I think one should be careful with gluten-free products. This market segment has exploded and at the end of the day, it’s mostly about companies looking to make money, rather than helping you be healthy. As the article mentions, most whole foods do not contain gluten. Don’t reach for the box of gluten-free cookies or crackers; they are still processed, not whole, full of additives, are high in calories and lacking in nutrients. Many of these products also do a worse number on blood sugar than the gluten versions. Instead, focus on whole, nutrient-rich foods like grass-fed, organic meats, wild caught fish, organic fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, and organic gluten-free grains like rice and quinoa. Corn, believe it or not, tends to be a problem for many people with gluten sensitivity. This was a tough one for me to learn, because I totally leaned on corn when I first went gluten-free.
Now, this isn’t to say you can’t ever enjoy other kinds of treats. As the article mentions rice flour and other gluten free flours can be used to make bread, crackers and cookies but there are a few things to be cautious about: 1) Moderation. You shouldn’t down a box of these crackers on a daily basis. It should be the occasional treat. And if you find you “can’t have just one”, then it’s better to abstain all together. After a few days, you won’t even miss it. 2) Other ingredients. As I said earlier, processed products, gluten-free or not, have tons of other junk in them and are not nutrient dense. Products shouldn’t have more than a few ingredients in them, you should be able to pronounce each one, and know exactly what they are. If you don’t, don’t by the product. If it’s something like that sounds like it was created in a lab, don’t by the product.
For this reason, when I want the occasional bread or cake or cookie, or even ice cream, I make it myself from scratch. I just feel better about this because then I know exactly what’s going into it. I was intimidated by the prospect at first because I am no pastry chef, but once I started doing this, because I use just a few really good ingredients as opposed to laundry list of bad ones, a) I was amazed at how easy it was to make these treats and b) I was amazed at just how good they taste and in turn, how utterly unnecessary those other ingredients are.
The why do these products contain stuff like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, soy, or those myriad ingredients that you can never pronounce? My guess is they are added for shelf-life, and as we all saw with the Doritos news that came out last year, perhaps specifically engineered to keep us coming back for more. Again the processed food industry is about making money, not about your health.
Lastly, these recommendations are not just for gluten-free people, I believe everyone should consider making these kinds of adjustments to their diet.