1

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Non-symptomatic gluten consumption

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 02, 2013 at 4:14 PM

So, I've been in Taiwan for two weeks and because of travels (and my conscious desire to use this special time to test a reintroduction of gluten), I've found out that I don't react at all to gluten. Prior to these travels, I had been strictly gluten free for approximately a year (to the point where I avoided gluten everything, much like an individual with celiac does). For the past two weeks, I dropped all sort of "dietary restrictions" that I used to strictly bind myself to.

Before, I regularly consumed a large variety of cooked or raw vegetables, usually simply with a little olive oil, salt, and spices, relatively lean cuts of meat and offal, as well as small amounts of rice and potato when I felt like it. Fruit and nuts sometimes, and alcohol was pretty low. None in the way of gluten and bits here and there of some fermented dairy. I was always pretty strict with what I ate; I couldn't accept the 80/20 rule very well. Even then, sometimes I didn't feel too great, I had some digestive issues, and I never achieved the body composition that I hoped for. (I had been chasing lower abdominals / slightly thinner thighs / slightly thinner face / the last 3-5 lbs?) for quite some time now. I don't think I was particularly "stressed" or anything, diet or lifestyle wise. I did have a hard time eating out and hanging out with friends though. I usually didn't have a problem not eating while others did, but most of the time, I did not feel satisfied. I was satiated, but not exactly satisfied. I tended to eat a bit more when eating in this manner.

For the past two weeks in Taiwan, I've been eating everything from beef noodle soup (with wheat noodles), scallion pancakes, pork buns, wontons, chinese potstickers, dumplings, oyster noodles, glutinous rice, fried chicken patty, pineapple pastry cake, and things from Chinese bakeries. Never gorged or anything at one meal, just ate normally and listened to my body's satiety signals. What troubles me is that my body composition has not changed. Obviously, this isn't an excuse to say "well sh*t, gluten doesn't do any noticeable harm so pizza and breadsticks ALL DAY LONG!" However, I felt satisfied after most meals, and I felt I ate a normal amount.

The lack of body composition change despite eating crap (albeit delicious crap) could be attributed to several factors:

Decreased stress / cortisol of having a vacation.

Increased amount of walking (lots of public transportation and hours of walking to see the sights).

Portion control?

Some cortisol / hormonal reactions to higher carbohydrate intake?

Taiwan's drinking water?

I am aware that I've been only doing this for two weeks, so obviously, any long term effects of such consumption have not presented itself yet. I am also aware of supposed non-symptomatic gluten damage going on, as well as small exposures having a lasting impact. I've also read Kurt Harris' comments about "eating the 'wrong' thing with the right mentality, Paleo as a 'band aid', and Chris Kresser's patient who completely let go and just had pizza and beer."

Are the supposed damages of gluten worse, better, or even mitigated by a potential positive stress-lowering result of enjoyment with friends / eating some random crap deliciousness for those who do not present with overt symptoms? If so, or if not, would it be prudent to find out (and scare myself out of such consumption), or are there methods of integrating 80/20 a bit better into my lifestyle? I tend to be fairly disciplined and unable to enjoy myself at times. Or...overthinking much?

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 04, 2013
at 09:41 AM

Yes, they do, but they have less gluten, and somewhat different proteins. It's not always gluten that we react to, but different proteins too. Besides, Italy has moved to high yield wheat I think, not as much emmer/farro anymore.

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 04, 2013
at 08:24 AM

Celiac is very high in Italy. Old grains still have gluten.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2013
at 06:46 PM

The stray dogs around here add a sense of adventure to the daily walks.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2013
at 06:44 PM

In Japan there is a huge price difference between the native rice tended in tiny paddies and the commodity rice from Thailand. Unless you eat very high gourmet or cook at home, the grain you get is the cheapest available.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2013
at 06:39 PM

Oh yes it's the same. The ships go out full of it, headed east. It it isn't carefully tended ancestral varieties, just bulk commodity wheat.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2013
at 06:36 PM

+1 but probably overthinking, and a bit judgemental in calling Taiwanese food crap.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on March 03, 2013
at 04:53 PM

I did suspect increased activity played a role in mitigating the damage. I sort of had the feeling that I asked a somewhat dumb question as an n=1 test would easily provide the answer.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on March 03, 2013
at 04:50 PM

I didn't think about the varieties of wheat in Taiwan. To me, it all seems fairly modern but I guess I could ask. You're right about the silent damage though; also from my own readings. I do not intend to make it regular of course, but perhaps some research into wheat origins would be enlightening. Thanks!

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2 Answers

3
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 03, 2013
at 02:14 AM

Are you sure that the wheat they have in Taiwan is the same as the franken-wheat they have in the US? There's a reason why there are 3 out of 100 celiac in the US, and only 1 in 1750 in Greece, for example: different wheat. I'm a celiac, and the illness came to me only after I moved to the US (a few weeks later). Also, when I didn't know I was a celiac, I was feeling less bad when I was visiting my family in Greece and eating wheat there: because they used older varieties. So if in Taiwan they still use older varieties too, you might not react to it as much.

Plus, wheat doesn't always come out in bouts of diarrhea. Most of the time, it works silently.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2013
at 06:39 PM

Oh yes it's the same. The ships go out full of it, headed east. It it isn't carefully tended ancestral varieties, just bulk commodity wheat.

C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

(842)

on March 04, 2013
at 08:24 AM

Celiac is very high in Italy. Old grains still have gluten.

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on March 03, 2013
at 04:50 PM

I didn't think about the varieties of wheat in Taiwan. To me, it all seems fairly modern but I guess I could ask. You're right about the silent damage though; also from my own readings. I do not intend to make it regular of course, but perhaps some research into wheat origins would be enlightening. Thanks!

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on March 04, 2013
at 09:41 AM

Yes, they do, but they have less gluten, and somewhat different proteins. It's not always gluten that we react to, but different proteins too. Besides, Italy has moved to high yield wheat I think, not as much emmer/farro anymore.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2013
at 06:44 PM

In Japan there is a huge price difference between the native rice tended in tiny paddies and the commodity rice from Thailand. Unless you eat very high gourmet or cook at home, the grain you get is the cheapest available.

0
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on March 03, 2013
at 01:41 AM

Reminds me of this article:

http://chriskresser.com/theres-more-to-health-than-food-and-theres-more-to-life-than-health

However, I would bet that the increase in low-level physical activity plays a huge role. (Think of Primal Blueprint's "Move Slowly."

Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on March 03, 2013
at 04:53 PM

I did suspect increased activity played a role in mitigating the damage. I sort of had the feeling that I asked a somewhat dumb question as an n=1 test would easily provide the answer.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on March 03, 2013
at 06:46 PM

The stray dogs around here add a sense of adventure to the daily walks.

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