in people with a genetic susceptibility**.

Gluten Intolerance (or Sensitivity) has no know medical test to clinically diagnose it. People who believe they are intolerant to Gluten will take note of their signs and symptoms before and after eating a gluten free diet. The cause of gluten intolerance is currently clinically unknown^.

A double blinded randomised placebo-controlled trial was conducted of people with gastrointestinal symptoms who were tested and confirmed ‘non-coeliac’ of a gluten free and non-gluten free diet. The participants were randomly given a diet either containing gluten or not and their symptoms were monitored. All participants that received the gluten containing diet reported symptoms worsening within one week. Symptoms included pain, bloating, stool consistency and tiredness.

So, if there is no medical test then how do we work out if we have a gluten intolerance? You have two options.

1. Make an appointment to see your Kinesiologist where you can be muscle tested to see if your body is reacting unfavourably to gluten (or any foods or allergens).

2. Stop eating gluten and note the difference in how you feel!! Simple.

So, Why is Gluten all of a Sudden a Problem?gluten2
Here are my two theories on the answer to this question.

1. The grains we eat have changed. The grains that we eat in our diets are becoming more and more refined; the bread we eat now is different to the bread our parents ate when they were growing up. Also they ate les refined foods than we do now, they ate more fruits and vegetables, which means more fibre and more vitamins and minerals*.

2. Gluten always has been a problem, but we just never took notice until now. I’ll use myself as an example, before I entered the field of Natural Medicine, I was overweight, unhappy and suffering from depression, but I never thought that I had gastrointestinal issues. It’s normal to have pain before every movement and to be constantly farting (and they weren’t the ones that smell like roses)… Right? Once I started learning about my body and become aware of the ‘Gluten Free Fad’ I tried a gluten free diet, and now I know that I did have gastrointestinal problems! Not only that I no longer have the low lows of depression I used to, and I find it’s so much easier to lose weight.

Also, you only have to look at the increasing rates of obesity, cancer and heart disease to wonder if our highly processed, gluten–containing diet is to blame.

What Can Kinesiology Do to Help?
As Kinesiology works with neurological impulses we turn down the negative reactions that occur in the energetic, immune and gastrointestinal systems. Using muscle testing Kinesiology can also identify any emotional influences that may be impacting on the intolerance.

Some people experience changes in their intolerances reactions that last for over a year or more, some people may require multiple balances to see a change in the symptoms they have.

I Challenge YOU!

If you suffer from any Gastrointestinal symptoms and can’t make it to see a Kinesiologist, I challenge you to try a Gluten Free Diet for 2 weeks and see what the difference in your symptoms are. It’s so easy these days and you can find Gluten Free options everywhere!!

* Haas, EM 2006, Staying Healthy with Nutrition, 21st Century Edition, Celestial Arts, Berkley.
** Wahlqvist, ML 2011, Food & Nutrition: Food & Health Systems in Australia and New Zealand, 3rd Edition, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW.
# Rolfes, SR, Pinna, K & Whitney, E 2012, Normal and Clinical Nutrition,9th Edition, Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Australia.
## Lugg, J 2012, ‘Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and the Gluten-Free Diet’, Macrobiotics Today, May/June 2010.
^ Newnham, ED 2011, ‘Does gluten cause gastrointestinal symptoms in subjects without celiac disease?’, Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Issue 26, Suppl 3, pp 132-134.

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