Gluten-free and low carb are not the same thing, but low carbers tend to eat less gluten than their carb-eating friends.
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye that often helps with the texture of the dough. Because low carbers avoid most grains, sometimes people think the two ideas are pretty much interchangeable.
They’re not. Not all “gluten-free” is “gluten-free low carb.” Nor does gluten-free mean sugar-free! If you’re buying GF specialty food, it very often will be well out of range for your low carb plan.
Gluten free specialty products like cake mixes or bread frequently rely upon ingredients such as rice flour that are very high in carbs.
You always have to read the labels, folks. Both the nutritionals and the ingredients, if you’re paying attention to gluten.
But do you even want to skip the gluten?
Why Go Gluten Free Low Carb?
People with Celiac Disease usually cannot have even trace amounts of gluten and must be aware of potential cross-contamination, so for them, it’s not a choice. But some without a medical diagnosis report sensitivity to gluten (and significant benefit from eliminating it). Like anything else, it’s up to you to decide what works best for you.
It’s also not terribly hard to go gluten free low carb. With some basic planning, low carbers can avoid gluten without much fuss–almost all the recipes we post on our Low Carb Zen Facebook page are gluten-free, for example. You may, however, have to cook more often. Avoiding gluten does eliminate some options.
In that sense, Gluten-free low carb people have the mixed blessing of a harder time getting specialty foods that work for them. While this might be frustrating sometimes, eating natural, unprocessed foods increases your chances for success–and likely your overall health and well-being, too.
Do you avoid gluten?