Is Gluten Free Healthier?

by Kristine on April 16, 2012

in Blog, News, Facts, Fitness

The short answer – not necessarily.  Does that surprise you?  I think there’s a lot of misconceptions on whether gluten free is actually healthier.  I think that a lot of people think it is, but when you actually compare labels of gluten-free products to whole grain, you’ll find the ingredient list in gluten-free to be a lot longer.  Not to mention most gluten free products have a lot less fiber than its whole grain counterparts.

Day to day, I choose to eat a gluten free diet, simply because I feel better on it.  Wheat in particular (which contains gluten) can give me stomach pains, a bloated stomach, and makes me feel tired after eating it.  But I’ve been this way since I was a teen, so its no news to me.  I haven’t been diagnosed as Celiac, which is an allergy to gluten, but if I eat a lot of it, its definitely uncomfortable for me.

Some other symptoms of wheat sensitivity include (you may have a few or a lot of the symptoms):

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin problems (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Pale, foul-smelling stool
  • Fatty stool (steatorrhea)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Weight loss
  • Iron deficiency (anemia)
  • Malnutrition
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Fertility problems and missed periods
  • Canker sores in the mouth
  • IBS (Irritible Bowel Syndrome)

NOTE: The symptoms above “might” mean you could be sensitive to wheat, but not necessarily

If you suspect you may be sensitive, it would be a good idea to cut it out of your diet completely for 1 week at least to see how you feel or visit your doctor or Naturopath for other suggestions.

But, if you feel perfectly fine eating wheat, there is no reason to switch to a gluten free diet.  I would only recommend doing so if you think you may have a sensitivity to it.

If you’re a wheat-eater, the Ezekiel brand of products like bread, wraps etc, are probably the healthiest you can get.  They are made with sprouted grains, and don’t have anything you can’t pronounce in them.  Biggest benefit being that you get a great amount of fiber.

On the other hand, if you’re eating gluten free, my favorite commercial gluten free bread is the Udi’s Gluten Free Millet Chia bread, or the Silver Hills Gluten Free Bread, which has a relatively short ingredient list for a gluten free bread…which is great!

I hope this provides some clarification and helps you decide whether jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon is necessary for you or not.  It may not be!

Kristine
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Kristine

I'm Kristine Fretwell, busy mom of 2 little girls, author, blogger, and former pro fitness competitor. I love almost any kind of cookie, anything coconut or pumpkin flavored, and Thai food. A perfect day for me is enjoying my family, getting to the gym, and whipping up a new healthy recipe. I've got a collection of over 300 healthy recipes, and other tidbits like fitness and health tips. My recipes have been featured on websites such as Huffington Post, Savvy Mom, Shape and Skinny Scoop.
Kristine
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Latest posts by Kristine (see all)

  • Courtney12 Spencer

    Can gluten affect symptoms of memory?

    • http://www.busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      I’m not sure whether it would affect memory.

  • http://theguiltlesslife.wordpress.com/ Anna @ The Guiltless Life

    I love Ezekiel breads! But after reading Wheat Belly, although I’m not really sensitive to gluten, I am wary of how much I take in. It basically seems that so many people are gluten intolerant today because our breads contain SO much more gluten than they used to. So that just makes me really wary of consuming it too often. Luckily I was never a huge bread person so it’s all good!

    • http://www.busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      True that. I’ve dabbled with grain free as well. That’s why I like the Ezekiel for wheat products as they use a lot of the ancient grains that don’t have as much gluten as most of the “commercial” wheat products.

  • http://www.nordictrackcoupons.com Jentry Nielsen

    This is a great post! I have always been curious if I am, I do have a few of those symptoms. I always thought you had to try it for long, but only a week, I should give it a shot! 
    Thanks for the info!!!

    I have heard so many going gluten free for diets, yet so many gluten free products actually contain higher calories. Not that they are unhealthy, just more calories. Not exactly a good weight loss diet! 

    • http://www.busybuthealthy.com Kristine Fretwell

      Its true…gluten free doesn’t mean low cal. A lot of time there can be a lot more fat and cals.
      Yes, you should notice a difference in a week if you’re strict with it. Then have wheat again and see how you feel. Kristine Fretwell, Busy But Healthy, http://www.busybuthealthy.com

  • Jenn

    Thanks for the info 🙂 Where do you get the Ezekiel brand bread?

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