With so many people eliminating gluten from their diets it is only natural that the various food companies are now producing products that are gluten-free. However, gluten-free does not equate to good-for-you. So while there are numerous food products that do not contain gluten, they do, unfortunately, contain preservatives, sugars, and unhealthy chemicals. These foods include many varieties of bread, cereals, cookies, pastas, and desserts.
Here are a few examples of some of the worst offenders:
- Udi’s Gluten-Free Original Granola: A one-cup serving of this contains 20 grams of fat, 20 grams of sugar and has a whopping 520 calories! For those on low calories diets (typically 1200 calories per day) this is close to half your caloric limit!
- Amy’s Kitchen Gluten-Free Dairy Free Rice Macaroni & Cheese: There’s no gluten or dairy in this product BUT you’ll get plenty of sodium, at 740 mg (RDA for sodium is 1500 mg per day). This dish also contains 22 grams of fat (5 grams are saturated fat) and boasts 520 calories. You could get the same nutritional value from approximately a dozen chocolate chip cookies. And you could get those gluten-free too!
- Betty Crocker Bisquick Gluten-Free Pancake & Baking Mix: The calorie difference between this and Betty Crocker’s regular pancake mix is negligible with the gluten-free version being only 10 calories less than the original. Plus, the gluten-free version contains more carbohydrates and more sugar.
The other issue with eating gluten-free foods is people naturally assume they can eat more since they are eating “healthy”. Again, since gluten-free does not equal calorie-free, many individuals will actually gain weight while on a gluten-free diet. In the same way that many processed vegan foods are neither healthy nor low calorie, the same goes for gluten-free products.
It all comes down to this: READ the label! Not the front of the product in question, that’s only the marketing and advertising. Read the back of the label that lists the ingredients. They are listed in descending order from highest quantity to lowest. If you really want to be healthy you need to eat foods that are not processed and as close to their original state as possible, the way nature truly intended.