Same Lesson – Different Foods

Not Health Food - with or without gluten

Remember when we went low-fat in the ’80’s?  Hello, Snackwell cookies and other low-fat and fat-free products on the shelves.  That worked real well, didn’t it?!  While Americans have consistently reduced their intake of saturated fat – a good thing – we now know that we replaced it with sugar and processed carbs – a bad thing.

The lesson we should have learned is that it does matter what you replace a food with; cutting down or eliminating foods is only part of the story.  In the case of saturated fats, we were actually better off eating them than replacing them with sugars and white flour products.

Well, here we go again . . . this time with gluten.  Although most people probably tolerate gluten, the new trend is gluten free.  A recent article reveals that General Mills has just announced a new line of gluten free products that will expand the market to those who want to eliminate gluten for “lifestyle reasons”.

So, what are these supposedly healthier products they have made available to their newly expanded market?  Cookies, cake mixes, pancakes, . . . . JUNK!!  My point here is this:  We should have learned something from the 80’s experience with fat reduction.  The replacement food should be better than what you eliminate.

In this situation, it is important to remember that most of us will not be better off if we replace gluten-containing foods with junky gluten-free alternatives.  I would argue that you may well be worse off if you are replacing whole grains with gluten-free junk food . . . unless, of course, you are truly gluten intolerant, allergic to wheat, or have celiac disease.

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