Anyone reading this knows someone who is “gluten free.” It’s become a movement in and of itself with people choosing to give up gluten for many different reasons. Of course, some people who are gluten free have celiac disease and the gluten can truly harm them. Others, have jumped on the gluten free bandwagon because they are gluten sensitive ( GI issues when eating gluten, skin problems, etc.) and still others because they think it’ll help them lose weight or be healthier.
I’m here today to go on record that if you do not need to be gluten free for real medical reasons or sensitivity issues, you should not. Gluten free, if not done the right way, can be really unhealthy. If you just go choose packaged foods that say they’re gluten free without looking at nutrients, you may find yourself nutrient deficient and feeling unwell.
There is a right way to do gluten free. Choose a gluten free bread that’s nutrient rich, like a flax and fiber or millet and chia bread over a plain nutrient-void gluten free bread. Choose a chickpea pasta like the one from Banza that touts 25g of protein and 13g of fiber vs 4g protein and 2g of fiber in regular gluten free pasta. Choose baked sweet potato “fries” with peel on vs regular white potato fries to get a whopping dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, fewer calories and more fiber than your plain old white potato.
Take home message: If you need to be gluten free, do it the healthy way. Choose foods that are as high in nutrients as their whole grain gluten containing counterparts. They are out there…..you just need to know what to look for.