Is a Gluten Free Diet Healthier?
Celiac disease prevalence has increased in the last few years. Studies have shown that gluten free diet products may not be good sources of minerals (such as iron), vitamins (such as folate, thiamine, niacin and riboflavin) and fibre and the nutritional content of gluten-free foods is of concern.
Studies have shown that patients with gluten intolerance have inadequate intake of folate, thiamine, fibre, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc compared with the Australian population.
Previous studies have shown that processed gluten-free products have high levels of lipids, trans fat, sugars and salt. Individuals with celiac disease generally compensate for their restricted diet by eating pre-packaged foods containing high levels of fat, sugar and calories, therefore celiac patients may have an excessive consumption of total fats and saturated fats.
If you are following a gluten free diet it is important to include unprocessed foods. Ancient gluten-free wholegrains such as amaranth, millet, quinoa and teff contain more minerals (folate and iron), fibre, vitamins and phytochemicals (than wheat).
The codex standard instructs that gluten free dietary staples (e.g. flour, bread) should contain approximately the same amount of vitamins and minerals as the foods they replace (FAO/WHO Codex). Although in Australia there are no specific regulations in regards to nutrients in gluten free foods (Thompson, 2000).
The general population have wheat flour enriched with folic acid due to regulations created to decrease the levels of neural tube defect in Australia. Although, gluten free products are not enriched and this major source of folic acid is unavailable to people on a gluten free diet (Food and Nutrition Board, 1998).
Pregnant and lactating women and adolescents (during growth spurt) have high dietary need for iron. These people on a gluten free diet are also of concern (Food and Nutrition Board, 1998).
Gluten free foods are considered to be healthier and their popularity is increasing. Although, many gluten free (GF) foods are made with starches or refined flours (refined white rice) with low fiber content (Thompson, 2000; Thompson, 1999; Thompson et al,. 2005). In refined grains the outside layer is removed, which contains all of the fibre.
I like Morlife’s Goji’ Antiox Wholegrain gluten free muesli with goji berries, blueberries and cranberries, amaranth, millet, quinoa, chia and flaxseeds.
1 cupcoconut water or coconut milk
- 3 large ice cubes
- 1 large banana
- 1-2 kiwi fruit(peeled and sliced. reserve one slice for garnish.)
- honey to taste(optional)
- Blend ingredients on high for 1-2 minutes. Add honey to taste, if desired.