Are there every situations where gluten-free foods can actually be healthy for us?
Readers of Wheat Belly and of this blog know that conventional gluten-free foods:
—Make you fat–They especially cause visceral fat accumulation, i.e, Gluten-Free Belly.
—Spike blood sugar–Few foods can beat the extravagant blood sugar-raising effect of the amylopectin A of wheat . . . except gluten-free foods.
—Increase glycation–i.e., glucose-modification of proteins that leads to cataracts, arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes, partially reflected by increased glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c)
—Trigger small LDL particles–the number one cause of heart disease in the U.S.
–Likely add to cancer risk–via glycation and inflammation
In other words, processed gluten-free foods made with the usual suspects–cornstarch, rice starch or brown rice starch, tapioca starch, or potato starch–are awful for health. Yeah, yeah, they’re often marketed as a healthy alternative: “gluten-free multigrain bread made with only wholesome ingredients” sure sounds great. But just because they don’t trigger abnormal immune responses to gluten does not mean they are otherwise healthy. In fact, they are the opposite.
So when is “gluten-free” healthy? There are a couple of exceptional examples:
–When naturally gluten-free–Asparagus is naturally gluten-free, as are olives. So are garlic and basil, salmon and shellfish, eggs and avocados.
–When wheat- and gluten-free ingredients are actually healthy. The biggest mistake made with conventional gluten-free products is overexposure to processed carbohydrates. This is why in the Wheat Belly recipes I use ground almonds, walnuts, pecans, coconut flour, ground flaxseed and other ingredients that do not trigger all the undesirable effects of excessive carbohydrates. This simple change means we can eat cookies, cupcakes, and muffins with none of the health-destroying effects of wheat, none of the carbohydrate overexposure issues of conventional gluten-free foods. It means you can have something indulgent like Mocha Walnut Brownies and not feel guilty for an instant, nor gain weight, experience high blood sugars, or trigger small LDL. For those of you who do not need to monitor carbohydrate intake (like children and endurance athletes), then non-wheat gluten-free grains can be healthy, such as buckwheat, millet, and quinoa.
So most gluten-free food solutions are little better than low-tar cigarettes as a solution for smoking. What you want is wheat-free, gluten-free . . . and truly healthy!