Many of us often make mistakes when it comes to food choices: we try to cut corners by substituting whole food and quality nutrition for tasty treats that claim to be ‘healthy’. It’s really sad, actually, and it’s too bad that manufacturers will take trending terms such as “gluten free”, slap it on their products, and magically it transforms into a “healthy choice”, knowing very well that just because it’s free of gluten doesn’t mean it is healthy. This seems to do the trick for them. But you shouldn’t get caught up in the trending terms, don’t forget to read the labels and DON’T believe everything you read on the front of the packaging.
Try to answer the following two questions: what is gluten and why should I avoid it? If you are choosing to purchase gluten free products, I hope that you know the answer to these questions. First, let’s talk about what is gluten. Gluten is a protein typically found in bread and wheat products, such as pasta, that give them their texture. Some people have gluten intolerance and get symptoms such as wind, a bloated feeling or stomach pain when they consume this protein. A more serious condition is allergy to gluten known as Celiac disease. According to official statistics, the amount of people who actually have this disease is less than one percent. Now, I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t eat gluten, but I am saying that maybe a little fact searching might be a priority before you start spending a bucket-full of money for a product that is stamped “gluten-free”.
Just because something is gluten free doesn’t immediately put it into a category of a nutritious and health promoting. A lot of food that is gluten free ends up being full of sugar to make up for the taste and to help with ingredient binding. Because guess what? SUGAR is gluten free! Does that make sugar better for consumption? The answer is absolutely not.
So be aware that gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean healthier. You have to admit that many of us do it – we hear a trending term and think “Well, I better not have gluten anymore!” I encourage you to do a bit more research, don’t always believe everything you read on a label and always remember that the best “gluten free options” aren’t going to come in a processed and packaged box. Gluten free cookies are still cookies, gluten free bread isn’t going to promote weight loss more so than regular bread does and a gluten free treat is going to be packed full of sugar just like a gluten full variety would be. So, as you walk through the aisles and try to find the most nutritious foods or best gluten free options, just remember, sugar is the enemy – and it’s gluten free.