Friday, May 25, 2012

Bye-bye Gluten?

We’ve all heard the advertising, the success stories, and wonder—should I go gluten-free? Go to any food store now and there are shelves full of gluten-free products. It’s become big bucks, which makes me kind of leery.

There is so much gluten in every product imaginable, that gluten sensitivity is becoming a bigger concern. That doesn’t even include those who suffer from celiac disease, who actually can’t process the gluten. And now nutritionists say that even those who don't display any problematic symptoms may be better off cutting off or reducing gluten in their diet.

If you’re an endurance enthusiast, you still need carbs. Maybe gluten free is right for you, maybe not. But I would caution to stay away from gluten free products, because they are usually highly processed. Want to make sure you’re not getting gluten when ingesting carbs? Look for whole foods that are wheat-free. Here’s a list of possibilities:
  • Amaranth
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
All these foods are gluten free, have carbs and other nutrients you need, are readily available, and easy to make.

(Inspired by an article in Runner's World)

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  1. A thought/question for you. How did hunter-gatherer societies manage their persistence hunts, which often involved all day long pursuits of a prey, on limited carbs? There is only so much grain one can gather in the wild.
    I've been pondering that question for some time now. We are definitely addicted to carbs. I wonder how much we really need.

  2. I have cut out most gluten as well as processed foods I rely primarily on Quinoa, brown rice and gluten-free oatmeal as my main source of carbs.

  3. Ewa, I am definitely not a nutritionist nor do I have much knowledge of paleo diets. However, the little research I did shows that animal protein was opportunistic, with most societies still relying on a carbohydrate source for primary survival.

    There is an interesting article on The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that concludes thus:

    "(I)t is likely that no hunter-gatherer society, regardless of the proportion of macronutrients consumed, suffered from diseases of civilization. Most wild foods lack high amounts of energy and this feature, in combination with the slow transit of food particles through the human digestive tract, would have served as a natural check to obesity and certain other diseases of civilization. Yet today, all non-Western populations appear to develop diseases of civilization if they consume Western foods and have sedentary lifestyles. Given these facts, in combination with the strongly plant-based diet of human ancestors, it seems prudent for modern-day humans to remember their long evolutionary heritage as anthropoid primates and heed current recommendations to increase the number and variety of fresh fruit and vegetables in their diets rather than to increase their intakes of domesticated animal fat and protein."

    1. This looks interesting (will have to read it later today though). I did not express myself clearly. What I am questioning is getting carbs from grains as opposed to fruits and veggies. I am not a nutrition specialist either (is anyone?). I tend to look to our distant past and try to figure out what makes sense to me. And of course, I enjoy exchanging ideas with others :) so thank you for this post.

  4. I think i will always stick with this--unless you are gluten sensitive, why give it up? I think there are lots of misconceptions out there right now about gluten and health. Tis the American way!

  5. Gluten-free here. And not feeling in the least deprived :)

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  7. Let's try this again....

    I think the gluten free craze is maybe getting a little out of hand. My tea bag ingredients brag about being gluten free! But I am sympathetic to the 12 percent of Americans who have a sensitivity to the substance.


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