There has been much hype in recent years surrounding the gluten fee diet. An ever increasing number of individuals follow this diet when suffering from Celiac disease, when they have strong reaction to the consumption of Gluten, and many others who choose to avoid gluten for reasons such as weight loss and increased energy.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as rye, wheat barley and others. This protein has the potential to cause an allergic reaction in people with gluten allergies and Celiac disease and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even increase risk of developing certain types of cancer largely due to colon damage and overall inflammation in the intestines.
Therefore for people with these conditions it is very important to follow a STRICT gluten free diet.
But does the fact that many people HAVE to avoid gluten mean that everyone should? Absolutely not!
The reality is that many gluten free products are no more healthy than their regular versions. The protein (gluten) missing in many gluten free breads and baked items, is often replaced with extra sugars and unhealthy starches to help bind them making them higher in sugar and lower in protein than other breads.
Canadian gluten free products also lack the vitamin fortification that is found in other breads and are significantly lower in fibre as a result of them being made of simple starches. Bottom line: A gluten free brownie is still a brownie, and you’re probably doing something more healthy for yourself eating a regular piece of bread than a gluten free one. All of this assuming that you don’t need to follow a gluten free diet.
Instead of going unnecessarily gluten free or low carbohydrate, aim to maximize healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain bread. These low glycemic index carbohydrate choices can help provide you with the energy and fiber in every bite.