Aches, pains, bloating, weight gain and rashes: Could those symptoms signify that you're allergic or sensitive to gluten? Yes, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz, who explained on his Monday talk show how a gluten-free low carb diet can vanquish those problems while boosting your weight loss.
Gluten doesn't have the same impact on everyone. Some people experience brain fog, while others get migraines. Symptoms may also include weight gain, bloating, rashes and even painful joints.
The most serious reaction to gluten involves celiac disease. This autoimmune condition caused problems for actress Jennifer Esposito, who authored a book about it "Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again."
In an exclusive interview, Jenifer told me that her own symptoms included "severe panic attacks, numbness in my hands, and even hair loss. At one point I had a lump in my neck the size of a small grapefruit."
It took years for Jennifer to be diagnosed, and her first reaction was one of relief that she knew the cause of her mysterious symptoms. However, she also "realized just how much my life would have to change. There is so much more to celiac disease than just cutting out bread and pasta from your diet."
But it doesn't take celiac disease to suffer the consequences of consuming gluten. Gluten sensitivity or intolerance also can result in similar symptoms. And in contrast to celiac, no definitive test exists.
To determine if you might be sensitive to gluten, try eliminating it from your diet for two weeks. If your symptoms subside, you may benefit from eliminating it permanently.
However, it's not only those who are sensitive to gluten who can benefit from eliminating it, said Dr. David Perlmutter in a Sunday interview with WRVO News. A neurologist, he has conducted research indicating that by eliminating all grains as well as sugar, you can lose weight as well as protect yourself from Alzheimer's disease.
Author of "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers," Dr. Perlmutter explained that consuming grains and other carbohydrates causes an "increase in inflammation and an increase in the production of free radicals, which damage protein, fat, and DNA." Therefore, he recommends following a low-carb diet.
Appearing recently on Dr. Oz's talk show, Dr. Perlmutter noted that he believes fat consumption plays a critical role in both successful weight loss and health. He's particularly emphatic about the benefits of low-carb diets for brain health.
"The most important approach to dealing with Alzheimer’s is to do everything you can do reduce inflammation, and that means a low-carb diet," Dr. Perlmutter emphasized. While restricting carbohydrates, he advocates boosting your intake of healthy fats.
“Your brain is 60 percent fat; it is built from the fats that you consume in your diet,” Dr. Perlmutter explained. And that diet of healthy fats, protein and vegetables mimics that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
"This [the low-carb diet] is how humans have always eaten. It’s only been in the last 150 years that sugar has started to creep into the American diet," added Dr. Perlmutter.
But neither he nor Dr. Oz advocate the processed gluten-free foods that have proliferated on the grocery store shelves. The message from Dr. Oz and Dr. Perlmutter: Eat foods in their natural state with minimal processing. It's a mantra echoed by Paleo diet expert Chris Kresser, who recently talked on Dr. Oz's show about how to customize the caveman diet to lose up to 75 pounds in six months.
Chris, who authored "Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life," also emphasizes that gluten is a health Grinch when it comes to the way it affects your body. By avoiding processed foods as well as all foods such as wheat that contain gluten, he contends you can easily lose weight and improve your health.