Lanza Blog

GLUTEN. FRIEND OR FOE. By James Lanza, CPFI

Ah yes. The age old question. “Are you a good witch? Or a bad witch?” Is gluten good for you? Or bad for you? Here’s another question. Do you know what gluten is? Apparently not many of you do. So much so, that late night talk shows make fun of it. Jimmy will go out on the street and ask people if they are on a gluten free diet. Most will say yes. When asked why, they respond with “I don’t know” or “Because it’s healthier” or “My friend is gluten free” or “My friend lost thirty pounds on a gluten free diet.” Well let’s get to the nitty gritty.

Gluten is the protein that is found in grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, durum, semolina, etc. It is the bond that holds the grain together and gives it its shape. So, you’ll find gluten in breads, pastas, cookies, cakes, cereals, etc. It’s actually not a bad thing. As you’ve heard me say before, we are a nation of carbohydrate junkies. Most of our eating is made up of carbs. Some good, most bad. So getting rid of the protein that is found in the wheat and rye family is not such a good thing. Unless. Yes, unless you have Celiac disease, a very serious autoimmune disorder that affects about one in one hundred people worldwide. The ingestion of gluten can cause serious damage in the small intestine. Apparently over two and a half million Americans are undiagnosed with the disease and this can cause great discomfort and major health complications. Celiac disease is also hereditary. It runs in the family. People with a parent or sibling have a one in ten chance of getting the disease. These are the people that should be gluten free.

Now, there are some people that are gluten sensitive. They don’t have Celiac disease but eating breads and cereals may cause a little discomfort. Bloating, gas, cramping. Again, these people should be gluten free. The rest of us?? Eat the damn protein. Getting back to the “My friend lost thirty pounds eating gluten free.” Well, before everything was “gluten free” people stopped eating processed carbs. Breads, cereals, cakes, cookies. Guess what? They lost weight. But no more. Food companies are preying on the weak and uninformed. Everything is “gluten free” today. And much more expensive. They are charging you more for the breads, cookies, powders, drinks. I saw a meat product that said “gluten free”. Really?? People, you are not going to lose weight being “gluten free”. You are going to spend more money buying “gluten free.” You are not going to be healthier, live longer, have better skin or keep your hair from falling out. Get back to gluten. It’s good for you. And exercise. (You knew I had to get that in.)

Thanks for listening and have a healthy day!

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