Gluten-free gimmick?

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, and in recent years, it's gotten a bad rap. In fact the researcher who set off the gluten-free craze recently reversed himself and now says it's indigestible sugars in grains that cause problems.South Florida Naturopathy Aaron Chadwick agrees.

"Gluten is not this big bad wolf that we think it is," said Chadwick. "The gluten isn't really the problem, it's a weakened digestive system."

Over his 25 years in practice, Chadwick has found that supporting the digestive system gets to the root of may health issues and food-related sensitivities.  He also encourages patients to carefully read labels.

"The general thing I say is if you can't pronounce it don't eat it, you know.  If there's a lot of chemicals in there or you see a lot of colorings or additives or preservatives., just to allow the food to last longer on the shelves, but they wreak havoc in our bodies," he explained.

Despite the findings, Eleanor Reichenbach says she feels better limiting her gluten consumption and will continue to avoid it as much as possible.

"Everybody's different," she said. "You and I are different from one another. Some of us can tolerate things and some of us can't."

The one percent of the population that suffers from celiac disease still needs to stay away from gluten, beyond that it's a personal choice. 

The American Gastrointestinal Society has not even confirmed that gluten sensitivity is real. Foods that contain gluten, like whole grains, tend to be higher in fiber and a rich sources of vitamin B, zinc and iron.  As a result, cutting gluten could actually result in nutritional deficiencies.

If you're overweight or not feeling right talk with your doctor about options that might be best for you.

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