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What Is Gluten?

Oct 28, 2021

By: Tayler Provost

What is Gluten? How can having it and eliminating both be beneficial?

There is little evidence that a gluten-free diet is actually considered healthier. Yes, there are ways to be healthier by having gluten-free foods, but that is based off the options you are choosing; the same goes for if you eat gluten, it comes down to what you are choosing.

When it comes to food choices, it is important to know how you own body reacts and tolerates certain foods. It shouldn’t be solely based off of what someone tell you is healthier. People today are so misconstrued by society, a perfect example that I witnessed as a bartender was when I asked a customer what kind of vodka they would you like in their drink and their response was, “Uhm, I will have the Titos because it is gluten-free and I am trying to be healthier.” I cannot stress enough that by choosing the gluten-free vodka or that gluten-free meal at dinner because it has the words “gluten-free” labeled next to it, is not making it healthier. This option is there solely for those who have an allergy or intolerance to what is actually in gluten. So what actually is gluten? It is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley.

To break it down more…

For those who actually have celiac disease, eating gluten can cause inflammation, therefore eliminating gluten can improve those symptoms. But this does not mean that gluten “causes” inflammation. Gluten shouldn’t be defined as an inflammatory food; foods that do contain gluten such as whole grains, are great sources of carbohydrates and are high in fiber. So those who are not celiac should be eating these foods regularly.

When it comes to gluten sensitive individuals, yes exposure can cause inflammation, which may result in pain in ones joints and muscles. This is when doing something like an elimination diet may come in helpful, or maybe your eating the wrong sources of gluten-containing foods that may be triggering your symptoms.

From my own personal experience, having a gluten-free diet has helped me tremendously. This is not due to me having an allergy, but because I have a slight intolerance. Having chronic lyme disease causes excess inflammation, especially in my lower extremity joints. Being gluten-free has helped keep inflammation down in my body, which keeps my lyme symptoms in check and keeps be overall feeling better. Though there is no actual studies that confirm gluten-free diets will help lyme disease it can be helpful based on an individual basis.

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