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This summer, I visited Rhodes Greece with my family, and not only did I enjoy and over enjoy the delicious proteins: fresh fish from the sea, fresh organic meets from the local butchers but also the freshly baked bread and amazed at how much of a stable it is in the Mediterranean diet. In moderation and proper proportion to our body type, I’ve always had an open approach to one’s starchy carbohydrate choice especially for those seeking weight gain, and often thought about how many people in the world who can’t enjoy it, or consume anything with Gluten!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’ve heard many people talking about gluten and its effects on the human body. But, coming from friends, it may be hard to figure out fact from fiction. And, anecdotes about how much your life can change if you eliminate it from your diet are great to hear, but let’s get down to the cold, hard facts and you can decide for yourself what to believe.

First of all, let’s define the word “gluten”. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye”. Known as Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity is one of the most common food sensitivities anyone can have. That said, it’s sometimes hard to diagnose and even harder to completely control given that gluten is found in many products that you wouldn’t even imagine it to be.

What happens when you have Celiac Disease?

So, gluten sensitivity is actually a disorder of the immune system. When a person with this disorder consumes gluten, the immune system responds by producing inflammation that then leads to tissue damage throughout the body. While symptoms vary, no tissue, organ or gland in the body is immune to the effects of gluten. Because the brain and nervous systems are both affected by this sensitivity, it can lead to difficulty concentrating, fatigue and irritability.

Many people who have gluten intolerance may not be aware of it, as the symptoms can be difficult to recognize. People with gluten intolerance often brush off their symptoms as regular, nonmedical discomforts. You may be suffering from gluten intolerance if you frequently experience problems like:

  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Digestive problems
  • Skin problems
  • Depression and anxiety

Experiencing an ongoing combination of these symptoms is a likely sign of some form of gluten intolerance.

Hiding in plain sight

Aside from the obvious offenders where wheat, barley, and rye are the main, known ingredients, gluten can be found in any packaged or prepared foods, candy, and soda. If you’re afflicted with this disorder, you need to learn to read all nutrition labels very carefully to search for gluten. Check out labels on anything that contains artificial colours, broths, food starch, and anything in a package to ensure you’re not inadvertently ingesting gluten. Stick to animal proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, and fruits and you don’t need to worry about gluten as they are naturally gluten-free.

If you suspect you may have a gluten sensitivity, please check with your physician for confirmation. Many disorders and diseases can mimic the same symptoms of gluten intolerance. Your physician will be able to provide you with additional information to help control any adverse effects you may be experiencing.

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Dimitri Giankoulas

About Dimitri Giankoulas

Fascinated since an early age by the potential of the human body, I have devoted my career and much of my private life to pushing beyond my own limits – and to lead others to personal health achievements greater than they thought possible. My level of commitment to each and every client is unparalleled in the industry. I try to bring energy, optimism, and pure motivational power to every one of his workout sessions. I have been in the fitness industry since 1997, working as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and ultimately Personal Training Director at various well-known gyms across the GTA. Combined I have over 11,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience.