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Just because you are eliminating foods from your diet that contain soy and gluten doesn’t mean that you are eating a healthy diet. This is a fallacy that continues to plague the vegetarian and vegan communities, as many people stay away from animal products yet replace them with sugary comfort foods that can cause major health problems. Lately, many ex “junk food vegetarians” have realized that replacing their fried tofu with a salad topped with protein-rich beans and edamame keeps them strong and full of energy. Now, there is a new junk food problem in the health and fitness community: gluten-free junk food.
Gluten-free junk food is just like regular junk food, except the ingredients that contain gluten are switched out for alternative ingredients. Many baked goods that contain wheat flour regularly use alternative grains and starches like arrowroot powder, potato starch, and almond flour to make them gluten-free.
But it’s not gluten that makes a junk food bad for you. Instead, it’s the combination of sugar, oils, and other simple carbohydrates that happen to contain the pro-inflammatory protein gluten. It is important to eliminate gluten from your diet to ease systemic inflammation, bloating, and brain fog. Still, just because you take gluten out of the vanilla cupcakes, that doesn’t mean that the cupcakes are suddenly healthy for you.
So why can you still find gluten-free cookies in the “health food” section of your local grocery store? It’s all about food marketing. Gluten-free is the health trend of the year. It’s great that we can go into a grocery store and easily find so many gluten-free options. Still, the foods that have to be labeled as “gluten-free” are processed foods with a label. We forget that we don’t have to buy foods with a gluten-free label to stay away from the stuff.
Instead, nature already gives us plenty of gluten-free foods in the form of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean meats.
The next time you go to the grocery store, don’t kid yourself into thinking you are eating a healthy diet by purchasing gluten-free junk food. A cupcake is a cupcake is a cupcake, whether it is gluten-free or not.
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