Gluten-free carbohydrate mania

Here's a typical gluten-free product, a whole grain bread mix. "Whole grain," of course, suggests high-fiber, high nutrient composition, and health.









What's it made of? Here's the ingredient list:
Cornstarch, Tapioca Starch, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour, Whole Grain Teff Flour, Whole Grain Amaranth Flour, Soy Fiber, Xanthan Gum, Soy Protein, Natural Cocoa and Ascorbic Acid

In other words, carbohydrate, carbohydrate, carbohydrate, carbohydrate and some other stuff. It means that a sandwich with two slices of bread provides around 42 grams net carbohydrates, enough to send your blood sugar skyward, not to mention trigger visceral fat formation, glycation, small LDL particles and triglycerides.

Take a look at the ingredients and nutrition facts on the label of any number of gluten-free products and you will see the same thing. Many also have proud low-fat claims.

This is how far wrong the gluten-free world has drifted: Trade the lack of gluten for a host of unhealthy effects.

Comments (14) -

  • Angela

    6/18/2011 12:31:21 PM |

    Dr. Davis, I agree with you whole-heartedly - especially if you have Celiac disease you should learn to eat a more carb free diet - but I am thankful for the gluten-free junk foods.  My 9 year old has Celiac and gluten free cupcakes and pizzas have truly been a godsend for school pizza parties and birthday cake celebrations.  You can explain until the cows come home to a 9 year old that gluten makes them sick and gluten free spikes their blood sugar - but when they are sitting in the classroom while all the other kids ooh and ahh over pizza and cupcakes that doesn't translate for them.  I wish we could change EVERYONE'S thought process on this junk and their wouldn't be these instances at school....but that's another lifetime.  

    I actually just posted about this, this very morning on my blog:

    Thanks for our amazing blog!!!

  • Judi O

    6/18/2011 2:03:24 PM |

    I make really good breakfast muffins from coconut flour using Bruce Fife's book and almond meal also makes treats that come out much better than any of those mixes flooding the stores now. I had to get creative when I found out I was pre-diabetic! Making things from scratch allows you to put good quality ingredients in and doesn't take any more time. I still think these kind of treats shouldn't be the mainstay of your diet, but it is nice to have so you don't feel deprived and have more variety.

  • Luther Bliss

    6/18/2011 3:53:45 PM |

    So how much carb is too much? I don't really eat grains. If I had the equivalent grams in sweet potato, would that be as bad?

  • Princess Dieter

    6/18/2011 4:29:19 PM |

    I had taken a look at those gluten free breads to see if there was a doable option for hubby, but the ingredients were horrid, so I ditched the notion.

    I've been grain-free for a few months, lower carb (I try to stay between 60 and 120, ideally under 100), and this week my endocrinologist said, "You have now resolved your prediabetes." A1c and glucose were nice. HDL and triglycerides were lovely. LDL was up, but the good kind. She was gonna start the statin talk, and I nixed it, but she wants me to do red yeast rice. I'm considering it..gotta read up on it.

    Hubby has a hard time keeping weight ON since he went (mostly) grain free. He was becoming underweight from losing too much, so I added potatoes and rice, and he gives in to corn now and then in small amonts. Otherwise, he dropped sugar, except for the occasional dark chocolate square. (He has a raging sweet tooth, so I'm amazed.) I keep telling folks, you wanna drop weight, ditch the sugar and grains. On a tall guy, it's like liposuction, it drops so fast!

    And he doesn't fall asleep on the couch right after dinner anymore. Nor do I. That alone is worth ditching grains. Nudge;wink. Laughing

    Wish the universe could give me some wonderful, non-damaging toast...I miss toast...but it's not worth the cost....and gluten free breads are just downright scary...

  • ShottleBop

    6/18/2011 4:31:06 PM |

    Buy yourself a blood sugar meter, eat the sweet potato, and see what it does to your blood sugar.

  • ShottleBop

    6/18/2011 4:33:23 PM |

    Red yeast rice has a naturally-occurring statin--Mevachor is basically a pharmaceutical-grade version of what's in red yeast rice.

  • Princess Dieter

    6/18/2011 6:00:27 PM |

    Well, if red yeast rice is going to give me the same effects as statins, I'll pass. The muscle pains were horrible, and I lived years with that. And the forgetfulness that had me worrying about dementia. It wasn't until they took me off (liver issues) that I realized how wonderful I felt OFF them. Brain began to be like normal and muscles eventually stopped hurting at the lightest touch. Those things don't like me.

  • Lori

    6/18/2011 7:43:00 PM |

    Sometimes when I'm out dancing, I'll have a couple of small gluten-free cookies to help with what feels like falling blood sugar.

  • Shreela

    6/18/2011 10:07:32 PM |

    I'm guessing that pasta made from beans be an acceptable replacement for grain-pasta? Here's a blog post I learned about them from (the distribution site, nor amazon have label photos like this blog does):

    I've dehydrated cooked beans before, and it should be super easy to powder them with just a regular blender. One of these days, I'm going to play around with making bean noodles, just to see if it can be done with just water. Of course I'll have to make an egg batch too.

    While on beans as replacement for carby foods, many food blogs have been posting "bean brownies", and "bean muffins". I don't recall off hand if beans totally replace flour, or just reduce the flour needed. I suspect each site differs in their ratios. I'd probably grate some zucchini into bean muffins to lighten their texture.

    PS: I hope there's seed cracker recipes in your book! Hubby HAS to have crackers with salads and soups.

  • Geoffrey Levens, L.Ac.

    6/19/2011 2:41:42 PM |

    Here's my version. Junk food eating friends loved them enough to ask for recipe:
    Black Bean Brownies

    2 1/2 cups black cooked beans
    3 medium, very ripe bananas
    2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or other
    1/3 cup cocoa or carob (adjust to taste)
    1-3 teaspoons Baking Powder (potassium version so no sodium)
    2  tsp vanilla
    3/8 tsp stevia  (or substitute with chopped dates to taste)
    Put all above and blend in food processor.

    Spread in 13 x 9 in baking dish. Bake 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Definitely tastes best after chilled in refrigerator. Then cut into squares.
    Single Serving

    1/2 cup beans
    1 large, very ripe banana
    2 tsp ground flax or other (I like cashews)
    3 Tbs carob
    1 tsp bake pwdr
    2/3-1 tsp vanilla
    3/8 tsp stevia (or substitute with chopped dates to taste)

  • Anne

    6/20/2011 8:55:37 PM |

    For me, beans are out. They spike my blood sugar to unacceptable levels. Also they are not part of my paleo/primal diet because of the lectins. If you do use bean flour, be sure it is well cooked. Some beans are quite toxic uncooked.

  • Dr. William Davis

    6/21/2011 3:00:31 AM |

    Anne and ShottleBop make the crucial point on how to gauge individual sensitivity to carbohydrates: Assess one-hour blood sugar after eating.

    This is the only way to immediately assess your tolerance to a specific carbohydrate load. A less immediate method of feedback would be to assess hemoglobin A1c, a reflection of 60+ days prior blood sugar.

  • Mark Lee

    7/7/2011 3:17:59 AM |

    Being gluten intolerant myself I get my carbs from rice, potatoes, gluten free pasta or bread made from corn flour, I can also reccoment Qinoa which is a grain from South America that tastes a bit like a mix between rice and cous cous and is completely gluten free and is high in energy. You can have it as a porridge in the morning and you can buy it in most supermarkets.

  • Tim

    7/8/2011 9:21:07 PM |

    I love quinoa and am using it in everything.  However, just a correction...quinoa is a seed, not a grain.  Not sure if it's processed different from grains in the system, though.