While Gluten sensitivity, intolerance and Celiac are real issues with serious health risks, what gluten free mania has turned into is bizarre. Food companies have realised that it is an exponential growth market with projected figures of $43.65 billion worldwide by the year 2027. No wonder they want to jump on the bandwagon.
The Problem –
What is getting marketed and sold in the name of Gluten free (GF) is a new form of highly processed and refined junk. In some cases, GF flours, breads and goodies contain loads of starches like tapioca starch, maize starch, potato starch etc. as a replacement for wheat (and its refined versions). While starch in itself in limited quantities is not a problem, highly refined and processed form is. They also contain chemicals and preservatives for extended shelf life and artificial additives, milk powders and copious amounts of sugar and salt to make up for the taste. Then there is the rampant use of xanthan gum, psyllium husk powder, and guar gum as binding agents. Xanthan gum is used in the oil drilling industry as a lubricant.
Some GF breads also use texturisers and stabilisers to get a smooth look and feel. Real food gets lost in the equation. If there are whole grains, they tend to be blended together in a very unhealthy combination. All of the above, instead of being healthy and light on our digestive system, has exactly the opposite effect.
The Solution –
If you have a genuine Gluten sensitivity or intolerance, ditch the processed and refined stuff and go for whole grains. I don’t consume gluten myself because of gluten sensitivity. But that need not apply to everyone across the board. There are a few GF flours, breads and products out there that might be genuinely good but please use your judgement, consume those in moderation and always choose whole grains and unprocessed options. There’s a plethora of gluten free whole grains that you can choose from. Always check the labels on GF products and where there is none, insist on asking for the ingredients list.
While I am on the subject, I would also like to address a common myth that going GF helps in losing weight. That is not true. The fact is that It is your entire diet and lifestyle that determines if you will lose weight or not. Not just going gluten free.
To Your Peak Health