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807: Shrink Your Fat Cells & Fix Your Metabolism – With Dr. Benjamin Bikman

TMHS 233: If It Fits Your Macros & the Dangers of Gluten-Free Reloaded

We don’t want the latest marketing trend to be the demise of your health and fitness goals. Though many gluten-free efforts mean well, as with anything, marketers can really mess things up. They’ll take a good wholesome idea and you turn it into a tactic.

Gluten-free options came into play to enable folks with gluten sensitivities to still enjoy some of their favorite comfort foods. Then more gluten-free options hit the market to meet the demand of people finding out the big potential downsides of eating gluten. The next thing you know there’s a gluten-free label slapped on everything from soups, to salads, to potato chips, and pizza. I think I even saw someone sipping a gluten-free bottle of water the other day.

You’re about to get an in-depth look at the gluten-free phenomenon (and where our initial good intentions may have gotten off track). Plus, we’re covering some of the basics of the If It Fits Your Macros movement that’s hotter than men’s rompers right now.

It’s said that many things come into our lives for a reason, a season, or for a lifetime. When it comes to diet and nutrition we have to be able to roll with the punches and identify which thing is which. Today is all about adding more tools to your superhero utility belt to make the best decisions for yourself and the people you care about. Just click play, take good notes, and enjoy!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Why reviewing something multiple times can be so powerful.
  • The benefits and potential downside of following IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros).
  • The #1 component of any successful diet (this is important!).
  • How the glycemic index of your meal affects your satiety hormones.
  • Why relationships can go sour because of dieting drama.
  • How micronutrient ratios play into satiation and long-term diet success.
  • How a protein-centric breakfast vs. a carb-centric breakfast can affect your body weight.
  • The interesting impact that removing gluten has on non-celiac test subjects.
  • Why wheat is able to affect our brains so easily.
  • What’s actually in wheat that causes many of the health problems seen today.
  • The 6 big reasons why eating gluten-free can be dangerous.
  • How quickly a fast food diet can negatively impact your gut microbiome.
  • Why resistant starch is a critical part of optimal human nutrition.
  • Why an actual behavior change is foundational for recovering and improving our health.


Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!


