Not all gluten-free grains are created equal

Not all gluten-free grains are created equal. Whole grains are a better choice. Gluten-free or not. Remember whole grains are not the same as multigrains. “Multigrain” means that the food labeled as such is made from many different types of grains. It does not necessarily mean these grains are whole. Grains are considered whole only when the entire grain has been preserved, including the outside shell (the bran), the inner seed (the germ), and the starchy part (the endosperm). Refined grain products, like white rice, contain mostly the starchy part. Most of the fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals are removed from the grain.

The USDA provides a list of whole versus refined grains on its website. Gluten-free whole grains include:

Amaranth, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, teff, quinoa, brown rice, certified gluten-free oatmeal and rolled oats, popcorn, whole-grain cornmeal, and wild rice. These are the grains that should be found in the ingredient list of gluten-free whole-grain products.

Keep this in mind when shopping for gluten-free whole-grain products. And always read food labels.

Source: choosemyplate.gov. Image: udisglutenfree.com.

Can a gluten-free diet be harmful?

Every day more people learn about the benefits of eating gluten-free for weight loss or general health. But is a diet devoid of gluten really beneficial to those who do not have to follow it for health reasons? The jury is still out on that one, as gluten-related research is still relatively new. But can a gluten-free diet be downright detrimental to your health?

It is not a lack of gluten, which is simply a combination of two proteins, in your diet that gives cause for concern. It is a lack of fortification of certain gluten-free products with folic acid (folate). In 1996, the FDA made it mandatory for many grain products to be fortified with this vitamin B to prevent serious birth defects caused by folate deficiency in pregnancy. The same requirement does not apply to gluten-free foods at this time.

Whether you have to or want to be gluten-free, I recommend asking your doctor to test your vitamin levels at least annually. I am a strong believer in getting all your nutrients from a varied and balanced diet. Good food sources of folic acid are leafy green vegetables, black-eyed and green peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, avocado, broccoli, kidney beans, and peanuts. However, if you are clinically deficient in this or any other nutrient or you are a woman of a child-bearing age, consult your doctor about taking the necessary supplements.

For more information on folate, visit: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/.

Image: Gluten Free tag at New World | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

A gluten-free diet for the general population?

A gluten-free diet for the general population?

Strom (2014) wrote on NYTimes.com:

Never mind that a Mayo Clinic survey in 2012 concluded that only 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack the small intestine when gluten is ingested and can lead to other debilitating medical problems if not diagnosed.

An additional 18 million people, or about 6 percent of the population, is believed to have gluten sensitivity, a less severe problem with the protein in wheat, barley and rye and their relatives that gives elasticity to dough and stability to the shape of baked goods.

According to Hajarnavis, the chief executive of Popcorn Indiana (as cited in Strom, 2014): 

But there is a growing population of people who have somehow heard that gluten-free is healthier or think of it as fashionable, and when they remove gluten from their diet, they’re inadvertently taking out a lot of [unhealthy] processed foods and are really feeling the benefits of eating healthier foods.

Via: A Big Bet on Gluten-Free – NYTimes.com. Image: Gluten free Gasoline | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Welcome to my gluten-free blog:)

I was in college, majoring in Nutrition, when it became apparent that I had all the textbook symptoms of celiac disease. The next time I saw my doctor, I asked for a celiac blood test. “You shouldn’t eat wheat,” was all he said once the test came back positive.

But there is so much more to a gluten-free lifestyle. Even though I had some knowledge of celiac disease and its only cure – a diet devoid of gluten, there was so much more to learn.

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The purpose of this blog is to help other celiacs, people with gluten intolerance, and everyone else have a loving relationship with food. I was a foodie before, and I still am now. And so can you. Visit my blog for everything gluten free and then some by Miss Dietitian.

Image: welcome fish | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.