Gluten Free Is Not Enough

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Raise your hand if you came to Paleo after realizing that taking gluten out of your diet was not doing it for you. My hand is raised. I was gluten free for about 4 years before going Paleo. Yes, I felt better. The skin on my legs and abdomen didn’t itch so much that it kept me up at night anymore. I wasn’t the crankiest bitch in the world anymore (yes, I was even crankier than I am now…), and I stopped having diarrhea regularly when I took gluten out of my diet. I lost some weight, too. I’m sure some of you can relate with what I’m saying. Taking gluten out of your diet is generally a beneficial thing to do, since not even healthy intestines have an easy time digesting it.

In fact, according to this New York Times Magazine article called “Should We All Go Gluten Free?“, there are some startling statistics to support the growing gluten free trend. Dr. Alessio Fasano, who founded the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, estimates that up to 18 million Americans have some sensitivity to gluten. I personally think it’s more, but alas, we’re getting somewhere with that number anyway. A decade ago, American doctors would hardly acknowledge that an immune response to gluten existed: it took this Italian export (Dr. Fasano) to shed some light on the subject for us. And now… we have gluten free Chex mix!

And gluten free brownies, pancakes, donuts, waffles, cookies, cakes, chips, you name it. And this, to me, is horrifying. I used to eat a whole lot of gluten free brownies myself, which is why I finally came to Paleo. I still wasn’t feeling good, and why would I? You can’t eat crap and expect to feel healthy.

A lot of gluten free crap still has tons of sugar and other horrors in it. For instance, take a look at this gluten free product’s ingredients. Is this safe for YOUR celiac child? Sure, it may contain no gluten, but…

What about Glutino’s gluten free Oreo-like cookies?

The ingredients are: icing sugar, flour blend (corn flour, potato starch, corn starch, white rice flour, tapioca starch, soy flour, potato flour, carrageenan, gum arabic, xanthan gum), organic palm oil, canola oil, cocoa powder processed with alkali, natural cocoa powder, invert sugar, natural flavors, corn starch, egg whites, sodium bicarbonate, sea salt, soy lecithin, ammonium bicarbonate.

Two cookies provide 140 calories and 11 grams of sugar, which is actually more of both than a regular Oreo. Who sits down and eats 2 Oreos? Not this girl. If you for some reason could control yourself and eat only 5, you’d be eating about 27 grams of sugar, which is only 10 grams shy of a Coke. Not to mention the fact that they contain GMO corn, GMO soy, refined palm oil, and grains of all kinds. Not really conducive to reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, or stabilizing your energy levels, much less avoiding heart disease and cancer with those GMO’s. Your body will be so thrilled.

These are just a mere two examples of the billions of dollars worth of gluten free products on the shelves today. General Mills, Kelloggs and other behemoths are catching on to the gluten free trend and they’re making lots of money off you with their refined flour, refined sugar, and vegetable oils. It’s all the same as their other crap. It just doesn’t have gluten in it. So be smarter than them, and do yourself a favor: try eating Paleo instead. It will do the job that gluten free cookies never will.

Pick up a copy of Paleo Plan’s Quickstart Guide and Paleo Challenge ebook today!


  1. I love this post…I feel so sorry for people who are “gluten free” and think they are getting it right but continue to eat the crap that they actually is healthy for them…
    I, too, was gluten-free for almost four years before coming to paleo…what a difference it has made in my life!

  2. Interesting to read that the mega food companies are just substituting other junk additives for gluten and calling it gluten free. Where’s the benefit! There is none. Guess we need to read the labels more carefully. All the more reason to eat “real food”.


  3. My cousin has just told me about the paleo diet, and i am very interested in it. I’ve had family members trying to convert me to becoming a vegan for years, but i really enjoy meat and food in fact. So I’m hoping to try this out and have more energy with a natural based diet rather than all the processed stuff that is out there. I love all foods, so I am willing to try anything. I really enjoyed this article on gluten free, I’m wondering if that is the reason I feel so sluggish and my stomach is upset after heavy meals filled with it. It was eye opening to read that just because its gluten free doesnt mean its healthy. Could you give me a list of “okay” foods to eat as a paleo? Thank you in advance. =)

  4. I too was GF for 7 years before being put on a 30 day Paleo/anti-inflammatory challenge by my doctor the month of my 30th birthday and haven’t looked back. I’m not 100% strict on no grains, I have my moments. They usually involve hypoglycemic moments of being hangry (not a typo) and/or tequila. I recently became the chair of my local gluten-intolerance support group and am pretty stoked to share the paleo diet knowledge with them, as frankly I resent not getting it when I had to go GF! Even considering bringing bacon to the next meeting, ha ha ; ) Between a paleo diet, killing off candida and finding probiotics that actually work for me, I am a new woman. 15 lbs lighter too!

