Gluten: A Gut Feeling

Gluten: A Gut Feeling

2015, Health  -   19 Comments
Ratings: 8.08/10 from 96 users.

The latest diet fad revolves around a term most of us were unaware even existed a few short years ago. Many dieters and health conscious eaters throughout the globe consider gluten a primary enemy in the battle of the bulge. But is all of the gluten-free hoopla just smoke and mirrors, or does the science actually support this growing dietary movement? The documentary short Gluten: A Gut Feeling investigates by offering invaluable insights from assorted nutritional specialists, food scientists, and medical experts.

The gluten protein is found largely in wheat and grains and in the form of pasta, cereal, bread and pastries. Researchers warn that a gluten-heavy diet can significantly weaken our sense of well-being and promote an onslaught of chronic inflammatory disorders. The reason? The human species has not yet evolved to allow for proper digestion of gluten-enriched products. From our earliest origins, humans existed on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts. The experts interviewed in the film testify that such a diet still offers the best method of eating for enhanced health and decreased fat.

There's still a wealth of potential pitfalls in the grocery store aisles even for those who avoid gluten altogether. Dietitians advise that consumers remain vigilant when shopping for a gluten-free menu. Gluten substitutes are often rich in sugar and fats, and can promote the weight gain many eaters are attempting to avoid by adopting such a diet.

For some, indulging in a diet free from gluten is much more than a dietary choice related to weight loss. The digestive systems of people who suffer from the autoimmune disorder Celiac disease regard gluten as a toxin, and they can suffer severe health repercussions from ingesting even the smallest amount of the protein.

Many of the observations featured in the film are alarming. Yet experts contend that gluten poses little or no ill effects for most people who consume small amounts in moderation. By separating the facts from the fads, and the science from the superstition, Gluten: A Gut Feeling provides an enormously helpful primer on our relationship to this enigmatic protein.

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19 Comments / User Reviews

  1. anon

    Gluten is my religion. i am extremely offended. :(

  2. flybow

    The problem is CBP bread.

  3. Vege-tater

    Celiac is a real issue, but most of us have been eating grains for millennia, well before agriculture as proven by new DNA evidence from fossil teeth. Bread was called the staff of life for a reason, people thrived on it when we used to use natural fermentation to make it, unlike the modern bleached, bromated, additive rich and nutrient depleted cheap and quick methods. Plus our bad diets, GMO's and pesticides, chemicals, overuse of antibiotics and drugged guts have mutilated our microbiomes and made us susceptible to all kinds of auto immune/leaky gut issues that make us sick. It isn't the result of gluten, or whatever, they are just symptoms of a bigger issue!

  4. Jessie

    I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease when I was 19, after 8 years of regular bouts of severe weight loss, hair loss, arthritis in my knees, vomiting, and debilitating stomach pain every time I ate. When I finally received my diagnosis, it was a huge relief; I wasn't dying and there were medications I could take to make me feel like a normal young person again. The relief was short-lived. The medications I was put on caused catastrophic side effects, mood swings, night sweats, and extreme weight gain. I eventually was able to go off these medications, but my health at any point was a gamble. It impacted my ability to attend school, work, and my social relationships. Of the countless gastroenterologists I saw, no one ever talked to me about removing gluten from my diet.

    For a long time, I was a person who thought the "gluten-free" thing was ridiculous. I worked in a "gluten-free" cafe for over 2 years in wealthy neighborhood, not because I cared, but because it was a job. As far as I could tell, many of my customers were there hoping to lose weight, prove their social status by buying green-washed food, or look cool for the other yoga moms.

    Maybe it's karma, but last week, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, which means that my immune system is now not only attacking my intestines, but my thyroid as well. My doctor, who practices Chinese and functional medicine, has instructed me to go gluten-free in order to save my thyroid. As far as he is concerned, the Crohn's and Hashimoto's both stem from the same source--a previously unidentified gluten allergy.

    I have been a week and a half off gluten, and am already noticing a difference in the way I feel. It's little things so far; the pain in my joints, the amount of energy I have, even my anxiety seems to be shifting for the better. Time will tell what going gluten-free will do for me in the long-term.

    I share this story as a former skeptic and critic. I believe now that there are people, not only those with Celiac's, who can benefit immensely from eliminating gluten from their diet. I find myself fearful that I will experience the same judgement I silently passed on my gluten-free customers.

    For those who have not experienced chronic illness and are saying this is a myth or fad, I ask you to practice compassion and patience. Every person's body is different. I hope that we can work together to create a world where everyone has access to the nutrition they need to live healthy, productive lives, instead of investing our energy in judgement, derision, and egotism around others food choices.

  5. fed up

    I really do feel sorry for those who have such a small sphere of comprehension. I have been gluten free, grain free and sugar free for quite a while now and have managed to get rid of all the inflammation in my body. Sure we have been eating grains for thousands of years... so what? The grains we are eating now are certainly not the same as they were then, nor were they sprayed with pesticides or any other chemical, and they were used and prepared much differently back then. There were no such thing as GMOs. I have had IBS for most of my life and have coeliac disease and various other other autoimmune diseases in my family, so prevention is better than the cure I believe.

