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Gluten free vs grain free?

Gluten-free vs the Specific Carbohydrate diet.

In the last 5 years or so, gluten has come to be recognized as a link in many gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. While many people dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohns, Colitis, Diverticulitis, reoccurring colonic polyps, chronic constipation/diarrhea do benefit from a gluten free diet, some do not. Why?
We have all heard the adage that ‘you are what you eat’, but I’d like to add to that ‘you are what you eat, absorb and eliminate.

If your GI system is so out of balance, that is, expressing extensive symptoms (lower back pain, headaches, psoriasis, eczema, fertility problems, chronic IBS) then its ability to not only absorb nutrients but also eliminate the wastes has now become compromised. Once this happens, removing gluten from your diet may not be enough.

During the early 1900’s, our understanding of food and health started to grow. Dr. Christian Herter, a physician at Columbia University noted that in every case where children were wasting away with diarrhea and debilitation, proteins and fats were tolerated well but carbohydrates (sugar and starches) were badly tolerated. He reported that the ingestion of some types of carbohydrates almost invariably caused a relapse of diarrhea after a period of improvement. Around the same time, Dr. Samuel Gee, another world-renowned children's specialist, saw clearly several important facts that continue to be overlooked by modern day researchers. Dr. Gee stated that if the patient with intestinal disease could be cured at all, it would have to be by means of diet. By the end of the 19th century, our understanding of the different types of carbohydrates had evolved. In 1951 DRS. Sidney and Merrill Haas published a book entitled Management of Celiac Disease. In this book they documented hundreds of cases of treating and curing celiac disease. Their approach was dietary using a well balanced, normal diet that was very specific on what types of carbohydrates were to be consumed. After one year of following their Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) patients were able to return to a normal diet with no re-occurrence of symptoms.

What is the difference between a gluten free diet and the SCD?

What the SCD eliminates are disaccharides (table sugars) and polysaccharides (starches) but allows monosaccharide sugars- fruits, honey, properly made yogurt and certain vegetables. Gluten, being a protein in many grains, may not be the offending food; it may be the person’s inability to digest the di and polysaccharides. Eliminating just gluten may not remove the toxins from the GI system. Hence, no real change in the symptoms.

One last note: There has been a strong push from the pharmacological industry in the last 20 years to convince us that all health issues must be treated with their drugs. Yet we eat at least three times per day and many of us never really consider what, how and why we eat. If you are dealing with a digestive imbalance, consider dealing with it now, before you are sitting in your MD’s office receiving some unwanted and unsettling news. By that point you probably will be going on their drugs and being told you may need invasive surgery.

Our foods can be either health giving and energize us or harmful and energy depleting.

Bon Appétit.

Cameron Moffatt D.O. (MP)

Osteopathic Practitioner