Just because a product says “gluten-free” does NOT mean it’s healthy.
In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that going on a gluten-free diet doesn’t automatically make you healthier, and in fact could be WORSE for your nutrition.
Study details: During the study, participants were asked to follow a gluten-free diet. Then researchers compared their usual diet with the gluten-free diet.
Results: The gluten-free diet had less fiber & B-vitamins and a higher inflammation score.
Bottom line: A gluten-free diet isn’t automatically a healthier diet.
Let’s not forget, people w/ celiac disease need to avoid gluten-containing foods for the health of their intestinal tract, but for the rest of us…
It’s much better to focus on getting a VARIETY OF WHOLE GRAINS than focusing on if something has gluten or not.
WHOLE GRAIN PRO-TIPS
Pro-tip #1: When choosing foods like bread, wraps, pasta, pizza crust, rolls, crackers, pretzels, and cereal made with grains, make sure it says “whole” grain on the ingredient list.
Pro-tip #2: Get “sprouted” whole grains when possible because they are likely easier to digest and have more absorbable protein & minerals.
Pro-tip #3: Make sure to have a variety of whole grains. Relying on any one of them too often means you aren’t getting enough nutrient variety. For example, if everything you eat is made from whole wheat, branch out & start eating other grains. Use this checklist to make sure you’re getting variety…
WHOLE GRAIN VARIETY CHECKLIST
✅Barley* (“pearled” barley is not whole grain)
✅Brown rice (also red & black rice)
✅Buckwheat (surprisingly, not related to wheat)
✅Cornmeal & popcorn (“degerminated” cornmeal is not whole grain)
✅Einkorn* (ancient wheat variety)
✅Farro* (ancient wheat variety; also known as emmer)
✅Fonio (type of millet)
✅Freekeh green wheat*
✅Kamut* (ancient wheat variety)
✅Kañiwa (cousin of quinoa)
✅Oats (oats are naturally gluten-free, but may have contact w/ gluten during growing/processing)
✅Spelt* (ancient wheat variety)
✅Triticale* (wheat-rye hybrid)
✅Wild rice (actually a wild grass, but used like a whole grain)
✨VARIETY EXTRA CREDIT✨
Swap whole grains in some meals for starchy vegetables for even more variety such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, corn on the cob, acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkin, parsnips, cassava/yuca, and plantains.
PS: Interested in reading even more about whole grains? The Whole Grain Council is a great resource.