Gluten Free Does Not Always Mean Healthy

images-6“This Penne ala Vodka is gluten free, that means it’s healthy right?”

Well, umm not exactly.

 Let’s talk about eating gluten free.  (Don’t know what gluten is?  It is protein you find in many grains including wheat.)  Anyway, I started moving toward a low gluten diet when I learned about the Paleo Diet about five years ago.  Though going Paleo proved to be too restrictive for me (I like sweet potatoes, legumes, and rice as staples in my diet), I did learn a lot about the value of eating mostly natural foods for micronutrient intake.  A few years later, I was diagnosed with Celiac.  In 8 weeks, I lost 8 pounds for no apparent reason.  I wentimgres-4 in for an upper GI biopsy and it was found there.  What happens when I eat gluten?  A fiery hot explosion from the top…  It looks something like this. –>

So, for me eating gluten free has improved my acid reflux, indigestion, bloating, skin, and energy levels.  That is because I have a gluten allergy.  Can it help with weight loss?  Sure.  (It will also significantly improve problems with inflammation.  If you struggle with things like asthma, allergies, arthritis, etc. I highly suggest you try it!) If you replace your gluten containing foods with healthier gluten free options like vegetables, some fruit, and lean protein.  But you can do this without completely eliminating gluten too.  You see, if you do not have a gluten allergy, then the results come less from the omission of gluten and more from the addition of whole foods. 

Let’s look at this from the opposite angle.  images-7You can gain fat from adding unhealthy gluten free foods to your diet.  Like what?  How about these foods?

  • Snickers Candy Bars
  • French Fries
  • Potato Chips
  • Fritos
  • Ice Cream
  • Wine and Champagne (Thank Goodness!)
  • The host of GF product replacements on the market- cookies, cakes, crackers, pasta, etc.

No gluten, but still not really healthy at all.  So you see, the omission of gluten from a food does not put it in the health food category.  Sure, treats are fine from time to time if you can fit them into your macros, but if your goal is to eat healthy and burn fat then you need to understand that gluten free and healthy are not one and the same.  So instead of scanning for wheat in the nutrition label, next time look at how many carbs, fats, and proteins are in it.  Find out how many vitamins and minerals you can get out of one serving.  Or better yet, choose a snack that doesn’t come with a label (think veggies and fruits!) Yummo!

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