I've been on Paleo for about 7 weeks (4 weeks strict with no dairy) and within the last couple weeks, I've had some cheats here and there. From those cheats, I had some ice cream, tortilla chips, beans, some pastry puff appetizers, and some bread. I didn't feel super sick, like I've read about with others, so that makes me wonder.. am I not gluten sensitive?
Has anyone else figured this out for themselves whilst on Paleo?
I do agree that I have some better energy and don't feel so sluggish after eating, like I used to with the SAD. I also don't get stomach pains as frequently and have lost weight, so that's a plus. Even if I may not be gluten sensitive, I do plan on sticking to Paleo because it seems so right!
Thanks for your input!
asked bypaleolithichockey (18)
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on March 01, 2013
at 03:19 AM
I'm of the opinion that wheat/gluten intolerance is the exception, not the norm. Billions of person-years of wheat consumption speaks to the safety of it.
To elaborate further, look to two of the big names in paleo: Robb Wolf and Mark Sisson. Both describe having pretty screwed up gut health prior to adopting paleo. I can't help but think that a lot of their advice is rooted in justifying their own recommendations in their own situations. Perhaps they didn't win the genetic lottery and had gut dysfunction from the very state. A healthy gut can handle quite a bit of rough handling before it breaks down. But it's chronic abuse that causes gut dysfunction in many people. Wheat consumption in the few people who are naturally sensitive is going to be problematic. Otherwise, it's not likely an issue until other agents cause inflammation, and once gut permeability increases, all bets are off as to what is going to exasperate it. Heal that inflammation, decrease permeability, sensitivities diminish.
on March 01, 2013
at 12:57 PM
To answer your question, I'm sure someone somewhere is on the Paleo diet but isn't specifically sensitive to gluten. However I think a lot of people try the diet because they suspect they are.
Honestly I am not sure if gluten sensitivity is the exception or the norm. Certainly there are some people that can tolerate gluten and the anti-nutritents in wheat and grains, and live happy healthy lives into their 80's and beyond while eating bread.
Then there are other people that are legitimately allergic to gluten and break out in hives and have terrible digestive problems if they have even a tiny amount of it.
A lot of people, I think, are in between these two groups, and might even have a sensitivity to gluten and not be aware of it, because their symptoms are less severe. Bread, pasta and other what products are such a big part of the diet that we are told is healthy and normal (also true in other cultures), that most people would never even question it. In fact a lot of people drop other foods and eat more grains because they're told over and over again that it's good for them.
The symptoms that come from dietary problems often don't start until you are in your 30's or 40's or later. So a lot of people in their 20's eat and drink whatever they want and don't have a problem and wonder what all the fuss is about, then change their perspective when they get a little older.
Finally, a lot of people are just satisfied with a lower level of health. Carrying an extra 10-20 pounds, not being able to run up a flight of stairs, chronic muscle and joint soreness, skin conditions, taking daily meds starting at a young age are all things that to my astonishment a lot of people consider normal and don't even consider the possibility that their diet is causing them.
For all of these reasons, I think a lot of people eat a diet that is somewhere between sub-optimal and harmful and either don't know or don't care, when in fact they could be a lot healthier if they changed their diet.
A friend of mine at work is in his 20's and is a bit overweight, has psoriasis, is losing his hair, and just "can't" avoid junk food. He eats at Wendy's a few times a week and just can't resist all you can eat pasta. I wonder if there is a connection between his diet and his health problems.
My wife eats a lot of grains and is basically happy and healthy, thin and fit, and comes from a line of people who live into their 90's. However, at age 45 she has had both her gall bladder and appendix removed -- in Paleo times she would already be dead. I wonder if she could have avoided the surgeries if she were gluten and grain free.
My sister-in-law is 49 and is about 20 pounds overweight and just can't seem to lose any of it, despite running and low-calorie diets. She went gluten free and dropped 15 pounds like it was nothing.
Another sister-in-law is also in her late 40's and also overweight and just can't lose it. I mentioned a gluten-free diet to her and she said she just can't do it, she "needs" her bread, pasta, cookies and cakes. She was just diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in both hips and will need both hips replaced within 5 years, probably before she's 50. Gluten causes inflammation which can be related to arthritis.
Novak Djokovic was definitely healthy as a successful tennis player, but improved his game when he went gluten-free.
These are just anecdotes, and you can read many more of them on Mark's Daily Apple every Friday. But they make me wonder how many situations there are like this, and how many people are not as healthy as they could be but don't bother trying to change their diet. It wouldn't surprise me if it was a majority of the people over a certain age (i.e. 35).
on March 01, 2013
at 02:17 AM
Ok. I think the whole gluten thing confuses the bigger issue. Gluten is a protein, some people have a sensitivity to it.
Wheat, and many other cereal grains, are not bad because of gluten. Mark answers the question better than I, and some links to his site are below. My personal option is this: Sugar and Hyper palatable foods are the two evils, Seed oils are a close third. Wheat is WAY down the list after that. Most people, who are healthy, can consume moderate amounts of wheat without problems. That begs the question, how much wheat do I personally eat? Well none. And here's why. When I consume bread and pasta I overeat -- I cannot control myself and so I choose not to eat it.
on March 01, 2013
at 04:31 AM
Isn't it that lectins are anti-nutrients and gluten is the stickiest lectin? That should apply to everyone.
Then there are other reactions to the gluten, those vary tons.
I think you're going to find a lot of us who have more severe reactions to gluten within the paleo community because going gluten-free was a stepping stone for us toward questioning other aspects of the SAD.