Is Gluten Making You Fat?
by Joseph Mercola: How
Western Diets Are Making the World Sick
beginning to accept the idea that sluggishness and weight gain can
be blamed on a substance that lurks in wheat and many other common
grains gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley,
and rye, and many food additives.
taking notice. Sales of gluten-free products grew about 30 percent
a year from 2006 to 2010, and the total sales will reach $3.9 billion
by next year. In fact, 10 percent of new foods launched in 2010
featured a "gluten-free" claim.
people with celiac disease ... eating foods that contain gluten
can lead to a cascade of nasty reactions ... Even if you don't have
celiac disease, gluten may still be bad for you ... A rising percentage
of people in the United States consider themselves 'gluten-sensitive'
... Some may have a form of wheat allergy."
There is also
emerging research that eating wheat, which contains gluten, can
cause certain individuals to become psychotic. Most of the
research on schizophrenia is focused on neurotransmitters, and the
usual treatment is neuroleptic medication. However, the medicine
tends to have serious side effects.
have been looking at an unlikely suspect in the pathogenesis of
schizophrenia wheat. Many schizophrenics seem to have a history
of celiac disease (gluten/wheat intolerance) as children
as much as 100 times the amount of celiac disease in the regular
populations who traditionally eat a gluten-free diet have extremely
rare occurrence of schizophrenia just 2 in 65,000 versus
close to 1 in 100 in grain-eating countries. And when populations
Westernize their diets, schizophrenia becomes common.
A Case Report of the Resolution of Schizophrenic Symptoms on a Ketogenic
Diet, a high fat, low carb, low protein diet (thus very low
in wheat) results in the remission of psychotic symptoms in a single
diets have become all the rage in some parts of the United States,
with restaurants, caterers and grocery stores all increasing their
offerings of gluten-free foods.
How did gluten,
virtually unknown just a few years back, transition into a household
It began with
the realization that gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat,
rye and barley, wreaks havoc in people with celiac disease, triggering
an immune reaction that damages the small intestine and prevents
absorption of nutrients.
But now an
increasing number of people without celiac disease are
also jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon and experiencing a range
of health benefits, including weight loss.
Why You May
be Better Off Avoiding Gluten
statistics from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center,
an average of one
out of every 133 otherwise healthy people in the United States
suffer from celiac disease (CD), but previous studies have found
that this number may be
as high as 1 in 33 in at-risk populations.
celiac disease must avoid gluten to manage the condition, but in
my experience, there is an epidemic of people with hidden intolerance
to wheat products and gluten who would benefit from avoiding it
entirely as well.
In fact, a
primary part of our nutritional
typing program is that everyone start out gluten-free for 60
I also recommend
that everyone following my beginner
nutrition plan eliminate all gluten from their diets. Among
the most important to avoid are those gluten-containing grains that
contain gliadin molecules, such as wheat.
in gluten becomes water soluble, it is free to bind to cells in
your body. If you are sensitive, your body will make antibodies
to gliadin and attack the cells gliadin has attached itself to,
treating those cells as an infection. This immune response damages
surrounding tissue and has the potential to set off, or exacerbate,
MANY other health problems throughout your body, which is why gluten
can have such a devastating effect on your overall health.
Gluten Help You Lose Weight?
hides in processed foods like ready-made soups, soy sauce, candies,
cold cuts, and various low- and no-fat products, as well as refined
grain products like bread, pizza crust, pasta, cookies and pastries.
When you cut
all of these foods from your diet, you end up cutting out primarily
refined carbohydrates, which are linked
to weight gain and obesity.
So it's very
possible that switching to a gluten-free diet could help you lose
weight, particularly if you've been eating a lot of refined gluten-containing
foods. When eating gluten-free, however, you need to be careful
that you're replacing the gluten-containing foods with healthy choices,
like vegetables and other whole foods.
If you instead
opt for gluten-free processed foods, like the wide assortment of
gluten-free cookies, pasta and breads that are now commercially
available, there's a good chance that you will not lose weight,
and may actually gain instead.
In fact, one
study of people with celiac disease who followed a gluten-free diet
found that 81
percent gained weight after two years. So keep in mind
that just because a food is gluten-free it does not necessarily
make it healthy or automatically good for weight loss.
To lose weight
effectively, you've still got to follow the principles
of a healthy diet, which includes avoiding gluten-containing
grains and focusing on whole food choices, not processed
Even Impact Your Brain?
that exorphins, opioid peptides from food proteins like gluten,
may travel from your gut to your brain and cause
symptoms of schizophrenia. In a paper
by F. Curtis Dohan, he concluded that the following evidence
makes it very likely that gluten may have a significant impact on
the 1960's many observations suggested schizophrenia and celiac
disease … share some but not all genes. Therefore, the role of
gluten in schizophrenia was examined.
studies demonstrated a strong, dose-dependent relationship between
grain intake and the occurrence of schizophrenia …
trials and case reports show that gluten is toxic for acute and
relapsed schizophrenic patients, but only occasional long-term chronic
patients respond to gluten or its absence.
of the evidence above, peptides with potent opioid activity were
sought and found by National Institutes of Health investigators
in enzymatic digests of gluten, its gliadin subfraction, and a-casein
from milk. These opioid peptides were named exorphins.
excretion of small peptides by individuals with schizophrenia is
greatly increased. Some are apparently from gluten. Some peptides
are neuroactive, including opioid-like effects.
6. A specific
gliadin peptide fraction, which in large doses is psychoactive in
individuals with celiac disease, produced stereotyped behaviors
and limbic seizures in rats hours after intracranial injection."
between gluten and your mental health is the fact that grains are
inherently pro-inflammatory and will worsen any condition that has
chronic inflammation at its root and not just inflammation
in your gut, but anywhere in your body. Chronic inflammation in
your body can wreak havoc on your brain, and the importance of reducing
inflammation when dealing with mental health issues is well
is very common for people to experience an array of mental health
and emotional improvements upon eliminating gluten from their diet.
of grains, seeds and flours available are naturally gluten-free,
millet do not contain the gliadin molecule that can provoke
the inflammatory reaction from gluten. Therefore, they are usually
safe to eat as well
When you start
out on a gluten-free diet, be patient.
don't feel better immediately as it may take 30 to 60 days for the
inflammation to subside, and up to 9 to 12 months for the lining
of your small intestine to heal.
occasions, an individual may experience significant improvement
within weeks of eliminating gluten from their diet, but in other
cases people may feel considerably worse upon initially
starting a gluten-free diet, which may be due to other unidentified
allergies and food sensitivities.
important to stick with it as by around 6 to 9 months of eliminating
gluten from your diet noticeable physical and mental/emotional changes
will have taken place.
2011 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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