I don’t write books about going gluten-free, but I am a fan of removing gluten from your diet. I don’t believe that every person needs to remove gluten, but I have seen many afflictions come to a halt when people do. There is new evidence indicating that gluten itself may not be the problem and that the real culprit may be a different factor related to gluten-containing foods. That still doesn’t change the fact that removing gluten-containing foods can be incredibly beneficial for many people.
I write books about weight loss and I want to share with you a huge mistake that is being made by a lot of consumers who are trying to lose weight. People will adapt a new form of eating, whether it is vegan, organic, gluten-free, etc. and they think that, as long as a food fits within these new parameters, it must be healthy. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but an organic, vegan, gluten-free candy bar is still just a candy bar. And no… it is not a healthy choice any more than Miley Cyrus is a good role model.
Over a decade ago I lost my voice and it took me eight years to get it back. That sucked. Early on in my research I decided I would try going gluten-free to see if it would improve my health. I popped into Whole Foods and $634 later I had a basket full of gluten-free products. I may have exaggerated the amount I spent, but probably not by much.
I went home and started to dig into my gluten-free crackers, cereals, and frozen pizzas. They weren’t half bad. My thought was, if this is healthy, I could eat healthy. Idiot. I had no idea what I was doing to myself. And why would I? We’re taught to eat a diet predominant in carbohydrates. I was just doing a gluten-free version of that.
After a couple of months I began to notice I was looking a little soft. Nobody else seemed to notice this softness, but I was working as a personal trainer and my body was my best marketing tool so I knew I had to do something before it did become noticeable to others. One morning I decided to check my fasting blood sugar. As the number came up on the glucometer, I crapped my pants a little bit. 126. 126?!! That’s only 2 points below where doctors start to diagnose people as Type II Diabetic. Before I started this gluten-free living, my fasting glucose was 87. The scary fact is, I still looked like I was in good shape even though there was a world of turmoil brewing on the inside.
Now, don’t get ahead of me. I’m not saying that eating gluten-free will raise your blood sugar. However, eating gluten-free like the clueless tool bag I was has the ability to drive some people towards a Type II Diabetes diagnosis. Instead of eating real food that happens to be gluten-free, I was eating foods that said gluten-free on the label. As it turns out, most products that are sold as “gluten-free” are also packed with sugars, carbs, and other junk. That junk was spiking my blood sugar and insulin levels in a way that was creating insulin resistance.
This is how it works: When we consume sugars, or carbs that are converted to sugars, the body produces insulin to sweep that sugar out of the blood stream and into the cells. Nothing wrong with that. Over a period of time, however, if we consume carbs and sugars like every day is a pie-eating contest, our insulin can become less effective. As insulin becomes less effective, now the body is required to produce more insulin in order to get the job done. With high insulin levels screaming at the cells all day, every day, the cells can stop listening to the insulin. The cells become resistant and glucose is not pulled into the cells. Without the ability to sweep glucose out of the blood effectively, our blood sugar levels rise, and ah-la-peanut butter sandwiches, we become Type II Diabetic. This insulin resistance trick happened to me because I was trying to be “healthy” by eating gluten-free foods.
You know what else is gluten-free? Things like meat, eggs, green vegetables, and sweet potatoes. You may have also heard of these items being described as real food. When you remove grains and processed foods, you remove all gluten as well.
I’m not saying you need to remove all grains and all processed foods if gluten appears to be giving you trouble. What I am saying is don’t view every piece of crap processed food with “gluten-free” on the label as a good choice. It’s not. If you’re looking to make better choices, real food wins every time.
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