Gluten & Dairy Free


Gluten & Dairy Free

By Dr. Mark Hyman

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and occasionally oats. It is hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods; making it a staple of the American diet.

It is estimated that 99% of people who have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten aren’t aware of it. Most people are quick to attribute their poor health or symptoms to something other than gluten sensitivity, although it is 100% curable. As written extensively by Dr. Mark Hyman, gluten sensitivity can cause hidden inflammation, which has been linked to conditions such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, depression, cancer, and even autism.

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease, affects about 1% of the population. This disease triggers an immune response in the presence of gluten, where the body begins to attack itself and destroy the villi in the intestines, making it difficult to absorb nutrients. You don’t have to have celiac disease to endure complications from eating gluten. About 12% of the population has some form of immune response to eating gluten. Sensitivities may surface in the form of: digestive issues (diarrhea, constipation, bloating), mental health issues (depression, anxiety, mood swings), inflammation issues (aching joints, asthma), neurological issues (migraines, tingling, numbness), skin issues (dermatitis herpetiformis, psoriasis), or malnutrition-related issues (fatigue, brain fog, thyroid problems, frequent infections).

Approximately 75% of adults in the world have trouble digesting lactose. To people with lactose intolerance, dairy consumption means stomach cramps, bloating, gas and diarrhea. Lactose intolerance is caused by lack of a digestive enzyme called lactase, which breaks down lactose. Lactose must be broken down in the small intestine before it can enter the bloodstream directly from the digestive tract. Without enough lactase, lactose cannot be digested properly. This causes the undigested milk sugar to move into the large intestine, where it can lead to gastrointestinal problems.

Dairy consumption can cause an accumulation of mucus and fat, which may lead to the formation of cysts, tumors and cancers throughout the body. Mucus accumulation may also result in hay fever, asthma, and hearing problems. Consuming dairy may also lead to the development of kidney stones and gall stones. Some estimates reveal that a mild but chronic dairy allergy may affect up to 80% of the population. Such an allergy might not send you to the hospital, but the effects can include a slowed metabolism, poor complexion, sluggishness, and increased mucous production.

Maintaining a gluten-free and dairy-free diet not only relieves the symptoms caused by sensitivities, but it also reduces risk of more severe health problems and diseases. A side benefit of going on a dairy-free and gluten-free diet is that you may end up losing some weight as lots of dairy food ingredients are relatively high in fat, and lots of gluten products are high in refined carbohydrates!