Why do so many diets for people with digestive issues restrict gluten and dairy? 

A lot of diets demand the restriction of gluten because of Dr. Alessio Fasano and his work.

Gluten and gut health

Dr. Fasano says that gluten causes intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) in humans, full stop.

And as a result, many health professionals recommend that people with gut issues remove it from their diet.

“We’ve shown now that gluten sensitivity actually exists. It’s moved from a nebulous condition that many physicians dismissed to a distinctly identifiable condition that’s quite different to celiac disease. Gluten sensitivity affects six to seven times more people than celiac disease", he says.

In short, removing gluten is worth a trial for the majority of people.

There are studies that have also shown that people who think they are gluten sensitive, aren't. Some studies have found that giving people pure gluten gives them fewer symptoms than they’d have had if they’d eaten whole wheat.

So it’s clear there's a lot of complexity to the gluten issue.

Dairy and gut health

Many nutritionists are anti-dairy, but again, it’s a complex issue.

Our practitioners don’t think optimal health requires that everyone goes dairy-free.

If you think you tolerate dairy, it’s a great source of nutrients. However a lot of Northern Europeans are lactose intolerant to some degree, and as with gluten, the integrity of your gut has a lot to do with whether or not you tolerate it.

The lactose content of dairy products varies greatly. Listen to your body and find out what you can tolerate. Some will be able to tolerate aged cheeses as the lactose content is negligible. Some might not be able to tolerate milk, which is high in lactose.

Don’t forget that dairy contains other compounds that can also irritate a damaged gut, like casein, the dairy protein.