Is it time to break up with gluten-free bread?
Yes, I think so!
Unfortunately, though, most Americans are bread obsessed. We eat bread everyday for breakfast (bagels, toast), lunch (sandwiches) and dinner (dinner rolls, burger buns). We even eat bread for dessert (cakes, cinnamon buns). It’s no wonder that Subway is the world’s second largest food chain. We love that all-American sandwich for lunch. Trust me, I know. I was eating a Subway sandwich when my doctor called me to tell me I had celiac disease.
With this continued bread obsession, it makes you wonder what on earth people eat besides bread, right?
Yep, we live in a bread obsessed culture.
As someone who is gluten-free, bread is definitely something I miss. It’s an easy, cheap and convenient food… and it tastes pretty darn good too!
That said, gluten-free bread, particularly commercially produced gluten-free sandwich bread, just doesn’t do it for me. It tastes gritty. I can hardly choke a slice down no matter how much mustard, jelly or turkey I slather on top.
So unlike Oprah Winfrey who loves her bread, I’ve pretty much said “goodbye” to all bread – even the gluten-free bread!
While I broke up with gluten-free bread because it tastes so bad, I implore others to give up gluten-free bread too. Bread is nutritionally devoid and so bad for you in so many ways.
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Why It’s Time to Break Up with Gluten-Free Bread
Gluten-Free Bread is Highly Processed: Most gluten-free sandwich breads are made from highly processed and refined rice or other white flours. The refining process strips grains of their vitamin and mineral components. Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions calls this “negative” calories because consumption of refined calories depletes vs. adds to your body’s nutritional reserves.
Gluten-Free Bread is Low in Fiber: Dr. Joseph Murray, a celiac disease expert, gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, told Time Magazine that gluten-free breads are worse for you than regular wheat-based flours. He says they are “more likely to be low in fiber and not fortified with B vitamins” as regular wheat-based bread.
Gluten-Free Bread Converts to Sugar: Dr. Mark Hyman, the author of, Eat Fat, Get Thin, says that eating fat isn’t what makes you fat; rather he says eating sugar makes you fat. When you eat refined carbs, like the ones you find in bread, you’re basically eating sugar. All those white grains convert to sugar in your body, and guess what, it makes you fat.
Gluten-Free Bread Spikes Your Blood Sugar: As you can see from this chart published by Harvard Health Publishing, all bread (it doesn’t matter if it’s white or whole grain or gluten-free) is at the to of the glycemic index.
According to Harvard Publishing, “The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. Also known as “blood sugar,” blood glucose levels above normal are toxic and can cause blindness, kidney failure, or increase cardiovascular risk.”
In other words, foods that rank high on the glycemic index release glucose quickly. And the highest food of them all is bread.
Just because you eat gluten-free bread doesn’t mean you’re off the hook either.
Gluten-free breads not only contain rice and corn flours, but also contain starches – corn starch, tapioca starch and potato starch. To make a good gluten-free flour blend, you need both flours and starches to create optimal structure and taste. These white flours and starches all have high glycemic indexes that spike your blood sugar higher than table sugar according to Dr. William Davis, author of the bestselling book, Wheat Belly.
Gluten-Free Breads Often Contain Additives: Gluten-free breads lack the texture and elasticity found in gluten-based breads. To compensate for lack of structure and taste, manufacturers often add more sugar, as well as more fats and synthetic gums to make them more palatable.
So as you can see, eating gluten-free bread does nothing for you and may even adversely impact your health.
There Is a Better Way
If you crave bread now and then, don’t deprive yourself of that craving, just be smart about it.
Eat bread only on occasion. No one says that you have to have bread to eat a sandwich; rather, try these breadless alternatives:
- Wrap it. Enjoy your sandwich wrapped in lettuce, nori (roasted seaweed), grape leaves or rice wraps
- Go naked. Eat the deli meat alone, or scoop your tuna salad or hummus with crackers
- Bed it. Enjoy the contents of your sandwich over brown rice, quinoa or a bed of chopped lettuce
If you must eat bread, look for breads made from alternative grains. I have a wonderful almond flour bread recipe you can try that is high in fat, fiber and protein.