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is gluten bad for you?

I know that most people that are "gluten-free'" are celiacs, or have other allergies....but besides that, is there another reason to avoid gluten? Is it bad for the body? This may be a silly question, but I am wondering..

There seem to be many more studies on the benefits of gluten-free diets than on the drawbacks or risks of gluten-containing diets. 

Some studies have found correlations between gluten-free diets and alleviated symptoms of schizophrenia ( Kalaydjian, A. E. of Johns Hopkins University), as well as that between vegan, gluten-free diets and alleviated rheumatoid arthritis symptoms (Frostegård, Johan of the Karolinska Institutet) .  Though gluten hasn't been implicated per se in health disorders beyond those with celiac (sometimes diagnosed, other times undiagnosed) and associated diseases, there's still an apparent need for further research.

I don't know if the current research warrants all the "gluten is evil" scapegoating that seems to be happening, though.  Temperance seems to be the best route.

Cheers.

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As far as I know it's only that the human body can only tolerate "so much" wheat.  If you have Celiac . . . you are allergic to gluten which means you can't eat oats, spelt, barley or buckwheat either I think.  You are pretty much limited to potato and bean flour.  And rice.

I have my opinions about this, and I may be totally wrong but here goes.

You have obviously heard about all the "bad stuff" about soy.  Soy makes men lose all their hair and get a feminine voice and grow man-breasts.  Soy makes you get alzheimers and dementia by the age of 17.  Soy makes your metabolism slow down so you gain 400 lbs in 2 years.  Soy causes prostate cancer and breast cancer.  Blah blah blah baloney!!!  This is all false, and cannot be proven to be true.  Nor has it ever been.  This is the meat and dairy industry's retaliation for "fake meats and milks" being sold and causing them some financial competition. 

The fact is that soy is extremely healthful to human beings, when eaten in its most natural unrefined forms.  This includes organic soy milk, soy beans/nuts, edemame, tofu, and fermented soy stuff like tempeh, and miso.  THe problem with soy lies with companies who make a fortune off starchy foods trying to be cheap and save money by adding "soy lecithin" or "isolated soy proteins" or "hydrolyzed soybean oil" to EVERY packaged food.  Crackers, boxed cereals, pancake mixes, chips, candies, margerine, etc.  Almost everything contains one piece of the soy bean but not the whole thing.  The overuse of these soy isolates to me, is alarming. 

The same can be said of wheat, in my opinion.  People are overusing it and its isolates.  Gluten is a part of the grain that actually to some degree can inhibit the body's ability to digest protein.  It is important to limit the gluten consumption, and wherever possible, eat the "whole" grain rather than boxed food or refined wheat products.  When you use the whole grain you are getting more fibre and less parts gluten per hundred.  When you eat refined stuff, much of the fibre has been removed and you are left with starch, empty carbs and gluten.  Lots of gluten. 

The best way to test if gluten is bad for you is to go without it for 2 months.  Completely without it.  Then after two months, try eating a plate of totally refined pasta and a super starchy dessert and just see what happens.  If you get bloating, water retention, gas, nausea, indigestion, or reflux . . . you could have a wheat intolerance.  From there, you may want to consider restricting your intake, but some, when eaten with the whole grain is probably still ok for you.

Wheat is one of the top 10 allergies in the world.  The number one allergy in the world is milk.  After milk, it's wheat, then soy, then eggs.  ALL of these foods have been overused in packaged food . . . so to me it's no wonder.  We need to get back to the natural way of eating things.  Eat more fresh organic produce, whole grains, and legumes, nuts and seeds and dried fruits.  Hope this lecture helped you out!

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I know that most people that are "gluten-free'" are celiacs, or have other allergies....but besides that, is there another reason to avoid gluten? Is it bad for the body? This may be a silly question, but I am wondering..

There aren't really "silly" questions here. Well, funny silly, but not the kind of silly you mean. We're all here to educate others, and to learn from others as well. This is one place where you can ask any question from "is gluten bad for you?" to well, questions about your period (check out the diva club!). There are no vegan police here, so feel free to ask away. I love feeling so comfortable here btw, it's hard to find a place like this online.

