3

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Does Eliminating Wheat & Grain from your Diet Render You Unable to Digest Them?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created June 25, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I'm just curious, as a one-time gluten-sensitive person (haven't been for years), if you were to stop eating wheat and other grains (as per Dr. Davis' "Wheat Belly" book), would your body ultimately become unable to digest those foods if ever you were to eat them again? At first I thought the "Wheat Belly" book would only focus on the elimination of wheat, but then I noticed all breakfast cereals, oatmeal & oat bran included, were on the "never" list. Oat bran has soluble fiber that can help absorb excess cholesterol in the body, so I wouldn't necessarily consider it an unhealthy food...

I've always thought a diet should allow a cheat once in awhile, so that you don't end up feeling impossibly deprived, but I wouldn't want to cheat only to find out that I had developed a reaction to such foods by not introducing them into my body for a long period of time...

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 27, 2012
at 07:26 PM

This article on celiac reintroduction might give you some leads, though scientific papers are hard to find. Basically it sounds like lack of specific enzymes for gliadin and vegetable proteins are at the core of the problem. Issue.

7278560e76901ded4081022b54c6e165

on September 16, 2012
at 09:47 AM

Only cheat when you really want to are are happy with your choice. Don't force cheats, not cheat just because you're bored or emotional, cheats should be rewarding, like a pumpkin pie heavy with heavy whipping cream and moms homemade banana muffins piled with butter and peanut butter. Once a year or something like once a month is what I naturally end up doing.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on June 26, 2012
at 08:08 PM

I think that the majority of people are gluten sensitive at least to todays variations of it. You could likely discover in one of two ways....eat it until you have an issue (autoimmune symptoms usually take years if not decades to develop), or get tested http://www.precisionnutrition.com/gluten-sensitivity. I guess I go with option three...I just eliminate/severely limit it as a preventative measure even though I have no "acute" symptoms there are some autoimmune diseases that hit late (50-60yrs old) in a couple of my family members.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 26, 2012
at 06:06 AM

I totally agree and I am one of those people. Still, I don't eat gluten hardly ever and when I do its not much.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 26, 2012
at 06:04 AM

Ok this is where I get confused.... how is it harmful if you dont eat too much and you have a healthy gut (you don't have a leaky gut) and you have no digestive issues or symptoms after you eat it. This is a legit Q, not a challenge. I am very curious. Seems to me that (Celiac disease aside) in the case of gluten, that the people that have issues, have a leaky gut.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 26, 2012
at 12:14 AM

The whole cholesterol thing is totally in question and has been for quite a while. You are going by really outdated CW with poor quality research to support it.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 26, 2012
at 12:13 AM

You know what else has soluble fiber? Vegetables and fruits. In larger quantities than in oat bran. Avocados are great source and have a lot more going for them oats. The whole oat bran thing did create a great new market for the producers. There is no magic pill.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 26, 2012
at 12:12 AM

You know what else has soluble fiber? Vegetables, fruits. Avocados are great source and have a lot more going for them oats. The whole oat bran thing did create a great new market for the producers. There is no magic pill, and the whole cholesterol thing is totally in question and has been for quite a while.

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13 Answers

5
5e63e3fa78e998736106a4a5b9aef58c

on June 26, 2012
at 03:07 AM

For a while, I allowed myself "cheats," so I wouldn't obsess over cravings for the non-/anti-nutritive foods I was addicted to (i.e. "feel deprived").

I very soon thereafter gave up on cheating, because those cheat foods I didn't want to "feel deprived" of? They made me feel like shit. I can't eat them anymore, and that's fine with me--I no longer want them.

I see no benefit to eating grains. They are really, really bad for me. For me, they are not food. And no, I don't think it's a bad thing that I can no longer digest them--I never really could.

There are so many foods I love, that I can eat freely of, and that will actually nourish me. Why would I ever need to resume eating grains?

