With so much attention given to Gluten Free diets over the last 10 years, many people have opted to ditch gluten altogether, claiming we’re healthier without. But the perception that eating gluten free is a healthier option is misguided. This is often in line with assuming that gluten is a carb, so people can be shocked to hear that gluten is, in fact, a protein! Yes, you read that right!
Within this ‘gluten free’ diet phase, food manufacturers and brands have created a host of new gluten-free products. Many of these are tasty, but not necessarily healthy. A gluten-free chocolate biscuit is, after all, still a chocolate biscuit. These products often use refined flours like rice flour and potato flour; making them highly processed and rapidly absorbed by the body.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of great GF products out there as well. But the key is to really be careful about reading the ingredient list. You’ve got to look closely for ingredients that still provide fibre and nourishment. If you do not have Coeliac Disease or Gluten Intolerance, then including whole wheat, rye, barley and oats is a simple and superb way to get a variety of excellent nutrients into your diet.
If (for medical reasons) you need to avoid gluten, it’s important you spend some time with an Accredited Practising Dietitian to ensure you are getting your nutrition right. You need to look for the following whole grains: brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, millet and sorghum. Also try to include lentils, legumes and pulses (e.g. black beans, chickpeas, red kidney beans, navy beans, split peas) and consume plenty of nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables to help achieve good fibre intake and keep you fuller for longer.
If you are looking for an easy way to drop a few kilos, then ditching gluten alone is not going to be the magic ticket to weight loss.
Especially if you are choosing highly processed GF alternatives. Instead, I recommend eating close to nature, reading the ingredient lists and being smart with a wholefoods approach.