Shawn Stevenson:  Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning into the show today. This topic is very much needed. We're talking about this gluten-free phenomenon. 
Is this even a good idea? And I was motivated to do this because there's been an explosion in gluten-free products, and I actually just yesterday happened upon a gluten-free cupcake, and it spoke to me. 
And so is this actually where we want to go? And we talked about this episode much earlier in The Model Health Show, and this was a few years ago at this point, and I felt that this was something that needed to be revisited for a couple of reasons.  
Number one, being the fact that there's been this explosion in gluten-free foods since that point, and is it really advantageous for us to have this gluten-free or die- right? 
Gluten-free or die attitude, when maybe there's something else we need to tune into. 
And also, and this is even more important, even if you have listened to that episode before, the review of this content will take it to a whole other level today.  
And I love the quote from Zig Zigler that says, 'Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of all accomplishment.' 
And also repetition makes things a part of us, and I mean that literally. Like the more exposure, the more that we repeat a behavior, the more that we're exposed to the information, the more myelin gets laid down in our brains that literally creates the insulation for nerves firing in our brains, for processes taking place.  
And we've talked about myelin on this show in the past, but the bottom line is the more we repeat a behavior, the more myelin is getting laid down and making those nerves to fire faster, stronger, and to really literally be creating a physical structure in 
our brain when we are exposing ourselves to positive and not-so-positive environments and information. So we literally are making it a part of us. 
So the information isn't just information, something that's external. It becomes a physical part of who we are. So that's why going back and listening to some of these episodes can make it even more remarkable.  
And also for me personally for years prior to my career as a speaker and nutritionist, I would listen to audiobooks and lectures and interviews over, and over, and over 
again until really I felt like I knew the information better than the person that was giving it, you know? 
And for me also, the way that I learn, and learning from amazing people we've had on the show like Jim Kwik, I'm looking at it from the perspective as when I'm learning this information I'm thinking, 'How can I teach this? How can I teach what I'm learning?'  
So it creates another layer and depth of urgency and desire, and passion tied to the learning, and thus making it even more profound.  
So that's my little story into why I really feel that repetition is very much needed. And I wasn't like- also like we tend to do, and you've probably done this before, like you hear something and it's like, 'I've got this. I've got this now.' 
Well- and then we move on. Well I was like, 'I've got this, now let me get more from it.' Right? 'I've got this, now let me get even more.'  
And the reality is even when we're going back and reviewing something that we've heard before, or seeing a film that we've seen before, we are not the same person. We've changed since that point, and you're now listening with updated information, updated knowledge. 
You're listening with new ears in a way, a new fresh updated perspective even if it was just a couple of days ago, because that's the nature of life. 
So at the end of this, and I love this quote as well, and this is from world-renowned ballet performer, choreographer and director, Pina Bausch. And she said that, 'Repetition is not merely repetition. The same action makes you feel something completely different by the end.' 
And so I do encourage you of course to go back and listen to those powerful episodes, if you've happened to miss them. I mean shout-out to you if you've listened- like gone back, you just found The Model Health Show and you're like, 'You know what? I'm going in.' 
People message me all the time like, 'I just went on a binge, a Model Health Show binge over the past week,' and they listened from episode one to where we are today.  
But I just want to make sure we revisit this information today with gluten-free because it's not stopping anytime soon, and we're going to really dive in and break this thing down. 
What's the potential issue with gluten, which we've covered on the show, but this gluten-free phenomenon, is that the best thing to tilt our attention to? 
And before we do that, I want to give a quick shout-out to our show sponsor, Huge fans, and I'm telling you this right now right off the bat, this plays into what we're covering here today because the Hemp Force Protein, they've got the Vanilla Acai and the Choco-Maca flavors. 
And part of the reason that I love them so much is that it's non-GMO, using organic sources, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free. So we're missing some of the big potential allergens that are commonly found in the protein supplements that are out there.  
Now to each their own, some people in the industry, we called whey protein for many years 'gas and blast,' alright? You get swoll, but nobody wants to be around you because you fart, and that's how we used to say it because my stepfather would say 
So you would not smell the best because of the gases were combustible and many of the companies would actually use hexane to extract them in their processing.  
Hexane is explosive stuff, so when I say 'gas and blast,' it's kind of like a real component to this. And I think there was like an episode of South Park where somebody just- I think it might have been Cartman, he just spontaneously combust and he would blow up, and he'd still be there though.  
He was like, 'It's my cheesy poofs,' and he'd blow up, right?  
And so whether or not you're using whey, there's high quality versions of that. I like to bypass that whole situation generally and go to sources like hemp, which is quite possibly the most bio-available and digestible form of protein for humans because it's rich in albumin, which is a very soft globular protein, very digestible.  
That's why people would- egg whites became like a phenomenon. It still is for some people, they're still ordering the less than tasty egg white omelets, alright? 
And so that's why we do that, this is a better source.  
Edestin. Edestin is exclusive to hemp and it's very, very bio-available for humans. And so I love hemp, and I love Hemp Force Protein. It tastes phenomenal and you're going to find out some little bonus things I do with it today as well.  
So make sure to check them out for the Hemp Force Protein, also their MCT oil- emulsified MCT oils.  
These are things you can travel with, you don't need a blender to blend your MCT oil into your drink to get all those benefits.  
And one of the benefits, MCT oil, these medium chain triglycerides, and basically this is like a creamer for your coffee or your tea. It's so delicious. 
They've got vanilla, coconut, they've got cinnamon swirl is a new one, they've got strawberry. But it has a thermogenic effect that has the ability to positively alter your metabolism.  
It's like an alternative fuel rather than being completely dependent upon glucose. You can utilize these medium chain triglycerides, much cleaner burning fuel in your body.  
So make sure to check them out, head over to That's and you're going to get 10% off your entire purchase whether it's fitness equipment, whether it's supplements, whether it's their foods. You get 10% off by being a part of this movement. 
Now let's go ahead and dive into our topic of the day. Today we're doing Gluten-Free Reloaded: The Dangers of Gluten-Free. 
And I think that this conversation really needs to start with a new movement that's been jumping off lately, and it's the IIFYM movement. The 'If It Fits Your Macros' movement. Alright? 
So it's like every food is on the table, everything is an option as long as it fits your macros. 
And so we're going to look at that versus personalized real food, because this is what the majority of health experts right now are advocating, is eating real food. And there are some people who are getting some phenomenal results as far as their appearance, just following the IIFYM approach to things.  
And so to dive a little bit deeper into the IIFYM, or 'If It Fits Your Macros,' this is really sort of like a points system like you see with Weight Watchers, and things like that where it doesn't matter what you eat, as long as you manage these points.  
You get a certain amount of points for eating certain foods. It kind of even gamifies it a little bit, which is kind of cool. You know? 
But it wouldn't be that fun if you're using up your points too quickly. And nobody likes to be the one sitting around watching other people play the video game waiting to get their chance, alright?  
So keep that in mind. It's something that has been used for quite some time, but the label of 'If It Fits Your Macros,' and that movement has really kind of been growing much more lately with just the ability of the Internet to create profound change and get people to group together.  
And so yes, they absolutely do work. First of all, they do work, we have to be clear about that, but for most people only in the short term, and that's really what we need to understand, and we're going to look at why that is of course.  
