Gluten OK for Those Without Autoimmune Disease? Please Stop This Nonsense.

Gosh- I apologize for beating the proverbial dead horse (what an awful expression) but today I received yet another ill informed health-related newsletter, this one from IDEA Health & Fitness Association, discussing how and why only those with autoimmune disease should omit gluten.

A few quotes of particular interest:

The average healthy person has no problem digesting and absorbing the proteins that form gluten. Enzymes digest or break down the proteins into amino acids, which are absorbed or drawn into the body’s circulatory system through the small intestine. Villi, hairlike projections on the surface of the intestine, capture the amino acids along with other nutrients and pass them through the intestinal wall (Smolin & Grosvenor 1997).


The problem arises if people have an autoimmune condition called celiac disease, or if they have a less-aggressive but equally significant gluten sensitivity. Their immune systems form antibodies against the gliadin protein that attack the cells of the intestinal wall. This makes the intestines unable to draw nutrients into the circulatory system, leading to malnourishment that can trigger all sorts of health complications such as fatigue, osteoporosis and certain cancers (Sapone et al 2012).”

and finally

Healthy athletes with no gluten sensitivity draw no inherent advantage from going gluten-free so long as they maintain a high-quality diet that restricts the consumption of processed and refined carbohydrates. That is the key: Since gluten exists primarily in wheat and refined wheat is found in most low-nutrient processed food, eliminating gluten removes a lot of potential junk food from the diet. This dietary improvement–not the lack of gluten–is what makes athletes or anyone else feel and perform better.”

Not surprisingly, the article was written by a registered dietician, who likely adheres to the principles touted by good old MyPlate.

I’d like to hear one good reason why anyone should eat gluten.