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Curtis Harwell Discusses Is Being Gluten Free Worth The Effort and Cost

  • Broadcast in Fitness
Curtis Harwell Fitness Radio

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What is Gluten, and Why is it In My Food?

Gluten is a combination of proteins found in most grains, such as wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten traps water and air in a foam as bread rises, which gives it a chewy, soft, moist texture.

Wheat is the most common source of gluten for most people. However, gluten is also used as a filler in many processed/prepackaged foods, like ketchup and salad dressing. Unless you’ve been actively trying to avoid gluten, you’ve probably been eating it almost every day. Some people think that’s a bad idea.

Why People Think Gluten Is Bad for You

Most of the arguments against gluten can be traced back to the idea that it increases intestinal permeability or gives you a “leaky gut.”(1-5) In a nutshell:

  1. Gluten enters your small intestine.
  2. The gluten molecules irritate and attack your epithelial cells (the ones on the inside of your small intestines).
  3. This irritation causes your tight junctions — the space between your intestinal cells — to widen. In some cases, gluten also directly attacks your cells.
  4. Gluten, bacteria, and undigested food particles sneak through these gaps between your cells and into your bloodstream.
  5. Once gluten and friends enter your bloodstream, your body mounts an inflammatory response.
  6. This inflammation spreads throughout your body, wreaking havoc on your health.

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