There is no conspiracy: Gluten really is evil.

The other day I heard a conversation that really bothered me. It took everything in my power not to interject, but we all know that sometimes it’s not appropriate to speak your mind to strangers in public places. This blog is my place, though, so I’m about to let ‘er rip.

The conversation was happening between two women who were casual acquaintances. Woman A mentioned having baked gluten-free muffins that morning. Woman B said that she didn’t know the woman was Celiac. Woman A said that she’s not, but she avoids gluten by choice.

Woman B (someone in the healthcare field) got quite aggressive then and told the woman that avoiding gluten when you’re not Celiac is a dangerous practice. She said that when you don’t eat gluten, you can lose the cilia in your bowel and those little cilia might never work again.

That was absolute misinformation that she was feeding Woman A.

Gluten sensitivity really should have us all scared stiff of wheat.

What this woman was saying was the exact opposite of what really happens when you eat gluten. It’s gluten that destroys the cilia and it takes years of gluten-free eating to help heal your digestive system.
I watched an excellent video about gluten sensitivity the other day, and I have to tell you that Dr. Tom O’Bryan really does know his stuff.

In this video, Dr. O’Bryan shared five things that most people don’t know about gluten. One of the items on his list should shock you out of that sandwich you’re thinking about eating! He mentioned a study of folks who suffer from headaches, where 36% of the patients who eat gluten have dead brain tissue. In most of these cases of recurrent headaches, gluten is the culprit. Cut out the gluten and the headaches go away. Some studies show that the tissues in the brain can regenerate on a gluten-free diet. I sincerely hope that’s the case!

Dr. O’Bryan also talks about how gluten is messing with our skin, it’s zapping our energy, and it’s even linked to higher cases of suicide—especially among children.

You really should watch this video. It’s just under twelve minutes long, and it’s essential health information.

One of the most interesting takeaways, for me, was that when you are gluten-free, you really can’t eat ANY amount of gluten. All it would take to set off a negative response in a Celiac would be 1/8th of a thumbnail of food containing wheat.

Now I feel like I should track down the lady in that argument and point her to this article!

PS–Are you looking to eat gluten-free? You should try our Dinner Answers Paleo menus!

20 Responses

  1. This comment box appeared over my blog today so I’m filling it out to hopefully read the blog. Love all the helpful hints and finding out about new fruits and veg.

  2. Can you clarify? What has prompted this awareness of gluten in the last few years? Is it the large presence of Genetically Modified Origin (GMO) wheat?

  3. Why is it people will try every ridiculous scheme but will not do the obvious? I have always been a healthy eater. However, in recent years was having a variety of symptoms from almost daily headaches, joint pain and tendonitis which resulted in giving up tennis, not sleeping well at night and of course weight gain. I cleaned out my diet of gluten and other irritating foods and lost 25 lbs, no headaches, no joint pain and sleeping at night. The results happened within 3 weeks. I think that most gluten containing foods have the double edged sword of being very addictive in addition to be terrible for you. Please read the science on this…it’s there!!!

  4. Let’s keep things balanced here! This sounds like panic-mongering – and I guess someone’s making money out of it somewhere! In celiac disease (gluten enteropathy) gluten destroys the cilia in the bowel, which is why a biopsy is performed to look at the state of the cilia to confirm or disprove diagnosis. Incidentally, the damage to the cilia can also cause lactose intolerance alongside the celiac. The good news is, with careful attention to diet the villi can recover. Anyone with celiac disease MUST avoid gluten; this is a no-brainer, as persisting in eating gluten in this case can eventually lead to bowel cancer. But I guess you could find people who are intolerant to some degree for almost any food – does that mean we shouldn’t eat?! What really makes the majority of people feel better when they follow a gluten-free diet is that they are filling up on fruit & veg and having a much more varied diet to replace the bread, cakes, pasta, cookies etc. Any food taken to excess can be bad for you, but unless you have a genuine intolerance or allergy, moderate amounts of gluten won’t cause any harm.

  5. Are cilia and villi the same thing? It’s my impression that they are not – the villi are what get damaged by gluten.

  6. Another thing the ‘nurse’ had wrong is that it is villi in the small intestine get sheared off or broken when eating gluten, the bowel is the last part of the large intestine.

