You must have seen items in the grocery store with “Gluten-free” labels, which usually translates to “this is healthy”. You might see people buying these gluten-free items instead of regular items even those of us who follow a Paleo diet regime. But do you really know what gluten is and why is it bad for us? What are the effects of gluten on the body?
On the Paleo diet food list, you will not see any processed foods or those that contain gluten, especially grains. You might be asking why this is the case when it comes to the Paleo diet? One reason why grains are not an approved Paleo food is because of the gluten they contain.
But what really is gluten? Why do so many people choose to go on a gluten-free diet?
In order to understand why gluten is considered bad for your health, let’s talk about it first. Below we provide you with a brief background into gluten, what it is usually used for and how often people consume gluten-based products.
Gluten is a component of cereal grains such as wheat. It is mostly comprised of a form of protein. It is this which helps to make dough elastic. This is also the component that will help the dough to rise when left to prove and helps the dough to retain its shape when it is baked. Plus when baked you’ll find the dough takes on a chewy texture. This isn’t the case however when you use Paleo recipes to make bread because they don’t contain any gluten. The Paleo bread you will make when following this diet is usually made from either almond or coconut flour. The term gluten is derived from the Latin word “gluten” meaning “glue”.
Gluten is used commonly for bread, usually extracted through the kneading of the dough. It is now also used in the production of processed foods. It is now being used to create imitation meats. Often this component is used by food manufacturers when making broths as it helps them to absorb the taste of the meat. Other products today that also contain this component in them include pet foods, beer, soy sauce, ice cream and even cosmetics and hair products. This is why some people are still consuming gluten without realizing it even when they have changed over to following a Paleo lifestyle. Even those who follow a modified Paleo diet will find that the exclusion of foods containing gluten can make a huge difference to their lives.
The effects of gluten on a person’s body can vary greatly, even when they choose to follow a low-carb diet. But there are some very common dangers you need to be aware of from eating food with gluten. These dangers can go from simple to life-threatening and something that people who are eating Paleo need not be concerned about.
This reaction to gluten isn’t that common, but should not be ignored. Wheat allergies can manifest in children from an early age but as they grow older it tends to disappear. The reaction can shift from mild to dangerous. So being aware of this is crucial. The symptoms include the usual allergic reactions such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, eye irritation, nasal congestion, nose and mouth irritation and trouble breathing.
This disease is hard to diagnose and is still not well-understood. Individuals with non-celiac gluten sensitivity improve when gluten is removed from their diet. Often changing over to a gluten free Caveman diet helps to provide relief from intestinal or non-intestinal symptoms that they may have suffered from previously. The intestinal discomfort that a person with non-celiac gluten sensitivity can experience includes acid reflux, stomach ache and bloating as well as abnormal bowel movements. Other symptoms that they may also experience include mouth ulcers, nausea, fatigue, foggy mind and Aerophagia.
Celiac disease is as a result of the hypersensitivity of the body to gluten, and which affects the small intestine. This sensitivity causes poor digestion of food and damage to the lining of the small intestine. Celiac disease can be life-threatening and is also hard to detect. In some cases, people suffer from little or no symptoms until more severe reactions appear. The kinds of reactions that these people are likely to suffer from include severe skin rashes, anemia, bone pain, and diarrhoea. The only way to be sure that a person has celiac disease is through blood tests and a biopsy test of the small intestine’s lining.
Both celiac and non-celiac diseases can cause autoimmune diseases. These autoimmune diseases can only be traced through a patient’s blood. Autoimmune diseases will cause the body’s cells to react and attack even the good cells and good bacteria in the body. As a result, the body may develop diseases like Type I Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune liver disease and autoimmune skin diseases.
Leaky gut is a result of autoimmunity from celiac sensitivity. Gluten has components that are close in form to the guts tissues. As the body develops antibodies for these components, it also starts attacking the tissue in the stomach. This results in inflammation of the gut and as a result, it becomes leaky. In turn, this means that the stomach is no longer able to control what enters the bloodstream and what doesn’t. As a result of such health issues, you could find yourself suffering from other health problems from thyroid problems to joint problems. But as the Paleo diet is made up of lots of fresh produce the chances of developing this kind of illness are greatly reduced,
Gluten causes skin diseases, usually as a result of autoimmunity or an allergic reaction to this component in processed foods. Although skin diseases are often related to celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity also poses a danger in terms of skin health. Some skin diseases caused by gluten don’t actually show up until a person is in their 20’s. Itchiness of the skin usually appears on the arms and legs and can be as bad as Dermatitis Herpetiformis. The kinds of foods that people should be eating with such health issues are sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and honey, all of which appear on any paleo food list.
Gluten is also linked to some neurological illnesses and is believed to cause damage to the brain. In studies carried out, it was shown that gluten affects the brain’s control of the body’s movements. This is caused once again by antibodies attacking the cerebellum. This is called gluten ataxia, although the correlation between a person’s gluten intake and loss of body balance is still under debate. If you find yourself suffering from any kind of problems relating to the body’s movements, then seek medical advice. But you also may find that through making changes to what you eat and including more of the types of food that are part of the Paleolithic diet could also help.
With all the dangers written above, the answer is yes. Gluten can prove dangerous even for people who are not celiac sensitive. The symptoms of a gluten caused illnesses are hard to determine since many of them are very similar to more common diseases that we suffer from today. If you believe you are experiencing gluten sensitivity, then speaking to your doctor is the best option. They will often carry out tests to determine if this is the case or not. Should it be discovered that you are gluten sensitive they will then recommend making changes to your diet, They will often provide a food list that shows clearly what items you should eliminate from your diet from now on.
In most cases, if not all, choosing to follow a gluten-free diet such as the hunter-gatherer diet improves overall health. Going gluten-free may be hard, especially for people who have gluten-based products as staple foods. But with a little discipline and a better awareness of the food you eat, being gluten-free will not be as hard as you first imagined. Being healthier will be worth sacrificing the food you used to know and enjoy. You may even find that after a few weeks of making changes to your diet and eating Paleo inspired recipes does make a big difference not only to how you lock but also how you feel.