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Is Gluten Bad For Everyone?


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27 replies to this topic

#1 Seifer

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 12:25 PM

I've done some reading on gluten and casein before removing it from my diet, and it seems to me that they would be bad for everybody even if you have a leaky gut or not? I read one site describing gluten, casein and soy protein as glue that covers the small intestine and blocks absorption of nutrients, and that all other allergies are secondary. If that's the case then people with celiac disease would've gotten more damage to the villi than the "normal person" for reasons like genetic predisposition, bad diet and lifestyle, but everybody who consume these regularly will eventually get enough damage to the small intestine to cause the symptoms of malabsorption? Sorry if this sounds stupid but I'm a bit confused.
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#2 Skylark

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:57 AM

Hi and welcome to the board.

No, gluten is not bad for everyone. There are a lot of pseudo-scientific websites written around the Internet that may sound convincing but they are not accurate. It's a fad right now to think of wheat as bad and people are making money on websites and books that attack the latest dietary villain. These same people probably hopped on the low-fat bandwagon 20 years ago. :rolleyes: Humans have been eating wheat and milk perfectly well for millennia. Soy is a slightly different matter; most traditional soy foods are fermented for various reasons.

The increase in celiac disease is not well understood, but it is probably not due to some inherently "bad" property of wheat or milk. The increase in celiac and gluten intolerance is faster in high-tech societies, and slower in poor countries like Russia. There is a "hygiene hypothesis" that somehow living in conditions that are too clean, eating processed foods, or perhaps overexposure to antibiotics and chemicals messes up our immune systems and we are more prone to autoimmunity like type 1 diabetes and celiac.
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#3 Seifer

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 05:11 AM

Thanks. Yeah, but he said that wheat was cross-bred by some germanics or whatever about 500 AD which increased the gluten-content, which has been increased even further by the grain industry, so that maybe wheat was like 1% gluten back around year 0 but now it's like 50% gluten.

And concerning milk that there was a genetic mutation which led to the A1-milk with the release of BCM7 in digestion. Goat's milk being presumably safe because it contains little milk protein, while cows milk being very high in casein, and especially the A1-casein.
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#4 Skylark

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 07:07 AM

He's still lying. Ancient domesticated wheats like Kamut and Spelt have 15%-20% protein, which is more than modern wheat at 7%-14%. BCM7 is hardly the only problematic casomorphin peptide in milk. It just happens to be the best-studied.

Look, you can believe whatever you like but I'd really suggest you do some research on websites with better science.
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#5 Seifer

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 03:58 AM

Okey, you don't need to sound so condescending. Do you have any suggestions of good websites?
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#6 Skylark

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:31 AM

Sorry. You didn't take my meaning the first time around and I didn't know what to say in order get you to understand that you were on a nonsense website.

I generally read the peer-reviewed literature. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/

There are some good books around, depending on what you are trying to learn. You might want to read Dr. Peter Green's book. Places like Mayo Clinic, MedScape, WebMD, and the NIH websites are reliable too. The Chicago Celiac Center has some good articles about celiac testing. Also there is an expert named Dr. Alessio Fasano around and if you find him interviewed or quoted it will be good stuff.

Be immediately suspicious of sites that are trying to sell supplements, books, or videos because they will twist the science to sound good and make a sale. Any idiot with a Google account and a soapbox can make a blog so don't trust those either. Videos are usually the least accurate of all. It seems like the idiots with the soapboxes like videos even more than blogs. :lol:
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#7 Seifer

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:55 PM

Okay thanks for the tips. I'm still wondering though, didn't they increase the gluten content to make bread hold together and more glue like?
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#8 Skylark

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 01:37 PM

Okay thanks for the tips. I'm still wondering though, didn't they increase the gluten content to make bread hold together and more glue like?

There's a bunch of research on ancient wheat cultivation and strains that were grown. You might find Wikipedia a useful jumping-off point if you are curious about ancient wheat. As I mentioned, some of the ancient grains were higher in protein than modern wheat. (Wikipedia itself can be iffy but it usually references some good articles.)

Protein in general is considered nourishing in a grain. If you can push durum wheat up from 10% protein to 14% protein, which is the extent we're talking about since 500 AD, someone eating a pasta dinner gets a little more protein in their meal. That's valuable, especially for subsistence cultures that rely heavily on grains for food.

