Dear Dr. Mo: Is gluten-free food generally a healthier option?
Dear reader: The trouble with gluten-free products is that they tend to have a health aura around them, which sometimes blinds people from seeing what they’re really eating.
There is nothing necessarily healthier about gluten-free bread or cookies or pasta or any other food you can think of. Often, if one took a closer look at the label, the product would likely be lower in protein and fiber than a non gluten-free alternative. The catch is that the calorie counts remain the same or similar but because we may think that being gluten-free automatically means healthier food, we may eat more of it.
Many people who eat gluten-free foods say they think they’re healthier and also many believe it will help them lose weight but be cautious of this trap as you may actually be gaining weight by eating more and by eating foods with more fat, more sugar, less protein etc.
I’ve noticed the gluten-free fashion growing out of proportion here in Vancouver where you’ll even find tea with a ‘gluten-free’ label on it – it is becoming ridiculous.
So be careful – by choosing gluten-free foods you may find yourself gaining weight from all the extra calories these foods may pack (partly because we tend to eat more of them) while not doing yourself any favors – unless you are suffering from Celiac disease (in which a person becomes intolerant to Gliadin, a protein found in gluten), which is the only justifiable reason to abstain from gluten, gluten will not hurt you whereas gluten-free actually might.
Also read my post on why is the gluten-free a risky way of eating.
Yours in Health,