Fat Intake and Wheat Intolerance
What does eating fat have to do with wheat intolerance? The modern western diet is high in fat, but that is not, in itself, a problem. While experts decry cholesterol intake, they ignore the very real and growing problem of omega 3,6 fatty acid imbalance.
These days, it’s trendy to eat foods high in PUFAs (poly unsaturated fatty acids), but PUFAs are only beneficial when the ratio of inflammation-causing omega-6 fatty acids to inflammation-reducing omega-3 fatty acids is about 4:1, or even lower. Unfortunately, the average American’s ratio of these essential fatty acids is close to 10:1, due to high intake of omega-6 rich grain-fed meat, poultry, and grain- or seed-based oils (soybean oil, corn oil), versus a relatively low consumption of omega-3 rich fatty fish, flax, and walnuts.
Even then, not all omega-6 fatty acids are created equal. Because most meat sold and consumed today is factory-farmed, it relies heavily on grain-based, concentrated feeds. Grain-fed ruminants produce lower levels of the beneficial omega-6 variety called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grass-fed ruminants. Cage-raised hens produce eggs with lower CLA levels than pastured hens.
This is particularly important to people with wheat intolerance or celiac disease. A recent Italian study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research indicates that CLA protects the small intestine of celiac sufferers from damage subsequent to gluten exposure. The head of the research team noted that both CLA and omega-3 fatty acids are shown to have beneficial effects on inflammation and auto-immune disorders in animal studies.
So what’s the takeaway? If your diet is low in fatty fish and other omega-3 sources, but high in grain-fed meat and grain or seed oils, consider switching to grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, and taking a commercial commercial fish oil supplement to correct your omega-3,6 imbalance. Try it for a month and see if you notice any change in your intestinal health and comfort.
Going gluten-free is still the best way to treat wheat intolerance symptoms, but changing your fat intake can help your body deal more effectively with gluten.
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