Thursday, November 15, 2012

Are Bananas Gluten Free–An Investigation


Bananas and gluten?

Well..not quite. But…sort of.

A few weeks ago, the lovely Thierry shared her gluten free story with all of us, and for many of you her issues with bananas rang true. And so she and I did some research


and what we found is actually pretty interesting!

  • So do bananas contain gluten?


  • Can a person with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance have issues with bananas?

YES!! Definitely. And Thierry and I found two possible explanations.

The first explanation is what I call


Here’s Thierry with more info:

Bananas contain a protein called lectin, which is also found in many of the “night shade” foods that some people with Celiac or gluten intolerance have trouble with. Lectin is somewhat similar to gluten and can create an autoimmune response. This is due to the body confusing lectin with gluten.  Some researchers even speculate that gluten sensitivity is actually a lectin allergy that was previously unknown. I also found that many of the foods, including bananas, have been processed with GMOs which can contain lectin and can cause gluten-like symptoms.

The second explanation is what I call


Again, here’s Thierry with more info:

Bananas also contain a protein called chitinase that requires a specific enzyme to break down once it has been consumed. If this protein is not broken down it can cause severe abdominal pain and other gastrointestinal discomfort. Often if someone with Celiac Disease is not healed, meaning that their intestinal system is not in tact due to ingesting gluten, the enzyme needed to break down the protein can be lost. 

In addition to the gastrointestinal symptoms some people experience flushing of skin, headaches, heart palpitations, rash on the skin, and numbness or tingling of the mouth. These symptoms can occur as quickly as moments after consuming food that contains lectin or chitinase or as much as a few hours. Just like lectin, chitinase can also trigger an autoimmune response, because the body sometimes mistakes it for a pathogen.


So there you have it! There are two possible reasons that bananas could give you issues. I personally have no trouble with bananas BUT I did receive a ton of emails from readers who do have trouble with this particular fruit. And just because I never have, doesn’t mean I never could.

What about you? Bananas: yes or no?