Gluten Free – Not Always the Best Option

gluten free

Source: Flickr/Andrea Nguyen

Are you eating gluten free but overdoing it with “gluten free” processed foods? 

Just because something says gluten free on the label doesn’t make it good for you. If you are avoiding gluten either because you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance (or for other reasons) you may be substituting for some of your favorite foods.  If you’re not sure what gluten is or why you should avoid it, I recommend the book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. You can read my review of the book here.

When I go to the grocery store these days I’m inundated with all kinds of foods labeled “gluten free.” Sometimes you can find that label on foods that never had gluten in the first place because manufacturers know that right now gluten free sells.  Other foods are substitutes for the gluten containing variety. The problem with eating many of those foods is twofold. First of all many of them have ingredients that still aren’t good for you – unhealthy oils, sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients and the substitute flours still affect your blood sugar. Secondly, even if they have better ingredients, they don’t provide the best nutrition. If you are eating gluten free cookies, breads, etc. you are getting full on foods that don’t provide the nutrients you need and you don’t have room to eat the protein, non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats that should be the main part of your nutrition plan. 

The bottom line is you don’t have to eliminate ALL gluten free foods. If you choose to eat them, just practice moderation. They should be the exception rather than the rule.

This post is Day 7 of 31 Days to Better Nutrition.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on “Gluten Free – Not Always the Best Option

  1. I whole-heartedly agree with you. I know for some people that they have to go GF, but for others that say they are eliminating gluten and then go out and buy packages of GF cookies and junk food, it doesn’t make sense to me. More whole foods is my answer. And, sure, I eliminate some gluten when I can, but not by buying packaged junk.
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  2. Hi, thanks for this informative post. Lots of people need to see this warning. I have had to cut gluten from my diet for Thyroid issues and have found that the substitutes are highly processed starches! No whole grains are found in many of these gluten free products.

    I have been able to find better products with whole grains, and I limit my intake of pastas and cookies. It has helped me to avoid the weight gain that some people experience after switching to these highly processed foods.
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  3. I have a friend that suffers from Celiac disease. It can become overwhelming what he cannot eat. He even has to be careful how foods are prepared. My sister has Fibromyalgia and suffers frequently from flare ups. Eating a gluten free diet has helped her immensely.