Hold the Gluten? Here’s Why That May Not Be a Good Idea


Gluten-free products can be found on store shelves nearly everywhere now. But what goes in when gluten comes out? Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

If you've been to a paleo dinner recently or found yourself in contact with anyone who works out at a CrossFit gym, you may already know that the caveman lifestyle has achieved an almost religious devotion in some circles. Paleo enthusiasts can often be found spouting off at barbecues about the joys of eating meat and the horrors of sugar, processed foods, dairy and, of course, grains of all kinds.

The rise of the Paleolithic diet — seafood and lean meat definitely; fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds sometimes; everything else never — has sparked a related fad for the health conscious: going gluten free. The idea is that humans were never made to ingest the protein commonly found in wheat and other grains, a relatively modern invention. Gluten deniers say dropping the grain can improve health and energy. The problem is that, generally, when you take something out, you have to replace it with something else. According to a study published Jan. 18, 2018 by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in England, what's replacing the gluten in gluten-free foods may wind up being something that's not very good for you.

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire found that gluten-free products generally contain more fat, sugar and salt than their gluten-filled compatriots. They also tend to have less protein. The researchers studied the nutritional value of some 1,700 food products from four British supermarkets and one online retailer. They found among other revelations that gluten-free breads had more than twice the fat content of those that included gluten.

Did I mention that dropping gluten is expensive? The study found that gluten-free foods were 159 percent pricier than standard food products.



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