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Be gluten-free without "gluten-free"

Posted Mar 08 2011 4:53pm
While I've discussed this before, it is such a confusing issue that I'd like to discuss it again.

I advocate wheat elimination because consumption of products made from modern dwarf Triticum aestivum
--Triggers formation of extravagant quantities of small LDL and LDL particle number (or apoprotein B)
--Triggers inflammatory phenomena like c-reactive protein, increases leptin resistance, and reduction of the protective adipocytokine, adiponectin.
--Encourages accumulation of deep visceral fat (" wheat belly ") that is inflammatory and causes resistance to insulin
--Increases blood sugar more than nearly all other foods--higher than a Milky Way bar, higher than a Snickers bar, higher than table sugar.
--Is being linked to a growing number of immune-mediated diseases, including celiac disease (quadrupled over past 50 years), type 1 diabetes in children, and cerebellar ataxia and peripheral neuropathies .

This last group of wheat-related phenomena are primarily due to gluten, the collection of 50+ proteins found in each wheat plant. For this reason, people diagnosed with celiac disease are advised to eliminate gluten from wheat and other sources (barley, rye, triticale, bulgur) and to eat gluten-free foods.

Gluten-free has therefore come to be viewed as wheat-free and problem-free. It ain't so.

Among the few foods that increase blood glucose higher than wheat: cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch--Yup: the ingredients commonly used to replace wheat in gluten-free foods. They are also flagrant triggers of the small LDL pattern, along with increased triglycerides, reduced HDL, increased visceral fat, increased blood pressure. In short, gluten-free foods lack the immune and brain effects of wheat gluten, but still make you fat, hypertensive, and diabetic.

I tell patients to view gluten-free foods like jelly beans: Gluten-free pancakes, muffins, breads, etc. are indulgences, not healthy replacements for wheat. It's okay to have a few jelly beans now and then. But they should not be part of a frequent or daily routine. Same with gluten-free foods.

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