A gluten free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease, and it’s also become rather trendy. But can we really call gluten free food health food? “A gluten free cake is still a cake,” explains Kathryn Elliott, and cakes are high in fat and sugar whether or not they’re gluten free. In this podcast Kathryn, a nutritionist who writes about cookery and health, gives us some practical advice about how to choose healthy gluten free food.
Click Play to hear Kathryn Elliott on how to choose healthier gluten free food (12min25).
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Kathryn explains that when you’re choosing food you need to consider several things. These include how much fat, sugar, vitamins and minerals are in a food, and the food’s GI. GI is the glyceamic index of a food, and it tells us how quickly the energy from carbohydrates is released. Low GI foods release their energy more slowly than high GI foods. “Low GI foods keep you fuller for longer,” says Kathryn, so they’re especially helpful for weight management. There are low GI gluten free products available, which are a better choice than products made with a basic starch-based gluten free flour. In addition Kathryn recommends several gluten free wholegrains that have medium-low GIs.
The additions that make gluten free products low GI include things like psyllium and almond meal, and some of these additions contribute to making the food healthier in other ways. Psyllium is excellent soluble fibre, and almond meal provides omega-6 fatty acids. You can also make changes to lower the glycaemic load of an entire meal if you need to compensate for using some high GI ingredients. Kathryn has some wonderful practical suggestions for how to do this using things like legumes, meat, vegetables and salad. And these suggestions aren’t only useful if you have to eat gluten free – anyone can use these ideas to make their meals healthier.
If you’re looking for more practical ideas after the podcast, you can find out more about Kathryn’s healthy eating ideas over at her blog Limes and Lycopene.