The Truth About Gluten
Let’s start off by clarifying what exactly gluten is. As Mauricio explains, it’s simply a specific type of protein that occurs in wheat. About 1% of the population of the US has celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks itself after ingesting wheat. Another 2% to 6% of the population is sensitive to gluten, but without having celiac disease. This is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and can include symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
Mauricio also talks about possible reasons why it is that so many people feel better when they don’t eat gluten, even though the vast majority of the population doesn’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. One possibility is the nocebo effect, which is basically the opposite of the more familiar placebo effect. The nocebo effect means you feel worse even though you were given a harmless substance.
Another possibility is that for many people, the issue isn’t with gluten at all, but rather with other ingredients that tend to go hand-in-hand with it. When you stay away from processed grains, you reduce not only your gluten intake, but also sugar and hardcore preservatives. It’s possible that these things are the problem, rather than the gluten itself.
Don’t take this to mean that you should stay completely away from grains! Mauricio points out that eating whole grains has been shown to improve your microbiome, help with diabetes prevention, and more. Even if you’re sensitive to gluten, you can eat quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, and brown rice, for example.
I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Mauricio as much as I did! Watch the YouTube video for even more in-depth information about gluten, and dive into our previous conversation about dairy for more of his wisdom!
Mauricio’s passion for bringing health information to the public led him to create of the first medical immersion in Latin America, called Veggie Power. If you speak Spanish, check out the next event! You can also find him at @dr.mauriciogonzalez on Instagram, or Dr. Mauricio González Arias on Facebook.
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Gastroenterology. 1981 Jul; 81(1):192-4. “Gluten-sensitive diarrhea without evidence of celiac disease” Cooper BT, Holmes GK, Ferguson R, Thompson RA, Allan RN, Cooke WT.
Am J Gastroenterol. 2012 Dec;107(12):1898-906; Non celiac wheat sensitivity diagnosed by double-blind placebo controlled challenge: exploring a new clinical entity. Carroccio A, Mansueto P, Iacono G, Soresi M, D’Alcamo A, Cavataio F, Brusca I, Florena AM, Ambrosiano G, Seidita A, Pirrone G, Rini GB.
“Wheat Belly – an Analysis of Selected Statements and Basic Theses from the Book” PEER REVIEWED