To Gluten Free or Not to Gluten Free, a Naturopathic Question – Part II

Vancouver Naturopath – Dr. Katie Smith

Part II: To Gluten or Not to Gluten?

Now that you know what gluten is and why it isn’t that good for you, should everyone go gluten free? The short answer is no. However, many people benefit from restricting or avoiding gluten.

There is a growing body of evidence linking gluten reactions to a variety of conditions from migraines to rheumatoid arthritis to anxiety and depression.  However it is not clear if this is the inherent evil of gluten or undiagnosed Celiac disease.

Gluten Intolerance

There is a condition known as ‘gluten intolerance’ or ‘gluten sensitivity’, which refers to people who react to gluten but who have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease.  It is a bit of a controversial topic as the popularity of the gluten free diet can create a bias in people as well as healthcare practitioners.  However, there is evidence that some people who do not meet the criteria for Celiac, could benefit from gluten avoidance.

Gluten or Not to Gluten, what should we do?

There is not one protein (either avoiding or eating) that will magically make your diet healthy.  It is possible to eat a VERY unhealthy gluten free diet, thanks to the proliferation of packaged sweets and baked goods that are gluten free.  To make these goods palatable, some companies load up the products with sugar (which is gluten free), and additives to mimic the texture of gluten.

A gluten free cookie may or may not be any healthier than a regular ole cookie depending on the ingredients.  It’s the same deal with fat free and sugar free junk food – the topic for another post I’m sure.

Benefit of ‘Going Gluten Free’

A hidden benefit of ‘going gluten free,’ if you avoid the gluten free treats section, means that you cut out a significant amount of refined carbohydrates from your diet.  This means excellent things for your digestion and blood sugar regulation!

The healthiest course of action is to focus on a whole foods diet, avoiding packaged foods as much as possible.  If you can, do your own baking so you know what’s going into your treats.  I love Michael Pollan’s advice “If it comes from a plant, eat it.  If it was made in a plant, don\’t.”

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

If you are suffering from fatigue, headaches, brain fog, unexplained rashes, bloating, joint pains, gas, GERD, digestive upset – many of which are attributed to gluten intolerance – and you think it might be related to gluten sensitivity, it’s a good idea to see a naturopathic doctor so they can help to guide you in your food choices and do a thorough assessment to determine if gluten is even the culprit!

Book an Appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor

To gluten or not to gluten?  That depends. To find out if you should make the move to a gluten free diet, book an appointment with Dr. Katie Smith, our East Vancouver naturopathic doctor, call 604-876-9977 or email info@backsinaction.ca today!

Backs in Action Wellness Centre is easily accessible from Burnaby and Downtown Vancouver by skytrain, as we are located just steps away from the Commercial Broadway Skytrain Station.

Follow all of our Natropathic Medicine Blog posts for more great information on natural health by our wonderful East Vancouver Naturopathic Doctors. Of course we warmly welcome you drop in to our Wellness Centre to meet our fantastic team in person!