  6. Jamie

    So much ignorance in these someone who actually has a mild gluten intolerance, I can promise you it is a real thing. And I have been to specialists and had tests done, spoken to nutritionists. Its very real. The pain and discomfort I get from eating gluten containing foods is very real. Trying to say otherwise is completely and utterly naive. Now I am aware I am lucky in that my case is a mild one, and that there is many out there who are worse off than me. My dog is also allergic to chicken - who wants to make the argument that dogs are suddenly allergic to something they have eaten for generations? Just because you cant fathom it, doesnt mean it isnt real and that is a real struggle for some others. Cutting out a massive amount of gluten in my diet is the best thing Ive ever done - I feel healthier, more energetic, I sleep better, I dont bloat and am no longer consistently either constipated or have diarrhea. The fact that strangers think they have the right to claim my issues are imaginary and just a fad is ridiculous - how ego-centric can you be? Good god.

  7. Steve

    It's just another lame fad, like low carb. It will die eventually. Dr. Greger has gone through all the studies and says it's fine for most people.

  8. Lauren

    Sorry folks...but gluten intolerance is a myth. All of a sudden people are allergic to gluten? No, it's the glyphosate in the bread products.

    1. Adam

      There is no "all of a sudden" its the gain of knowledge in the medical community. We are constantly learning of "new" conditions, allergies and intolerances that have been un, or mis diagnosed for decades. Ignorant blanket statements like yours only serve a negative purpose and propagate harm!

  9. S. Stern

    I'm sorry, but humans were eating wild grains when we were Australopithecus Afarensis. We're omnivores, get over it. To claim what we didn't evolve to eat grain is simply not true. The 'immune response' lie is used on any food bias that the scientist has. I've heard it used on meat, dairy, sugar, and now on gluten.

    It's a baldfaced lie and one that people should learn to recognize.

  10. Mahmoud BouRaad

    Values mater. So does freedom.
    Why don't you give it a try?

  11. Superbuggg

    I eat mountains of gluten in the form of homemade Seitan and have no problems whatsoever! Seitan has nearly 75% protein as it's wheat reduced down just the gluten where the protein is trapped. This documentary says there's very little nutritional value in gluten, when in fact it's better than tofu, tempeh - and meat (if you're not celiac+)!

  12. Blaice

    Grain fearmongering makes me laugh. Unless you have celiacs.... Don't belittle their disease by making a big deal about gluten...

    These non-grainers stop eating grain and then binge on meat and dairy. Next thing will be demonizing legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Oh wait, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to describe conventional America.

  13. Lz_erk

    I could give an anecdote spanning decades and extended families, and covering topics like misdiagnoses, wasted money, ruined lives, near death experiences, and surprising test results, but the real story is simple: we need to pay attention to what we eat, because we don't know half as much about it as we often assume.

    I've been familiar with Dr. Fasano's name for the last ~6 years from research paper abstracts and news interviews, but I hadn't seen him on video before [some of the infographics also look shiny and new!]. His sections here are characteristically impeccable, and tell more of the real story -- what's on the shelves, what do people ACTUALLY eat when they try to eat healthy? -- than I expected.

    There's no new science here. That goes for most of the other documentaries on food too. There is an awful lag between valid, reproducible scientific findings and their public health increases. It's an issue mirrored across topics like gluten related diseases, cholesterol related diseases [check out Peter Attia and cholesterol: the value of endogenous mediation is ancient history in research, but it's just now breaking ground in official guidelines!], sugar related diseases, and so on.

    There's ample chaos in our agriculture and economies. The body of knowledge supporting those industry choices seems small and immature compared to the proven scope of related consequences. This fact was never more evident to me than when I saw that guy walk out of his celiac test with an apparent confirmation of FODMAP intolerances. Good luck buddy. I've been there, and I hope you nailed it this time around.

  14. Gypsyrozbud

    My husband and I have been grain and sugar free for 2 years and will never go back. All symptoms of joint inflammation have disappeared along with the eczema that plagued me for 40 years! We are in our 60s and just completed a 6 week bike tour in Europe...I feel 30 years younger!

  15. Elizabeth Faraone

    I've changed my diet for the first time in my life. I've always eaten freshly made whole foods. But I've felt the need to go gluten free because I have painful cysts in my breasts and I had a cancer scare this past summer. Going gluten free (not entirely, but most of the time), my breast cysts seem to be disappearing (they are no longer painful when pressed on). We'll see what my next mammogram shows. I love foods with gluten. I chose to go gluten free because it worked in reducing my sister's cysts in her breasts and we are a genetic match. I'll report back in four months.

  16. KsDevil

    So, stone ground grains used in bread that has been left to rise overnight.
    Now if only the prices could be lowered from market forces instead of from a forced market.

  17. Anonymous

    Really? No mention of GMOs?

  18. Jim

    Why isn't this one under the Conspiracy category?