As a matter of fact, it's so effective short-term, like it's clinically proven, just kind of like fitting your macros. So when we say it fits your macros, that is talking about your macronutrients.  
So these are the major compounds. We're looking at your proteins, your carbs, and your fats. You're getting your macronutrient ratio that's on target for you, the amount of grams you need, hitting those, not going over, not going under, that is the whole point of that approach.  
And so this study was published in 'Experimental Biology,' and this was like 20072008. And so they had individuals, these are 32 healthy people who were overweight, and they had them on either a diet that's more kind of 'real food' versus a diet with a glycemic load, which is about 70% of their intake, alright? 
And so they monitored them over the course of 24 weeks, and only- but that portion where they're eating this high glycemic food was a smaller window in the 24 weeks. 
Now here's the key. They were being provided the food. We're going to come back to why that matters. 
But at the end of the study they found that there was not a significant difference between either group as far as their changes in dietary satisfaction, and especially as far as their weight loss. That was really the big key here, is the weight loss was not that different.  
So bottom line, on 1,000 calorie diet, everybody's going to lose weight anyways unless you're like five. Alright? So you have to understand that. That's one of the things that is not- when somebody sees a study like this, and affirms like, 'If it fits your macros, this is going to work.' 
Anybody is going to lose weight cutting calories that much, but can you maintain that long term? Is that natural? Is that even dangerous? That's what we really have to look at.  
And also their food was provided for them. That's much different when you're out here in the wild, and you've got to try to manage and pick the foods that pick your macros with all of the different things that are out there that can jump out and grab you like that gluten-free muffin can just grab you up by the neck and say, 'Eat me,' and you have to oblige, you know, versus when your food is being provided for you.  
So again, it does work, clinically proven to work. Now that's just one part of the picture though.  
Now the purpose of any weight loss program and nutrition program is to allow you to eat less calories, but still not feel hungry all the time, and also to ensure that you're meeting your nutrition needs.  
These are the keys that allow it to work long-term, because any diet can work as long as you feel satiated. As long as you feel like you're not in deprivation, and restriction, and life is harder, and you're hungry all the time.  
That's going to fail. Your biology is going to beat out your willpower at the end of the day at some point no matter how strong you are. And it's just because of the natural survival instinct. Your body's number one priority, number one driving force is to survive.  
And when you start taking food away, it's going to immediately counteract you. It's basically your hunger is going to be laughing at you in a way, and it's going to tell you like, 'I need to get some more food in here. That's what I'm used to.' 
However what if we can change the nutrient density, and now we're taking away 'calories,' and we're increasing the nutrition. So even though you're eating less of these calories, you're still eating adequate food and nutrient dense food that you feel satisfied, and you feel good. 
So you could just like, 'It's not a big deal. I can do this for however.' 
So that's what we really want to be and understand about this whole approach to diets anyways.  
Now this study was published in the 'Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism,' and it found that eating a high glycemic meal suppresses the post-meal leptin response in healthy adults.  
This is where if it fits your macros, and even if you're just using gluten-free versions of these different foods, because it's like, 'I know wheat is bad for me so I'm going to eat a gluten-free muffin, I'm going to eat gluten-free donuts, I'm going to eat glutenfree cereal. I'm going to drink gluten-free water.' 
If you're on that approach and you're missing this key aspect, the 'Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism,' again finding that eating a high glycemic meal suppresses the postmeal leptin response in healthy adults.  
So what does that mean? Well basically leptin is your body's number one satiety hormone, and when leptin is dysregulated, insulin is dysregulated as well, and you're going to be more adept at storing fat and craving more food, especially food that might not be the best for you. 
So we're setting ourselves at a disadvantage when we're eating higher glycemic foods.  
Now again, this is not to say- real talk, I had some of that cupcake, alright? I had some cupcake. 
So it's not saying that we can't have these things, it's just we want to realize that we want to set ourselves up for success, and that we can counteract our approach to things, our results when we're not choosing the right types of food for ourselves, and eating real food that provide us the appropriate leptin response and the appropriate nutrient density, and not just fall in the framework that says, 'Eat whatever foods, because it doesn't matter as long as you meet your macronutrient needs.' 
Because what happens with leptin, right? And the researchers concluded that lower insulin and higher leptin suggest that lower glycemic meals promote a post-meal metabolic state that is favorable for reduced food consumption. 
And higher glycemic meals via these processed foods does the opposite by sharply elevating insulin and suppressing leptin. 
So sure, it fits your macros, but does it make the rest of your life harder? That's really the key. 
If you're using that approach and you feel good, more power to you, that's all good, that's what we're about is creating that model for yourself that works.  
However if you're fitting your macros but then your diet is so much harder, especially in the longer term, that's where we need to adjust and tweak things for ourselves because we've got to manage our hunger, we've got to manage our cravings, and also our mood swings that happen when we're depriving ourselves of food, of real nutrition, you know?  
Those mood swings, it's like, 'Why are you so mad? Really? Why are you so mad? 
Why are you so irritated?' 
You know the hangry stories, you've seen the commercials about eating the Snicker, like you're just not yourself, you're such a diva right now and it's really this 300-pound football player, but they use- I don't know, a little girl who's like really mad is portraying his character, how he's acting. And then as soon as the little girl eats a Snickers bar, he turns back into the 300-pound lineman.  
You know, so mad over small things like leaving the toilet seat up, right? Getting into it because emotional stability is not there.  
And by the way fellas, listen, know your worth. You leave it down for her, she should leave it up for you, right? Know your worth. Shout-out to- just kidding, don't do that. 
Don't even approach that, don't even try that. Be smart, I am definitely leaving the toilet seat down. 
Also another thing couples get into by the way, this kind of just came up for me, watching an episode of your favorite show without them. If you want to cause a problem in your relationship, go ahead and do that. Alright?  
Me personally, I want to experience all my cool stuff with my wife, so I don't really have an issue with this one, but I've heard about it. I've seen some of the struggles, you know? 
Somebody decides, 'I'm just going to watch this episode.' Big mistake.  
And all these things, again can be exponentially more difficult when you're trying to manage your hunger, manage cravings, and your mood as well. 
And so what the research shows conclusively is that even if we're eating a glutenfree diet, and we're not managing these other things behind the scenes, which we're going to talk more about today, especially we're going to dive in and really talk about the six dangers of a gluten-free diet here in just a moment.  
But processed foods like cakes, and cookies, and chips and all those things lacking in key nutrients that actually keep us satiated. And here's the big takeaway, every time I get an opportunity to say this, but chronic nutrient deficiency leads to chronic overeating.  
I'll say that again. Chronic nutrient deficiency leads to chronic overeating.  
Your body is always looking for the raw materials that it needs to rebuild you. And so if it needs zinc, and magnesium, and amino acids, and essential fatty acids, and omega-3's, and then in comes a Ding Dong, or a Ho Ho, or a Honey Bun.  
And I was an expert in all of these, by the way.  
Your body is getting some calories, it's getting some sustenance, some substance into your body, however you're not getting the nutrients that your body was crying out for so what the result is hunger again very soon after, and your body is just hoping, throwing the dice that you're going to get the stuff in that it really needs to regenerate you, and rebuild you, and to keep you healthy. 
So for that we're looking at minerals, and trace minerals specifically help to regulate leptin, and that's really the key that we're looking for.  
We want to be able to regulate our leptin so we feel satisfied and satiated.  
Also protein-centric meals versus carb-centric meals make a big difference, and you can take this study- and this was a study looking at eggs versus bagels. You can use that, eggs versus bagels, and this was published in the 'International Journal of Obesity.' 