  7. I know I feel horrible and get all sorts of symptoms when I eat pasta or breads so I have been avoiding wheat. However gluten is also in oatmeal. I love oatmeal and don’t seem to feel bad when I have it for breakfast. Is it possible that I am not gluten sensitive but wheat sensitive?

    1. I’m not celiac, eat lots of gluten free bread, cookies, pizza. I eat as much bread now as I did before I quit gluten and feel enormously better, I can even tell when I’ve eaten something with gluten in it. I get nauseous groggy slow and heavy feeling with headaches. If I eat late at night it will carry on to the next day. I hate going to restaurants and having to ask if there’s “gluten in it” because of the stigma behind it, people are always sure to let me know gluten intolerance isn’t real, they would know, they used Google!

  8. A 12 minute spiel is not the Gospel. I feel like there is something wrong with everything we eat according to Leann. It’s like watching the news at night – nothing is ever good. Show me or link to me to research that confirms these claims. Then provide some answers on how to deal with these problems. I dislike hysteria.

  9. Leanne, I agree with a lot of your advice. I am with you on avoiding or eliminating processed sugar. I agree with the value of fermenting foods, and favor whole grain sourdough breads… But I disagree about gluten, and I think you are going too far here. Jesus stated that “I am the bread of life”. Enough said. He was not saying that he was the junk food death-trap of life. And yes, they did eat wheat back then. The apostles broke bread and gave thanks. I think we should do the same. Grains and beans and potatoes and eggs and ….. these are affordable foods that God gave to us all to sustain us. I agree that you can take a good thing and process it to death and remove all its nutrition, but grains, and particularly wheat in itself as it was given is NOT our enemy. Nutrition trends come and go, and doctors follow trends as much as any of us do. Look at the history of human kind, how many times these humble and available foods have sustained us and kept us. They were not put on this earth for our harm.

  10. My migraines and regular headaches disappeared when I have up bread for a month. And I read an article in a journal a while ago about how many people especially black people and Asians have wheat issues. You can have an intolerance to something and be unaware of its effects. We are all used to suffering the occasional headache, bloating or tiredness and the mainstream medical community does not promote optimum wellness. Just the treatment of major diseases.

  11. Dr. David Perlmutter also has an excellent book called “Grain Brain” on eating gluten. I find to get actual answers on any topic you need to go away from conventional medicine and seek out other sound medical advice.

  12. I know I feel horrible and get all sorts of symptoms when I eat pasta or breads so I have been avoiding wheat. However gluten is also in oatmeal. I love oatmeal and don’t seem to feel bad when I have it for breakfast. Is it possible that I am not gluten sensitive but wheat sensitive?

  13. I know so many people who have benefited from eliminating gluten – especially wheat – it’s pretty remarkable. Especially if they stick with whole foods and don’t try to replace everything they were eating with a pricey, over-processed, gluten-free version.
    I believe that it’s villi that are damaged by gluten, not cilia.

  14. Has anyone of you ever eaten wheat directly from a non GMO
    Plant itself? Everyone’s gluten intolerance is probably from something
    Added or destroyed in the processing procedures. The manmade
    Chemicals used to create all these packaged foods are also more likely
    The cause of peoples supposed gluten intolerances. After all God created
    Humans & wheat. But humans think they know better.

  15. Remember when artificial sweetener was going to save us? Then it caused cancer and birth defects? How about when coffee was bad for us? Then good? Red wine will kill you! Wait, on second thought, it’s really good for you in moderation… Um, CARBS ARE EVIL! Well, actually, “whole grain” is much better… The anti-gluten campaign, while a very valid concern for a *small* subset of the population, is just another way for manufacturers and self-styled health-gurus to make money. The basic building block of the survival of human civilization is BREAD. Usually, but not always, made with wheat. A quick look at world economy reveals that anti-gluten concerns are a Western “problem”, directly related to our intense love of leisure, eating too much of one food group, and hypochondria. In many other countries, access to wheat-based bread makes the difference between living and dying. A nutritional model based on lots of veggies, lean meats and fish, good oils and, yes, BREAD, is incredibly good for you. Stop the insanity!

  16. I don’t disagree! But cilia are not involved – it’s villi. They are both slender projections, but have different functions.

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