Is Gluten an Intolerance or a Fad Diet? By: Mary Ann Wietbrock RN MSN

Gluten has been blamed for arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and most notably, irritable bowel syndrome. People have given up gluten foods to improve their symptoms of headaches, nausea, abdominal pains, and trouble sleeping. More than 20 million people now contend they experience distress after eating gluten products that had been eaten for centuries without symptoms.  

Gluten can be found in breads, pasta, noodles, soups, sauces, gravies, dressings, spreads, snack foods, processed meats, and packaged convenient foods. Breads can be milled quickly by removing the germ and the bran parts of the wheat kernel to rapidly process the starchy endosperm. Artificial gluten additives are added to help the bread form and rise quickly.  

More than 200 pounds of wheat is harvested for every person on the earth. Many foods found in supermarkets and restaurants contain some component of processed wheat gluten or starch. This processing of wheat removes vital nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats. Most of the wheat eaten today has been milled into white flour with plenty of gluten. Meals with these sugary additives and refined high calorie carbohydrates cause blood sugars to increase leading to diabetes and heart diseases. Gluten free cookies are still cookies.  

The sale of gluten free products will exceed 15 billion dollars this year. You can now purchase gluten free cheese, fish sticks, pasta, and breads. There are gluten free wedding planners, gluten free vacation packages, and gluten free communion wafers. Americans are eating less gluten but the rate of gluten intolerance is rising.  

Irritable bowel syndrome and gluten intolerance is a frequent complaint at the doctor’s office. It is recommended to not stop eating all gluten products till Celiac disease and Gluten allergies have been ruled out with testing. A diagnosis is then based on ruling out these other organic diseases and you will be considered to have irritable bowel syndrome or gluten intolerance.  

Does this sound scientific? Gluten intolerance is based on symptoms alone. There is not a blood test or medical exam that confirms this diagnosis. There is no scientific evidence that removing Gluten will fix symptoms. Scientific studies have not been able to confirm people are gluten intolerant.  

Cutting out refined carbohydrates, bread, beer, and high calorie foods does help people feel better. Cutting out corn, soy, milk, eggs, nuts, and tomatoes is also a way to feel better. In the end, what do you eat that contains the essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber to live? It is recommended to eat a selection of colorful foods from all food groups. Balance is the basis of a healthy diet.  

Rice, corn, and potatoes products are foods less often eaten than breads and release just as much sugar into the blood stream. Foods high in sugars, like fructose, include honey, apples, mangoes, watermelon, diary, garlic and onions. These foods can cause abdominal pains, bloating, and diarrhea. What can you eat? Balance the diet with vegetables and low fat