To Be or Not To Be Gluten-Free?
How to Eat Gluten-Free
The good news: "When you eat a whole foods diet and have control over ingredients, the world is your oyster when it comes to eating gluten-free," Bazilian promises. (Just don't eat oyster crackers -- they contain wheat!) The trick is to shop the perimeter of your grocery store, where you'll find fruits and veggies, chicken, fish and lean meat, low-fat milk and yogurt -- all naturally devoid of gluten. "Plus, the trendy ancient grains that are all the rage right now, like quinoa, black rice and amaranth, are gluten-free." Corn, beans, potatoes, millet, gluten-free oats, buckwheat (even though it has the word "wheat" in it) and all kinds of rice are all still on the table, too.
Dining out or consuming packaged products gets far trickier. While it's relatively easy to scan a label for wheat, barley or rye, gluten can masquerade as other common ingredients, such as enriched bleached flour, semolina and Brewer's yeast. Luckily, most supermarkets now offer special gluten-free sections and their web sites will provide safe shopping lists. Still, "cooking from scratch is the safest," says Bazilian. "When you're eating out -- sauces and condiments are especially tricky -- or buying products with labels, all bets are off."
If you truly do suffer from a gluten allergy, eliminating it from your diet will offer welcomed relief from symptoms, including more energy and fewer GI complaints. "But," Bazilian warns, "if you don't have an actual allergy or intolerance, it won't make you lose weight and it won't enhance sports performance. If it does, it's probably because you're eating more quality foods, like quinoa instead of white rice."
Now some important notes: People often mistake going gluten-free for eating grain-free, which can result in inadequate intake of iron, fiber and B vitamins, important for cellular functioning and metabolism. Packaged gluten-free products are also high in fat, trans fat and sugar, and can actually lead to weight gain. As with all processed foods, pick a natural source over the packaged stuff.Related Links
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