For many, gluten—the protein found in many grains—is the cause of chronic health issues and serious disease. Besides Celiac Disease, gluten is implicated in autoimmune diseases, cancer, neurological disease, leak gut, and more. Gluten is a dangerous protein—even more dangerous for those who have a reaction to it.
The gluten hazard is now so well known that many gluten-free cookbooks have come out loaded with recipes—gluten-free this and gluten-free that. Researchers and consumers are realizing that many foods containing gluten cause health problems.
Due to this awareness, food companies are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon.
However, packaged-food companies prey on us, using slick and emotionally touching marketing to get us to buy their products. They take advantage of the newest food fads and how they can affect our health issues.
Gluten-free is currently the big marketing ploy. Yes, if you are sensitive to the proteins found in grain, you have to avoid gluten.
But beware of agenda-driven marketing ploys.
Don’t buy packaged foods just because they’re labeled “gluten-free”; read the labels. Deceptive food companies add gluten-like additives and other emulsifying agents that mimic gluten to make foods chewy and gooey.
These companies also add lots of refined sugar and fat, which have health implications when eaten too much.
Let’s face it; it’s easy to hunt and buy packaged foods rather that hunting and gathering whole foods. It can be frustrating trying to find healthful packaged foods and decipher the ingredients to know if they’re healthful or harmful.
As I have written in my upcoming book Rebuild, “Read it before you Eat It.” If you are buying packaged foods, it’s important to read the label before you buy and consume.
Here is an example of a gluten-free product: Roasted Nut Brittle from Nature Valley. It is definitely a healthier choice than a Charleston Chew, or a Milky Way.
However, when you decipher the label, you will find unhealthful ingredients.
Ingredients: roasted peanuts, sunflower seeds, sugar, corn syrup, yellow corn flour, salt, corn oil, calcium carbonate. One bar has 7 grams (2 teaspoons) of processed sugar. Corn syrup is a processed inflammatory refined sweetener used to prevent the crystallization of the sugar, and also to soften texture.
This “health bar” is also loaded with refined and processed corn oil, most likely from GMO corn. Corn oil is used in foods to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystallization of sugar, and enhance flavor.
Unlike olive, avocado, and coconut oils, corn oil is loaded with inflammatory omega‑6 fatty acids and trans fats. Unhealthful fats and oils loaded with omega‑6 fatty acids eventually become arachidonic acid, which is linked to chronic disease.
Going gluten-free is a good idea for all people.
If you are getting packaged foods, read the labels. In addition to the few unhealthful ingredients in the “healthier alternative,” look for other hidden ingredients that should be avoided:
- BHT & BHA
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – a synthetic salt
- Cottonseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil.
- High-fructose corn syrup, and other artificial sweeteners
- Artificial flavors and colors. Why eat anything that says artificial?
- NutraSweet (Aspartame)
This is a short list of unhealthful compounds put in gluten-free “foods.” When possible, eat whole foods.
Remember fast food is prepared food. If your schedule is busy, you have to set aside some time prepping and cooking for yourself. For example, making a frittata—without cheese—is a great way to provide quick protein and veggies for breakfast. Apples, cut‑up vegetables, nuts, and seeds are an easy on-the-go food source.
The point is this: to minimize the chances of buying quick and easy foods sources that may be detrimental to your health, it’s best to spend a little time on yourself in order to prepare healthful foods that will rebuild your health.
If you find yourself shopping for quick foods, read the labels! Don’t assume that a “healthy” alternative is actually healthy, especially when it’s labeled “gluten-free.”
Download this PDF on How to Read a Food Label