What is gluten and why is it a problem?

Gluten is a protein, a group of amino acids bound together, found in all varieties of wheat, rye and barley. Oats are often considered gluten containing but in fact they aren’t it is just that they are often milled in the same facilities as the grains mentioned above and are cross contaminated.

It is believed that 7 out of 10 people are gluten intolerant and many of these go undiagnosed. The current method for determining gluten intolerance is very limited and looks only for the peptide gliadin which is a 33 bond of amino acids. There are in fact many other peptides of gluten but these are not the scope of current testing. Herein lies the problem. An accurate diagnosis cannot be made based on this limited approach and many people continue to consume gluten putting their health at serious risk where they likely would have tested positive to another peptide.

Gluten is a problem for the body, including the brain and gut flora, because proteins are normally dismantled through the digestion process into single amino acids and sometimes double in order to be absorbed but anything more is more like a wrecking ball and thus entirely destructive. They impact not only the gut cells by directly damaging their structure as well as providing food for pathogenic bacteria, allowing them to survive and proliferate through their conversion to sugar, but they also initiate an immune response which has the capacity to create chronic health issues.

You might remember that a healthy gut is integral to our health on all levels and needs to be nurtured and properly cared for if we hope for lasting health. Gluten detrimentally affects the gut environment which impacts digestion and immune function which translates into ALL health issues.

If 7 out of 10 people are impacted, this makes it more likely than not we fall into that category and this directly impacts the food we are feeding our kids if we hope for optimal health and happiness in their future. Of the remaining 3 out of 10 it is widely believed that gluten has the potential to cause issues in the future. The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases of all kinds that can be caused by eating gluten and 1 in 8 doesn’t have a gut issue.

The elimination of gluten from the diet has proven to be essential to promote healing in a range of conditions including: autistic spectrum, ADD/ADHD, behavioural issues, night waking, night terrors, immune dysfunction, intolerances and allergies, auto-immune conditions and a range of inflammatory issues.

Interestingly the standard food pyramid that we are all familiar with recommends gluten containing foods be the most consumed foods in a day. If we are to follow these guidelines, this would be putting 70% of the population at direct risk of disease now and for life as well as impacting future generations.

Foods that typically contain gluten include; breakfast cereals, bread, wraps, biscuits/crackers, sauces and jar food, packaged and refined foods. These are foods that are common place in most households. Disease takes time to evolve and our complacency comes from the fact that immediate issues are rarely seen but the facts speak for themselves. Why wait until a problem develops, and it likely will, learn the right foods to feed your child for long term health and happiness.

Join this Wednesday nights “Kids Snacks & Lunches” workshop with Real Healthy Kids or join a DVD viewing of Nourishing Our Children or In Search of the Perfect Diet. Call Sally on 0433 542 189 or visit www.realhealthykids.com.

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