Is it healthier to eat Gluten Free? People ask me this question rather frequently. The answer is, as it frequently is, “It Depends”. People eat gluten free for various reasons, the clearest one being that they have some sort of negative reaction to it. If you have a negative reaction to it, then, while I am not a doctor, I would certainly recommend that you remove gluten from your diet. But there are some other reasons, so let’s dig into those, too.
Why do people say it is healthier to eat gluten free? There are several reasons that people do remove gluten from their diet. They are listed below.
- Perceived Health Benefit
- Fad Diet
- Sensitivity to Gluten or Wheat
- Eat Low Carb
- Inflammation Removal Diet
- Other Food Sensitivities
Perceived Health Benefit
I would like to deal with the perceived health benefit first. By this, I mean that people have heard that it is healthier to eat gluten free, so they switch all of their food over to gluten free pre-made products and feel that they are now better off and move on with life, never giving it another thought. This might help you feel better it or it might not.
Changing from the standard American diet (based on wheat products) to the standard American gluten free diet (based on products made with wheat substitutes) might actually be more of a problem. Wheat based products, while far from perfect, do still contain a decent amount of the whole grain. They are not a pure starch. Many gluten free products are made out of a high concentration of pure starches. This produces a tastier product, but it also hits your blood sugar way faster. Go take a look at some of these products on Amazon. Even the “Whole Grain” products have added starch.
This is an important fact if you are switching to Gluten Free because of a sensitivity to it. I love a good bagel or slice of bread. It is probably best that we don’t eat it all the time, though, especially with the high levels of starch in GF food. It is always better to find products that contain more whole foods and fewer additives like starch.
If you have any of the related health issues caused by wheat or gluten, then yes, it is a healthier switch! If you are doing it “just because”, then you might be causing more issues for yourself by increasing your intake of starches through trying to eat gluten free.
The fad diet of eating gluten free has waned some since its beginning though eating grain free is still common, whether it is Paleo, Primal or Keto. Many people jump in because it is the popular thing to do, whether or not it is healthier. This does help drive the market to produce better items, which is nice for those of us who do have to eat gluten free! Ultimately, though, it will not last as people move on to the next fad diet.
Several articles have been put forth by upset waiters and chefs over the trouble that people on gluten free diets have caused. Some of these writers have felt that no one is actually sensitive to gluten. Other writers say they know there are probably people with legitimate issue, but they are overshadowed by who are following the fad diet and being overly nit-picky. The fad diet people end up jading the restaurant industry against all gluten free people.
For some reason, people on fad diets seem to take a stronger stance on their eating than those with legitimate health issues. I have dealt with this in my own career in restaurants. People can be jerks, please don’t be one! As I wrote about yesterday, you get nowhere when you are a jerk to other people. Yes, as people with food allergies, we need to be firm and clear on our food needs, but we can do so nicely. If the server does not understand our needs, it is probably because we aren’t communicating well.
Don’t take this the wrong way. If you truly feel like it is healthier to eat gluten free, please do so! I am not trying to dissuade anyone of that. We love being gluten free and mostly grain free! I only caution against those who are jumping on the bandwagon purely because it’s the trend.
Tomorrow we will continue talking about the other reasons it may be healthier to eat gluten free. See you then!
Have a tasty day,