Too often when someone decides to eat a low carb diet they head out to the gluten-free section of their nearest supermarket and load up their cart. However, gluten-free is not the same as low carb. There may be some similarities but they are different.
For many people eating foods that are gluten-free is a medical necessity. Which means their food has to be free of all wheat, barley, rye. All grains must be removed from their diet. In fact, they cannot even consume food thats been processed in a plant that makes wheat products as to avoid cross-contamination. In a restaurant setting they need to make the staff aware of their gluten issue, so that their meals are cooked with the right ingredients and separately from others.
A low-carbohydrate plan on the other hand is a choice that people make and usually to reduce weight or for better overall health. Carbohydrates and gluten are two different things. Carbohydrates consist of sugar, while gluten is a group of proteins.
The medical community categorizes three types of gluten related conditions. Those with wheat allergy, celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. People with wheat allergies will break out into hives, have facial swelling and even difficulty breathing if they come in contact with any form of wheat. It is a serious thing when their antibodies react to the wheat proteins.
Celiac is autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the small intestine every time gluten enters their digestive tract. Understand that a gluten sensitivity isn’t an allergy, or an autoimmune disease.However, studies are indicating that non-celiac gluten sensitivity can also be very detrimental to a person’s health.
I happen to be one of those individuals who has a gluten sensitivity. If I consume gluten in any form my body has an inflammatory response. NCGS has been linked to numerous diseases. It’s vital you do your due diligence and see if the health issues your are currently experiencing do not have a gluten sensitivity correlation.
Now that we have some medical facts under our belt, let’s take a closer look. A person who’s placed on a gluten-free diet can usually eat low carb since most foods high in carbohydrates usually have gluten. However, they need to take it a step further and make sure that what they are eating is completely gluten-free. What’s more, they need to be certain that gluten isn’t hiding in other places including their shampoos, soaps and even cosmetics. You may be surprised to know that gluten can be found even in our vitamins and medications. Which is why you need to become a bit of sleuth if you want to remove all traces of gluten.
Someone on a low carb plan, may get away with not being quite so diligent in removing gluten but they don’t have the wiggle room to eat from the gluten free isle. Why? Well for one, many of these gluten-free products are made with corn, rice, tapioca or potato starch. They are loaded with a high concentration of carbs and will have you going over your daily carb limits quickly. These highly processed foods will spike your insulin levels and then bring your sugar crashing down after an hour or so. A low carb diet aims to keep your sugar levels on an even keel, a win for those who are insulin resistant.
If you want to remain in ketosis, that is burning fat for fuel rather than glucose, you must read your labels carefully. The good news is that more people are realizing the benefits of eating a low carb diet and this is opening up a new market full of products we can consume. Although it’s exciting to see the tide is changing, It’s important to tread lightly when choosing these pre-packaged low carb items. Unfortunately, many of these have way too many chemicals to call them healthy. Be selective with what you allow into your diet, remember your aim should be to make every meal be as nutrient packed as possible.
If you find yourself at a weight loss plateau, perhaps it’s all those trips to the gluten-free section that may be hampering your diet. Maybe, it’s time to take a closer look at what you have been placing in your grocery cart.
Lastly, I encourage those of you who are on a gluten-free diet to take your health journey a step further and consider eliminating corn, rice, and potato. Newer studies are demonstrating that these too can be a problem if you have any form of gluten sensitivity. I highly recommend Dr. Peter Osborne’s book No Grain No Pain for more on this important subject.
It is my hope that the knowledge you gain here will point you in the right direction for greater health.