Gluten-Free: Fad or Healthy?

Gluten-FreeWe are hearing a lot about gluten-free foods and diets in the media. Just take a stroll down the market aisle and you will see foods everywhere that have big print declaring “Gluten-Free”. Restaurants are now offering gluten-free meal choices. Domino’s Pizza has a gluten-free pizza. You can even get gluten-free yogurt and frozen vegetables. Lots of choices are there.

Wait a second, did I just say gluten-free yogurt and vegetables? I thought they did not have gluten to begin with? Well they don’t have gluten, but food marketing is jumping on this gluten-free ride big time, and everyone wants a part of it. Why? Money!

Sales of gluten-free foods have doubled in the four years from 2010 to 2014, 11.5 billion to 23 billion. So we can see it is a big market, kinda makes sense why if I had a product I would want to make sure it was labeled gluten-free.

So the big question is, “Should we remove gluten from our diet?”

For people with gluten intolerance and Celiac disease gluten must be avoided.

“Yet paradoxically, most of the people who reach for gluten-free products don’t have celiac disease and or even a sensitivity to wheat, Peter H.R. Green, MD, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, told WebMD. The market for gluten-free products is exploding. Why exactly, we don’t know. Many people may just perceive that a gluten-free diet is healthier. In fact, it isn’t. For people with Celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential. But for others, unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” says Green.

Did you know that 93% of the worlds population eats gluten regularly according to It is estimated that the other 7% has issues with gluten intolerances. So many of us don’t have to be concerned as much about gluten or do we?

Gluten Hidden

While gluten is naturally found in the bran of wheat and other grains, we don’t need extra. Too much of something can be bad for you. Where am I going with this? Just follow along for a minute. If we drink say five gallons of water a day is that good? Water is good for us. But drink that level and you will find it could flush your system of minerals needed for health, not to mention you would always be in the restroom.

Now lets look at this gluten issue. Should we eat gluten with every meal? I would think you would agree with me that might be excessive. Well did you know gluten which is a texture and taste enhancer is added to many foods you would not dream of.

  • Condiments – ketchup, mustard, mayo, salad dressings.
  • Processed meats – deli meats, sausages, hot dogs.
  • Vegetarian meat alternatives – veggie burgers and vegetarian sausages.
  • Frozen treats – ice cream and frozen yogurt.
  • Processed potatoes – potato chips, french fries.

What! I know you are thinking, gluten in my ice cream how can that be, there is not wheat in ice cream. As I mentioned above gluten helps enhance taste. So if that ice cream was kind of flat tasting because less than ideal ingredients were used, then the gluten helps to pep back up the taste.

That same gluten helps to add texture to products. Which explains why gluten is added to personal products such as lip balms, lip stick and makeup products. This is something to consider since our skin in very absorbent and what you put on it soaks in so to speak. Also, don’t forget that toothpaste, yup gluten can be there too.

Now maybe it is making sense why some products we would not think of as containing gluten are stating they are “Gluten-Free”. Making your own condiments  at home is easy when using lacto-fermenting.

Make Fermented Food At Home – Easily

Gluten-Free Food Concerns

Doctor Green who we mentioned earlier said that a gluten-free diet, “…can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber.” So avoiding all grains that contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are needed for a balanced life, is not the way to do it.

What about gluten-free foods?

Sadly gluten-free foods are typically loaded with sugar, starches, and flavoring (chemicals). Processed sugar is a large contributor to inflammation in the body and this is something none of us need.

Ingredients in Domino’s® Gluten-Free Crust: Underlined items are starches and sugars. Keep in mind starches convert to sugars quickly in the body.

Water, Modified Rice Starch, Rice Flour, Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Olive Oil, Potato Flour, Evaporated Cane Sugar, Fresh Yeast, Honey, Avicel, Salt, Calcium Propionate.

Avoid Gluten Or Not

It seems that it would be best to keep gluten out of items that should not have gluten. Getting gluten-free personal products, (toothpaste, cosmetics, etc.) makes sense. Another place to avoid needless gluten would be in the food products we mentioned. Just watching those two areas could help to remove the bulk of extra un-needed gluten from daily life. And for someone who has a form of gluten intolerance these areas would be of utmost importance.

Another area to look at would be grains that are naturally low in gluten, such as spelt and einkorn. Foods made from these wheats would be lower in gluten and could be helpful to people trying to eat a lower gluten diet.

Traditional Sourdough food products are gaining popularity with people looking to eat less gluten. The sourdough culture eats gluten as part of it food greatly reducing the amount of gluten in the final product. Some sourdough foods have been found to be gluten-free when allowed to culture for long periods of time.

The exciting part of sourdough foods is that they can be just about anything made with wheat, i.e., pancakes, crackers, muffins, cakes, and even breads. To learn more about sourdough see our products and online classes.

Make Sourdough At Home – Easily

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Disclaimer: The information in this post is meant for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

About Jeff

Jeff Pearce is a board certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant and has coached hundreds of people in the Dallas/Fort Worth to help them achieve their health goals. If you would like more information about his services view the Health Consultations section. For those not in the physical area Distance Coaching is an option. A 15 minute "No Cost" informational consult is available, by phone, to chat and answer questions about services. To schedule your no cost informational consultation please contact us .

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