By Lya Wodraska
While wandering the aisles of a local grocery store recently, I spotted a box of sugary, chocolate-covered doughnuts with the words “Gluten Free” prominent on the package.
My jaw dropped. It was then that I realized just how mainstream gluten-free has become. While many people have officially been diagnosed with celiac disease and must avoid gluten for health reasons, many others follow this eating regimen to lose weight.
But just like other diet fads such as “fat free” or “zero calorie,” the gluten-free craze won’t help our battle with the bulge.
I’m not against gluten-free. In fact, I am one of the biggest believers in eating a gluten-free diet.
When my clients remove gluten from their diet, they often see the symptoms of food allergies and other chronic illnesses disappear. As they eat more fruits and vegetables, their cravings for carbohydrates and sugar also diminish. And some people even lose weight.
However, just because a food is gluten-free doesn’t mean it is healthy to eat.
Which is where that gluten-free doughnut comes into play.
That doughnut had almost 200 calories in a serving and almost 15 grams of sugar.
Eat that concoction and your blood sugar levels are in for a roller-coaster ride, first spiking and then crashing.
Ideally, we should limit our daily intake of sugar to about 25 grams or less. That number includes the “good” or natural sugar found in fruits.
I say “about” because if you are active, you can afford to eat more and might even need the sugar for energy.
Even for those who aren’t worried about weight gain, I still recommend getting no more than 25 grams of sugar from natural sources whenever possible. And doughnuts don’t count as natural.
A good guideline to remember: If the food you plan to eat wasn’t around 10,000 years ago — or your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it — don’t eat it!
If you do eat it, make it a small portion and only an occasional treat.
Following that rule means we should avoid or limit pizzas, candy bars, breads and other processed foods.
If you must eat those products, go ahead and follow the gluten-free route.
Just remember, the fact that it is gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you.
Lya Wodraska is a certified CHEK Practitioner and Holistic Lifestyle Coach.
E-mail her at Lwodraska@sltrib.com