You’ve probably noticed that Gluten-free items are everywhere these days. As someone who’s been diagnosed with Celiac Disease myself, I am very appreciative of that. But I hear a lot of people comment that “Gluten-Free is just a fad”, or a gimmick. Not so…
According to a recent NY Times article, Gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease are on the rise. It’s estimated that one out of every 100 people has Celiac disease – however, only 17% are actually diagnosed.
One study by Aristo Vojdani, Ph.D., UCLA Research Neurobiologist, indicates that as many as 30% of all Western populations have gluten sensitivity. Are you gluten sensitive and undiagnosed? Many symptoms other than the typical gastrointestinal issues are now being implemented, including chronic headaches.
The Mayo Clinic reports that Celiac disease has increased 400% in the past 50-years, and that’s not just from better diagnosis. So why are these ailments increasing, and how do you know if you are affected?
As Dr. David Perlmuter asks in the book Grain Brain, “If gluten is so bad, how have we managed to survive so long while eating it?”
The Answer May Surprise You…
Our ancestors didn’t consume nearly as much gluten as we do today. Today’s grains are completely different than they were even 50-100 years ago, containing much more gluten than grains of the past. Let’s face it; people love their bread, and the fluffier and chewier the better, right? But how did grains get so full of gluten anyway?
A Little Gluten History Lesson
In 1948 the Rockefeller Foundation mandated an increase in yields of cereal grains. As a result of this “Green Revolution”, multiple thousands of wheat varieties were created by the 1960’s. It’s estimated that as many as 40,000 varieties of hybridized wheat were developed in the last half of the twentieth century, and many of them with much higher gluten content than previous varieties.
Is Sourdough Gluten Free?
Interestingly, prior to about 100 years ago, almost all breads were fermented (think sourdough) due to lack of refrigeration, and that fermentation process actually broke down and removed the gluten protein from breads and pancakes, etc. before they were ever eaten.
Recent studies have shown that the sourdough process can in fact break down the gluten protein. Be aware however, that most “sourdough” breads commercially available today are not true fermented breads, and may in fact have added gluten in them.
No Digestive Issues? You Could Still Be Gluten Sensitive…
Though digestive issues are one of the more common symptoms of Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity, there are many other seemingly unrelated conditions that have recently been linked to Gluten Sensitivity, including:
- ADD / ADHD
- Eczema and Chronic Skin Rashes
- Epilepsy, Seizures, and Turret’s Syndrome
- And several cases of Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), and Cystic Fibrosis have actually turned out to be misdiagnosed Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, even if you have no gastrointestinal distress, I recommend being tested for Celiac and gluten sensitivity by your Dr.* In particular the Cyrex array 3 test is the most comprehensive gluten-sensitivity test available today. There is also Cyrex array 4 test, which test for 24 “cross-reactive” foods that gluten-sensitive people may also have similar reactions to.
Gluten is Found in More Foods Today Than Ever Before
Though there are Gluten-free options everywhere these days, gluten can also be found in virtually every type of processed food, and in a variety of hidden forms. If you’re not reading labels regularly and deciphering all of the hidden code words where gluten lurks, you may be ingesting much more gluten than you realize.
Here are some hidden sources of gluten.
If you have been diagnosed with Celiac or Gluten Sensitivity, and need help adjusting your diet and living a gluten-free life, contact me for gluten-free health coaching. I’ve been living gluten-free for 15-years and would love to help you make the transition.
*If you think you have a gluten intolerance, DO NOT stop eating gluten until after you have been tested. Being off of gluten may alter your test results.