And they found that otherwise healthy overweight individuals who were participants in this study were assigned either an egg breakfast or a bagel breakfast along with restricted calorie intake.  
After eight weeks, in comparison to the bagel breakfast group, the egg breakfast group showed a 61% greater reduction in body mass index, and a 65% greater weight loss, and a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference, and 16% greater reduction in body fat. 
Wow, all from what we choose to eat in the morning. If it fits your macros, go ahead and eat this bagel. What is it going to cause you to do the rest of the day? That's really the key here. 
So how does this happen? Again number one is that looking at what does the food actually do to your metabolism? How does it affect your hormones? How is the food affecting your hormones? 
Your neurotransmitters, how is it affecting those? How is it affecting your organ systems in your body? It's not cool to just say, 'You know what? If it fits your macros,' and we're not looking at the bigger picture of what this is doing to insulin? What is it doing to your leptin? What is this doing to ghrelin? What is it doing to your glucagon? What is it doing to hormone sensitive lipase, and lipoprotein lipase, and on, and on, and on?  
Because all of those things are affected by every single thing we choose to eat, and we could either set ourselves up for long-term metabolism mastery, or we can set ourselves up for metabolic breakdown and hormonal clogs.  
So again if your 'If It Fits Your Macros' approach works, and you're getting nutrientdense food, and you feel great, and you can still do the pizza, and that kind of- the ice cream and all those things, I'm advocating that we all do that. But I'm also advocating that we are much more strategic in how we go about that, and the majority of our diet is real whole foods your body can recognize, that your genes expect you to eat.  
Because that's the other key here is that what are you actually making your tissues out of? Have you ever thought about that? The food that you're sitting there, and you're looking down at your plate, or your wrapping paper if you're hitting up the McDonald's.  
But as you're looking at your food, that is about to become a part of you. It's about to become you. When you go and look in the mirror later on that day, that food is slowly going to become a part of your tissues. 
So what are you making yourself out of? And for me, my story, I didn't eat any- I ate broccoli, maybe that helped me to hang on until I was twenty. But I didn't eat a salad until I was like 24 years old, alright? It was the first time I ever had a salad, 24 or 25. And I was making my tissues out of just the worst possible quality foods. 
And as a result, when I was twenty years old I was diagnosed with this degenerative spinal disease, degenerative disc disease where my physician told me I had the spine of an eighty year old person when I was just twenty. Inside my body was much older than I was chronologically.  
And that's what we're doing to ourselves when we're making our tissues out of lower quality foods. When you evolve, like your genes expect you to eat real food. Real produce, organic pasteurized animal products, all that stuff, nuts and seeds, things that your genes can recognize.  
I promise you don't have any genes yet that recognize Doritos. Alright? I promise you that. But we think that just because it's there, I guess the FDA approved it, it's on the store shelf, it's okay to eat.  
Now I love a good tortilla, a good tortilla chip. You know tortilla chips are yummy, but even with that, can we get better quality that's non-GMO and that kind of thing.  
You know there's places and spaces for all of these things, but the majority of my diet is going to be real foods that my tissues- my genes can actually recognize.  
So let's shift gears now that we've kind of talked about the 'If It Fits Your Macros,' and just the underlying premise of the food quality that we choose is of the utmost importance. 
We want to look at this newfound phenomenon in people's issues in dealing with gluten, and gluten-related illnesses like Celiac's, gluten sensitivities, gluten allergies.  
And so how does this play into this whole equation? If somebody is like, 'If It Fits Your Macros,' so I'm going to go ahead and eat this pretzel. I'm going to go ahead and eat this pizza.  
And we'll look at what's going on in our brains.  
So gluten and depression, let's talk about that really quickly. There was a study published in 'Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics' and it sought to look at why people who don't have Celiac's Disease feel better when they remove gluten from their diet.  
And this was a double-blind placebo controlled study, and it found that short-term exposure to gluten induced statistically significant symptoms of depression in nonCeliac test subjects.  
So some of us are just like, 'Well I don't have Celiac, so it's all good with the gluten.' 
Well this is why there's such a thing as gluten-free today, this phenomenon, because we're looking at increased symptoms of depression from having that 'If It Fits Your Macros' pretzel with the salt, with the dipping into the mustard or cheese? I did the cheese, that's right.  
Every day for lunch in high school pretzel, cheese, and I'd dip my personal pizza into the cheese. That's right, that was me.  
So that's just one of the aspects that is of concern today for gluten, but also there's something called gluteomorphines. Gluteomorphines.  
These are morphine-like opioids that are in gluten, that are in bread, that have been linked and likened to the effect that it has on your brain like drugs, like LSD, alright?  
And they can be very sedating and very addictive as well. And I've heard people say this, you can do anything, just don't take my bread. Don't take my bread. 
It's like, 'Calm down!' They didn't say this to me because I'm not going to come and try to take away- I'm going to grab your toast right out of the toaster when it pops out, I'm going to snatch it. I wouldn't do that to you, that's not my cup of tea.  
But Professor Peter Gibson who's the Director of Gastroenterology at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, he did a study and he found the link between gluten intake and depression as well that we talked about. 
But according to studies from the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and 'Cell Structure and Function Journal,' there's a lectin that's found in wheat- and just to dive a little bit deeper into what's going on with the brain, called WGA or wheat germ agglutinin, and this can pass through the blood brain barrier.  
Foods can't do that, this can that's found in bread, can cross through the blood brain barrier and attach to the protective coating on the nerves known as the myelin sheath.  
We talked about our myelin already and how important it is, this can literally break your myelin down. Crazy stuff here.  
And it's capable of inhibiting nerve growth factor, which is important for growth maintenance and survival of certain target neurons. 
And this overall results in depressed function and inflammation of the brain.  
And so the bottom line is we need to really analyze this approach of 'If It Fits Your Macros,' but gives you inflammation. 'If It Fits Your Macros,' but gives you depression, that's okay.  
It's not okay, and we want to be aware of this. And the degrees of how this impacts us is very different across the spectrum. 
And just to give another little nugget about this, there are certain anti-nutrients that are found in conventional wheat. And we're talking about conventional wheat. This genetically manipulated dwarf wheat is what we commonly see, and we're going to talk about some other stuff today as well.  
But it's just looking at what is the overall impact that it has on my body and on my tissues, and how is this affecting autoimmunity, and things like that? So there are some big problems with gluten and with conventional bread, which we've done episodes dedicated to that.  
We've talked with experts in the field like Dr. William Davis who wrote 'Wheat Belly,' he's been on the show. We'll put that in the show notes as well, he breaks that stuff down to the nth degree.  
And so there really are some overarching things to be aware of when we're shifting and doing gluten-free for sure because of some of the problems that are happening with the commonly exposed to bread products that are out there.  
But there are some problems here with gluten-free, as we're going to get to today as well. And so it's just taking us back and understanding how did we get to where we are?  
And for me personally, I remember going to my college nutrition class, and starting to learn about some of this stuff, and I liken this to 'Starting from the bottom, now we here. It started from the bottom.' 
We started from the bottom with conventional white bread, white pasta, all of that stuff, and that's what I really grew up with, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  
'Whole wheat sandwich? It's not happening, Grandma. Don't put that in my lunch because it will not get eaten. I will try and trade it but what kid is going to get it?' 
You know it's different today but when I was growing up you could forget about it.  
So we switched from white to whole wheat, and then we went whole wheat everything. Whole wheat pasta, whole wheat sandwiches, whole wheat pizza crust! I did that, too. 
