After even a short stroll through the grocery store, no one could blame you for thinking that everyone should be on a gluten-free diet.
In fact, gluten-free foods are critically important for people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. For them, the surge in gluten-free foods is a boon, even if some are gluten-free versions of cookies, cakes, and other junk food.
But millions of others avoid gluten (a protein in wheat, barley, and rye) because they think it might help them lose weight or have less GI distress, or because, as the woman in a New Yorker cartoon explained to a friend, “I have no idea what gluten is, either, but I’m avoiding it, just to be safe.”
For them, gluten-free junk is, well, junk. Take Udi’s Gluten Free Moist & Tasty Cinnamon Rolls. They’re basically tapioca starch, brown rice flour, oil, and sugar—about seven teaspoons of sugar in each 300-calorie iced roll.
Whole Foods has an entire line of Gluten Free Bakehouse sweets. A single one of its Almond Scones has enough rice flour, butter, heavy cream, sugar, and other ingredients to supply 390 calories and 12 grams (half a day’s worth) of saturated fat.
Then there’s Glutino, which sells gluten-free Toaster Pastries (think Pop-Tarts), Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies, Baked Potato Crisps, and Pretzels (including some coated with “yogurt” or “chocolate,” which means they’re essentially coated with sugar and palm kernel oil). Most are basically corn starch, tapioca starch, white rice flour, and potato starch.
Think you’ll lose weight eating gems like those? Don’t count on it.
Other relevant links:
- Does a gluten-free diet help you lose weight and feel energetic? See: Gluten-Free Diets and Weight Loss
- Gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. See: Gluten-Free Junk Food
- Avoiding wheat isn’t the answer. See: Does Eating Wheat Pack on the Pounds?