Nutrient Malabsorption Due To Wheat & Glutenous Grains
This is Part 3 of a 3 part article about how nutrient malabsorption may be leading to being ‘hangry’ all the time.
Read the previous parts here:
Inflammatory Effects of Gluten
You don’t have to have Celiac disease to be negatively affected by gluten. Studies show that gliadin, a component of gluten, causes inflammation in everyone.
How Does Inflammation Cause Malabsorption?
Inflammation is the body’s immune response to what it deems foreign or toxic, so the body is essentially not recognizing gluten as food. This inflammation can lead to ‘leaky gut’, which causes particles of food to be released into the blood stream before they have been fully digested. These nutrients are not being absorbed and this lack of absorption can definitely leave us feeling hungry and run down.
Besides contributing to us feeling tired and hungry, leaky gut leads to a host of health problems and diseases, so it’s very important to address this condition. Remember Hippocrates’ favourite hashtag, #AllDiseaseBeginsInTheGut.
Our bodies absorb nutrients from food through the walls of our intestines. Inside of our intestines are tiny little hair-like microvilli that essentially create more surface area for nutrient absorption. Such good engineering! The key for maximum nutrient absorption here is to keep the intestinal walls and microvilli clean and decongested. How does gluten contribute to the them becoming unclean and congested?
When gluten is consumed, it is only partially digested because of its discordance with our digestive enzymes. This impacts gut barrier health in many ways. One way is that sometimes, some of this gluey, sticky protein remains in our intestines, covering up the nutrient absorbing surfaces, including the microvilli. It essentially plugs up the teeny holes that would absorb nutrients into the body. This potential nourishment get eliminated and we are left feeling the lack.
But My Grandparents / Parents / Ancestors Were Fine With Gluten. WTF?
It’s Not The Same Wheat
Today’s wheat is vastly different than what our grandparents ate. Wheat crops have become very hybridized. There are entire sets of new proteins in hybridized wheat that weren’t in original wheat plants. We can’t digest these new proteins very well, which has contributed to the increase in inflammation and gluten intolerance.
They Didn’t Eat As Much
It’s likely that our grandparents didn’t eat as much processed and fast food as we do, because it wasn’t as readily available. They cooked more of their own meals, and enjoyed a more whole-food diet.
Fast food and prepared processed food (frozen and boxed dinners, for example) usually have a high content of wheat. Today’s hybridized wheat has been programmed to be water soluble, allowing it to be mixed into any and all packaged and processed food.
Processed and fast food is everywhere these days and you don’t even have to get off your ass to get some. You can get a shitty big mac delivered right to your door!
Gluten, Meet Glyphosate
The intake of today’s wheat and wheat products comes hand in hand with large amounts of toxic chemicals that are sprayed on crops to keep the weeds away. So in addition to the gliadin, the extra hybridized proteins that we can’t digest, add glyphosate to the inflammation web.
Glyphosate is an herbicide, most commonly known as Roundup. It is heavily used on wheat crops in North America and it is toxic, my friends. Glyphosate, was identified as a probable carcinogen for humans by the World Health Organization in 2015. Have you ever wondered why the people spraying the crops are basically dressed in hazmat suits? And then they expect us to eat that crap?
Glyphosate damages intestinal lining as well as contributes to a host of other health (including mental) issues. Although glyphosate is not a part of gluten, I thought it was important to mention it, as it comes along with many gluten-filled products.
Try Eliminating Gluten for 1-3 Months
The best way to see if gluten is contributing to our hangriness is to eliminate it for a while.
Instead of whole wheat breads and pastas, try buckwheat bread or quinoa flour bread (naturally gluten free and high in complete proteins) and brown rice pasta or lentil pasta. Not only are these foods free of gluten, they are more nutrient dense, which helps us to feel fuller longer.
Just try not to rely on packaged gluten free breads that are full of potato starch and tapioca, etc. They’re usually pretty devoid of nutrients. My rule of thumb is to have it as a treat now and then, but not to depend on it.
You can also just skip the bread all together.
Other Ailments Magically Disappear
Many people who have eliminated gluten for digestive reasons find that other aliments that they have just learned to live with, suddenly disappear. Things like PMS symptoms, migraines, muscle pain and arthritis taper off quickly. I had twenty years of chronic asthma disappear within three months of cutting out gluten; something that I didn’t expect at all. Getting rid of these ailments also means that you can get rid of the medication that you use to manage these conditions, consequently eliminating all of the side effects you may be experiencing from those meds. So many things can go right!
These last three articles have covered some of the top reasons for hangriness that I have run into myself and with nutrition clients. However, nutrient malabsorption can be caused by an underlying condition. Every person is different, so please always consult a trusted health and wellness professional about your specific case.