The Great Gluten Debate

breadThe negative part of the gluten “gossip” is that the discussion focuses on something that is minimal. People can get a false sense of security that they are doing something great for their health by cutting out gluten – they think it is a miracle cure for weight loss. However, they are majoring on the minors, with the six foods you should never eat again being major, and gluten being minor. From a medical standpoint, many articles point out that the “gluten problem” is way overstated. Studies show that very, very few people have difficulty with gluten in their intestines. However, many say they feel so much better, or have less difficulty with their intestines, or lose so much more weight when they don’t eat gluten.

In Prescription for Life, a healthy well-balanced diet is proposed. In addition to fruits and vegetables, you also encouraged to think whole grains. A benefit to eating whole-grain breads and pastas is that they do not have saturated fat and contain helpful and filling fiber. Think of whole-grain cereal in the morning, whole-grain breads for sandwiches, whole-grain pasta for an evening meal, or rice with sautéed vegetables or fish on top.

But whole-grain breads and pastas do contain calories. Think of breads, especially white bread, as sugar. Most people can relate sugar to extra calories, and that is basically what that bread—extra calories. During the weight loss part of your plan, the less bread, the better. Don’t dive into that basket of bread that appears on your table at restaurants — such calories are completely superfluous. Eating X number of calories of bread before your entrée does not mean you are going to eat X number fewer calories of your main meal.

Try this: the next time you are in a restaurant decide before you go that you are not going to eat the bread before the meal. When they bring you a basket of bread, hold off of tell them to take it away. Once you see the main course food you ordered, you immediately realize how much better that food will taste, calorie for calorie, than the bread.  After your meal, see if you want some of the bread sitting there in the basket. I’ll bet nine times out of ten you will not wolf down the bread like you would have when they first set it before you. Taking in those pre-meal bread calories is completely preventable. Even after reaching your ideal weight, you can have your toast for breakfast and half sandwich for lunch, but no extra-calorie bread before your meal is still a good habit to have developed.




“Bread” photo courtesy of zdiviat