“Gluten-free” is to this decade as “Vegetarian” was to the 90’s. It’s the diet those in the know are following to gets results from weight-loss to heart health to balancing hormones. Is it for everyone though?
I have been on a wheat free diet for the past few years, but that turned into a gluten-free diet last April when it became clear my beautiful baby couldn’t handle the amount coming through my breast milk. I’ve got to tell you, I miss my grains. Specifically the comfort of barley soup, or the joys of baking with flours like spelt and kamut that rise into loaves of bread people actually want to eat. While the gluten-free trend is a blessing for those whose are celiac or have real trouble with digestion and inflammation, it is not necessarily the healthiest choice for everyone.
There is an assumption made when people see the words ‘gluten-free’ on a label that the food is inherently good for you. In reality, these foods are often full of chemicals, preservatives, trans-fats and sugar in order to make them palatable. A gluten-free diet is healthy when it is a lifestyle choice to cut out refined flour products and processed foods. But an Oreo by any other flour blend is still an Oreo. Sort of.
If your goal is to be healthy, switching to a diet comprised of gluten-free pasta, cookies and bread probably isn’t going to get you there. Cutting some of the ‘fast-foods’ out of your diet will. For most people, replacing processed starches like pasta with whole grains is all it takes, without the idea of cutting out gluten entirely.
A few considerations when thinking about going gluten-free:
1) You still need to read ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the idea that all gluten-free foods are healthy.
2) Most processed gluten-free foods are very high glycemic causing blood sugar levels to spike. Whole grains don’t do this.
3) All flours are not created equal. White rice flour has very little in the way of vitamins, minerals and aminos to offer, so foods made with this are nutritional vacuums.
The conclusion: processed foods aren’t great for you, no matter what kind of flour they are made from. While it’s wonderfully convenient to be able to get a burger made with a GF bun at a restaurant now, or pick up cookies for the kids, it’s still junk food and needs to be treated as such. One of the amazing gifts of Specialized Kinesiology is the ability to create a nutritional program that is specific to you; targeting precisely the foods you need or should avoid. This can be extremely useful in wading through the contradictory information available when it comes to food. Just remember; we are all different, so no food fad is right for everyone.