7278560e76901ded4081022b54c6e165

on September 16, 2012
at 09:47 AM

Only cheat when you really want to are are happy with your choice. Don't force cheats, not cheat just because you're bored or emotional, cheats should be rewarding, like a pumpkin pie heavy with heavy whipping cream and moms homemade banana muffins piled with butter and peanut butter. Once a year or something like once a month is what I naturally end up doing.

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21420)

on June 26, 2012
at 06:00 AM

You know what happens when an alcoholic cuts alcohol for an extended period of time?

They become a "cheap date" at the bar, 1-2 drinks to get a buzz, where they used to drink all night and not get inebriated.

Same thing happens with most toxins.

The sign of a healthy immune system is it's revulsion at toxins, in my opinion. Gluten is no exclusion - drop it for awhile, and any attempt to eat it again (without going gradually) will result in some fairly nasty discomfort.

3
E3d94ade13110237db50b944f89e98bd

(245)

on June 26, 2012
at 05:14 AM

I have been essentially gluten free for 6 months with just a couple of intentional slip ups. Gluten containing foods in any appreciable quantity make my gut swell up fairly immediately and give me an "off" feeling that can last as long as a month. I also got a cold the last time I ate that stuff. Could be coincidence or could be compromised immunity. Who knows?

I've also found a similar, although less pronounced, reaction to corn. The "funk" seems to hang around a few days and disappear.

White rice in moderation (one sushi roll or some rice noodles in a Chinese dish) appears to have minimal effect other than a temporary mild bloating.

I got to the point where I wondered if I'd just been swollen up for years and just didn't realize how bad I felt because I never cleared my system long enough to feel good! LOL

So for me, gluten is on the "spectacular foods only" list (maybe a bit of pasta if I were back in Capri, for example) and corn on the "fantastic foods if I really can't resist" list. Rice is occasional and sparing use. It works fine for me.

Everybody is a little different in their tolerances. Listen to your body. It will tell you what isn't good for you if you pay attention.

3
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on June 26, 2012
at 03:31 AM

I wouldn't worry about my inability to consume grains considering their negative impact on health.

No reason to feel like you NEED to keep your body ready to digest inferior...possibly toxic and harmful crap "just in case" you want to eat it again someday, unless your living in a third world country were if you don't eat grains you may actually starve to death.

For me I can still eat a few pieces of pizza if I want without issue. I just don't do it often. Oh, and beer. However I drink good beer so maybe the fermentation helps.

For those above, I do not put lactose/casein and dairy in the same category as grains/gluten. Two different animals IMO. You can do an elimination diet to test your sensitivity to various types of dairy, but in the case of grains just getting rid of them all together regardless of if you think your tolerant or not would be your best bet.

Here is a good bit on that http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/search/label/Casein%20vs%20gluten

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 26, 2012
at 06:04 AM

Ok this is where I get confused.... how is it harmful if you dont eat too much and you have a healthy gut (you don't have a leaky gut) and you have no digestive issues or symptoms after you eat it. This is a legit Q, not a challenge. I am very curious. Seems to me that (Celiac disease aside) in the case of gluten, that the people that have issues, have a leaky gut.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on June 26, 2012
at 08:08 PM

I think that the majority of people are gluten sensitive at least to todays variations of it. You could likely discover in one of two ways....eat it until you have an issue (autoimmune symptoms usually take years if not decades to develop), or get tested http://www.precisionnutrition.com/gluten-sensitivity. I guess I go with option three...I just eliminate/severely limit it as a preventative measure even though I have no "acute" symptoms there are some autoimmune diseases that hit late (50-60yrs old) in a couple of my family members.

2
3f0a69f164d8fac2cdee80c19526f83f

on June 26, 2012
at 11:15 AM

"I've always thought a diet should allow a cheat once in awhile, so that you don't end up feeling impossibly deprived"

One of the keys to my success in living and eating paleo has been to immerse myself in the "whys" of paleo/primal. Why are grains harmful, how does it affect my body and mind? What can I eat that is a healthier option? Understanding that certain foods and behaviors are detrimental to my health have eliminated any feelings of "feeling impossibly deprived". Do I ever eat grains/legumes/sugar/veg oil/non-fermented dairy? Yes, I do. But it is rare, because I simply don't have a desire to eat food that I know - both through reading and through personal observation - is harmful to me.

