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Gluten. What is it and why are people avoiding it?
I saw this video awhile back and it cracked me up.
For those poor souls… gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected (SOURCE)
Obviously, if you have celiac disease you NEED to avoid gluten. Also, if you find that it upsets your digestive process, avoid it. Justin and I experience neither, but here is why we are LIMITING it in our diets (not completely avoiding).
1. Justin avoids it during Ironman season because of GI issues. According to ACE Fitness, there is a lack of evidence that gluten negatively affects athletic performance, but according to ACTIVE it may. That article suggests that gluten can cause inflammation of the stomach, resulting in a leak. A leaky gut allows energy-producing nutrients to pass out of the stomach and into the bloodstream in a form that cannot be absorbed by the body (SOURCE). Not absorbing nutrients means lower energy levels. Other side of the story, this article suggests that this is basically crap and that animal products cause inflammation. Choose your vice.
Either way, he makes sure he gets enough gluten-free carbohydrate items in his system to fuel his workouts (since carbs are the main source of energy for our bodies).
2. I am limiting it because of the increased “modified” versions of wheat coming out. I read The Wheat Belly, which suggested wheat has been genetically modified because it is a long growth process, yielding few returns. Well, wheat is not technically genetically modified (SOURCE), but has been hybridized, backcrossed, and hybridized with non-wheat plants. There are also chemical-, gamma-, and x-ray mutagenesis. But, by definition, those are not “GMO.” However, they are difficult techniques to control are difficult to control and can cause many unexpected results. Dr. Davis Williams says, “In short, they are worse than genetic-modification.”
America seems to be all about producing mass quantities and not mass qualities these days in the food department. So, I’ve been sticking to the ancient grains (those not touched by the processes mentioned above).
But, don’t just jump so easily on the fad.
Gluten itself doesn’t offer special nutritional benefits. But the many whole grains that contain gluten do. They’re rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all carbohydrates in the diet come from whole grain products. (SOURCE)
My suggestions… if you are experiencing GI issues, try going gluten-free for a few weeks. If things improve, keep it up. If not, try eliminating something different.
If you aren’t experiencing GI issues, just try switching to a majority of ancient grain products
What are your thoughts on gluten?