First, let’s just quickly go through what Gluten is and what this lifestyle entails…
To put it simply, “gluten” is a protein mainly found in wheat, rye, and barley and helps things like bread or dough keep their structure. Sounds very harmless but to certain people (those diagnosed with celiac disease), gluten can actually cause some serious health concerns such as intense bloating, pain, extreme fatigue, joint pain, and damage to the digestive tract.
Even if you don’t test positive for celiac, about 0.5% - 6% of Americans have what’s called non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). They may not be celiacs, but they experience similar symptoms such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
The Boom of the Gluten Free Diet
With this said, a Gluten Free diet is basically to avoid everything that contain gluten so you can alleviate those symptoms and avoid certain health issues.
By 2013, the gluten-free industry in the U.S already grew to $10.5 billion! It was also then that the FDA issued a mandatory rule that all gluten-free food items be labeled as GF. More popularized in the West, you can see an increasing number of grocery stores dedicating gluten free/health food sections in their stores, restaurants with GF menus, and meal delivery companies with GF options.
Can Anyone Go Gluten-Free?
Experts say, there’s no direct danger to eliminating gluten. However, the concern is, anytime you’re removing an ingredient, be careful with what you are replacing it with. That’s why it is recommended to choose foods that are NATURALLY gluten-free: fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
As prevalent as this “diet” may seem, it really begs the question, “Are all foods deemed as gluten free healthy for you?
So we looked at the ingredients of some of more popular brands of packaged foods labelled Gluten Free to see whether being labeled GF means it’s healthier to consume!
Look at the first ingredient of this brand of cookie mix!!!
Since ingredients are typically listed from the most to least, it is shocking to me that sugar is shown first (this one has 16g of added sugar!!!!). Also, don’t mistaken that gluten free means dairy free too because they are two very separate things. If you want to avoid dairy, look at the label and nutrition to make sure that this product is dairy free. Lastly, you can see that gluten free also doesn’t mean that everything used is natural. Artificial colouring and flavours that are gluten free can certainly be used.
This is just one of the many examples of unhealthy gluten free products but luckily, we have found a brand of mixes that are not only gluten free, but also vegan and sugar free! For certain mixes, this company uses only coconut blossom sugar!
Here’s a sample of the ingredient list of Free and Easy’s Chocolate Cake Mix.
Gluten Free Plain Flour (Rice, Potato, Tapioca, Maize, Buckwheat), Xylitol (31%), Cacao Powder (7%), Potato Starch, Raising Agent (Mono Calcium Phosphate, Corn Starch, Sodium Bicarbonate), Inulin Powder (3%), Tapioca Starch, Bicarbonate of Soda, Acidity Regulator (Citric Acid), Xanthan Gum
Free From Dairy, Free From Gluten, Free From Nuts, Free From Soya, Free From Wheat
Understandably, if you want to create your own mix from scratch, this would probably be the healthiest way as you can choose the ingredients you want to use. However, many people don’t have the time and can’t be bothered and that’s why it is great to find pre-packaged products made with simple ingredients that are free from most allergens.
Free And Easy is committed to creating the very best in delicious 'free from' foods for you to enjoy. Their products are made in an allergen controlled factory and are free from artificial additives and preservatives, yet are packed with full-on flavour! So that’s why we really wanted to get these products from the UK here in Hong Kong for you to try.
Products available: Chocolate Brownie, Lemon & Poppyseed, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Cake, Ginger, and Sponge Cake.
The full product line can be found here!
So don’t forget, if you want to shop for GF items, check the nutrition label to see what the ingredients are. It might even be healthier for you to eat something that is healthy but with gluten than a GF product that is filled with sugar, dairy, unhealthy fats, and artificial flavourings.
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