The grocery store shelves are flooded with products claiming gluten-free status. What exactly does “gluten-free” mean? If a product is gluten-free, does that mean it is low glycemic?

Gluten is a protein blend found in wheat, rye, spelt and barley. If a product is labeled gluten-free, it simply means it does not contain any gluten protein.

When gluten is removed from a product, such as bread, a new ingredient (or combination of ingredients) is substituted. Common substitutes include rice flour, corn flour, tapioca flour, potato flour and sugar. Rice, corn, tapioca, potatoes and sugar are all high glycemic foods. Thus, since a food is labeled gluten-free, that does not mean it is a good nutrition choice.

As an example, let’s look at a common gluten-free item, its nutrition label and apply the formula that helps to determine if a food is high glycemic.

Quick reminder of the formula: If (Total Carbohydrate-Fiber) > (Protein + Fat), then the food is high glycemic.

Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread

When the formula is applied, the following results:

  • Total Carbohydrate – Fiber = 22 – 2 = 20
  • Protein + Fat = 4 + 4 = 8
  • 20 is indeed > 8

Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread is high glycemic because its primary ingredients include tapioca, potato starch, brown rice, and cane juice.

You are now armed with more knowledge when entering the grocery store!

Stay tuned, as next month we will explore how the consumption of alcohol prior to bedtime effects sleep. It might just surprise you!