  5. Great post! I have been eating gluten-free for about a year. I don’t eat all of the crap that you described mainly because my husband eats Paleo. Like you, I saw some big improvements by giving up gluten, however I am still experiencing some issues. So I’ve decided to jump all in and go Paleo myself. Just curious–how long before I start seeing any results?

  6. Well, I agree with everything you say… BUT it is nice to have a treat every once in a while. While some people go, “oh its gluten free! I can eat this crap every day! WRONG! BUTTTT… I went to a sporting event last night and while everyone is gorging on chips and dip and stuff… its nice to have a little something, so I had Glutino pretezels. Yes they are full of crap, but dammit – I want a treat too! Maybe this doesn’t apply to everyone, but its unrealistic for ME to go to a party with a bag of veggie sticks and think I’m going to be satisifed while everyone was eating chips and treats. All I’m saying is that its nice to have the option to actually HAVE a treat without having to eat gluten. I don’t know how anyone COULD eat gluten free treats every day anyway… they are so flipping expensive!

  7. some of us HAVE to be Gluten Free due to illness – heard of Celiac Disease?? to imply that going Gluten Free is a “diet plan” or should ever be thought of in that way is hurtful and ignorant! It is an immune deficiency and should ONLY be thought of as such! Any doctor will tell you that by going Gluten Free just to lose weight is HARMFUL!! You should NEVER restrict your diet by becoming Gluten Free unless you are diagnosed by a doctor because your tests will NEVER come out right if you are having any health concerns. To go Gluten Free without knowing all the facts about doing so is ignorant and hurtful to your body and those suffering from Celiac Disease!

  8. Christine, I can sense your pain at feeling alone with Celiac’s disease.

    However, some of us HAVE to be paleo. Ever heard about Thyroid Autoimmune Disease? That means these people can’t eat grains of any type, not only the gluten-containing ones. Additionally, they should stay away from ALL processed food and some natural foods that are sometimes inflammatory. By comparison, Celiac disease is a walk in the park.

    My wife’s doctor believes everyone should be gluten free. It is ridiculous to suggest that people who are gf just by choice are crazy.

    I’ve been gf for 4 months and on the autoimmune protocol diet (even more restrictive than paleo) for over a month, and I don’t have a single food allergy. I’m doing it to support my wife. Because I’m doing this by choice, you make me sound like I’m stupid and insensitive. Thanks.

  9. I just have a couple comments and some questions. First off I believe that all the gluten intolerance and celiac are from not eating the grains “whole food” and having the flours and whatnot processed and the gluten taken out and such. This has to be done in order for the products to not spoil before hitting the shelves. When people ground their own flours and used them right away and were getting the whole together as they were meant to be there wasn’t all this sensitivity…..these are things I have learned from studying under a Dr of nutrition. But in this day and age we don’t have the time to grind our own flour and its not just the breads its the other stuff we do eat as well. So we do have these and I am so glad we have these diets to be able to help with the gluten sensitivities and other things like celiac.

    My husband is a type 1 diabetic and has started getting diabetic retinapothy. He has gained weight, a lot, over the past few years and has a very hard time loosing it. He also has bad asthma and allergies. One day after talking with some friends who were Paleo I decide I was putting him into the paleo lifestyle. Paleo”ish” for us as we are not super strict, but really are trying to follow it. We cut gluten to almost none and really limit any starches. I started learning to use sweet potatoes and cauliflower. My dh is the only one eating like this due to budget. We have 8 children and one income and a lot of debt. I do make most things from scratch although using some canned ingredients like tomato sauce and soups. We make a lot of our breads from scratch, but dh doesn’t eat them ;) I have learned how to make my own coconut butter, coconut flour and milk, almond butter and flour and milk…. its been such a learning experience but very wonderful. All that being said….my husband hasn’t had to use his inhaler for his asthma since mid December! That is huge as he used to use it 2-4 times a day! He also lost weight. He is not celiac, but clearly has a sensitivity to it.
    I am slowly trying to move the whole family to mostly paleo”ish” but again its hard because of budget and I am just learning all this stuff.

    My 13 yr old hasn’t grown in the past 18months and they ran a battery of tests on him and his Celiac blood test came back abnormal. We see a pediatric GI in April and then they will do an endoscopy and we will know for sure if it is Celiac or something else. How do you do this for a child? I mean I know the celiac diet allows for starches where Paleo doesn’t, and my hubs can’t have the starches anyway, but for a child I mean there has to be treats and other things. Things he can make quick when hungry. Also not to break the bank. Everything would be made at home, no buying boxed junk because its full of crap and I can’t afford it anyway.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. FAcebook pages or anything would be great.

  10. This article is fundamentally flawed. You’re trashing the gluten free diet based on the fact that processed food is utter crap. