I ate bread for the first time in about 8 months. It was the first time I have been in a social situation where I did not feel comfortable declining food offered to me. I was preparing myself to feel bad the next day but I felt perfectly fine. I had no known problems with wheat before going paleo and I wander if this is evidence that I am part of a small population that doesn't suffer ill effects from gluten. To what extent can I rely on my own body's reaction as an indicator that I tolerate gluten?
To be clear I'm not looking for permission to eat wheat and have no intention of making wheat part of my diet. I have zero cravings for any wheat products and wouldn't waste my $$ on them. I'm more interested in learning if I can stress out less when wheat consumption happens in the future. Was my non-existent reaction evidence that I did no damage to my gut, or not necessarily?
asked byHannah (2065)
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on September 17, 2010
at 06:38 PM
I have never had any obvious problems consuming wheat either. I suspect for myself, the main 'injury' might be blood glucose rush which often has no symtoms either. One of these days, I'll have to get the glucometer out and satiate my curiosity. However, that would involve eating a bunch of wheat and so I'm not eager. They say that about 20 percent of the human population can produce some phytic acid in the gut. Those people are probably better adapted to tolerate wheat and other grains. I may be one of those people, but it's hard to say for sure. Also, it's been documented that wheat can cause some damage to the gut lining without the person showing any obvious symptoms. So there could have been some damage, but just not enough to show symptoms. I suspect the gut of a healhty individual is pretty tough and can handle occasional incidences of damage and recover quickly as long as the body is not under constant attack and previous lifestyle has not caused any permanent damage.
Another consideration is that some of the symptoms people suffer after eating a food they have not eaten for a long time is simply that the gut and gut flora have become unadapted to that food and a sudden influx of something that may be hard to digest in the first place can throw everything into temporary disarray. SO the bloated or ill feeling some people get after eating a bunch of wheat after a long break may be a sign of multiple things going on at once including wheat's difficulty to digest and the body becoming less adapted over time and may not necesarily mean the person has an extreme allergy to it. When vegans go back to eating meat, many of them experience really bad headaches for several weeks as their body readapts to eating meat. That doesn't necesarily mean meat is bad for them. IMO, it is likely they have become ill adapted and the sudden influx of meat throws their body temporarily into disarray. DOn't get me wrong, I do think wheat is bad for you, but it can be inaccurate to interpret everything in a simplistic manner that all symptoms of feeling bad mean something is bad and all symptoms of feeling good mean something is good. You have to look at the whole picture and allow for issues of adaptation and what is likely most natural. And there is much we still don't know.
on September 17, 2010
at 10:21 PM
I do not usually have digestive effects from consuming gluten. But about three days after consumption, I can guarantee a migraine and/or severe nerve pain in a large joint somewhere in my body. There are genetic connections to gluten intolerance. DQ2 and DQ8 alleles are more closely associated with celiac disease, but DQ1 and several variants are connected to nervous system and inflammation disorders from gluten as well as links to diabetes. I have DQ1 and DQ2 alleles. I doubt that anyone can get away with long term chronic consumption of gluten. The reaction seems to vary and may not be linked with the eating of gluten if it occurs several days later.
on September 17, 2010
at 07:13 PM
If I were you, I absolutely wouldn't panic about consuming wheat from time to time. Sure, it may give you a blood sugar rush, and it may inhibit uptake of nutrients, but if you are fairly well adapted to tolerate wheat, then you are fairly well adapted to tolerate wheat. Things such as fiber, phytic acid and lectins negatively affect everybody, but once in a while, I think negative components like these are perfectly fine to ingest. Just like I think its perfectly fine to have some grapes or some cheese once in a while. Not every one has a strong auto-immune reaction to wheat. Just like not every one has a strong reaction to dairy. This is your body and your paleo life style, and you should bend and/or make your own rules according to your body and to your specific needs.
Op! Just read this at Melissa's blog -- apparently there is some evidence that everyone has an immune response to gluten:
"One of these things is a protein called gliadin, which celiac individuals are sensitive to. But it turns out that others are sensitive to it as well: Is gliadin really safe for non???coeliac individuals?
The answer is NO:
The data obtained in this pilot study support the hypothesis that gluten elicits its harmful effect, throughout an IL15 innate immune response, on all the individuals. This innate response is found in both patients with and without CD, although the triggering of an adaptive response is CD specific.
So for celiac individuals it's really really bad. For most people it's not so bad, it only "induces epithelial stress and reprogrammes intraepithelial lymphocytes into natural killer (NK)???like cells leading to enterocyte apoptosis and an increase in epithelium permeability" a little. Enjoy your bagels!"