Is Gluten Man-Made?

This post is for people wondering, “Is gluten man-made?”

is gluten man-made

I was first introduced to what gluten is and a gluten-free diet in 2002. I was in college and constantly sick, missing classes because of stomach pain and fatigue, and had constant diarrhea. I got to the point that I would gag at the site of any food. My mother told me a friend at church told her about this thing called “gluten” and how it was giving a student of hers similar symptoms to mine and how eliminating gluten from the student’s diet healed the student. My mom suggested I also eliminate gluten just to see if that would help (mind you I had undergone so many tests and hospital visits at this point with no conclusive answer to why I was so sick). In this post, I’m going to share with you the quick version of what I’ve learned about gluten over 20+ years of learning about gluten and practicing a gluten-free diet and whether or not gluten is man-made or nature made.

What is gluten? Is gluten man-made?

For the quick answer: No, gluten is not man-made. Gluten is a protein naturally occurring in grains such as:

  • Wheat
  • Spelt
  • Barley
  • Triticale: This is a hybrid of wheat and rye and, as such, contains gluten.
  • Farro
  • Bulgur
  • Semolina
  • Durum
  • **Oats: Oats don’t naturally contain gluten but they are very often cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. You will need to buy oats specifically labeled as “gluten-free” to make sure they don’t contain gluten. I will say that a lot of people (myself included) can not tolerate even gluten-free oats so if you get a tummy ache, even with GF oats, just skip them altogether.

Why does gluten make some people so sick?

Gluten does not make everyone sick. People with celiac disease have a reaction to gluten that makes their body mount an auto-immune response where their body attacks and destroys the villi of their small intestine and that damage leads to malabsorption and inflammation. The gluten also raises zonulin levels in the body which leads to gaps in the intestinal lining known as “leaky gut” and from there you can easily develop bacterial and yeast overgrowth, and all sorts of disease factors as well as neuro-degenerative issues. Even people without a formal celiac diagnosis (it is very hard to accurately diagnose) can be very intolerant to gluten. In fact, you can be diagnosed with celiac based on your symptoms.

The very easy and obvious (although many don’t want to acknowledge this because they don’t want to give up gluten) is that if you feel sick AT ALL after eating gluten and this becomes a pattern then you have a gluten intolerance. You shouldn’t feel sick after eating- ever. If you do see a pattern, I suggest you also check to see if those items also include: soy, dairy, or egg because those are other very common allergens that can be mixed with gluten, making it hard to nail down what you are reacting to. Over time, I figured out (by cutting out gluten but still feeling sick when I ate certain things) that I also am intolerant to dairy and soy. My life is so happy and free now that I don’t get sick when I eat. If you want to try an elimination diet to figure out what you are reacting to, I love this book/plan called The Plan.

Why do some people say that wheat grown in Italy or other places in Europe is safe for people who can’t tolerate gluten?

I have heard this rumor before and it’s a tricky one because, of course all wheat and all of the grains listed above naturally contain gluten… Wheat grown in Italy (or wherever) still contains gluten but here are some reasons that someone that has a gluten sensitivity but not celiac disease (when you have celiac disease you don’t want even a crumb of gluten… that’s like giving someone with lung cancer a “safe cigarette with less nicotine”). Here are a few reasons some people might struggle to tolerate American bread/wheat but do well with Italian wheat:

  • The American variety of wheat is known as “hard wheat” and Italian wheat is usually “soft wheat” and naturally contains a little less gluten.
  • American farms and crops are laden with glyphosate (pesticides/Round Up) and glyphosate increases zonulin in the gut (as does gluten) which leads to a leaky gut which causes all sorts of major health issues.
  • American soils are deficient in sulfur. Sulfur helps damper and modulate the levels of gliadin (the subfraction of gluten that causes the negative reaction to gluten) so when sulfur is lower in soils, gliadin is higher in crops. European wheat crops have lower levels of gliadin because of higher levels of sulfur in the soil.
  • When people eat European bread/wheat they are likely partaking in homemade bread, which by nature has WAY fewer preservatives and chemicals of any type so, regardless of gluten levels, you are eating cleaner bread because, as an American on vacation you are likely eating fresher bread or you are importing the flour and baking your own homemade bread.

Conclusion: Is gluten man-made?

Gluten is not man made. It is a naturally occuring protein found in several grains and most noteably wheat. It is extremely dangerous to people with the autoimmune disase called “celiac disease” but also can cause health issues for those that are just intolerant or allergic to it. Because people do not usually eat whole grained wheat or barley or other grains containing wheat, it is primarily found in processed foods and flours.

More Posts Like this…

Favorite Gluten-Free Posts

Favorite Posts

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *