Why Are People Afraid of the Gluten Free Diet?
Helping You See Past the Gluten Free Diet Misconceptions
I think most of us would agree, there are a lot of gluten free diet haters out there. But why are people afraid of the gluten free diet?
Seems like every time I read the news there is a new article touting "dangers" of the gluten free diet, why and how a gluten free diet can hurt you, damage your health or even kill you. By now I must admit I'm slightly miffed by these articles. While I feel too much news these days is based on sensationalism, I still can't help but get annoyed when these articles are published over and over again. Why all the haters? There seem to be a large number of folks out there that can't stand people that are on a gluten free diet, especially (but not always) if those people are not celiac.
I guess many people are now skeptical of any new diet, funky food fad, or trendy celebrity lifestyle. I get it. We really don't believe in these food fads either. The basics of health are so simple. Stay hydrated, eat mostly plants, avoid sugar, avoid fatty salty processed food, get exercise. Pretty simple.
On the other hand, many people are still looking for the holy grail of diets that will help them easily lose weight and stay healthy with as little effort as possible.
I'm sorry, it just ain't happening.
But a gluten free diet is not one of these diets. It's not even a diet.
It's a lifestyle. And many of us live it because we have to. Gluten makes us sick.
Gluten Free Grains are Healthy! (They Just Forgot to Mention It)
As we were saying, there are a lot of articles out there that slam the gluten free diet. And while there is some truth to some of those articles, it usually applies to irresponsibility of the person taking part in that diet. I mean, if you are not celiac or anaphylactic, (or even if you are), you still have a responsibility to understand the nature of your diet and the pros and cons that go with it.
For example, a lot of these articles say that a gluten free diet leads to type 2 diabetes or obesity. Of course the main reason behind this is that a fair amount of gluten free packaged food has mostly white rice flour and tapioca starch (beware the white food) with lots of added sugar. But Captain Crunch, chocolate chip cookies and many white sandwich breads are all made from basically white flour and sugar. If you eat that stuff all the time, good luck. So whats the difference? `
Read the labels. Eat the whole grains. Avoid the sugar. We all know it.
The facts are everywhere. So why blame gluten free foods for being unhealthy when there are equally as many or more crappy foods containing gluten?
Check out this article from Live Science called "The Dangers of Going Gluten Free":
"Gluten free foods, especially refined foods processed to make them gluten free (many made with potato or rice starch), cheat the consumer out of many health benefits of whole grains - such as wheat, barley and rye - and can be seriously lacking in critical nutrients such as fiber, iron, zonc, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12 and phosphorous.
To understand gluten, the protein in wheat, barley and rye, it helps to understand what's in a whole grain. A whole grain contains three parts of a grain: the bran, germ and endosperm, as opposed to a refined grain which only contains the endosperm. The nutritional riches are mostly found in the bran and the germ."
Ok, fair enough. But what about sorghum, buckwheat, brown rice, chickpea flour, teff flour, quinoa, gluten free oats, flaxseed? These grains and seeds are super healthy. And you can buy the whole grains and grind them yourselves with a Vitamix or Blendtec for an even healthier flour. Mix them up and you have a super power flour that can be even healthier than wheat, barley or rye.
More quotes from Live Science:
"Most gluten free processed foods are not made with nutrient rich, health protecting whole grains"
Yea guys, neither are most processed foods containing gluten.
"Many gluten free grains are healthy!"
The Truth; Healthy Gluten Free Grains are in Abundance
Let me continue commenting on more of these articles`
Lets quote an article from NutritionFacts.org:
"The reason health professionals don't want to see people on gluten free diets unless absolutely necessary is that, for the 98 percent of people that don't have gluten issues, whole grains - including the gluten grains wheat, barley and rye - are health promoting, linked to reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases."
But whats the real story? Again, what about the gluten free whole grains?
Lets break it down:
There are major health benefits to eating these gluten free whole grains:
Teff (check this article from EcoWatch.com)
Teff flour is packed with calcium and has five times the amount of fiber as traditional wheat flour. Ok, maybe you aren't going to find this flour in many processed or packaged foods (though you should), but thats not the point. The point is that it is a very healthy grain that is not mentioned in articles touting the "dangers" of a gluten free diet. We always use this super flour in our standard gluten free loaves.
