Gluten-free. It’s among the hottest trends in the food industry today. Its become ubiquitous and synonymous with living a healthy lifestyle… even for people without Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance.
The gluten-free food market is a multi billion dollar industry. A recent survey from market research firm the NPD Group found that around one third of US adults wanted to decrease or eliminate gluten from their diets, a record high. This is reflected not only in the number of gluten free products you can find on store shelves, but also in the mass commercialization of these products.
Benefits of Eating Gluten-Free
For those people who struggle with celiac disease, IBD or gluten intolerance, eating gluten free is not an option. There are other benefits as well, listed below:
- People who are gluten sensitive will get relief from symptoms.
- Gluten free often provide a wide variety of gluten-free grains which are very healthy. Look for amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, and millet.
- Gluten-free flours made from ingredients like quinoa, almonds, and beans offer nutritional benefits (such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals). These are certainly smarter choices than the refined white flour found in many commercial baked goods, which lacks those nutrients.
But unfortunately, the majority of the gluten free products on the market today don’t fall into the “healthy” category. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The gluten free market has become so large and commercialized that eating gluten free can actually be worse for you than otherwise. Obviously, much depends on the products you choose.
My Company Creates Gluten Free Products, So Why Am I Criticizing?
As a a mom with a child with Crohn’s diseases on not only a gluten free diet, but a diet which eliminates grains, dairy, sugar and preservatives, I’ve spent the last three years learning about nutrition and the role food has on the body. I’ve studied ingredients and how they do or don’t increase inflammation and impact disease. I’ve become so impassioned, that I created a business to manufacture and sell food for kids that’s gluten free, as well as allergen, grain, sugar and preservative free.
So, you might be asking yourself, why would someone who manufactures food that’s gluten free be writing a blog about how bad gluten free food is for you? Well, here’s why. Just like any products on the market today, there are some products that are healthy and made from whole nutritious ingredients and others that aren’t. Whether you have someone in your family who has Celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten or prefers not to eat gluten for whatever reason, it’s important to read the nutrition labels and understand the ingredients you are ingesting.
Toxins in the Average Gluten Free Product
The average gluten-free diet is built on the same foundation as the Standard American Diet… both are highly processed diets made up of toxic foods. It relies on foods that are low in nutrients and high in toxins.
Gluten free products typically contains 4 specific foods that contribute to leaky gut syndrome, inflammation, and poor vitamin status:
- Cereal grains (like corn, rice, and oats)
- Soy (soy milk, soy protein, soy flour, etc.)
- Highly processed oils (Canola oil, Rapeseed oil)
- Sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup and table sugar)
Let’s dig in a little deeper and take a closer look.
9 Reasons Why Most Gluten-Free Foods are Bad For You
Overall, the gluten-free specialty food aisle contains some of the most heavily processed food in the grocery store. Here’s why:
- Gluten free products have replaced the gluten with starchy ingredients like tapioca starch, potato starch, corn starch and rice flour. The sugar contents in these ingredients are
- Gluten Free foods are highly processed and lack the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs. Besides gaining weight and putting yourself at risk for several diseases, you may become nutrient deficient. When you continually eat these processed ingredients you can become deficient in several vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Gluten free foods are filled with toxins – Many gluten free foods contain rice products (rice starch, rice flour & brown rice syrup) – Rice is notoriously contaminated with arsenic, which is a “potent human carcinogen” according to scientists at Consumer Reports and classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
- Gluten Free foods are filled with added sugars -Gluten-free foods use sugar to replace the flavors lost when grains were removed, and it’s almost impossible to find a gluten-free product without added refined sugar. You’ll often see sugar listed several times on the ingredient list in its many different forms: corn syrup, maltodextrin, dextrin, sugar, etc.
- Gluten Free foods contain inflammatory oils -Besides containing GMOs, canola, soy, and cottonseed oils are processed to death before they end up in our food. The most commonly used is soybean oil, which is high in omega-6 fatty acids that increase the risk of inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
- Gluten Free products often are made from corn or soy which are usually genetically modified (GMO) – corn and soy ingredients (corn meal, corn starch, corn syrup, soybean oil, soy lecithin) are found in a lot of gluten-free pastas, crackers, and cookies and chicken nuggets. When you see anything made from conventional corn or soy on a label, it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s genetically modified (GMO) because the vast majority of these crops in the U.S. are GMO.
- Gluten Free products often contain Xanthan Gum which can trigger allergies or GI issues in people – Food companies often add the additive xanthan gum for texture and softness when gluten is taken out. This hasn’t really been shown to be a dangerous ingredient to eat, but be aware that it’s often derived from GMO corn and triggers allergies or gastrointestinal issues in some people.
*To read more from cardiologist, author and health crusader, Dr. William Davis, go to his blog: WheatBellyblog.com
Ingredient Labels of Popular Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets
Here at Caleb’s Cooking Company, we create chicken nuggets for kids that are not only gluten free, but also grain free, sugar, dairy and preservative free. Soon, we will be 100% allergen free as well, (as we are taking egg out of our recipe). So, we decided to take a look at the ingredients of a couple of the leading manufacturers of gluten free chicken nuggets. Their ingredients are very similar to what you will find in other gluten free pasta, cookies, crackers and snacks.
Here is a nutrition label of a popular brand of gluten free chicken nuggets.
Note the following ingredients:
Here is another popular brand. Check out their ingredients:
Yellow Corn Flour
Cornflake Crumbs (corn, cane sugar)
Notice the corn, rice, potato, tapioca (all processed starches)? Also the added sugar and canola oil?
Now, lets take a look at the ingredients of Caleb’s Cooking Company chicken nuggets:
We use a yellow split pea flour to batter our nuggets. No processed starches here, just healthy split peas. (A single cup of split peas provides 65 percent of your daily fiber needs. They’re also a great source of protein, offering 16 grams in that same cup).
- We don’t add any sugar.
- We use a healthy oil in which to fry.
- We have a clean, free from nutrition label.
- And the best part is that they taste great! We make traditional chicken nuggets, Honey BBQ and Buffalo flavors.
We are a small company, but growing fast. If you would like to be a part of our family and help us spread the word about our of line allergen, gluten, grain free products (mac n cheese coming next) , please join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
If you want to purchase our chicken nuggets, they can be found at the following local retailers. We are expanding as quickly as we can, so if you don’t find your retailer on the list below, please ask for Caleb’s Cooking Company chicken nuggets at your local store. You can also drop me an email with the name/location of the store where you would like to see our nuggets sold and we will do our best to get distribution to your area as soon as possible (email@example.com):
- MOM’s Organic Markets
- YES Organic Stores
- Glen’s Garden Market
- Streets Market & Cafes
- Good Foods Market
- Union Kitchen Groceries