Does Gluten-Free Automatically Mean Healthy?

I recently had a conversation with my aunt who, for medical reasons, has been forced to eat gluten-free. She mentioned something in passing to me that had never come to my full attention. After reading the labels of many gluten-free goodies, she noticed that gluten-free snacks (more specifically, sweets) do not necessarily mean healthy snacks. The additions of white rice flour combined with different starches and gums can not only add caloric value, but also add fats to the smallest of sweet treats.

For example, a small gluten-free brownie can easily be 230 calories. 230 calories could easily go a long way (say, with Shakeology! wink wink), but a 3 x 4 inch brownie can pack the caloric punch of the Healthiest Meal of the Day (which you can check out here) without any health benefits.

A thought actually occurred to me: I just recently went to my favorite local gluten-free store and picked up some Udi’s Snickerdoodle cookies! What a perfect example to cite for this blog entry!

I picked up a cookie….Photo Aug 27, 3 41 35 PM

And voila. 220 calories in a cookie the size of my palm. Now, again, I’m not against a high caloric snack if it is packed with protein or healthy fats (ie. avocado, etc.) but more than one of these puppies could be detrimental to your intake for the day.

So, as gluten-free buyers (and eaters), we are trained to read labels. We read ingredient labels as instinct…but I will be the first to admit to you that I don’t read calorie facts often because I’m of the opinion that if you want something, you should have it (as long as you have the right portion). With that being said, the whole experience has taught me that the little things in the gluten-free world do pack more of a punch than we might realize. Saying that we eat gluten-free but solely relying on gluten-free corn pasta does not mean that we are eating healthily. So watch what you eat, GFAs! I challenge you to minimize the starches and embrace those vegetables.

Stay gluten-free, my readers!