The Truth Behind A Gluten Free Diet

By Jessica Allison, D.C.

gluten free dietTo the consumer the latest fad around the grocery and health food stores seems to be the words “Gluten Free.” Gluten free chips, gluten free cakes, gluten free cookies…this has become the new buzz words printed all over packaged foods. But what exactly is gluten and does it really affect my health? Should we all follow a “Gluten Free Diet?”

What is Gluten?

Gluten is the protein component in wheat, barely and rye grains. This protein is responsible for the sticky characteristic in breads, bagels, rolls, pasta, cookies and cakes. When we ingest gluten-containing foods, our body breaks it down into a fraction called gliadin. It is gliadin, a glycoprotein that can wreak havoc on our bodies.

Gluten’s Affect on the Body

Gluten is a difficult protein for our bodies to completely digest. When this protein is not fully digested and then enters our blood stream it initials a condition called inflammation, which is the cause of most pain and disease. Time magazine (February 2004) named Inflammation the “The Secret Killer.” When inflammation becomes chronic, a result of a gluten heavy diet, the body turns on itself and an autoimmune disease develops.  Not everyone will have the same response to gluten, therefore to determine if your body has a negative affect to gluten you can try the 30 Day Gluten-Free Diet.

Gluten Free Diet

Performing the 30 Day Gluten Free Diet is one of the most reliable ways to determine if your body has a sensitivity or possible allergy to gluten. It is also the most cost effective way. This entails eliminating gluten containing foods from your diet, and although this may sound relatively easy, it’s not. To lead a Gluten Free Diet you need to eliminate foods that contain the protein, gliadin, from wheat, barley and rye. Below is a list of these foods:

Foods That Contain Gluten

  • Atta (chapatti flour)

  • Barley (flakes, flour, pearl)

  • Beer, ale, lager

  • Breading and bread stuffing

  • Brewers yeast

  • Bulgur

  • Communion wafers

  • Couscous

  • Croutons

  • Dinkel (also known as spelt)

  • Durum

  • Einkorn

  • Emmer

  • Farina

  • Farro or Faro (also known as spelt)

  • Fu

  • Graham flour

  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein

  • Kamut

  • Malt, malt extract, malt syrup and malt flavouring

  • Malt vinegar

  • Malted milk

  • Matzoh, matzoh meal

  • Modified wheat starch

  • Oatmeal, oat bran, oat flour and whole oats

  • Pastas

  • Rye bread and flour

  • Seitan

  • Semolina

  • Spelt (also known as farro or faro, dinkel)

  • Triticale

  • Wheat bran

  • Wheat flour

  • Wheat germ

  • Wheat starch

Becoming familiar with food labels and reading through all the ingredients is an essential part of the Gluten Free Diet. Often times carrying around a list of the foods above is helpful.

At the end of the 30 Day Gluten Free Diet, make note if there was a change in your digestive habits (ie. decreased constipation). Did you experience less headaches or migraines? Did you feel like you had more energy or less body aches? From personal experience in clinical practice, I have noticed that about 50% of my patients have resolution of some if not all of their symptoms when they lead a gluten free diet. This is often enough for them to give up the pastas, pizzas and breads they grew up on and start living a healthier more energetic life gluten free.

Now that you are familiar with what gluten is, where is can be found and it’s affect on the body, I challenge you to lead a gluten free diet for 30 days…it just might change your life.

By Jessica Allison, D.C.| March 15, 2012
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Jessica Allison, D.C.

Jessica Allison, D.C.

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