It’s World Digestive Health Day today and poor digestive health is something we can all suffer with time to time, with wheat often being a big culprit. At one point over the last few years many of us have asked ourselves ‘am I intolerant to wheat?’. We share an extract from Hilda Glickman’s upcoming book Beat IBS: A simple, five-step plan for restoring your digestive health on how wheat may be the cause of your digestive struggles.
Could wheat or gluten be causing your problems?
The trouble with wheat wheat is a very difficult substance to digest and the problem is the wheat itself. Wheat that we eat today is a bad food for most people because it is very difficult to digest and can damage the gut. Modern wheat is very different from the wheat that we ate in the past. It has been changed so dramatically that it is not found in nature and that is why so many people have a problem with it. Many of us experience great relief when we give it up. Could wheat be causing your problems? This question is easy to answer. Just stop eating it for a few weeks to see how you feel. Of course, you would need to make sure that you are giving up wheat in all its forms and that means reading labels because wheat is found in many foods. You may feel worse for a few days as the wheat leaves your system but, after that, you could feel very much better than before.
Should you have a test for wheat intolerance?
Not necessarily. You can be your own test. You will know if you feel better without it and you will know if you feel worse when adding it back into your diet. This really is the best test of all. However, if you want more proof, blood tests are available. These look for antibodies against wheat so you need to have the test before you stop eating it.
Are you a wheat junkie?
Do you love bread, cereals, cakes, biscuits and pasta? Do you feel a need to have these in the house at all times? I ask this because many of us do. Actually, we eat these foods more than any other type of food available. Wheat comes in so many different varieties that it is extremely difficult to avoid and food manufacturers seem to be constantly dreaming up new ways to use it. Because it is so flexible, it turns up in masses of different foods in many interesting ways. It is amazingly versatile and can be twisted, puffed up, rolled and bent into all shapes and sizes, which is why it is included in so many different foods. It is also contained in sauces, soups, breaded foods and ready meals, where it hides from the unsuspecting public.
Why not wheat?
If you came to me for help the first thing that I would say to you is, ‘Give up wheat.’ As mentioned, this is not because I think you in particular are intolerant to it but simply because wheat itself is a bad food for most people. There are many reasons for this: • Modern wheat is very difficult to digest. • It contains high levels of gluten • Eating it produces cravings for more. 3 • Most wheat-based foods contain few nutrients. • It raises blood sugar higher than sugar itself. • Wheat-based foods fill you up and take the place of more nutritious foods. • It contains opiate mimickers, which means you can become addicted to it. • It has high levels of lectins (these are sticky substances that bind to the hairs that line the intestines and prevent them from working normally).
Wheat-free helps reduce IBS problems
Research shows that IBS and wheat are associated. In my experience of the people who came to me, giving up wheat can have a dramatic effect on digestive problems including IBS. When I have asked clients to do this their wind and bloating went, their abdominal cramps often improved and they had more energy. An added bonus, which usually pleased them, was that they lost weight and inches, particularly from the tummy area. I remember one client whose severe wind and abdominal pain cleared up when she gave up wheat and, when she ate it again, her pains came back. However, her friend told her that she should have a blood test to make sure that her problems really were caused by wheat. If she had a blood test and it came back negative, would she have continued eating wheat even if it made her feel ill? If you eat wheat and you’re bloated and in pain, and you stop eating it and you’re not bloated, what better test can there be? This type of exclusion test is the best test of all.