My Thoughts on the Infamous Gluten!

While the gluten-free diet may be ‘trendy’ right now, there has finally been some clinical research done, showing the inflammatory effects of gluten. Note: the particular study that I’m discussing was performed on mice, but I think there’s going to be LOTS more exploration on this subject.

The scientists divided eight-week-old male mice into two groups: both groups were fed the same diet, except that the first group’s diet contained gluten supplementation (4.5% wheat gluten). The study lasted 8 weeks, with the mice kept in a controlled environment and food intake the same. Body weight was measured individually once a week, and at the end of the experimental period, they analyzed the intestines, liver, blood, visceral fat, gastrocnemius muscle and feces of the mice. They measured the following: lipid content, protein, glucose, insulin, leptin, adiponectic and resistin concentrations, adipocyte diameter, cytokine concentrations and gene expression.

To make a long story short, the results showed that body weight/adiposity gain, inflammation and insulin resistance were all improved in the mice fed the gluten-free diet, suggesting that a gluten-free diet may benefit people other than those with celiac disease.

Experts say that one contributing factor may be that the wheat we eat today (aka “modern wheat”) is not the same as the wheat our grandmas had. More on this here: Dr. William Davis discusses modern wheat on CBS news.

Now, let me just say… I LOVE pizza (an obvious gluten-containing food). Who doesn’t!? Chris & I just had our favorite—a Holy Shiitake Pie from Mellow Mushroom—last weekend.

holy shiitake pie
Shiitake, button and portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, olive oil and garlic base, Italian cheeses, garlic aioli, black truffle oil.

So good!

The point here is not that gluten is the devil. 😉 I think it’s just important to be aware that there may very well be nutritional implications for certain foods you consume—even if you do not necessarily have an allergy or sensitivity.

It’s certainly not something that I choose to have often.

Gluten strands.

There are several books on this subject. One that I want to read is Grain Brain by neurologist David Perlmutter, MD. Perlmutter refers to wheat, carbs and sugar as our brains’ silent killers, claiming that carbs destroy the brain, causing things like dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches and depression. (Please note that I think he’s referring to processed carbs — not carbs from fruits and vegetables! The right kind of carbs are extremely healthy, and we need them to fuel our bodies and brains.)

Nutrition + neuroscience = I’m interested!

FYI: other gluten-containing grains include barley and rye (and occasionally oats). Whole grains that do not have gluten include amaranth, buckwheat, rice and quinoa (among others).

I hope this was at least some food for thought.

Happy Hump Day,