There are many advocates of adopting a gluten free diet for the purpose of regaining health and reclaiming ones life from the ravages of an autoimmune or other illness. I am one of those advocates. I have witnessed first hand how removing gluten from ones diet can bring about a massive improvement in very ill patients.
Trying to heal your body on a gluten-free health supporting diet can get you into trouble, if you don't know what you are doing. This article can help you understand why eating gluten-free can be like opening Pandora's Box...when it comes to your health and healing. Keep reading and I promise you I will explain. You may have to read a couple of other article I wrote to totally "get it". It will be worth your efforts to dig into this important topic.
Some of the patients who I have served had been searching for answers for their "mysterious" health challenges for 50 years!
After a thorough case review and adequate testing to reveal the underlying causes of the patients body dysfunction, a proper course of action can be commenced. Often I place the ill patient on a very clean, limited food choice diet in order to curb inflammation and reduce exposure to food intolerances noted on the patients' test results. Commonly the patient is advised to avoid gluten among other substances.
After celebrating with the patient for doing such a great job with their health supporting diet over the course of 1-2 months, we start expanding their food choices. At this point is when a health transforming care plan can go very wrong without expert guidance...Patients often think that using so-called gluten-free foods to replace items they gave up to regain their health is totally okay. Unfortunately for many, eating the gluten-free analogs of the foods they used to eat habitually, often leads to a regression of their health. Substituting gluten-free prepared food items in an effort to be compliant with a health supporting diet is a newbie mistake.
In this article I will outline 5 reasons why eating gluten-free products can keep you ill.
1. One important reason is many people whose immune systems react to gluten also react to many other food ingredients that can look similar to gluten, such as dairy, soy, oats and other grains. In staying away from wheat, rye and barley, but including corn, rice, amaranth, quinoa and other ingredients in gluten-free products, the immune sensitized individual will continue to have health harming inflammation. To really understand this concept called molecular mimicry, please read this article.
2. Most gluten-free products are full of carbohydrates. Excessive carbohydrate consumpton promotes the production of insulin in the body. Too many carbohydrates in ones diet with an increase of insulin leads to insulin resistance, obesity and eventually diabetes. "Having high insulin levels is a surefire way to speed up your aging process. According to Dr. Ron Rosedale, if there's a single marker for lifespan, it would be insulin, specifically insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is the basis of virtually ALL of chronic diseases of aging, and one of the primary reasons for this is because it promotes chronic inflammation throughout your body." 
3. Using only a gluten-free diet as a guide to reducing inflammation is short-sighted. Inflammation in the body is a stress and triggers a breakdown of healing potential. The concept of lectins in foods needs to be considered for a more robust healing plan. Suffice it to say for now that many food lectins can interact with and damage the delicate lining of the small intestine and lead to a "leaky gut" via inflammation of the microvili (the finger like projections of the intestinal cell that increase surface area). Click on the link for more information on lectins.
4. Most products sold as gluten-free substitutes for breads, cereals, pasta, etc. are high in refined grains and sugars and low in vitamins and minerals and fiber. Basically, these type of products are no better than other forms of junk food; providing you with calories without adequate nutrients. Junk food of any type does not provide any positive healing benefit to the consumer. The symptoms of a nutritional deficiency depend on which nutrient the body lacks. However, deficiencies can cause general symptoms. These include:
- Pallor (pale skin)
- trouble breathing
- unusual food cravings
- hair loss
- periods of lightheadedness
- heart palpitations
- feeling faint or fainting
- tingling and numbness of the joints
- menstrual issues (such as missed periods or very heavy cycles)
- poor concentration
5. You can be sensitive, allergic or intolerant of many foods or substances that are in products purported to be gluten-free. Here again is where thorough testing can help you sort out what you can safely consume without trigging harmful inflammation in your body. Eating foods to which you are allergic or sensitive causes inflammation which makes your adrenal glands secrete hormones which destabilize your insulin and blood sugar levels. The high level of insulin affects the activity of two enzymes which cause your body to hold on to and deposit fat, rather than allowing you to burn it for energy. Thus, food allergies can lead to weight gain, and a high amount of body fat can promote inflammation and exacerbate problems with allergies. In our office we use Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques (NAET) to help with food and other bio-imcompatibilities.
In summary, to maximize your healing capacity, you should be eating a diet that is based on:
- Your specific makeup as an individual (taking into account blood-type and other genetic factors)
- Lectin influence on inflammation
- Tests which indicate your intolerance or sensitivities to various foods such as dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, etc.
- Testing that reveals what specific nutrients you need to concentrate on receiving from your diet.
- Above all, a whole food protein and vegetable based diet with low glycemic index fruits. Organic and best and neutral for your blood type as an added filter for food selection is optimal.
When it comes to eating gluten-free and maximizing your healing potential, make sure you work with someone who can guide you properly.
For more details about the natural approach I take with my patients, take a look a the book I wrote entitled: Reclaim Your Life; Your Guide To Revealing Your Body's Life-Changing Secrets For Renewed Health. It is available in my office or at Amazon and many other book outlets. If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the top of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with chronic health challenges, despite receiving medical management. Help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living! Thank you!
ALL THE BEST – DR. KARL R.O.S. JOHNSON, DC – DIGGING DEEPER TO FIND SOLUTIONS
1. Mercola, J. "Doctor Says: If There's a Single Marker Lifespan, This Would Be Insulin Sensitivity" Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/06/06/eft-on-chronic-inflammation.aspx