Just because it is gluten free doesn’t mean that it is good for you…
The gluten free movement is huge at the moment and there are more and more gluten free products popping up on the supermarket shelf. Even Coles and Woolworths have their own brand of gluten free foods available now.
When I first went gluten free over 10 years ago there was nothing labelled as gluten free in the supermarket. I had to sleuth my way around the supermarket to find foods that I could eat.
Whilst gluten free is very much a ‘fad’ diet at the moment, there really is mounting evidence of how inflammatory gluten is to every person who eats it, not just those with ceoliac disease*
For this reason, I recommend that most of my clients trial a 30-day gluten free diet so that they can see for themselves how much better they feel without it, or at least with just a restricted amount of gluten.
Now, because a gluten-free diet is associated with being ‘healthy’, companies are striving to create foods that they can stick the gluten free stamp on. The problem here is that they are simply replacing the gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye and barley), with gluten-free grains such as corn, potato and soy. The flours from these products are heavily refined and contain very little nutritional value. The one thing that they are high in is high-glycemic carbohydrate.
What does this mean? These foods are so quickly converted to sugar when digested that it triggers a large insulin response to manage the influx of sugar. The result of this is blood sugar is converted to fat for storage.
My other concern with all the corn that is used in gluten-free foods is the molecular mimicry that is caused. Molecular what?? Molecular mimicry is the concept that the body interprets corn protein as so similar to gluten that is cannot tell the difference between the two. This means the same symptoms that we get from gluten can occur from corn. Corn is used in so many products, it is even used as the derivative of many vitamins, it is used to line BPA-free cans and as a base for preservatives. We are getting so much corn into our diet without even knowing it. So if you have removed gluten from your diet, but you are still having digestive symptoms, then look into your corn intake.
Another problem is the over-consumption of soy-based products. Whilst traditional soy products like Tempeh, miso and edamame are healthy foods, it is the refined soy flours and soy milk that have hormone modulating actions. This is partially due to the concentration of these foods and the volume of them that we can actually consume.
Ultimately we should be eating a whole food diet that contains very little pre-packed foods. In a perfect world, we would be making our treats from scratch using whole food ingredients. However, life does get in the way and reality finds us buying pre-made foods.
My advice is to read ingredient labels. Look for products made from more nutritious grains and seeds such as quinoa, chickpea (besan), amaranth, millet, brown rice flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour and almond meal. Watch the sugar content as it can still be very high, we want to aim for 5-10gm per 100gm.
If you are still unsure on how to follow a healthy gluten-free diet, then download my handy gluten free guide, which has all the information that you need to follow a healthy gluten-free diet. And remember, if you are still unsure what is right for you, then we can work together in an online naturopathic consultation.
* The Dietary Intake of Wheat and other Cereal Grains and Their Role in Inflammation. Karin de Punder and Leo Pruimboom