Be smart about gluten free foods
Are you going gluten-free? If so, you are in good company. Many Americans are reducing the gluten in their diets. Some are doing this because they have Celiac disease, some are gluten sensitive, and others are finding that reducing gluten aids them in weight loss.
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt and semolina. It gives baked goods their characteristic texture and chewiness. Also, it is used in the processing of many other foods to add thickness, flavor and added protein.
It is not just those who have a diagnosed sensitivity to gluten who are removing it from their diets, though. Many healthy people reduce gluten to lower carbohydrates in their diets. Most breads, pastas and baked goods contain carbohydrates, because they contain wheat. If you are interested in lowering your carb intake, going-gluten free is one way to do.
But “fewer choices” does not mean “no choices.” Food manufacturers have stepped-up the production of baked goods that look, taste and feel like traditional, gluten-containing foods, but are in fact, gluten-free. From breads to cinnamon rolls to pastas, there is a gluten-free food to satisfy nearly any craving you might have.
This is good news for those who need alternatives. However, it is easy to mistake gluten-free for carb-free. The two are not the same. A cracker or brownie that is gluten free doesn’t mean you can eat as many as you want. Those crackers and brownies are likely to be very high in carbs and calories. They also have other unhealthy ingredients, such as sugar. When you eat these foods, you are simply trading one carb source for another. If weight loss through carb restriction is your goal, this will slow down your progress.
In conclusion, your best defense is to be informed. Before you eat a gluten-free product, read the label. Check the ingredients, the carb and sugar count and the number of calories it contains. And stay on the lookout for foods that are both low in carbs and low in gluten. And of course, practice moderation. Too much of anything is seldom healthy. Be smart about gluten free foods.