You know we shifted. We started from the bottom, then we hit that point. 
And then from there today, here's the issue, here's what's happened is we switched from wheat- from brown everything, wheat everything to gluten-free everything. 
Gluten-free pasta, gluten-free cookies, gluten-free sandwiches, gluten-free pizza? Yes, all of it.  
Same behavior, right? Same behavior.  
And so with gluten, really quickly and related compounds that are found in conventional bread, there's anti-nutrients as well. These are compounds that are found in foods like grains, legumes, and nuts that bind to minerals and actually make them unusable by your body. 
And there's phytates, there's enzyme inhibitors that don't allow you to break the food down, or don't allow you to break down nutrients in the food. There are protective mechanisms inside the wheat because it's so strange that this is a sentient entity as well. Like this grain is alive, right? All food is, but this can't get up and run from you so it has to have its own protective measures built into the food so it doesn't get overeaten.  
And throughout nature we would have adaptions to that, or we would eat a certain amount of something and we'd move on. But today we kind of just are able to bypass that in many aspects. That doesn't mean that some of these things are not hurting us. 
And also glyodins. So glyodins make up the bulk of the gluten and they are very hard for us to digest, and even more the amino acid structure is very similar to that of human organs. 
And so they can get mistaken by our immune system, and they can develop antibodies to glyodins or effectively causing an autoimmune reaction as our body is attacking our own tissues. 
But all of that is taking place because of something called zonulin, and zonulin is something that gets released when you- 100% of the people tested, zonulin was released when consuming conventional wheat. 
And so zonulin opens up your very intelligent gut lining more than it's supposed to be opened up, and allowing these larger particles like the glyodins to get into your bloodstream and set off that inflammatory and autoimmune cascade where they can even get mistaken in the first place.  
Like you know, this sequence in the wheat, maybe it's AABB. And your thyroid tissue might have a sequence- amino acid sequence of AABB, and so your immune system is going to take that compound that floated its way into your system that shouldn't be there in your blood, but it's like it sends its troops to your thyroid as well.  
That's autoimmune, that's Hashimoto's thyroiditis that's part of the equation. 
And we talked about this with Dr. Izabella Wentz, number one New York Times bestselling author of the 'Hashimoto's Protocol.'  
Now there's many other factors in that, and that's a very rudimentary understanding of it, but in general that's one of the big players here. So zonulins get secreted in 100% of people. 
Now the degree that you experience- some people eat bread every day of their life and never have an issue. Or some others, you know there's the middle ground and then there's the extreme. So we just need to be aware that it's affecting all of us on some level. 
And so with all that said, we switch over, same behavior, now we're doing glutenfree.  
So here are the six big reasons eating gluten-free can be dangerous. 
Number one, there are similar irritants in many of these various foods we're swapping them out for. And so if we look at a food like brown rice for example, and the question first to ask yourself, why do cultures in Asia for example generally eat white rice? Right? Isn't brown rice supposed to be healthier? Didn't they get the memo? Wasn't the memo sent out? It's on the Internet now. 
In reality they figured something out a long time ago, that there's potential gut irritants that are found in that bran, that are found in the 'brown' part.  
And just to eliminate that whole potential like crapshoot that you're taking whether or not somebody's constitution or their digestion can handle that.  
When consuming the amount of rice which was a staple in many ways, it actually helped people to survive during certain times. You know, wars and things like that.  
So the gut irritants in brown rice. However sprouted rice, you get your rice that's sprouted brown rice, and I love that from Thrive Market. So that's where I get my brown rice and also my quinoa. That's another one we switched to, and people are like, 'No quinoa, it's so bad.' 
Relax, it's okay. I love quinoa, but there are certain saponins, these kind of soap-like sugar molecules that can be irritants for many people. Some people are just like, 'Quinoa is the best thing ever,' and then other people started having it and they're just like, 'Oh man, it gives me these different problems very similar to what was happening when I switched over from eating conventional wheat and all the problems I was having.' 
So sprouted quinoa, same thing, it helps to eliminate some of those secondary enzyme inhibitors, some of the anti-nutrients, and also the nutrient profile gets increased when it's sprouted. 
Alright so also corn, that's another one, and corn has a compound called zein that has been shown to be problematic for Celiacs.  
And next up we've got avenin, and that's something that's a prolamin that's found in oats that can trigger an inflammatory response. And everything that I'm sharing with you, these are all clinically proven, there are studies that are looking at this.  
And so we need to be more cognizant of that. And so if you're actually interested in checking this study out, this one was published in the 'Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.' Alright so you could check that out. 
We've got orzanin, and this is a prolamin found in brown rice, and we talked about this already. And there was a research here that found that it can cause inflammation in the gut of babies, of children. So something to be mindful of as well. 
And this study was from the 'Archives of Disease in Childhood.'  
And so again, we're simply doing the same behavior, we're swapping out the things that were causing us problems with gluten-free options, potentially and still having some of these problematic compounds that are a result of basically doing the same behavior. 
So that's number one. 
Number two on our reasons and our big picture look at the dangers of gluten-free, number two is we're potentially feeding opportunistic bacteria and not supporting friendly flora.  
Alright feeding opportunistic bacteria and not supporting our friendly flora.  
And there was a news story that came out today actually, this was really created by a gentleman named Tim Spector who was a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at King's College in London. 
And he reaffirmed that the richer and more diverse the community of microbes in your gut, the lower the risk of virtually every single disease. 
Now his son, who was a genetics student and in his senior year, somehow or another they came to this agreement that his son was going to do this experiment where he went on a ten day McDonald's experiment, and he saw- and this was correlated.  
By the way, his son was like, 'I'm going to use this for my dissertation, as long as you pay for the food, it's on.' 
And so he did this experiment, and again this just came out today, and it found that just in four days there was an extreme change in his gut microbiome. And he also found that it was very difficult in getting it back on point again, so even two weeks after the experiment, he still had a missing large array of these microbiomes. 
And I'm actually going to tell you what they were. And so what they found was that his gut had a massive shift in the microbiome, and for the reasons, they still haven't figured out why it happened so dramatically. 
And they saw the clearest marker of the unhealthy gut was losing species diversity in just the first couple of days. And his son actually lost an estimated 1,400 species, that's nearly 40% of his total microbiome diversity, and again it took quite a bit for it to get back on point again. 
And what they found was that that loss in diversity is a universal signal of ill health and individuals with obesity, diabetic, and also autoimmune conditions as well. 
So it's really something to pay more attention to, and what we're eating is a contributing- because it's like I'm eating gluten-free, that's not fast food, but it's the same kind of correlation here. If we're eating these processed foods, whether it's gluten-free or not, what is it doing to your gut microbiome?  
Is it feeding the opportunistic bacteria and helping them to take over? Or is it something where we're looking towards eating higher quality food and helping to keep the good guys in control of our ship? 
And by the way his dad, Tim, he actually did an experiment. He was already eating like real whole food kind of based nutrition based on his research, but he went on and ate for three days a true hunter gatherer based diet as he was staying with the Hadza in Africa. 
And in just those three days had a radical improvement or increase in diversity in his microbiome. 
So that's proof positive that as we change, and we start to eat higher quality foods, and we put ourselves in healthier environments, we can improve this overall gut environment. 
And so digestion overall when we're looking at gluten-free foods, we want to make sure that- so gluten-free foods, for the most part they're not providing the resistant starch that would be found in some of the healthier versions of whole grains and whole grain products, alright? So resistant starch. 
