by Katie Barnes
Gluten is a substance is found in wheat, kamut, spelt, barley, rye, malts, and triticale.
It is often used as a food flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent called “dextrin”. The term “gluten-free” is generally used to indicate a supposed harmless level of gluten rather than a complete absence and the exact level at which it is harmless is uncertain.
“Gluten-free” diets have become a recent trend in the food industry and they are the only medically accepted treatment for a diagnosis of celiac disease or wheat allergy.
Yet the choice to remove gluten from a diet without medical diagnosis is controversial and not proven as a path toward controlling weight or for gaining any additional health benefits.
Before embarking upon any regimen that removes one or more entire food groups, it is important to have a doctor test for gluten intolerance so as to rule out other allergies or illnesses. Being gluten-free may not meet the recommended daily intake for fiber, thiamine, riboflavin niacin, folate or calcium necessary for normal body functions so it is important to find nutrient-dense food sources to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Processed gluten-free products may look good but many of these items contain too much salt, sugar, fat, chemical additives and too many calories in place of the gluten.
If you have seen the snack “Kale Crunch,” it looks harmless and just like crispy kale, but the fat content alone is 11g per serving. Daily fat allowance for weight maintenance or loss should not exceed 30g from sources of healthy unsaturated fats and Omega-3 oils.
Instead choose naturally gluten-free foods that include lean meat, chicken, fish, dairy products (including eggs), fresh fruit and vegetables, potatoes, soybeans, maize, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. Brown rice and sweet potatoes are healthier choices than their white alternatives and buy organic where possible for the best flavor and quality of produce.
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