People have been following gluten-free diets for a long time. When I first started clinical practice, it was mainly people with celiac disease who were eating gluten-free.
Now, it seems as if a lot of people are going gluten-free as part of a trend rather than for health reasons.
There is no argument that people with diagnosed celiac disease need to follow a scrupulously gluten-free diet.
If you don’t have celiac disease but think that going gluten-free is going to fix your health problem, I can’t help you there.
Sometimes when people take gluten out of their diet, they are also taking out the good fibre that contributes to gut health.
Many people lack sufficient fiber in their diet as it is. Now if they are going to take every single tiny little piece of gluten out of their diet, they’re going to be in for a big shock. Lack of fiber will cause digestive problems.
Another thing to remember is that going gluten-free doesn’t mean that your diet instantly becomes health. This is what I can’t understand. Many patients I’ve spoken to over the years who have taken gluten out of their diets still drink beer or wine or alcohol.
“Oh yeah, but I’m drinking gluten free beer.”
Well hang on a minute, didn’t you take gluten out of your diet to fix up your low sex drive or your hair loss, or the fact that you’ve got an itchy ear, or that your eyes fluttering or that you’ve got weight to lose?
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In my opinion, if you are having digestive issues, taking gluten out of your diet is not the first thing you should do.
Instead, take alcohol out of your diet. Start eating healthy foods, not food that comes in boxes and cans.
A gluten-free diet is not a health panacea. Instead, take a look at your lifestyle and your diet combined.
I truly believe that most people with a healthy digestive system can tolerate gluten to some degree.
I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of patients just in the last two or three years. I’ve put them back into gluten and they’re perfectly fine.
Their bowel function is normal, they are sleeping well, they haven’t noticed any side effects.
Instead of jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, if you have GI problems, get a comprehensive stool analysis. Have your diet and lifestyle assessed by a naturopath or integrative medicine doctor.
Next, address the problems. It could be stress. It could be alcohol. It could be the medications you’re taking. I consider all of these factors more important than following a gluten-free diet.