And what these are doing when we're not having that, when we're just eating the processed gluten-free pancakes, or whatever the case might be- shout-out to pancakes, by the way.  
But feeding- those are going to be feeding opportunistic bacteria, more likely feeding yeast and things like that.  
So what is resistant starch? Resistant starch is a type of starch that isn't fully broken down and absorbed, but rather turned into short chain fatty acids by your intestinal bacteria.  
And so there's four types of resistant starch I'm going to share with you really quickly. So type one, this is something that's found in grains, legumes, and it resists digestion because it's bound within the fibrous cell walls. 
The second type is found in some starchy foods including raw potatoes- I don't know if you've had a raw potato lately, I know I haven't, and green bananas. So unripe bananas.  
Another type of resistant starch which is very important because this feeds the probiotic, the friendly flora in your gut, you've got to have this resistant starch, is formed when certain starchy foods like potatoes and rice are cooked and then cooled, and the cooling makes these starches into something that's much more digestible into the resistant starch. And this is a process called retrogradation. And you can repeat that process if you heat it and cool it again, it creates even more resistant starch.  
And then the fourth type is- that's something that you'd see in like a supplemental thing, its synthetic form for via chemical process.  
Alright so here's the deal, when we're talking about digestion, dangers of potentially gluten-free, are we getting enough resistant starches?  
This doesn't mean you have to eat gluten or bread to get these resistant starches, it's just sprouted grain bread, soaked and/or sprouted beans, sprouted quinoa; these are going to be some viable sources to help to feed the friendly flora in your gut to help to keep them in control.  
And so we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. For those who are sensitive to gluten but who aren't truly allergic to it, soaking, sprouting, fermenting, and even likely cooking, in addition to those things, the wheat products can greatly reduce the gluten content.  
And these make- also increase their nutrient profile, makes nutrients like vitamin Bcomplex more available.  
Fermentation, this is another way you can reduce the harmful side effects of wheat as well. There was a 2012 study published in the 'European Journal of Nutrition' that found that sourdough bread fermentation can help reduce intestinal inflammation in those with Celiac's disease.  
And the fermentation increases the nutrient value of the foods. Alright so just something to put out there, and me personally seeing this firsthand, having- I'm sure everybody's heard of the Ezekiel bread, which is something you can buy that's already this kind of sprouted grain bread, helped to regenerate or rebuild my microbiome at one point because I had done so much stuff to my digestion with experimentation I was left in a place where I just couldn't get these probiotics to take over, to populate in my system. 
And Dr. Anthony Beck was my physician at the time, which we did an episode with him, make sure- we'll put that in the show notes. And he's somebody that you could potentially work with if you've found that you've had digestive distress.  
And I just started to have these food allergies that I'd never experienced in my life before, and he was like, "You've got to do this, you've got to try it. You've got to add in some beans. We can have them to be sprouted, soaked, whatever, some sprouted grain bread and along with the natural antibiotics, along with the probiotic, now it's going to be able to populate." 
And I tried it both ways. I tried it without doing the sprouted grain bread- and we're talking like a few slices a week. I'm not talking about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like you're a kid or something.  
But that was enough to change my bacteria, my microbiome cascade, and to really increase the population, the diversity.  
So I wanted to put that out there for you, that we don't want to be so cookie cutter and black and white that, 'That's bad, this is good,' and miss out on something that might actually help you. 
Alright and there's other ways to go about it. Maybe I didn't have to do that, that was just the fastest way, and just going by the trust in my friend to go ahead and see what happens as a test, and it worked out really well for me.  
So- but in general, again this doesn't mean to go ham on ham sandwiches, alright? Like, 'Shawn said to eat Ezekiel bread.' It's not what I'm saying because there are potential problems there, but we want to keep these things in perspective that it might be something that's still an option for you and something to use in- it's not the rule, it's the exception. Alright?  
And this is all staying on point of that second reason which is looking at gluten-free products and what it does potentially to your digestion.  
The third key here is- with the gluten-free approach, is potential deficiency. And in the episode that I did prior a few years ago, I talked about one of my patients, and this was when I was running my clinical practice.  
It was a little boy, he was right around three or four years old, and he had been in and out of the hospital every single week since he was born. Like it was just so troubling to see, and his mom was actually a health coach, and she was doing so many things right, so she thought. 
She was missing out on this one key element, and so they had already pulled out the dairy, and the grains, and all this stuff, and- but after deeper introspection and doing some questionnaires and things like that, I found that they were eating a tremendous amount of gluten-free foods.  
He was eating the same things that other kids eat, conventional kind of standard American diet, but just gluten-free versions. And I was just like, 'He's deficient in key nutrients that are going to help him to be well.' 
He had chronic asthma that it was having him in and out of the hospital, and on top of that his gastrointestinal tract, his microbiome being healthy, and robust, and able to really regenerate his immune system which is responding to all this stuff.  
And as we know from past episodes, the vast majority, upwards of even 90% of your immune system is located in your gut. And so to help to heal this little boy's gut, we got off of the gluten-free stuff for awhile and got him onto just eating real whole foods, and what happened was nothing short of miraculous.  
Within about a month and a half I got a message from her just like- and she had tears even as she was trying to explain that he was now not having these symptoms that had him in the hospital, and he's done a complete 180 in his health, and he was able to turn things around.  
And today the little kid is like healthy, he's doing great, and he's no longer on those terrible medications that had all these additional side effects that he was once on.  
So I just like to share that story, it's just one of the amazing things that I had the opportunity to see, and it's just even wherever we are, there's another layer to get to, there's another level, there's another question to ask.  
Because if we're doing something that's not working, we have to have the audacity to say, 'I need to try something else,' and sometimes it's as simple as that. 
So deficiency we can get when we're just- we talked about this with the 'If It Fits Your Macros' approach. I- I- and looking at actually how about we make sure that we're eating food that's rich in nutrition, and many of the gluten-free options, you're not getting the microminerals, the enzymes, the phytonutrients; all this stuff that your body really needs to make sure that you are nourished at a cellular level.  
So number four on our list of reasons why we might want to reconsider eating glutenfree, potential dangers. And again, shout-out to gluten-free options because I still do it, which I'm going to tell you about here. 
Increased risk of blood sugar dysfunction and diabetes. So here's the bottom line with this one. One of the biggest contributing factors today to our epidemic of diabetes is dysregulation or reduction in insulin insensitivity, and how your body is handling this insulin response.  
The number one trigger of insulin response is carbohydrates as far as the macronutrients, 'If It Fits Your Macros,' carbs. And that depends on you, how sensitive you are to that carbohydrate intake, alright?  
So we're looking at a situation where the increased risk of blood sugar problem is taking place because here's the bottom line, some gluten-free flour alternatives have even higher glycemic impact than wheat does. So we have to be aware of this. 
Like we can't just go, 'Hey I'm going to stop eating gluten pasta, and I'm going to eat gluten-free pasta,' and not understand it's going to have even more impactful, if not the same, but even worse glycemic response in your body. So that's number four. 
Number five is the uptick in potential for obesity that is the same here with gluten-free options as the same wheat products.  
So instead of the regular old ravioli, toasted ravioli, I'm eating gluten-free toasted ravioli. And so diabetes being a catalyst or an underlying portion that can contribute to obesity, that's kind of the framework for this one.  
But for us it's really easy to eat a lot of caloric density when we're eating some of these gluten-free treats, and alternatives, and cookies, and things like that.  
