If you are as old as me, you might remember the low-fat craze in the 80s. I remember happily gobbling up low fat yogurt (or even worse – fat-FREE yogurt) thinking it was good for me and that I would lose weight. But alas, the pounds never melted away as promised. I put on weight! How could this be – fat makes you fat and low fat helps you lose weight, right?
The more we learn about nutrition, we find inflammatory foods are the worst for us.
Low fat foods are FULL of sugar. The more we study nutrition, the more we learn that sugar is far worse for us than fat. Sugar is the leading contributor to inflammation, which is associated with many chronic health conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but also depression, anxiety, autism, schizophrenia and even Alzheimer’s.
But wait, this blog is about gluten free foods, not sugar, right? Isn’t gluten free supposed to help reduce inflammation?
Gluten is very inflammatory.
For those who are sensitive, which many of us are these days for reasons we will discuss in another blog, eating gluten absolutely contributes to inflammation. But just because something is gluten free, doesn’t mean it is good for you. Empty calories come in many disguises and it’s up to the consumer, ie you, to decipher marketing jargon rich food labels and make healthy food choices.
Read your label! Many “healthy” foods are filled with empty calories
Many gluten free foods are really just junk foods that use a different grain. They often are very sweet to make up in taste for what might be lacking in texture. Grains themselves are all converted to sugar in our bloodstream. That’s how how our bodies extract energy from the foods we eat. The more processed a food is , the easier that conversion happens. This means that in highly processed foods you will still have inflammation in your body from the sugar in gluten free grains. You will also have high spikes in blood sugar followed by crashes – a recipe for both anxiety and fatigue. For those of you that are frequent snackers this is a cycle that I’m sure you are familiar with.
And what is worse – these foods are just as addictive as their gluten based counterparts! The salt and sugar that is added to compensate for bland texture hit all the right addiction receptors in our brains regardless of what grains are used.
So while we at Resilience Naturopathic often recommend and are supportive of gluten-free diets, we don’t recommend replacing processed gluten-filled foods with processed gluten-free foods. Instead, we encourage our patients to eat more veggies, nuts and seeds when they are feeling snacky, or fruits and nut butters when they are wanting a sweet treat.
Ready to get your life back?
Dr. Jennifer Bahr ND
Founder of Resilience Naturopathic