Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gluten-Free Does Not Equal Healthy

Do you have trouble with gluten? Many people do, and maintain what is known as a "gluten-free" diet. But did you know that just because a food is "gluten-free" does not make it a healthy food to consume? Here's why:

Gluten-free only means the food does not contain gluten. It does not mean the food is free of preservatives, dyes, chemicals, emulsifiers, and other toxins. In fact, many gluten-free foods can be just as dangerous to consume as the gluten-containing foods that cause health issues. Many processed foods fall into this category. Some examples of gluten-free foods to watch out for that may not be healthy are:
  • Crackers
  • Cereals
  • Breads
  • Chips
  • Rice cakes
  • Fruit rollups
  • Fruit snacks
  • Bagels
  • Pasta
  • Cookies
  • "Food" bars
  • Desserts
  • Other processed foods
This is especially true with foods given to children who eat what their parents buy for them and what other adults provide in settings where they are away from home. Children (and adults too) with food allergies may react to foods without even having been diagnosed with an allergy before, or may eat something thinking that it does not contain allergens or toxins when in fact the food does contain those very things. If in doubt, read labels. However, most processed foods by their very nature are going to contain ingredients which will cause health problems - anything from allergic reactions to chronic disorders like eczema, asthma, digestive, respiratory, and cardiovascular issues.

Be aware that the only healthy foods are whole foods. If you are going to eat grains, they should be eaten in moderation and be whole (not flour), sprouted, and/or soaked. Any type of flour can go rancid within hours and should be avoided. Real whole grains should be purchased in the bulk grocery section. To avoid problems with celiac disease, allergies, and other health issues, stick to whole foods and your health should remain stable.

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