How Long Does That Tiny Bit of Gluten Affect Your Body? : Guest Author Donna Gates

Tuesday Jul 24 | BY |
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It’s just one piece of cake, but how long will hte inflammation affect your body?

Sometimes people eat a piece of cake even though they know they have gluten sensitivity, gut dysbiosis, or systemic inflammation. It’s one piece, right?

Latest research shows that the smallest amount of gluten can trigger inflammation and autoimmune reactions lasting for up to six months in gluten sensitive individuals. Coffee also has been found to be the most harmful food for those with gluten intolerance.

Effects Last Longer Than You Think
Bloating, gas, cramping, and old injury flare-ups are responses that indicate inflammation. And each of these symptoms is more significant to your overall health than you may realize.

If there is pain anywhere in the body, such as joint pain or an exacerbation of a pre-existing autoimmune condition, you know that the food-induced inflammation originating in the gut is systemic. If you experience fatigue or brain fog after eating a piece of cake, you know the inflammation is systemic and that your blood-brain barrier (BBB) is likely compromised.

After a couple days or maybe a couple weeks, the outward manifestations of the small amount of ingested gluten may have disappeared. However, studies show that the smallest amount of gluten—say a cracker the size of 1/8 of your thumb nail—will have a prolonged inflammatory effect in the body for up to 6 months after ingestion if you are gluten sensitive. (1)

Unfortunately, if you pick an occasional crouton from your spouse’s salad or ingest hidden gluten in certain processed foods, you have just excited your immune system for another 6 months. If you have “pretty much” been gluten-free for several months and wonder why you still have symptoms, this may be why.

Coffee Can Have the Same Effects
One food that gluten-sensitive people must also beware of is coffee. Studies have actually shown that coffee is one of the most cross-reactive foods in gluten sensitive individuals.(2)

While coffee is acidic, affects your stomach pH, and leaches minerals from bones, it also triggers the release of excess stress hormone, increasing the inflammation. You will know inflammation by signs of heat, swelling, redness, and pain.

This means that coffee can trigger the same extended inflammation and autoimmune response as glutinous grains.

Stay With Your Gluten-Free Options
While the findings may be disheartening to those who find themselves eating things that may not support their constitution, they do help people understand the seriousness of gluten-sensitivity and the importance of experimenting with gluten-free recipes. There are many delicious Body Ecology recipes, so you can have your cake and digest it too!

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Picture courtesy Jane Wooe via


  1. O’Bryan, Thomas. Blog Talk Radio Interview with Sean Croxton, Underground Wellness. Jul 07 2010.
  2. Cyrex Laboratories. “Array 4: Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods.” .

Donna Gates

Donna Gates

Donna Gates’ mission is to change the way the world eats. Over the past 25 years, Donna has become one of the most loved and respected authorities in the field of digestive health, diet, and nutrition, enjoying a worldwide reputation as an expert in anti-aging, weight loss, autism, autoimmune diseases, candida, and adrenal fatigue.

Donna is a nutritional consultant, author, lecturer, home economist and founder of Body Ecology™, Inc., a leading nutrition company. She is the author of Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity, a revolutionary system of healing that she created in response to the major deficiencies she saw in medicine and the commonplace approach to treating symptoms while ignoring root causes. Donna has certified hundreds of “Body Ecologists” who passionately spread her teachings throughout the United States, Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. Over the past two years, the raw food movement’s knowledge-hungry crowd has turned to Body Ecology for answers to why the raw diet doesn’t always work. David Wolfe, the movement’s de-facto leader, surveyed his followers and found 80% requested Donna speak at his popular Longevity Conference, which draws over 1,600 participants bi-annually.

Donna’s free newsletter, available at, is one of the most widely read and respected natural-health publications in the world. Her eagerly anticipated book, The Baby Boomer Diet, (Hay House, October, 2011), is expected to revolutionize the way we think about aging. For more information, please visit her website at Body Ecology.

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