Lifestyle Experiment: Gluten And It’s Negative Effects – Should You Avoid It?

Should you eat gluten?

Well, maybe you should.

But it's worth giving it a second thought, and maybe conduct some gluten experiments.

Many people might have an inability to digest gluten, or overall sensitivities to it. If you have either one, and you keep consuming it, it will definitely degrade your health.

The last years I've been very interested in doing all kinds of experimentation with mainly health but also many other kinds of important areas of life.

During the last year, I've been focusing a lot on food experiments, and staying away from gluten was one of these experiments.

I wanted to try it because I believe it's important to have good digestion and be free of belly issues.

I'm sharing my personal view based on my own experience here.

Experiment length: 1 year

Result: Clearly negative effects on consumption of gluten. Gluten and my bowels are not good friends.

Will I apply this permanently? Yes, without a doubt

Experiments with gluten

In short: I've been doing many experiments. Removing gluten from my diet was the experiment that made the biggest impact by far.

There are only positive effects, and I would very strongly recommend everyone to experiment with gluten.

Not removing gluten forever just because a dude said so in his blog, but trying a no gluten diet and see if that makes you feel better.

Since October last year, I've been on and off with gluten. Frequently doing different testing and being in different phases.

I've been trying high gluten diet, and I have tried eliminating gluten completely.

Up until recent months, I was very confused if gluten actually was the cause of some of my belly issues.

Now I can say with 99.9% certainty that gluten is making my bowels worse. It's been hard to come to this conclusion, hence why I'm strongly recommending to do proper testing.

Most sites mention different symptoms on the issue and how you actually get affected by eating gluten. But I believe this is highly individual and differ from case to case.

Sometimes you get heavy cramps, sometimes just some extra gas. There's many different symptoms and I think they are all more or less the same no matter what your tummy problem may be.

I'm going to summarize my conclusions below, just to highlight the most important notes and tips of this experiment.

Tips and conclusions after experimenting with gluten:

    Insights to figure out if you should eat gluten

  1. A break felt great
    The longer I stayed away from gluten, the better my bowels worked. The first week of staying away from gluten doesn't really have that much impact. No conclusions can therefore be made by staying away from gluten shorter periods of time. I'd suggest a minimum of three months to see more results.
  2. Always check contents
    Gluten is hidden in many different foods. If you want to go zero on gluten, you'll have to examine the contents of what you eat. I'd suggest a very simple diet with raw foods that you know what it contains.
  3. Gluten affects you long-term
    The fact that I would not suffer from eating gluten right away, is in no way any evidence that gluten is not harmful. There were no correlations between eating gluten and getting an ill tummy within 24 hours. Some times I react a few hours after, sometimes I don't react at all, at a particular point. There's a multiple of variables that you must consider.
  4. No health benefits at all
    It's better to avoid gluten and be tolerant than eating gluten and while being intolerant. There are no health benefits what so ever with gluten. Almost all foods that contains gluten, are unhealthy and bad in other ways. Most processed foods contains gluten. Your health will also benefits insanely from skipping bread, pasta, pizza, candy bars, and other things that you shouldn't eat anyways.
  5. Can't trust restaurants
    Eating at restaurants will get a bit harder. It's common that recipes contain wheat flour. If you're unsure, better don't eat it at all. Asking the waitress if it contains gluten or wheat flour is a gamble, there's been multiple occasions when I've received a negative on that, just to later discover that they had no clue what they were talking about.
  6. Maintain a food log
    Write down what you eat, and how it made you feel 2 hours later, 12 hours later, and 24 hours later. Also, try to do quick status reports loggings after visiting the toilet. If problems arise, you will be able to compare and search for that food or similar foods, in your earlier logs. Eventually a pattern will arise and you will see if there is a particular food that makes you react.
  7. Test 2 months with and without gluten
    The fastest and most simple way to achieve positive/negative results,  is by first starting off with 2 completely gluten free months, following a 2 gluten rich months. First no gluten, then gluten on daily basis. Compare bowel movements, and problems.
  8. All gluten is not the same
    I've tested to eat organic raw oats, which should contain small amount of gluten at 2 different occasions. This did not not affect me as much as receiving gluten from a processed source. This was a very basic test, so I will not say for sure if this is the actual case.
  9. Tolerance depends on overall gut health
    The healthier bowels I have, the more gluten I can tolerate. Eating extremely clean and healthy foods for a month, and adding gluten heavy foods for a few days, did not cause the same bowel problems as if eating less strict. This leads me to think that an healthy bowel can digest gluten better, despite being intolerant or not. Of course, this can not be sustained for long, as gluten will turn my bowels unhealthy rather quickly.
  10. Gluten is probably just one of the culprits
    Gluten itself is seldom the sole cause of gut problems if you're eating like the masses do. Removing gluten from your diet but keeping an other rather unhealthy lifestyle and bad eating habits will not solve your problems fully.
  11. Combining gluten and lactose makes it worse
    I have multiple times felt more severe problems by consuming gluten and lactose at the same time. I can't confirm if, or how much this is connected. Might be coincidence, but I heard similar things from other people.
  12. Do proper experiments
    Gluten problems are abstract, think logically when trying to get to the root of this problem. Don't guess and assume things. We don't know everything and it's highly possible that gluten can be consumed on a day, with a particular lifestyle and food and make us thrive, but another day with other variables, is the worst poison for our body.

Should you remove gluten from your diet?

Well.. not necessarily. But if you have belly problems, consider experimenting with it.

I believe a large percentage of people can digest gluten without any problems, at least up to a certain amount. This amount will vary between different people.

But I also believe some people are not digesting gluten properly, which causes inflammation of the bowels, in small or big proportions. There's a million and more reasons why you don't want your gut to be inflamed. Therefore, it's important to know how much gluten you can eat.

The people who get severe sickness instantly when eating gluten is probably more lucky because then they will test removing it from their diet rather quickly, and it will be very clear that gluten was the issue. Problem solved.

However, people with just slight tummy problems may not realize that they even have a problem, or that their gut is inflamed. Even if they know that their belly isn't functioning properly, they might try different things, but rarely do people plan and execute advanced experimentation phases.

Many times, people will do non-complete experiments where they either didn't eliminate it fully, not giving enough time to evaluate, or not analyze the results properly.

Not to self proclaim myself as some kind of experiment guru. I'm new to this. But I make sure to do my experiments properly, and really find out the cause.

If you're for example, is incredible unhealthy, eat the wrong things, never exercise etc, and you remove gluten, and you're still feeling bad, that does not in any way indicate that gluten was or wasn't the issue.

Simply removing high gluten products for a week and hoping you'll notice some changes, and if you don't, take that as evidence that you're not gluten intolerant, will not get you accurate conclusions.

Usually, to really be sure to find the issue, you'll need multiple experimentation phases. And preferably, many other variables that will make it easier to pin point the real issue.

Written by
Johannes Larsson
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4 comments
  • Hi Johannes!
    A few months back I met a German tourist in Goa who was explaining to me gluten lead health issues. But he never explained what is gluten.
    So, this article caught my attention.
    I read your article almost halfway through and could not find – what is gluten? So, I skip the rest.
    I am from India. Here the food-related health issues are mostly malnutrition, hunger & survival. They are all caused by poverty & deep corruption.
    India is a land of high contrasts for there is a tiny wealthy group suffering from problems of overeating and a vast majority who suffer from problems related to not having much to eat.
    To date I have never met an Indian who suffered from gluten-related issues.

  • But what is Gluten? I am hearing this word 1st time. Read your article half way through did not find answer. Thnx.