People are reaching for bread again now that it’s common knowledge that we need complex carbohydrates and fiber to fulfill a healthy and well-balanced diet. While it is true that whole wheat and multigrain breads hold many ingredients that are good for you, they also contain a little compound called gluten that could spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r for your body.
What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It’s this protein that causes dough to be dense and elastic, and bread to rise and taste satisfyingly chewy. Yet, many people are unable to successfully digest gluten. And in an increasing number of cases, it can cause real – and possibly fatal – health problems.
One such serious problem is celiac disease, a chronic disorder in which the body launches a full-scale immune response when even the smallest amount of gluten is present. The resulting symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, and severe stomach cramps, not to mention extreme nutritional deficiencies.
Celiac disease causes actual tears in the small intestine when it attacks gluten. Because of this damage, victims of the disease are at higher risk for cancer, infertility, and osteoporosis.
Hurting a Little Less Isn’t Better
Gluten sensitivity is another condition that’s lesser known, harder to diagnose, but just as dangerous in many ways as celiac disease. People with gluten sensitivity lack the serious autoimmune response that damages the small intestine, but they still may suffer from cramping and bloating, among other stomach discomfort.
In addition, the latest research has shown that those with gluten sensitivity may be more vulnerable to everything from fatigue and canker sores to anemia and rheumatoid arthritis. Furthermore, there’s now evidence linking gluten sensitivity to neurological and mood disorders, including migraines, depression, and epilepsy.
Unlike the internal damage caused by celiac disease, there’s no concrete physical evidence to point a definitive finger at gluten sensitivity. Some people with the condition have gone through years and years of trial, error, and unsuccessful treatment before the correct diagnosis was made.
The only way to determine if a person is gluten sensitive is to prescribe a completely gluten-free diet for a set time period and then watch his or her physical reactions when gluten is systematically reintroduced into the diet.
It wasn’t until recent years that doctors and researchers even acknowledged the validity of gluten sensitivity as a serious medical condition. But over the last twenty years there has been an increase in the number of people complaining of the condition. The rise in cases has become impossible for the medical community to ignore.
American Bread is Extra Dangerous
This sudden prevalence of gluten sensitivity may have something to do with America’s wheat crops. In order to produce a higher volume of breads with more desirable consistencies, a type of super-gluten was introduced. Now almost every wheat crop produced in this country contains a substantially higher amount of gluten than can be found in grains abroad.
Gluten, a Silent Killer?
Ignoring gluten sensitivity can lead to major health problems – or even death. A recent study showed that people with both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have an increased risk of suffering from heart disease. So, if you lead a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet, but notice consistent stomach discomfort or general malaise you can’t really explain, the bread you’re eating may be to blame!
It’s time to make changes for a healthier you. Together we can create a nutrition and fitness plan – unique to you – that will suit your lifestyle and meet your goals.
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