It seems everywhere you turn these days “gluten-free” options are popping up in menus, articles, and in products on the grocery shelf.

Since the New York Times Bestseller, “Wheat Belly,” by Dr. William Davis hit the market in 2011, people have become aware of the way wheat is grown and produced in America.Golden Wheat

Apparently, wheat grown today creates a product that has a much higher gluten content than wheat grown fifty years ago.

In fact if you were to add water to wheat flour, knead it into a round dough ball, and then rise it under running water to wash away the starch and fiber, you would be left with only gluten. The gluten protein is what makes wheat doughy.

The gluten content is not the only thing that makes today’s wheat a distant cousin of the wheat we grew up loving. Wheat strains have been crossbred to make them resistance to environmental conditions. Coupled with the fact that the wheat strains are induced to increase more yield, this new wheat strain is hardly recognizable to consumers and chefs alike.  To make matters worse, this new hybrid wheat does not seem to be tolerated well by some bodies.

The fact that wheat products elevate blood sugar levels more than any other carbohydrate, including a candy bar, wheat has important implications for body weight and overall health. Triggering high blood sugar repeatedly over sustained periods increases fat accumulation.

Obviously, there are some serious health implications to embrace a gluten-free diet, especially if you need help with bloating and/or belly weight, irritable bowels, hormone imbalances, fuzzy thinking, joint aches and pain, fatigue that lingers even after a good night’s sleep, migraines, or skin disruptions like acne and eczema.

However, there are distinct health differences between a food intolerance,  a food allergy and celiac disease.

A food intolerance is a non-immune, delayed abnormal response by the body to foods that are not absorbed or digested, which can trigger a variety of physiological reactions.

Whereas, a food allergy is an immune response, because food fragments that have not been digested are tagged by the antibody Immunoglobin-E (IgE). These tagged proteins cause the body to send out white blood cells to attack. The reaction is more immediate that a food intolerance reaction.

However, gluten is the culprit underlying inflammation damage to the intestinal tract in celiac disease. Therefore, people with celiac disease must avoid food containing gluten at all costs. Celiac disease can be diagnosed by your doctor with a simple blood test.

It’s easy to make switches to a gluten-free diet now that the market is laden with gluten-free selections. However, the hidden overly bleached and hidden wheat and barley fillers that get added to foods are not as easily detectable.

Did you know that many spices have added fillers to cut manufacturing costs and help the products process equipment more easily?

Were you aware that even many ice cream products contain wheat and barley. The list of gluten-containing foods is long and if you suspect you have an allergic reaction of intolerance, look for items that contain the Gluten-free label.

So, if you think Gluten-free is just another fad that will fade in time, maybe taking a second look at all the hidden sources of wheat in your diet is a starting place for taking better care of your health.

Be well . . .