Bread wheats like hard winter wheat and pasta wheat like durum get bred for more protein in general. In the bread wheat it's specifically gluten. Soft wheat used for cake flour and starch wouldn't be bred for protein though. Remember there is also a lot of breeding for yield, disease resistance, and hardiness in particular climates.
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#9 Seifer

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 02:31 PM

Interesting, are there different types of proteins in these grains though? So if for example a sample of wheat contains 14% protein is it all gluten or just a part of it?
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#10 Skylark

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:26 PM

Interesting, are there different types of proteins in these grains though? So if for example a sample of wheat contains 14% protein is it all gluten or just a part of it?

Gluten is a baking term for the mass of sticky, insoluble protein in wheat. It's a mix of gliadin and glutelin. Cereal chemists use more precise language. We react to what cereal chemists call gliadin. Looks like 33%-45% of the protein is gliadin, called prolamin in this article. http://www.fao.org/d...4e/x2184e04.htm
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#11 Aly1

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 07:29 PM

I know this post hasn't been active for a week but I have to say, I have been quite swayed by reading "Wheat Belly" (can't recall the author - a physician - but it is a current NY Times best seller so it shouldn't be hard to find). He discusses the changes in wheat through selective breeding etc and how in the last 50 years wheat has changed *dramatically*, and illnesses that appear to be linked to wheat consumption have also risen dramatically during that time. We are NOT eating the same wheat our grandparents were.

The author had a gluten intolerance, and discusses a test he did on himself; he got ahold of some "original" wheat, apparently very hard to find but he found a source, and ate some bread made with that, and had no reaction. Then he had bread made with identical ingredients except for regular current-day wheat, and he got totally ill. Anecdotal, yes, but I will assume he wasn't lying for the purposes of dramatic effect.

I highly recommend the book, it has changed my perceptions of how we are handling our food supplies in this country... I can't remember the sub-title to the book, but it really makes it sound like a diet/weight loss book - I guess he did that to sell more copies - but it is an excellent read and should not be mistaken for diet fad fluff.
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#12 Strawberry_Jam

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 01:44 AM

I wish gluten were bad for everyone. Then it wouldn't be shoved in my face on such a regular basis.

However, celiac disease has been discovered in ancient Rome. And there's been plenty of "wasting" sicknesses over the centuries which were unexplained, and could easily have been celiac or lupus or any number of modern autoimmune diseases.

Personally I see gluten as a poison and it should be regulated as such. But only 1% of the population would benefit from such.
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#13 Aly1

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 04:57 AM

Oh, I suspect a lot more than 1% would be helped (based on what I read in Wheat Belly). But these grains are so entrenched in our culture that I don't think much is going to change. I bet in the end everyone would just take Glutenease rather than give it up!
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#14 Bubba's Mom

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 07:57 AM

I know this post hasn't been active for a week but I have to say, I have been quite swayed by reading "Wheat Belly" (can't recall the author - a physician - but it is a current NY Times best seller so it shouldn't be hard to find). He discusses the changes in wheat through selective breeding etc and how in the last 50 years wheat has changed *dramatically*, and illnesses that appear to be linked to wheat consumption have also risen dramatically during that time. We are NOT eating the same wheat our grandparents were.

The author had a gluten intolerance, and discusses a test he did on himself; he got ahold of some "original" wheat, apparently very hard to find but he found a source, and ate some bread made with that, and had no reaction. Then he had bread made with identical ingredients except for regular current-day wheat, and he got totally ill. Anecdotal, yes, but I will assume he wasn't lying for the purposes of dramatic effect.

I highly recommend the book, it has changed my perceptions of how we are handling our food supplies in this country... I can't remember the sub-title to the book, but it really makes it sound like a diet/weight loss book - I guess he did that to sell more copies - but it is an excellent read and should not be mistaken for diet fad fluff.

I got that book from the library after someone recommended it. The modified wheat is scary! I wish my hubby would read it, because it's obvious to me that he has a problem with wheat. :o

They have been tinkering with soybeans and corn too. I wonder how long it will be until we see other Celiac-like diseases because of the genetic engineering on those? :blink:
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#15 Skylark

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:53 AM

The author had a gluten intolerance, and discusses a test he did on himself; he got ahold of some "original" wheat, apparently very hard to find but he found a source, and ate some bread made with that, and had no reaction. Then he had bread made with identical ingredients except for regular current-day wheat, and he got totally ill. Anecdotal, yes, but I will assume he wasn't lying for the purposes of dramatic effect.

People with celiac disease absolutely react to kamut, spelt, and other ancient grains, and they have plenty of gluten. What he did is interesting but it's obviously not generalizable. :) I have a friend who is a gluten-intolerant botanist and she even reacts to wild triticae grains she's collected. I haven't read the book to comment further.
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