Why Gluten May Be Bad for You

bread gluten

Gluten refers to proteins that are mainly found in wheat and other related grains such as rye and barley. This mixture of proteins is responsible for giving dough its elasticity and enabling it to rise while keeping its intended shape.

Although gluten is popularly used in various consumer products and animal feeds due to its numerous advantages, scientific research has led to the discovery that it may have serious negative effects on the human body.

In this article, we discuss some of the reasons as to why gluten may be considered bad for you.

 

Gluten Triggers Celiac Disease

granola

Celiac disease is an incurable autoimmune disorder is likely to be triggered by the consumption of gluten. People who have this condition or are genetically predisposed to it, are affects because consuming gluten triggers an immune reaction where the body attacks its own cells. In this case the small intestine.

Hence, the only possible way to “cure” the condition is to avoid gluten in totality. In actuality, it is more prevention than cure. If you suffer from Celiac disease, by not eating anything with gluten, you prevent the immune reaction in the first place.

In celiac disease gluten has the ability to damage the small intestine. The more damage done to the lining of the small intestine the less it is able to do its job, which is absorb nutrients from what we eat and drink.

This makes it almost impossible for this important organ to absorb vital nutrients. After a while, this leads to serious medical conditions including abdominal pains, anemia, vitamin deficiency, diarrhea, acid reflux and bloating. These are some of the commonly associated complications and symptoms with celiac disease.

However, in some individuals, celiac disease may not present any symptoms, and the infection may express itself in other forms like depression, anemia, rash, osteoporosis, muscle cramps, stomach upset among others.

This may make the medical diagnosis of the disease quite difficult, although scientific methods like blood screening and intestinal biopsy may be used to test for the disease.

 

Do You Have Gluten Sensitivity?

pasta

If you’ve tested negative for celiac disease but are experiencing gastrointestinal issues every time you eat foods that contain gluten, then you may have gluten sensitivity.

Also referred to as gluten intolerance, gluten sensitivity is a medical condition that makes people react in various ways after consuming food products that contain wheat, bulgur, barley and rye.

These include most breads, cereals, pizza crusts, beer and granola, as well as pastries like muffins.

While many of the symptoms are similar to those of celiac disease, like bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea, these digestive reactions should not be confused as those of celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a more serious condition that needs to be diagnosed in order to prevent damage from occurring to the small intestine. With gluten sensitivity, similar symptoms and discomfort occur but fortunately there is no immune reaction that occurs, so there isn’t that risk of damage to the intestinal organs.

That said however, it is important for anyone who is intolerant of gluten or has celiac disease to stay on a gluten free diet. Removing or reducing gluten from one’s diet is likely to help eliminate or avoid such symptoms.

 

Gluten Can Cause Dermatitis Herpetiformis to Flare Up

pizza crust gluten

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a chronic condition that is characterized by an itchy skin rash with notable blisters occurring on the elbows, buttocks and knees.

Luckily, this medical condition which is caused by gluten is highly treatable. It is recommended to use prescribed antibiotics while eliminating gluten from one’s diet through consuming gluten-free food products.

Cutting down on the gluten in your diet will lessen its occurrence as well as its severity when they do flare up.

 

Research Indicates that Gluten May be Addictive

bread rolls

Quite some significant amount of research has led to the findings that gluten, especially that contained in wheat may possess various addictive properties.

This is why it is almost common to get unnatural cravings for wheat based consumer products like bread and donuts. For some people, this makes it difficult or sometimes almost impossible to refrain from getting more of these food products.

 

A Variety of Brain Disorders are Associated with Gluten Consumption

grains

A number of neurological illnesses have been linked or attributed to gluten consumption as the main cause.

Such conditions caused by these proteins are referred to as gluten-sensitive idiopathic neuropathy. It has been proven that although gluten does a great job in the gut, it has severe effects on the human brain.

Cerebellar ataxia, which is a serious brain disease that may result in the inability to move, balance, talk, among other problems is believed to be at least partly caused by gluten.

Other brain disorders attributed to gluten consumption include gluten ataxia, autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.

 

Gluten is Linked to Intestinal Cancer

wheat

A number of studies have revealed that gluten is associated with increased risk in intestinal cancer. In this case however, the risk increases only if you are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease.

Research has shown that those who have celiac disease and don’t maintain a gluten free diet are at higher risk of developing this type of cancer as well as small bowel cancer.

 

Conclusion

Gluten plays an essential part in most people’s daily diets. Often found in grains, they contain nutrients such as vitamin B, a non-meat source of protein as well as iron. They also contain fiber which helps you lose weight as well as is good for digestive health.

As much as it may prove to be quite useful, caution should be taken against consuming great amounts of gluten if you have celiac disease or are intolerant to it as some of the negative side effects brought about by it may lead in serious harm to the human body.