For some reason people hear the word “gluten-free” and automatically assume it is the healthier option. This is not true.
QUIZ! Are any of the foods below good for you?
DONT BE DECEIVED: The waffles on the left are Kashi made with whole wheat flour and hearty whole grains. The carrot cake in the middle was purchased at Whole Foods, is vegan, and is made with organic ingredients. The bundts on the right are the least healthy, coming from a gluten-free box but overloaded with fillers, excess sugar, and preservatives.
Lesson: You can make healthy choices while indulging in your sweet tooth. Gluten has little to do with it.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. It gives dough elasticity, helping it rise, and keep proper shape.
What is Celiacs?
Celiacs is a disease in which your body’s inability to digest the proteins causes inflammation of the stomach lining. About 1 in 133 people, or 1%, of the US population has celiac disease, and about 6% of the US population has an intolerance. (Yes, think dairy allergy VS. lactose intolerance. Same thing, but with grains instead of dairy).
If you are avoiding gluten, you can still have all other forms of grains (other than wheat, barley, rye, and triticale). This includes: potatoes, beans, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.
Benefits of going gluten-free?
If you are allergic or have an intolerance (AKA you are one of the 1-6% of Americans), then you will absolutely benefit from going gluten-free because you saving your intestines from breaking down.
If you are not allergic or intolerant, there is little scientific evidence that proves it will benefit you. Many health experts believe there is no benefit to going gluten-free.
Drawbacks of going gluten-free?
Many gluten free products contain less micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), less fiber, and more sugar to try to recreate the elasticity of gluten.
Why are people doing it?
Unfortunately they’ve fallen for marketing schemes set up but food companies to try to promote their products. Gluten-free is now a label being used on products that never contained gluten in the first place like Green Giant vegetables or Chobani Greek yogurt.
Should I go gluten-free?
I mean…I’m not. In my opinion unless you’re allergic or intolerant eating gluten free is a fad. It physically won’t benefit me in any way to go gluten-free so I’m not going to do it. Maybe it makes some people feel better that they’ve gone gluten-free, but to me variety in my diet is more important.