Apples to Apples


The articles going around decrying gluten free food that I mentioned yesterday claim that wheat is healthier because you’re missing all the vitamins and in place adding starch, sugar and fat.

Is this true? In some cases, I would hazard that yes it is, especially with packaged foods. However, there are many options out there that use GF whole grains, just as there are whole grain gluten varieties.

Instead of doing this:

Misleading image

Let’s try something novel! Let’s look at the numbers and compare apples to apples, as the saying goes.

People love white bread, so let’s compare the average white bread, with a commercial gluten free white bread, and a homemade white bread recipe that I regularly use.

Bread

Now, given the information above, I’d say that they are all rather on par, with the homemade version perhaps slightly healthier.  The calorie counter gives white bread a score of B, but that’s primarily due to the calcium content. Otherwise, it has more sugar, no more fiber, and and just as much sodium as the store bought GF white bread. It does, however, have more protein.

Looking at the homemade version, it has less sodium, potassium (which is absent in both store varieties), more iron than both, more fiber, and less fat. Other areas it is similar or maybe not as good, but on the whole, I would say that each of these is similar, with a few trade offs. Keep in mind that if one can eat dairy, milk can be added to the homemade recipe, which would increase the calcium content, but also the fat content.

Are there better, healthier options than these breads? Most definitely. There are multigrain breads in both gluten and non-gluten varieties, and homemade versions are nearly always better than both as they have no preservatives, and you can cut the amounts of salt and fat to taste.

So remember, whether it’s gluten filled or gluten free, read the label, as neither is magically “better”.

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