You have certenly heard many bad things about gluten but do you know what is gliadin? As you know gluten is perhaps one of the most infamously well known food allergens around. It is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, barley and rye and is known to cause various gut related issues in people who are gluten intolerant. These digestive discomforts can range from mild to severe and even chronic when diagnosed in celiac patients.
Sensitivity to gluten can result from mild food allergies to serious medical conditions like celiac disease, where the only way to overcome the uncomfortable symptoms is through complete gluten elimination from the diet. But even those who are not diagnosed as celiac patients can demonstrate extremely disagreeable symptoms by consuming grain based products.
The reason for this digestive trauma is that grains contain various anti nutrients which can easily upset the human digestive system. One of the two types of proteins found within gluten is known as gliadin, the other being glutenin. Gliadin contains specific chains of amino acids that cause reactions in those who are gluten intolerant or suffer from celiac disease.
When consumed by eating grain based foods, the presence of gliadin triggers autoimmune responses that damage the lining of the small intestine in the GI tract. This internal damage compromises the performance of the small intestine and can lead to malabsorption of different nutrients. Once the permeability of the small intestine is negotiated, a condition known as leaky gut can occur where toxic compounds and inadequately digested food particles can remain in the digestive tract for longer times and diffuse through the intestinal lining to enter the bloodstream.
Another one of gluten’s adverse effects on the digestive system is the generation of inflammatory responses in the digestive tract. Together these changes can cause a host of uncomfortable abdominal symptoms ranging from constipation, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating and even certain skin irritations in some people.
Modern wheat a “perfect, chronic poison,”
The unfavorable effects of gliadin consumption become evidently more prominent with genetically modified wheat strains that are now being produced. Wheat that is now being farmed contains a higher percentage of gliadin that through its properties stimulates the appetite. Even when you have consumed enough food to be full, the urge to eat more persists and leads to overeating which eventually results in obesity and a host of health hazards associated with it.
For most people good health can be restored from omitting all gluten from the diet and the symptoms will disappear.
The paleo diet, on the other hand, is a natural solution to grain based intolerances and allergies. According to paleo standards and principles, grains, whether they contain gluten or not, are not suitable for human consumption. Grains have a natural outer coating that offers protection against predators. To make it work for them, this outer coating contains anti nutrients that have a toxic effect when consumed.
Moreover, grains cannot be had in their natural form and need to be harvested before they can be cooked and consumed. Grain based products all have to go through the process of refining before they can be deemed safe for human consumption. All these properties and measures make grains an absolute no-no on the paleo diet.
Sticking with true paleo standards, any food that cannot be consumed in its natural state is not allowed on the paleo way of eating. As such, grain consumption is completely shunned on the paleo menu.
Toxins and inflammation aside, grains also create massive fluctuations in the body’s insulin levels. Grains are basically carbohydrates and play a role in elevating insulin levels. Normally, the body’s sugar levels need to stay within a specified range for healthy performance, but when excess carb intake happens, the insulin is rendered incapable of dealing with so much sugar and starts to store it as fat. The carb overload leads to insulin resistance and in steps diabetes.
That is not to say that the paleo diet condemns carbohydrates; instead, it only avoids simple carbs such as those from refined grains and promotes complex carb consumption such as those found in fruits and vegetables. It is not necessarily a low carb diet but is definitely low carb when compared with the traditional American dieting standards. Limiting carb intake by steering clear of grains is a long term safe approach to staying healthy.