But however, we can still absolutely enjoy these treats, but we can even make them more healthy and enjoyable.  
And so for me, eating real whole foods is so pleasurable. There are so many different flavor sensations and options, there's literally tens of thousands of different foods that I have access to in creating amazing culinary experiences. 
Now we can upgrade these indulgences, because these are still indulgences.  
Recently I was on a trip and I was in L.A. and I went to this amazing farm-to-table restaurant and they had sweet potato donuts. Sweet potato donuts. I was like, "Yes please, I'll have two." 
Alright so there's a time and place for those things, and also I found a way to upgrade the quality of ingredients of our favorite treats like truffles, you know chocolate truffles making them from like almonds and goji berries. Real chocolate, AKA cacao, which we've talked about. I did a TedX Talk on this, and dates. 
And then also we love our protein pancakes, especially when we get out there and we earn it post-workout because it's going to be preferentially shuttled to your muscles rather than getting stored as liver glycogen and end up as fat on your body, potentially via lipogenesis.  
And so what I do, is I take our gluten-free pancake mix, and then I add in the Hemp Force Protein, alright? So I add that in. And I add in things like of course the eggs, a little bit of olive oil, ground flaxseed can add a little extra note here is where to get you some fiber. Almond milk instead of conventional dairy, like you can swap that out and add in place whatever feels best for you. Cinnamon.  
So this is- I'm just going to tell you. For Mother's Day, so this is what I made for my wife and her mom, and I called them 'Mother's Day Chocolate Chip Pancakes.' I put the 'Mothers' before it, alright?  
So the gluten-free pancake mix, two scoops of Choco-Maca Hemp Force, almond milk, eggs, a little bit of olive oil, ground flaxseed, cinnamon. And then you make it, you whip up the batter, you put it into the pan, and that's when you add the chocolate chips right before you flip the pancake so they don't get kind of melted in the process. Just a little tip for you.  
Alright so we can upgrade the quality of our foods and our ingredients so easy if we are aware of the potential to do so. 
Alright so that's number five, and our final one today on this reloaded episode, so 'The Dangers of Gluten-Free Reloaded,' number six is behavior change, alright?  
When we're tuning in and utilizing gluten as our sole source of kind of the foundational part of our diet, like what I was taught in the conventional university setting, seven to eleven servings of whole grains a day.  
That's the staple, and then we shift over and we're just simply taking- instead of the white or processed version- heavily processed version of bread, go from white bread to wheat bread.  
Instead of wheat bread, then we go to gluten-free bread. It's the same behavior. And instead of eating Pop-Tarts for breakfast, we eat gluten-free Pop-Tarts.  
That might not get you where you want to be. So we want to look at having a real behavior change, and eating real food, and getting back in touch with the types of foods that your genes really expect. That's one of the big problems with eating gluten-free, is that there's not really a real behavior change.  
And again, I want to say this one more time, it's not about not eating gluten-free options. Those are probably going to be healthier for you in some aspects, alright? Especially if you're sensitive to gluten. 
Alright however, we want to look at the bigger picture. Add those things in as treats, the exceptions and not the rules, and not basing our diet off of that because we might find ourselves in the same place at the end of the day wondering why we can't get the weight off. Wondering why my hormones aren't in check. Wondering why I'm constantly hungry all the time.  
Because we're not actually having a behavior change, and eating the foods that our genes really expect us to eat.  
So whether you're following the approach of 'If It Fits Your Macros,' gluten-free approach, whatever the case might be, we want to focus our diet on real whole foods that you can actually recognize where they come from.  
You know things that we have evolved eating for the most part, and then having some space for some of the pleasures that are available to us along the way.  
Now I want to make sure that you also leave with this important note. You want to make sure that your nutritional bases are covered.  
We already talked about the impact that leptin has on us and our satiety. This is our hunger and satiety regulating hormone. 
On the other side, our hunger hormone is ghrelin. If leptin is not working, you're going to be more hungry.  
So how do we do that? Nutrients. Key nutrients help to upregulate the function of leptin, and so we want to make sure we're getting all of our nutritional gaps filled.  
And how I do that, and one of the things I add along with all of these pieces to make sure for my family and myself that our nutritional bases are covered are through Organifi.  
Organifi is a green juice supplement. So this is a whole food based green superfood blend, and I recommend every single person on the planet gets on a green superfood blend today, because today more than ever we are- it's very difficult to get this in via our food because even if it's grown organically, the soil is more deficient than it used to be.  
Instead of eating one carrot, you've got to eat five just to get the same amount of beta-carotene, for example. 
And so this is why I love Organifi, is that they concentrate real whole superfoods like spirulina. This is 71% protein by weight, and the most protein-dense food in the world. 
It also has a very rich source of magnesium, a unique compound called phycocyanin that helps to increase your body's mobilization and creation of stem cells, something called stem cell genesis. Literally creating new cells to become whatever your body needs.  
Alright so we've got that, we've got moringa, we've got chlorella, we've got ashwagandha, and it's cold processed so you actually are getting what they say you're getting.  
Whereas other companies that are out there making different formulas, exposing their foods to high heat destroys a lot of the nutrition that's in there.  
And so I love this, my kids love it. My oldest son actually uses it more than all of us as he's training, and playing sports, and things like that.  
And just do yourself a favor, make sure to get yourself some Organifi for yourself and for your family. Head over to That's and you're going to get 20% off of your Organifi, alright? So make sure to take advantage of that.  
Now in closing, here's the bottom line. Everything is still an option for us. No matter what diet approach we're taking, we just want to make sure that the nutrition approach that we take, make sure that we feel good. Make sure that we have a good mood. Make sure that we're not walking around ravenous and just like, "Hey are you going to eat that?" And you're taking strangers' food when you're walking by, alright?  
You don't want to be that person. Or your friend's food, or the person who's sitting with her friend, she's on a diet, she's like, "I'll just get a salad," and your friend- you're like telling her, "You know what? You should go ahead and order that friend lasagna," and then you're like picking off and eating her fried lasagna while you're trying to eat a salad.  
We don't want to be that person. And so how do we do that? We want to make sure our diet is based on real whole foods, and we don't get caught up in the marketing, and the catch words. 'Gluten-free so it's all good.' 
We have to be mindful of that, it's just marketing. There's gluten-free labeled on everything now, and it's just you don't want marketing to end up where you find yourself in a situation where you're not healthy.  
And so even though it might be an upgrade, we want to get to like super upgrade. We want to get to like Optimus Prime level, alright?  
So when you have that potential and that capability within you to make smart decisions, and to enjoy these things in places where they fit, and not basing your whole diet on these different processed items, because it's still processed food at the end of the day.  
Alright so I hope that makes sense, and I hope that this served you and provided you a lot of value today. I appreciate you immensely.  
Please make sure to share this out with your friends on social media, share this up on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, wherever you're hanging out, and give this gift of understanding the bigger picture with this gluten-free movement, and understand we do have some cool options that we can take advantage of, but at the end of the day we want to make sure we center our nutrition on real foods.  
And I appreciate you immensely. Take care, have an amazing day, and I'll talk with you soon. 
And make sure for more after the show, you head over to, that's where you can find the show notes, and if you've got any questions or comments, make sure to let me know. And please head over to iTunes and give us a five star rating, and let everybody know that our show is awesome.  
Jade Harrell:  Yeah. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And you're loving it. 
Jade Harrell:  Yeah. 
Shawn Stevenson:  And I read all the comments, so please leave me a comment there, and take care everybody. I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.  

