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Wheat-free is not gluten-free

Posted Aug 24 2008 3:44pm

Eliminate wheat from your diet and wonderful things happen:

--Lose 15-20 lbs, sometimes in the first 1-3 months. (More or less, depending on your prior dietary habits, weight, age, etc.)

--HDL cholesterol goes up, triglycerides go down

--Blood sugar drops

--Small LDL is reduced

--C-reactive protein is reduced

--Pre-diabetics often convert to non-diabetics

--Diabetics gain far better control over blood glucose. Some even become non-diabetic (as long as they maintain the wheat-free, low-glycemic index diet and weight control).

--You feel better: Less mental fogginess, more energy, better sleep.

--Appetite shrinks dramatically.

(Many diet programs makes lots of money promising similar results. Prescription medications like the pre-diabetes drugs, Actos and Avandia, and the fibrates, Tricor and Lopid, nearly-- nearly --reproduce the effects of eliminating wheat. Of course, these medications do not lead to weight loss or make you feel better. In fact, Actos and Avandia usually trigger a weight gain of 8 lbs in the first year of use.)

All of these wonderful effects develop with elimination of wheat. . . unless you confuse wheat -free with gluten -free. There's a difference.

Remove wheat from your diet, but discover the world of gluten-free products made for people with celiac disease, or gluten enteropathy, and you can regain the weight and recreate many of the phenomena associated with wheat. I've talked about this in past, but it trips up so many people that it's worth talking about again.

The concept that I am advocating is really low-glycemic index (or low glycemic load , actually). Foods that trigger a substantial rise in blood sugar, whether immediate (like whole wheat crackers) or delayed (like whole wheat pasta) are the culprits. The same effects develop with candy, cookies, fruit drinks, pizza, chips, table sugar, and other junk foods.

However, I pick on wheat specifically because it so dominates the American diet. It has grown to fill so many processed food products. It is also a food ingredient that is falsely advertised as healthy. In reality, pretzels, whole wheat crackers, whole grain bread, high-fiber cereals, etc. exert the same effect on blood sugar as candy or white table sugar. They also generate all the "downstream" phenomena listed above.

But wheat is hardly the only food that makes us fat, diabetic, and unhealthy. This is true for foods made with cornstarch (taco shells, cornbread, tortillas, chips, breakfast cereals); rice flour, puffed rice, and polished rice; and potatoes, particularly pulverized potato starch (potato chips). There are others.

These are the gluten-free products that are marketed to the gluten enteropathy (celiac disease) market. Yes, you can make muffins with cornstarch and no wheat gluten, but is it good for you?

No. It is nearly as bad as wheat. It can still skyrocket blood sugar, drop HDL, raise triglycerides, create small LDL, heighten inflammation, etc.

Ground flaxseed, oat bran, barley, quinoa, are some of the alternatives that do not create these effects. But not the majority of gluten-free products on the market.

Ingredients: Potato starch, rice flour, modified corn starch , olive oil, yeast, vegetable protein(lupine), corn syrup, sugar , salt, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, sodium bicarbonate, ammonium bicarbonate, diacetyltataric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides of edible fats, natural flavor.

". . . only naturally gluten-free and wheat-free ingredients and adhere to the strictest quality processes, testing every batch for gluten using the ELISA assay ."


Serving Size 7 bread sticks (31g)

Servings per container 5

Calories 120 Calories from fat 25

Amount per serving

Total Fat 2.5g

Saturated Fat 0.5g

Trans Fat 0g

Cholesterol 0mg

Sodium 310mg

Total Carb 24g

Dietary Fiber 1g

Sugars less than 1g

Protein less than 1g

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