IMO compliance becomes greater if dietary - and other - changes are made based on answering the question "What can I do to improve my life/health?" Avoiding food toxins therefore is not deprivation, but rather, beneficial to my long term goals. Plus eating wheat causes the toilet to become my new best friend the next day.

2
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on June 25, 2012
at 11:14 PM

This probably doesn't answer your question but knowing that I'm gluten intolerant I really don't want to eat grains again. If I do I will probably overeat them and that isn't good either. TBH, the only thing I really miss is my sister's challah--it's too die for (figuratively speaking)--but then I have eaten too much of it and regretted it immensely (and that was pre-paleo so I must have suspected that gluten was bad for me). When I "cheat" (don't like that term), I eat something sorta paleo like dark chocolate. That pretty much takes care of not feeling deprived.

1
Eea6a68f5a7190d13c60e1c72417a581

(1376)

on June 25, 2012
at 11:07 PM

Many people have regained the ability to digest Gluten and other grains after healing their gut by abstaining from grains entirely for a period of at least 6 months.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 26, 2012
at 06:06 AM

I totally agree and I am one of those people. Still, I don't eat gluten hardly ever and when I do its not much.

0
10bc2478efaf03d5f782c7d47a1b5d8a

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I can eliminate wheat from my diet no problem. But, Gee, what would I eat if I can't at least eat oats (as in substituting granola for raisin bran), chocolate and fruit and beans? (And remember that tomatoes are a fruit.) That's just about everything that I find tolerable taste-wise that is not wheat. If I eat only eggs and meat, my cholesterol (which is below normal) would go through the roof and I'd die that way. I'm absolutely not going to go on a diet of only eating peppers or something weird like that. Maybe I should hook up with some Eastern traditionalists (Yogi's) and try just breathing for sustinance. That ought to do the trick!

0
A5127d60bca783084f191f38ffa357a6

on November 27, 2012
at 06:51 PM

I have wondered the same thing, as I've heard and read it off numerous blogs and websites. I've been gluten free for a couple months and when I have some, my pains come back the next day, I think along with some hives. I've always been worried about this. I know vegetarians who don't eat red meat get really sick or something when they have red meat again. I don't know if our body stops making a certain enzyme or if its the antibodies with not being used in a while all of a sudden have accumulated.

Can anyone find any scientific articles about elimination diets and unability to further eat food without some kind of harm?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 27, 2012
at 07:26 PM

This article on celiac reintroduction might give you some leads, though scientific papers are hard to find. Basically it sounds like lack of specific enzymes for gliadin and vegetable proteins are at the core of the problem. Issue.

0
659cef2710acdbea085c9d9d2eb4fd62

on September 16, 2012
at 02:36 AM

You have reactions to foods you haven't had for a long time because your body is less immune to the horrible stuff that it generally is your eating. The more you have of the poison the more tolerant you've become. It is a drug, the effect of a drug is higher when you have abstained long enough. The less of something in your system the less prepared your system is for it.

0
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 26, 2012
at 03:56 AM

Grains are the crap foods anyway.

0
8d979bd4cf7036400254a9417638616d

on June 25, 2012
at 11:25 PM

for two months I completely abstained from grain and when I took some I would get a bloated stomach, was kinda annoying. Nowadays I sadly end up cheating on 1 meal every few weeks and I see no difference... Ideally I would like to never take it again though...

-1
Medium avatar

(10611)

on June 25, 2012
at 10:59 PM

I've never wanted to test food elimination diets for this reason. Lactose, gluten and casein - the pariahs of many dietary schemes including paleo - are adapted responses which can be lost. For me paleo is all about meat and motion - what I can see at Lascaux. Beyond that I believe in being as omnivorous as possible.

I found the following interesting. The lactose tolerance mutation is probably neolithic. We evolve to fit the food available over relatively short time frames. It would be interesting to see what tolerances we have lost since paleo times.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/070401_lactose

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