I am not a scientist, nor a health professional; but as that doesn’t seem to stop many people online, and in the regular press, from dishing out their unqualified dietary advice, then I shan’t let it stop me from making a point that has already been made a few times by other commentators. Here it is:
A gluten free diet, sadly, isn’t the magic diet that will solve your health or weight worries.
In fact, unless you have coeliac, an intolerance, or another medical condition related to gluten; then substituting gluten free products for regular ones is probably a less healthy choice.
I’m not talking about eating a naturally gluten free diet – which is low in processed or refined carbohydrates and high in fruit and vegetables; but one where you eat a gluten-free piece of toast instead of your usual wheaty white sliced.
It was this particular piece by fashion journalist Calgary Avansino that wound me up. I’ve been following the Sweaty Betty ‘#SB30DaySweat’ which challenges you with new health and fitness goals every day. This week’s challenge was ‘give up sugar’ (the things that are wrong with this premise are a whole other blog post, ideally written by a registered dietician); and one of the recommendations (among many, unqualified leaps) was to switch your usual bread for gluten free bread. Well gluten isn’t a sugar, and last time I checked (I frequently do) there was often a lot more sugar (and fat and calories) in most gluten free breads than their gluteny counterparts!
Check out this simple comparison between the most widely-stocked gluten free white loaves and the Kingsmill my husband loves*:
|Per 100g||Kingsmill Soft White||Genius White Sliced||Newburn Bakehouse White Loaf|
I don’t wish to give these gluten free manufacturers a hard time – I understand that the levels of fat and sugar are there to give us the taste, texture and shelf life we need. I eat these products as part of my diet, I try not to over-rely on them. I’m just saying – be careful who’s dietary advice you follow- I’d rather mine came from a registered dietitian than a fashion journalist or sportswear brand. Or an unqualified, slightly ranty blogger ;)
There, I feel better getting that off my chest!
*don’t worry, it’s kept on the ‘shelf of shame’ and we have separate toasters!