Chickpea Flour (Garbanzo, Besan)
Check out what Dr. Axe says in his article "Versatile, Gluten Free and High Protein":
Basically he says chickpea flour is:
- High in Fiber
- Good for your heart
- May prevent diabetes because it stablizes blood sugar
Dannng, those are major players! Why don't they say anything about how many excellent healthy gluten free grains there are that actually help prevent type 2 diabetes?
And there are even more health benefits of chickpea flour:
-benefits digestive system
-can help with weight loss
"Try this super healthy gluten free artisan bread recipe from Catchingseeds.com"
Take that suckas!
Buckwheat flour has exceptional health benefits (more great info from Dr. Axe here) being high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Check out this great article from organicfacts.net stating the many benefits of sorghum flour. Basically this super grain: - is full of iron and copper - super high in niacin - high in magnesium - helps to control diabetes - antioxidants - fiber
Bob's is a good one:
Quinoa is incredibly healthy. Most of us are aware by now that is has massive nutritional benefits.
Want to discover the nutritional breakdown of quinoa? Check out this article from authoritynutrition.com.
This super grain is:
- loaded with minerals
- high in protein
- high in fiber
- high in B vitamins
- loaded with trace nutrients
- high in fiber
- high in essential amino acids
- high in antioxidants.
Want to make your own quinoa flour? Go to Superhealthykids.com to learn how.
check it out
So you see, gluten free grains offer a huge variety of flavors, textures and health benefits.
The Gluten Free Diet Could Cause Cancer? Really?!
Ok, now that we have shown that there are lots of healthy gluten free grains (conveniently not mentioned in some of the articles above) that contain a wide variety of health benefits, flavors and textures, let's move on to the big one. You know what we are talking about. The Big C. Cancer.
Check out this article from Dailymail.co.uk. Now these guys are really hating on the gluten free diet citing a study that claims going gluten free can lead to cancer and all kinds of other serious health problems (Note how they capitalize CANCER, annoying) due to supposed low levels of arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium mostly found in rice flour.
And this article from Dennis Michael Lynch just restates the information published at the Daily Mail.
(Check this link for the study they are referring to from the journal "Epidimiology".)
A better article citing the same study can be found here at Sciencedaily.com. They also mention that it has been found that some rice has low levels of arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium but they tell you where the toxicity comes from; mainly fertilizers, soil and water. They also quote a portion of the Epidimiology study that states:
"These results indicate that there could be unintended consequences of eating a gluten-free diet, but until we perform the studies to determine if there are corresponding health consequences that could be related to higher levels of exposure to arsenic and mercury by eating gluten-free, more research is needed before we can determine whether this diet poses a significant health risk."
And they express that in Europe, there are regulations for food based arsenic exposure, unlike in the United States. So if you eat a lot of foods containing rice flour, better make them organic or buy rice flour from rice grown in California and not China, just to be sure.
So maybe there could be health consequences from eating too much non-organic rice flour, but please don't hype the diet to potentially be the next plague until further information is available.
Fear Mongering Sells, Don't Believe the Hype
Check out this article from empirenews.net. Beware fellow celiacs, and please keep your temper! This article is nothing if not entertaining.
They come right out and say it, we quote:
"USDA Warning: Gluten Free Diet Causes Cancer"
Wha!?!? Strangly enough they go on to state that celiacs are ok, because they need to be on the diet, but people who are on the diet by choice are at risk of getting ill because they are following a "fad" diet and are not using their brains, and the lack of brain usage can result in brain cancer. Ok, they have to be joking. But read the comments after the article and you will see that there are plenty of people who do not find this kind of writing amusing.
More Scientific and Unbiased Articles on the Gluten Free Diet
The American Institute for Cancer Research published this excellent short article on the relationship of whole grains, gluten and gluten free diets. They say, yes, eating a diet containing whole grains can prevent cancer. But they do not leave out the healthy whole grains that are gluten free like amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat. Thanks guys for all inclusive and not leaving out the gluten free grains.
In Conclusion, Whether Gluten Free or Not, Responsibility Lies with the Consumer
Ultimately we wanted to point out that there are just as many potential pitfalls and benefits to a diet containing gluten as there are to a diet without gluten. The ultimate responsibility lies with the consumer.
And we wanted to stress that there are just as many, if not more, unhealthy gluten filled products as there are products without gluten. The basic rules of health are still the same. Eat a variety of whole grains, seeds, nuts and lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid the white starchy sugary products whether they contain gluten or do not. Get excercise and stay hydrated.
If you want to try our super healthy whole grain gluten free bread then join our mailing list below and get a beautiful free infographic recipe.