Having studied to become a nutritionist I learned, just like everyone else who studies to become a nutritionist here in Belgium, that whole grains are the most important component of a healthy diet.
I did learn that gluten can be a problem for a very small group of people. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will experience digestive problems, chronic constipation and diarrhea, anaemia and vitamin deficiencies (because of a leaky gut). Gluten sensitivity is only related to the gut and the digestive track, a very small group of people is suffering from it and if you aren’t then gluten are good for you. So basically a whole bunch of other gluten related issues are completely overlooked here. Gluten sensitivity goes far beyond the gut but unfortunately your average nutritionist isn’t aware of this.
The food pyramid is the favorite tool of almost everyone teaching diet and nutrition.
carbs are good and fat is bad (unless the fat comes from plants or fish)
That’s your moto when you study to become a nutritionist. Up until today that’s what they are teaching you at school. By doing this they are literally neglecting years of research, clinging on to their precious food pyramid, making you feel worse instead of better.
It’s not just the nutritionists though, your doctor down the street will know no better. Going into your average doctor’s office, saying you think you might have some gluten related problems, he or she might send you to the clinic to have you tested for celiac disease. The test will likely come out negative and your doctor will advice you to continue eating your gluten packed meals.
Why will the test come out negative?
The standard for celiac diagnosis is a small intestinal biopsy, which requires a sample of the cells in the intestinal wall to detect gluten-induced injury. A very uncomfortable procedure to begin with, intestinal biopsy commonly results in false negatives since intestinal damage can vary from one location to the next. So to put it more clearly: during this test they will take a very small piece (very small) of your intestinal wall out to see if there is any damage there. So for example 50% of your intestines could be damaged but if they take out a piece of the 50% that is undamaged the test will show up negative.
The test will be wrong 7 times out of 10, in order to come out as a celiac your intestinal wall basically needs to be ruined beyond recognition.
Another way to detect gluten sensitivity (be it celiac or not) is by looking for gliadin antibodies. Gliadin is one of the two components that make up gluten. Gliadin, in it’s turn, is made out of 4 components: alpha, beta, gamma and omega.
The test is only measuring antibodies for the alpha component.
So if your body is reacting to any of the other components it won’t show up in the test and you’ll come out negative. The other component of gluten, glutenin, is not tested for. According to a study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (2006),
It is highly probable that the glutenin proteins are toxic.
And there is even more bad news. In order to make gliadin more water soluble, food manufacturers alter the gliadin protein by a proces called deamidation. Immune T-cells have shown to respond more readily to deamidated gliadin than non-deamidated gliadin.
This means that an individual can have no sensitivities to any other forms of gliadin but its deamidated form yet the immune system’s response to it will be far more aggressive.
Again there are no tests for antibodies against deamidated gliadin.
As if all the above isn’t even enough, Wheat Germ Agglutinin (WGA) is the lectin component of wheat. Lectins are present in all grains and can pass through the gut wall in their intact form, causing the immune system to recognize them as foreign invaders setting up a defense against them. WGA is found in high concentrations in whole-wheat products, especially sprouted wheat.
WGA reactions can cause clumping of red blood cells, it can break down the blood-brain barrier and inhibit nerve growth factor.
Common WGA-induced symptoms are poor circulation, cold hands and feet and brain fog. You guessed it: tests don’t look for WGA antibodies.
The best way to test gluten sensitivity is to cut out gluten for several weeks or months and see how it makes you feel. Be aware though:
Getting off of gluten can be like kicking a cocaine habit
During the digestion of gliadin, gluteomorphins are formed. Gluteomorphins are morphine-like opiods that have been linked to drugs like LSD. They can be very sedating and addictive .
Getting off of gluten can, just like getting off of drugs, result in a period of withdrawal lasting a few days to several weeks. In this case withdrawal symptoms can include neurochemical imbalances, altered mood, and gastrointestinal distress.
So if you’re unfortunate you’ll have to bite the bullet, stick with it for a couple of days or weeks.
Make sure to watch the video below and subscribe to The Underground Wellness youtube channel if you want to know more about gluten and other health related issues.