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Comments are closed.

  1. Hello Shawn,

    Just wanted to send you a quick note and say, Thank you!

    I just got done reading your book “Sleep Smarter” and since I started reading it have been putting into practice what you wrote about and, man, has it helped.

    I have always understood the importance of rest however the way you put it into words made it just that more simple to understand and truly implement in my life. I now make it a priority to get ready for bed every night by doing what you explained and I feel a lot more relaxed when I go to bed and even better, when I get up I feel relaxed and refreshed. The information in your book also helps me a lot when dealing with patients.

    I know business can be crazy at times, I am in the same boat. So, I just wanted to send you a quick note and say thank you and keep tearing it up.

    If I can ever be of help with anything, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

    Ben Page

  2. Hi! I love your show! I’ve learnt so much about food, how our bodies work and how to be the best we can be. Thank you 🙂

    One question I’d like to ask – what is the best oil to use for cooking? I’m allergic to coconut so cant use coconut oil and I’m vegan so can’t use butter 🙁

    I’m lost!


  3. Hi Shawn,
    I’m a recently new listener and fan! Your health philosophy totally resonates with my own and I have learned a great deal from your podcast! I just wanted to share a nugget of wisdom I picked up from the Nutrition Diva concerning coffee, as I heard to speak to its “acidity”. Apparently, coffee is no more acidic than a carrot. Rather, it’s more the response our system has to, yep, once again, the processing method. Good news is, we can control that! Check it out for yourself, of course. Keep up the fantastic work!
    Ginny Maloney

    1. Hi Virginia! Thank you so much for your wonderful message. As for the coffee/acidity thing, yep, I did mention immediately that it’s not a simple as “coffee is acidic”. It’s acidic in nature, not in our bodies… I mentioned that your cells and organ systems know exactly what to do to keep the pH it needs. No common foodstuff can make us acidic per se, but the cost for your body to balance it out can be the issue. If the article you sent says anything along those lines, it’s all good with me! 😉

  4. I am an avid listener to your podcast! Love it all. Can you please tell me the recipe of the gf/dairy free pancakes you make? They sound scrumptious!


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