Is a Gluten Free Diet bad for You?
With the release of another research study done to denounce gluten and the gluten free dieters I felt I needed to chime in about this topic.
I’m actually humored by the types of propaganda being promoted such as:
Really? Can we be any more dramatic about this topic? Honestly, I don’t want to go into the science of what gluten is and how it effects the body because this is about giving you relevant information and reading beyond the headlines.
These articles reference either statements found on PubMed or research that doesn’t tell you the whole story. Am I saying the research is wrong? No, the research performed revealed exactly what the researchers wanted. What happened is that media ran with a half-ass statement based on their own interpretations.
Let’s use the most recent study published. “Long Term Gluten Consumption in Adults without Celiac Disease and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: prospective cohort study”. I’ll spare you the over-scientific details and get to the point. This study was done over 26 years using almost 110,000 subjects, male and female. Good so far! Incredible actually. The researchers gathered their data from estimated, self-reported questionnaires that were mailed to the subjects. There’s quality control issue number one. Speaking of controls, there were none. Yeah, no controls!
If you remember anything from high school science, you need a control and a test subject for research to be validated. This is just a standard. The Journal of the American Medical Association and its readers usually boo-hoo any study that isn’t a double blind placebo, the gold standard. The FDA doesn’t pass a pharmaceutical through unless it is a double-blind placebo. And even then…well that’s a whole different topic of discussion.
Back to the study. After tallying these so-called results, here is the exact verbiage from the study:
Conclusion: Long term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.
Great, so gluten is not associated with heart disease. I’m not sure anyone was disputing that fact. However, they continue to state that avoiding gluten or grains may result in beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. This may be true, but isn’t proven. Then they continue to state this assumption as fact. Here’s where it feels like the Wild West and anyone can just start making assumptions.
If you choose to read the entire study, you will find that the correlation they are talking about with whole grains being detrimental to heart health has to do with fiber intake. So, are the authors stating that the only way to get fiber is through whole grains? What about vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc? Is there no fiber in these foods and no nutrient density?
You see, these claims are empty and without support. It is lazy media or whatever classification you want to put it in that are not telling you the whole story. According to them, a burger bun has more beneficial nutrients to your diet than eating unprocessed, real, whole foods.
There is a reason why almost everyone feels better on a gluten free diet. That is because gluten has been linked to autoimmune disease, leaky gut, inflammation and more. I’m not going to re-write the wheel on this one since Dr. Amy Myers did a great job explaining it all here. http://www.amymyersmd.com/2017/02/3-important-reasons-give-gluten-autoimmune-disease/
Please, do yourself a favor and don’t get manipulated by empty claims. Click on the links that they are basing their articles on and read the actual content! The actual studies are very specific and media blows it out of proportion.
I usually don’t write articles like this, but this topic is a hot button and I’m tired of seeing good people trying to be healthy only to be further confused by falsified reports. You know reports such as: eggs were bad for you, and beef, and saturated fat, and butter. Everything that was bad is now good. Just eat real foods and you can ignore the chatter.
Rich Jacobs is a Board Certified Integrative and Functional Nutrition Practitioner who specializes in resolving gut, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and fat issues. He uses a holistic approach and functional lab work to identify root causes such as hormone imbalances or gut pathogens that could be impacting your health.