Author, The South Beach Gluten Solution (2013)
NY Times Best Seller, The South Beach Diet (23 million sold)
Creator of The South Beach Diet
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Advisor on heart health for Preventive magazine
NY Times Best-selling book: The South Beach Diet; over 23 million in print
The South Beach Diet Goes Gluten-Free
The 700 Club
A NEW SEASON
Ten years ago, Dr. Agatston cleared up the high-carb versus low-carb confusion with the South Beach Diet (SBD). After observing results from patients on Phase 1 (eliminating all grains) of the SBD, Dr. Agatston says many patients not only lost weight but also had more energy, fewer aches and no longer complained of stomach problems or brain fog. When these patients reintroduced grains into Phase 2 of the SBD, their health problems often returned. Dr. Agatston asked these patients to switch to gluten-free whole grains, such as millet, brown rice and quinoa, and they quickly felt better again. (Gluten is the protein found in grains like rye, wheat and barley. It is also a common additive in many prepared foods, cosmetics and even medicines.) “We unintentionally made Phase 1 gluten-free and had no idea what gluten was,” says Dr. Agatston.
With the help of his nutritionist, Dr. Agatston created the South Beach Diet Gluten Solution Program to determine his patients’ level of gluten sensitivity and to also help them become gluten aware. For patients with celiac disease (about 1% of the population), gluten must be treated as a potentially deadly enemy. Out of the 3 million Americans estimated to have celiac disease, 97% don’t even know they have it. Celiacs are so sensitive to gluten that even a small amount can damage the lining of the small intestine and lead to a host of other health problems including fatigue, skin rashes and abdominal cramping so all gluten must be avoided. Most celiacs typically have GI symptoms like chronic diarrhea, bloating and stomach pain, but so do those with gluten sensitivity. Celiacs may also suffer with an autoimmune disease. A blood test is the first step in identifying celiac disease. Those with celiace disease must avoid even hidden sources of gluten (gluten-free)
Beyond celiac disease, there is a broad spectrum of gluten sensitivity. For gluten sensitive patients, gluten is a troublemaker but not likely life threatening. Individuals may have symptoms unrelated to the GI tract like headaches, runny nose, skin rashes or psoriasis. Dr. Agatston says that more than 50% of Americans have some degree of gluten-sensitivity. Those who are gluten sensitive can be gluten aware. There is no test for gluten sensitivity but Dr. Agatston suggests eating a gluten-free diet for a month. “There is no down-side to trying gluten-free,” says Dr. Agatston. “There is a chance you will feel better off gluten.”
There are 3 ways gluten causes problems (Dr. Agatston calls them the Gluten Trifecta).
- Causes inflammation in our gut. Causes pain, bloating and diarrhea and heartburn. Gluten proteins are incompletely digested, resulting in peptides that breach the inner lining of the small intestine and cause inflammation.
- Blocks absorption of nutrition. Poor absorption of nutrients prevents us from getting all the vitamins and minerals in food which can lead to various nutrient deficiencies.
- Causes autoimmune reaction. When the peptides penetrate the intestinal lining, they are identified as invaders by immune cells and “first responder” immune cells call for back up. Some of these reservists produce antibodies which attack our own body. Some organs affected are the brain, adrenal glands, skin and thyroid.
Dr. Agatston will show us gluten-solution recipes like pancakes (page 202), spaghetti (page 216)and chocolate cupcakes (page 224) as well as share alternatives to gluten products like Buckwheat Flour, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Cornmeal, etc.
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