Eating Green

Gluten-free is the trendiest diet in the world today. Restaurants now offer gluten free options and spaghetti and garlic bread fans are now turning to quinoa pasta and sprouted grains. But in all the marketing hype, what is the true case with gluten?

The inevitable allergic reaction to gluten is found in those with celiac disease. When a celiac consumes gluten, the protein found in wheat, their body mistakes it for an allergen and launches an inflammatory response resulting in nausea and other unpleasant digestive symptoms.

But the diet fad sweeping the nation these days is focused around gluten sensitivity, not a true allergy. Difficult to pinpoint, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is believed to stem from a lack of enzymes to break down gluten. Undigested, the protein causes similar symptoms as celiac disease, though not as severe.

Every individual’s body chemistry is as unique as their personality. We all carry different levels of micronutrients and enzymes that change the way we digest things. While some people are sensitive to gluten, others may have a below-average amount of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk, and suffer from lactose intolerance. Others may be more strongly affected by the sugars in foods, as seen in diabetic reactions.

Finding your ideal diet takes trial and error, and tuning in to how you feel after eating certain foods.