The Whole Wheat Truth

Research shows new facts about gluten

While you may think that cutting out gluten is the best thing for your diet, new research has proved otherwise.

“Often in gluten-free products, what you’re having to use to maintain that pliability is more fat, which is higher in calories,” says Assistant Director of Nutrition Services, Emily Conti.  Products like gluten-free bread, bagels, or muffins substitute gluten with other unhealthy things. Going gluten free has many factors that one should consider.

When a food that usually contains gluten is replaced with a gluten free option, one of the most common changes is the flour.  In most products, rice flour is the most popular choice to replace wheat flour.  However, the problem with rice flour, according to studies by the Consumer Reports magazine, is that many types of rice contain arsenic.  Inorganic arsenic has in some cases been linked to cancer in humans as well as having other negative effects.  Basmati rice, quinoa, and millet are three types of rice that have lower amounts of inorganic arsenic, while rices from Texas and certain brown rices can have much higher levels.

“If you have someone who cuts out a lot of their refined grain products, period, and switches to more of a lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and dairy diet, generally, someone’s going to lose weight,” says Conti.  Having a simpler diet and not trying to substitute gluten with other things is more beneficial for the body.  For someone who has to go without gluten, such as someone with an intolerance or Celiac disease, this would be the better option.

“I mostly just cut gluten out altogether,” says sophomore Molly Maloney.  “Unless I’m with a group of people, like my family, and they’re all eating sandwiches or something, then I eat gluten free bread.”  Molly also states that the taste isn’t much different, just a bit more bland.

So what is really healthy?  Gluten isn’t necessarily health-promoting, but it seems as though having a slice of regular bread is better than a slice of gluten-free.  However, it can be healthy, especially if you have an intolerance or allergy to gluten, to cut it out and eat proteins and fresh fruits and veggies instead.  Gluten has been the subject of many debates and discussions, but it is up to the individual to see if it’s right to cut it out or not.