Does Gluten-free mean Healthy?
In short, no! Let’s start with the basics. Gluten is a protein naturally found in wheat, rye, and barley. For people with celiac disease, the only treatment is a diet free of gluten because they can’t digest it. For everyone else, gluten is neither harmful nor leads to weight gain. Some people may have gluten-sensitivity, the only way to know is to go on a gluten-free diet and see if you feel better or you could try to do some type of food intolerance tests – I’m not a big fans of these tests- almost everyone turns out to have either gluten or lactose intolerance, its as if they are compelled to give you a result to justify the cost and more likely one of these will turn out right (pfft!)
I divert- so back to it…
In general, when you choose gluten-free options, you tend to try healthier grains like amaranth, buckwheat, millet and quinoa; which are wholegrain and richer in fibre, phytochemicals and B-vitamins. Also, gluten-free flours are made from ingredients like quinoa, almonds, and beans which provide nutritional benefits (such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals), and are certainly smarter choices than the refined white flour found in many commercial baked goods. So, I would say you should try to include more of these grains in your diet in general but don’t be too strict with yourself when it comes to going gluten-free unless you have to!
Remember, just because a food is labeled gluten-free doesn’t mean that it is a healthier option. Gluten-free processed foods like cupcakes & cookies usually contain high sugar or high fat ingredients to compensate for taste, which add lots of calories and can lead to weight gain. Also, if you need to be gluten-free; make sure you read the label & choose gluten-free flours that provide vitamin & minerals such as almond, beans or buckwheat so you don’t develop any deficiencies.