For years I’ve had horrific issues with my stomach and subsequently spent a lot of time at the doctors and hospital. When I initially saw a GP, I was told that I had a common illness, known as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It’s since been discovered that this is not the full extent of my condition and I may also have a more serious disease. That being said, I would still like to shed some light and provide some advice about this problem.
IBS is a condition that doctors use to label stomach issues that have no route cause. In the UK, 2 in 10 people have been diagnosed with IBS. It primarily effects the digestive system and can have a number of debilitating symptoms, including; cramps, bloating and an upset stomach.
I was 15 when I started having stomach problems. I had absolutely no idea what was wrong but since this time I have learnt more about my stomach and gained a greater understanding of the digestive system. But most significantly, I’ve learnt how beneficial a wheat-free diet can be. So what’s the point? Why is giving up wheat a good idea?
Over time, genetic modifications have changed the quality of wheat. It has now become less easy to digest and is responsible for a number of health complaints.
A leaky gut is one of the many harmful effects of eating too much wheat. This is because of a protein called WGA. It causes inflammation and digestive problems. Both of which are underlying issues that can lead to heart disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Wheat has also been blamed for zinc and iron deficiency as it contains phytate. This compound is said to reduce these vitamins by absorbing them.
According to Dr William Davis, gluten can also contribute to weight gain as it’s an appetite stimulant and very addictive. Additionally, wheat contains a starch called amylopectin A, a substance that is quickly converted into blood sugar and triggers higher insulin levels. For this reason, connections have been made between wheat and diabetes.
But wheat is an ingredient that is used is thousands of food products worldwide, and is a common bulking agent in processed foods. It is added to cakes, biscuits, pizzas, wraps and rolls. It is even added to unexpected products like soups, ready meals and some sweets.
Experts at Natural Balance Foods reckon:
‘the only way one can really tell, if gluten, wheat, or any food or substance, is a significant cause of your health or gut problems, is to eliminate it from the diet. Whilst testing can certainly help identify gluten sensitivity, the only way a person will really know if gluten is problematic is by doing the gold standard “allergy test” — i.e., eliminating the suspect food for 2-4 weeks’.
For many people, doing the ‘allergy test’ has been worth the effort. However, do keep in mind that wheat and gluten aren’t the same thing. You maybe intolerant to one but not the other. Hidden traces of gluten can appear in wheat products, as well as oats and grains. Some individuals with a wheat intolerance are still able to digest gluten. With this in mind, I would advise trying a separate gluten-free week. As with wheat, gluten can be found in products you wouldn’t expect, so make sure to look on the ingredients list.
IBS is unfortunately incurable but, if like me you’ve struggled with immense pain and embarrassment, please try my suggestion. It may not cure the condition but will definitely alleviate some of the issues. As well as improve your mental health.