Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Low Carb vs. Gluten Free

For many years I recommended eating gluten-free as a healthier alternative until I was introduced to a low carb diet known as LCHF (low-carb/high-fat). I began to compare gluten-free foods to their gluten-containing counterparts, such as bread and pasta. I compared how many grams of carbohydrates each contained and how high each was on the glycemic scale.

A food’s glycemic level determines how fast a food turns into glucose, and how quickly insulin is released into the bloodstream. The higher the food is on the glycemic scale the faster it turns into glucose and the faster insulin is released. Gluten-free foods often contain rice or tapioca. On the glycemic scale gluten-free foods were equal to or sometimes higher than gluten-containing foods.

I discovered that gluten-free foods may appear to be healthier but they aren’t necessarily low carb, however low-carb foods are gluten-free. The reason for this is foods that contain gluten–wheat, rye, oats, barley, and spelt–are eliminated in a low carb diet.

My clients achieve much faster results when eating low-carb compared to eating a straight gluten-free diet. Especially when it comes to losing weight and having more energy. Since gluten-free foods contain relatively the same amount of carbohydrates as gluten-containing foods, insulin continues to block fat from being released as energy. When insulin levels are as low as possible by eating a low carb diet, the body has a much easier time burning stubborn belly fat through a process known as ketosis–fat being used as energy instead of glucose.

Low carb doesn’t mean no carb. A person still eats carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. Foods such as potatoes and corn are high on the glycemic scale and are allowed on a gluten-free diet. But by consuming these two foods they will be problematic when trying to lose weight.

If a person wants to pursue a gluten-free diet, the best approach I’ve found is to go low-carb with the LCHF diet.

There are plenty of recipes online which will allow a person to eat the foods they enjoy, but from a low-carb angle. Simply do a Google search. Type in the search bar “low carb ____” (fill in the blank). Here are a few examples: low carb pizza, low carb bread, low carb pasta. Doing this you’ll also be eating gluten-free and feeling great.

by John Connor, CNC

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