What Is Gluten and Should We Avoid It?

Today’s Ask Lee question comes from Christina Johnson of Houston Texas:

QUESTION: “Lee, I’ve been hearing a lot about gluten lately, and some friends have told me I should cut it out of my diet. What is gluten and why should we avoid it?”

Watch The Video To See Lee’s Answer


ANSWER: There’s been a lot of talk about gluten in the news lately, and people are asking themselves whether they should be cutting it out of the diet. But let’s look at what gluten is.

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and similar grains, including barley and rye. Gluten is what makes bread dough elastic, helping it rise, give it shape and its chewy texture. Most bread and baked goods and many processed foods contain gluten.

When it comes to gluten-related health concerns , roughly 1% of the population has what is called celiac disease, which is a condition in which your immune system attacks the small intestine whenever gluten is consumed.

A smaller percentage of people, perhaps half of one percent, have a related wheat allergy. For those people, the allergy can manifest itself with a general feeling of malaise, or skin rashes and things like that.

For people with these conditions, cutting gluten or wheat is necessary.

A slightly higher percentage of people have what is called an intolerance. An intolerance is an inability to properly digest or absorb certain foods or nutrients, often because you lack the digestive enzymes. For example there are people who can’t drink milk, because they have a lactose intolerance, which gives them gas and bloating.

Unlike allergies, intolerances are dependent on the amount of the food consumed, meaning that some people won’t experience symptoms until they’ve ingested a large quantity of the offending food.

Unlike allergies and intolerances, food sensitivities fall into a gray zone.

Food sensitivities may be linked to immune reactions, they’re not well understood and the symptoms are hard to diagnose. Because the mechanisms that cause sensitivities aren’t known, there’s ambiguity that has caused a lot of confusion amongst people concerned about their health, and disagreement amongst researchers.

Many in the medical community agree that few people have bona fide issues with gluten, and feel that gluten elimination diets may be doing more harm than good.

Perhaps the majority of people who have had excellent results on low gluten diets may actually be experiencing benefits that are due to cutting out the baked goods and junk foods that contain gluten in the first place. In other words by cutting out foods that are high in gluten, they are also cutting out foods that are high in junk calories. Keep in mind that on our lean body nutrition program, which you will find in my book called the lean body promise, I recommend cutting out white flour and sugar anyway. If you’re doing this, you’re more than likely cutting out gluten also. I hope that this helps!

I’m Lee Labrada, your lean body coach.

Yours for a Lean Body,

Your Lean Body Coach™
Houston, Texas

About the Author: One of the world’s most well-known and celebrated bodybuilding legends, Lee Labrada holds 22 professional bodybuilding titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. He is one of few pro bodybuilders in history to consistently place in the top four at the Mr. Olympia competition (the “Super Bowl” of bodybuilding) for seven consecutive years—a feat he shares with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He has appeared on the covers of more than 100 bodybuilding and fitness magazines and has been featured on CNBC, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and ESPN as a fitness and nutrition expert.

Lee was also inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, is an Internationally known best selling fitness authos and holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. For more about Lee please visit his page here: Lee Labrada’s page.