Should I go gluten free?
energy for their labour. Coeliac disease has become very common down that Irish line.
Given the combination of gluten consumption in any large quantities being relatively new to their way of eating – 1845 is only about six or seven generations of people ago, and we don’t evolve that quickly – with a gene profile that is common among people of Irish decent, you have a scenario where gluten may not support health; in fact it can be harmful.
Yet there are many people who do not test positive to coeliac disease and have numerous symptoms that resolve through the same dietary changes. My take on this is that the science isn’t finished yet. What if there are 50 more mechanisms through which the human body reacts to gluten, and coeliac disease is only the main one we currently know about?
That said, gluten free is not a way of eating that everyone needs to follow. The best way for us to identify if we have a sensitivity to gluten (aside from coeliac testing which would be advisable in those who have severe or persistent digestive upsets) is to firstly pay attention to how we feel after each meal and secondly omit gluten from our diet for a trial period of time and see how it sits when we reintroduce it.
If you experience reflux or bloating after eating, do you think your body is rejoicing and letting you know it’s thrilled with the choice you just made? No. It is regurgitating what you swallowed so that it doesn’t go any further into your body or create bloating and potentially gas because it doesn’t have the right tools to break down what you’ve consumed.
Yet so often our brain (or taste buds!) kick in and, despite knowing that the food doesn’t agree with us, we cry ‘‘Oh, but I love it!’’, denying that any changes need to be made. By omitting those foods that don’t make us feel so good, we give our body a rest and improve our
digestion – and through that all the other aspects of our health.
So if you feel that gluten may be a trigger for your digestive complaints, you may wish to consider a 4-8 week trial of a gluten-free diet, and then see how you feel when you reintroduce it.
If, based on your results, you feel that a gluten free way of eating would be a good choice for you, it’s advisable to speak with a nutrition professional who can guide you through the change and ensure you’re getting the nutrients you would ordinarily get from these food choices elsewhere.
Please note though that to obtain an accurate result from coeliac testing, gluten needs to be in the diet.
There are lots of gluten free alternatives out there for those wanting to try going without for a trial period.