Way back in November I signed up for “The Gluten Summit,” a free, week-long webinar series that talked about all things gluten. I was so excited! Each day you were sent a link to 3-5 videos featuring interviews with health professionals talking about everything from Gluten & Your Brain, Gluten & Cardiac Health, Celiac Disease, Gluten & Children, Gluten & Eating Out, GMOs & Gluten and so much more. Naturally it ended up being THE busiest week of the school semester and the videos were only available for 24 hours unless you bought a package, so I wasn’t able to watch all the featured videos. However, the few I did watch were so interesting, I thought I would do a little review on The Gluten Summit.
(Coincidentally, they are actually doing a “part two” of sorts starting NEXT WEEK! Details below!)
Here are the videos I watched and the main points I took away from them:
Modern Wheat: It’s More Than Wheat – Dr. William Davis (author of The Wheat Belly)
- Believes wheat consumptions is a wide-spread societal problem causing illness, obesity and suffering
- If you don’t control blood sugar, you will lose control of cardiovascular risk and coronary plaque and you WILL have heart issues (heart attack, stints, etc.)
- What does blood sugar have to do with wheat? The glycemic index (how high your blood sugar goes 90 minutes after eating) of wheat is among the highest of all foods!
- 50% of all human calories consumed worldwide now come from grains (*I guess this is why people freak out so much when the idea of eating gluten-free is presented. That’s a significant food group to cut out!)
- High blood sugar levels lead to formation of LDLs, which linger in the bloodstream for at least a week. For example, if you eat a slice of bread on Sunday, you have increased cardiovascular risk for a week! (*Yiiiikes!)
- Is a gluten-free diet bad for you? No, but a “bad” gluten-free diet IS bad for you! Remember, you can follow a gluten-free diet without every buying specialty products!
- Corn starch, rice flour, tapioca starch and potato starch increase blood sugar MORE than wheat (*Gluten-free foods are often full of these things in place of regular flour, which is why I try and avoid gluten-free foods. There would be no point in avoiding wheat and its effects on blood sugar if I was just going to eat all these starches instead!)
- The protein in corn can be problematic for some people (*This is interesting as I know a few people who have gluten sensitivity and also corn sensitivity).
- Majority of your diet should be based on lots of vegetables, quality proteins and healthy fats
The Reality of Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and Its Many Manifestations – Umberto Volta, MD
- Still no biomarkers or diagnostic tests available for NCGS
- Causes inflammation in the small intestinal mucosa, which leads to malabsorption of nutrients
- Extraintestinal symptoms = fatigue, headache, foggy mind, skin rash, nutritional deficiencies, iron-deficiency anemia, osteoporosis
- Most frequent associated disorder is lactose intolerance (*This is also interesting as I know people with gluten sensitivity who also are lactose intolerant).
- FODMAPS (short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine) may play a role in NCGS. Present in dairy, legumes, onions and other foods. (*An answer at last! Last semester I was having awful side effects from something I was eating and after reading this I realized it was onion. We eat little to no onion at home but where I am living this year they put onion in absolutely everything and turns out my body does not enjoy it. Crazy what seemingly normal things can negatively affect your body!)
- A naturally gluten-free diet includes meats, rice, corn, veggies, eggs, gluten-free pasta and gluten-free flours.
How the Right Diet Can Address Symptoms Throughout The Body – Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN
- 2/3 of our immune system is in our digestive system, therefore it is extra important to take good care of our digestive system!
- The average American east 130-145lbs of sugar each year as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (*That’s roughly like eating your own body weight in sugar. Gross!)
- Sugar contains no nutrients, yet requires many nutrients to metabolize (*This is why it is called “empty calories”)
- “If we had medicines that were as powerful as foods, they would be the #1 selling medicines of all time.” (*I love this! It reminds me of this quote – so powerful!)
- Diets that avoid grains and carbs seem to be the most gut-healing long-term.
- We should frequently enjoy foods that encourage good gut bacteria (e.g. yogurt with live probiotic bacteria, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, miso soup, olives, pickles)
- We produce more neurotransmitters in our intestine than in our brain. It is a viscious cycle of mental state impacting gut and gut health impacting brain. (*Interesting thought. Perhaps this is why certain health issues like depression and anxiety have been associated with gluten?)
- Recommend a “real food diet” for optimal intestinal health: fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, oils, nuts, seeds and beans
How Sensitivity To Gluten Can Impact Your Heart & Cardiovascular System – Mark Houston, MD
- Two predominant factors in the epidemic of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease: (1) poor nutrition – not enough fruits and veggies, too many fast foods and frozen foods and (2) lack of exercise. These two factors alone could decrease the risk for ALL disease by up to 70% in the USA alone (*WOW!)
- Idiopathic cardiomyopathy (swelling of the heart) decreases on a gluten-free diet as does risk for other heart related issues.
- Believes gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are going to become predominant as a measurable risk factor for cardiovascular disease (*Serious stuff!)
- Blood antibodies don’t stop being produced the day the patient stops consuming gluten. They have a life of 2-3 months and it takes 1-2 months to stop the production of new antibodies. This means that dinner roll you had the other night is going to stick around causing havoc in your blood/cholesterol/cardiovascular system for up to 3 months! (*Certainly makes you think twice about “cheating” now, doesn’t it? Wow!)
Is your head spinning? Mine is. Definitely a lot of food for thought! I found it really interesting how each expert had a different idea about what kind of diet is the “right” diet. I think it just goes to show how this field is constantly evolving. We may never know which way is the absolute “right” way!
As I mentioned above, the same folks who ran The Gluten Summit are now doing a follow-up webinar that is running January 30th to February 2nd called “Now That You Know, Where Do You Go?” You can register for free here!
I’ve also found another webinar similar to The Gluten Summit but all about Paleo! Featuring over 25 renowned experts from best selling authors, nutritionists and renowned chefs to Olympic athletes and everybody in-between, they are sharing all things Paleo including Paleo myths, implementing a Paleo diet, easy Paleo recipes and more. This webinar is also free and starts January 27th. You can register for PaleoCon here! I am really looking forward to this series!
If that isn’t enough for you, there is another webinar series called “The Future of Nutrition” also running next week, from the 27th to the 31st. There are over 50 health professionals sharing information on topics such as The Animal Free Diet, The Addictive Brain, The Ancestral Approach, The Power Of Your Gut Microbiome, Food Allergies, Eating & Exercise, Nutrition & Immunity, Food & The Brain, Dieting & Metabolism, Raw & Wild Foods, Eating for Longevity, The Future of Supplements and more. I am SUPER excited for this one! You can register for The Future of Nutrition Conference here.
Talk about amazing resources! Who needs school when you can watch super informative videos all day?! ;)