As the harmful effects gluten can have on almost everyone else are revealed, people are clamoring for gluten free food options. Books like William H. Davis’s Wheat Belly and David Perlmutter’s Grain Brain along with the testimony and research of countless other health and nutrition experts is helping people to understand how difficult it is for people to digest modern day grains.
As a result, the grocery store shelves have been flooded with an array of products labeled as being gluten free. While at first glance this seems like an easy solution to the problems of gluten, packaged gluten free foods designed to be imitations of popular foods that contain gluten are not doing your health any favours.
Ban Gluten Free Foods: Why You Should Never Eat Gluten Free Foods Again (and What to Eat Instead)
What’s Wrong with Gluten Free Substitutes?
At first glance it seems like packaged gluten free substitutes are the ideal solution everyone is looking for to meet the gluten quandary. After all, they are usually quick and easy and allow people to continue to enjoy the breads, pastas, crackers, pastries and more that were enjoyed while eating a gluten filled diet, but without the harmful effects of gluten. The problem is that in addition to frequently being overpriced, many of the packaged and processed foods that imitate the taste of gluten sacrifice nutrition to do so.
Aim to avoid eating any gluten free foods that are filled with the following ingredients:
Many manufacturers turn to other refined grains from sources like rice and corn to replace the gluten that was once used in their products. One of the reasons that foods containing gluten cause so many people problems is due to the rapid blood sugar spikes and subsequent blood sugar crashes such foods cause people to experience. These blood sugar imbalances lead to energy loss, headaches, internal inflammation, as well as other problems.
Any refined grain will have a similar effect on blood sugar levels, regardless of whether or not they contain the gluten protein, making them an undesirable ingredient for people consume.
High Sugar and/or Sodium Content
To attempt to mimic the taste and texture that gluten provides for foods, manufacturers have to turn to alternative ingredients. Oftentimes this results in a processed gluten free food that is filled with an alarming amount of added sugars and/or added sodium. So while you may be cutting one harmful ingredient (gluten) from your diet, you may be unintentionally adding in an excess of other unhealthy ingredients when you choose processed gluten free substitutes.
Cross Contamination Risks
For people who have a high level of sensitivity to even the smallest degree of gluten in their diets, choosing processed gluten free foods can put you at a higher level of risk for gluten cross contaminating your food. Practices inside food manufacturing facilities are not always ideal for preventing cross contamination. Things like shared equipment or close work areas can cause products that may not have any gluten containing ingredients to become contaminated with gluten during the manufacturing process.
What Should I Be Eating Instead of Gluten?
Sticking with foods that are naturally gluten free and not processed to try to imitate foods that contain gluten is a safe and healthy path for anyone avoiding gluten to take. Not only are these choices healthier, they often taste better because they are not being transformed into something they were never intended to be.
Meat, dairy and eggs, fruits, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains that are naturally gluten free are all terrific options. Consider these easy and healthy ways to use these options to fill in any gaps going gluten free has left in your diet.
Breads and Wraps. Try placing your sandwich fixings wrapped in a large leaf of instead of slices of bread. Use slices of sweet potatoes or tomatoes in place of buns.
Crackers. Raw veggies provide a great vehicle for dips and spreads like crackers do, but have the added benefit of providing plenty of antioxidants along with each bite.
Desserts. Ground almond meal and coconut flour can be used to make a variety of desserts, or enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Breadcrumbs and Croutons. If you are looking to add crunch to a salad or provide a coating on foods like baked chicken, you don’t have to turn to gluten free breadcrumbs or croutons to do the trick. Crushed nuts provide the crunch you crave, plus deliver healthy fats and protein!
Bottom Line: Processed foods, gluten free or not, have no place in a healthy diet.