Gluten-Free vs. Grain-Free: For Some, Going Gluten-Free Does Not Go Far Enough

This article is from Pip Taylor’s groundbreaking book, The Athlete’s Fix, which shows how to identify your problem foods—and the foods that make you feel and perform your best. The Athlete’s Fix offers a sensible, three-step program to identify food intolerances, navigate popular special diets, and develop your own customized clean diet that will support better health and performance.

Walk down virtually any aisle of any supermarket and you will find a growing number of gluten-free products. Of course, the food industry both drives the movement and responds to consumer demand, but this rise in commercially available products is nevertheless telling. The quality of these products is questionable and their necessity even more so—have you ever studied the list of ingredients on some foods labeled gluten-free? They might be found in the health food aisles, but that doesn’t give them a free ticket to be considered healthy foods.

Indeed the explosion of products and numbers of those eating gluten free has caused others to question the legitimacy of the gluten-free movement. To what extent are people jumping on the bandwagon as they do with other diet trends, either to lose weight or, as some cynics have postulated, merely to gain attention?

We do know with certainty that both celiac and non-celiac gluten intolerance are real and serious conditions.

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Going Grain-Free

When it comes to gluten intolerance—and intolerances or sensitivities in general—we are only just beginning to scratch the surface in our understanding of these interactions between food and body. What is commonly called gluten sensitivity may not be due to gluten at all.

Grains, both those with gluten and those without, contain any number of other proteins and compounds. Gluten just happens to be the one that is most recognized now. But while we may be good at identifying gluten in a scientific sense, our bodies are not always that good at picking it out from other proteins. This means that for those sensitive to gluten, including some with celiac disease, it is not enough to simply avoid gluten; other grain proteins may be good enough impersonators of gluten that our bodies cannot see through the disguise and mount a reaction of the same force and destruction against these proteins as they do against gluten. For those individuals, the end result is the same: damage and inflammation, and confusion as to why they do not seem to improve even when eating strictly gluten free.

The Athlete’s Fix can show you how to go gluten-free or entirely grain-free, if that’s the diet that makes you feel and perform your best. Check out the book to get started on finding your own, personalized healthy diet.

In her groundbreaking book, The Athlete’s Fix, registered dietitian Pip Taylor shows you how to find your problem foods—and the foods that make you feel and perform your best. The Athlete’s Fix offers a sensible, three-step program to identify food intolerances, navigate popular special diets, and develop your own customized clean diet that will support better health and performance.

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