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Thanks Delina, and everyone! I know that I asked about gluten but you eased my mind some about soy. I never know what to think and I have two children and I am always so scared about making the right decisions. We only use organic soy milk, or organic rice milk (50/50.) I never buy prepackaged soy products anymore (Boca, etc.), just tofu and tempeh, and those I try to always get organic, too. Its a shame that in a world where we have so much knowledge available to us, we have to be weary of everything we eat because we can't trust what our government is trying to sell us!

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Hey

I just saw that there was some discussion of soy occuring and wanted to get involved. I think soy in moderation is perfectly fine, just keep in mind that soy contains low amounts of estrogen.

I just wanted to mention this to you all becuase I myself had a scare when my menstral cycle  went from being 29-32 days long to 45-80 days long. I was scared becuase I wasnt sure what it was and went to many doctors until one, a nutritionist, informed me that it could possibly be soy. The month I avoided soy my cycle returned to normal and has been normal ever since. Nowadays I will only eat soy once or twice a month and that doesnt seem to bother me much, if i eat it more than that though my period tends to be late. I feel that this low estrogen in soy could be benificial if an individuals cycles were to short or possibly even for menopausal problems.

On the topic of Gluten becuase Gluten is one of the most complex proteins some people have problems digesting these proteins. Many people suffer wheat allergies/sensitivities and are not aware of them. We eat so many wheat based products nowadays that people are getting much more gluten than needed in thier bodies.

In any case, everything in moderation!

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Hey

I just saw that there was some discussion of soy occuring and wanted to get involved. I think soy in moderation is perfectly fine, just keep in mind that soy contains low amounts of estrogen.

I just wanted to mention this to you all becuase I myself had a scare when my menstral cycle  went from being 29-32 days long to 45-80 days long. I was scared becuase I wasnt sure what it was and went to many doctors until one, a nutritionist, informed me that it could possibly be soy. The month I avoided soy my cycle returned to normal and has been normal ever since. Nowadays I will only eat soy once or twice a month and that doesnt seem to bother me much, if i eat it more than that though my period tends to be late. I feel that this low estrogen in soy could be benificial if an individuals cycles were to short or possibly even for menopausal problems.

On the topic of Gluten becuase Gluten is one of the most complex proteins some people have problems digesting these proteins. Many people suffer wheat allergies/sensitivities and are not aware of them. We eat so many wheat based products nowadays that people are getting much more gluten than needed in thier bodies.

In any case, everything in moderation!

WHOA! 80 days? My god. I haven't had any problems/changes. I think mine has actually gotten more manageable/predictable, and I eat tofu about twice a week.

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i try to switch it up with the wheat and non-gluten products. i feel better, less lethargic, and it generally helps my migraines. maybe gluten in high amounts triggers them? Everyone is different though. Gluten is better for you if you consume it with a lot of whole grain.

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I have Celiac disease, so I have to be hyper-vigilant about avoiding any and all forms of gluten, the protein that's in wheat, barley, and rye.

Gluten is the hardest thing for the human body to digest, because wheat was introduced to our diet relatively recently in our evolution, but for those of you who are not gluten-intolerant, it will just pass through your system harmlessly.

That said, I've heard that as many as 1 in every 7 people are sensitive to gluten, so while it doesn't damage their digestive system like it does those of us who are gluten intolerant or have Celiac, it is a hard to digest substance and limiting your consumption would only improve your digestive functioning.  Most people who give up gluten on a trial basis do feel better when they give it up, but I think that may have to do with the prevalence of gluten in packaged foods, and moving from the standard American diet of processed food to one that's based on whole foods, especially fruits and veggies will naturally make you feel better.

So, vegans, enjoy your seitan, just make sure you're getting plenty of greens with it!

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This is why I try to aim for variety in the food I eat. Most of these foods won't cause problems unless you eat quite a lot of them (barring conditions like Celiac Disease or sensitivities).

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Personally I feel better with the less gluten I eat. My digestive system actually feels heavy when I eat seitan or white processed flour. I've tried to include more low gluten or gluten free grains in my diet (like brown rice, oats, millet, spelt, buckwheat, quinoa) and try to eat only whole wheat when I do eat wheat. I say it couldn't hurt to lower your consumption of wheat gluten and eat other, less glutenous whole grains until you know more.

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