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What is all the hype about gluten-free and is it for me?

A gluten-free diet is the only option for people with celiac disease, a severe gluten intolerance. Now, many people without this condition are ‘going gluten free’ because they believe it is a healthful option.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale, a combination of wheat and rye. It helps foods such as cereal, bread, and pasta, to hold their shape.

There are many people around the world that consume a diet which is naturally gluten free or low in gluten. A good example is most of Asia, where the main staple food is rice, not wheat. It’s perfectly possible to have a healthy diet which is also gluten-free diet using most standard dietary advice.

Just because something is labeled “gluten-free,” does not mean it is a healthy choice.

As “gluten-free” gains more and more popularity, food companies are flocking to the potential marketing opportunity and selling these “healthy” gluten-free products that are potentially worse for the health of the general public than eating a slice of glutenous bread (celiac diagnosis is a different story).

If you go down the aisles of your grocery store, you will find an overwhelming amount of gluten-free options of all your favorite desserts and snacks. Gluten-free cookies, cakes, muffins, crackers, breads, pastas, cereals…they’re still processed junk food.

Many of these products are filled with highly refined carbohydrates and modified starches, added and artificial sugars, inflammatory omega-6 vegetable oils, food dyes, food stabilizers, and gums.

The processing of these grains and modified starches strips these products of fiber and are void of essential micronutrients, causing a blood sugar avalanche and fluctuating hunger cravings. This spells disaster for anyone trying to lose weight and sets the stage for diabetes.

While some of these items can be “enjoyed” as a cheat snack/indulgence every once in awhile, a true gluten-free diet focuses on eating whole, unadulterated, naturally occurring gluten-free grains (quinoa, rice, teff, millet, buckwheat, oats) and copious amount of vegetables.

At Doctor for Life, we believe adding high-quality plant foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to your diet can only be beneficial to your health in the long run.  We offer expert help here at Doctor for Life in getting you started on your Healthy Weight Lifestyle program.  Give us a call today to schedule your first step.  864-640-0009

Picture and some info courtesy of eatfunctionalfoods.org

rfosterWhat is all the hype about gluten-free and is it for me?