“Is it gluten free?”
A tale of indigestible woes
In this post we want to highlight the facts and fictions, and struggles often faced by those who live a life without gluten, aiming to help others understand their needs and concerns, in the hopes that we’re all that bit more sympathetic.
Gluten is a hot topic at the moment. However, this is not making it any easier to live a gluten free (GF) life.
Instead the Gluten free gang are being passively mocked for their bodies inability to digest the mighty protein, being labelled as a bandwagoner, trend follower, or just an awkward individual!
What’s a Gluten?
For those of you who are new comers to this GF era let me set the scene…
The Coeliac Society of Ireland describes gluten as “the protein found in wheat, barley and rye”. Gluten enables food to hold their shape better. If you think about it, it’s like a glue and we’d all agree to imagine that glue would be hard on our tummies. Makes sense, right?!
Read more at https://www.coeliac.ie/coeliac-desease/
Where is Gluten?
Foods that are mostly associated with gluten are items such as bread, pasta and cereals. You may also know them as the infamous members of “The Big Bad Carb” gang. The cruel villains that we’re so tempted by, but supposed to avoid at all costs, even more so after 6pm! Sound familiar?
Yet many people don’t realise that gluten has been around the block, and can also be found in foods like sauces, salad dressings and soups.
Gluten Free Myths
With industries constantly promoting the need, want or desires to be ‘perfectly slim’, coupled with innate human tendencies to search out the next and newest trend, it’s no surprise that GF is all the rage.
Perhaps this is the result of very little education around gluten?
Or maybe because of the marketing campaigns associated with types of food that are stereotypically known to contain gluten. Confusing branding such as, ‘Gluten Free’ slapped across the front packaging of your favourite packet of biscuits is now making consumers misconceive GF to be some superhero edition of their kitchen pantry staple. We hate to be the barer of bad news but gluten free simply means, free from gluten, nor carbs, nor sugar, or fat, just free from little oul’ gluten.
So those being misconceived or being seen to ‘jump on the GF bandwagon’ are potentially believing 1 or more of the following 3 things
- They are choosing the healthier
- They will consume less carbohydrates.
- Gluten Free is the lower calorie option.
A gluten free biscuit, is still a biscuit.
Brennans White Bread – Gluten Free Vs. Standard
Left: Brennans Gluten Free (275 Grams) Right: Brennans White Sliced Pan
When we compare a well-known brand like Brennans on their standard white bread and their GF option, what you find is that from a nutritional value perspective, they are very similar.
- Calories: 15 calories in the difference. Fair to say, insignificant?
- Fat: Would you look at that! It’s actually slightly higher in GF bread. Let’s not give fat a hard time right now, we’ll save that argument for another day.
- Carbohydrates: The one you’ve all been waiting for … 1g in the difference, with the extra digit going to… *drum roll please* GLUTEN FREE!
- Fibre: GF wins this round, sorry standard.
- Protein: We all know bread is not known an abundant source of protein anyway, but in this case, standard white bread makes a come back and the crowd goes wild!
Let’s back track to my point, which if you missed it, was this: Stop rolling your eyes when someone asks for the gluten free option. There are not trying to be superior, fussy, picky or difficult. It is not because they’re watching their figure. It is in fact because they have an auto immune disease or they are sensitive or intolerant to gluten! If anything, we should commiserate with them!
Also, we are very sorry to disappoint those who thought GF would save them on a few calories.
If you are living a GF life and you want to educate your eye rolling peers, maybe share this post with them, in the hopes that they will be kinder to you and your fellow Gluten Free’ers.