With all of the fancy packaging and marketing that goes into food, it may be difficult to determine what is gluten free. Gluten free has become a catch phrase that is being used to drive the sale of many alternative grains. Until recently, many of these grains would not have been considered an option in most individual’s diets. Now, with all of the attention on gluten and the many ill effects that it has, finding gluten free options has become easier. However, when you closely examine the labels of many of the gluten free items, it quickly leaves you asking the question, “What is gluten free?”
What is gluten?
To better understand how to be gluten free, you have to know where gluten is found. The easiest
place to start is wheat. Wheat is the primary food that you worry about with gluten simply because it is the most prevalent. Wheat is added to multiple foods as a thickening agent. It gives the food more of “chewiness”. The part of wheat where gluten is found is the kernel. On a shaft of wheat, the kernels are at the top. The largest portion of each kernel is the protein where gluten is found. This protein is then refined and the gluten found in it is used by the food industry in many applications. However, don’t be fooled, this is by no means the only source of gluten in the standard American diet.
What is Gluten Free?
Gluten free is a marketing catch phrase these days that has very little real meaning to it. For the most part, it means wheat free. But in reality wheat free and gluten free is not the same thing. Something can be wheat free, but still have gluten in it. Herein is the problem. The adage “buyer beware” has never been more applicable than in the arena of gluten free. What is gluten free? The best answer to this question is to say grain free. I am often perplexed when I pick up items that say gluten free, only to look at the label and see that the first ingredient is corn. Corn has gluten. Corn is a grain and grains have gluten.
Grain Free is Gluten Free
If you are truly concerned with trying to figure out what is gluten free, let me give you some simple direction. Avoid grains if you want to be gluten free. Grains are a unique category of food in that they have a high amount of carbohydrate with a little amount of protein, but yet the protein that they do have is high in gluten. High carbohydrates and inflammatory proteins are a recipe for weight gain and diabetes. If you think this sounds ridiculous and is just part of the gluten free fad, ask yourself what the cases of diabetes continues to increase the more prevalent grains become in the standard American Diet.
You have been indoctrinated. I would even go as far as to say lied to about the qualities of grains. “Grains are high in fiber and should make up the majority of your diet as a healthy carbohydrate source”. This is the typical non-sense that you will hear from advocates of the RDA food guide pyramid, which I will remind you is sponsored by the food industry. The fact is that you can completely avoid grains and still have a healthy diet. Thousands of people do it every day and have been for years, and when I say years I mean since the dawn of this earth age. It is called the Paleo diet. Paleo diet principles provide quality carbohydrates without the harmful effects found with grains. If you want to avoid having to ask, “What is gluten free”, do yourself and family a favor and go Paleo.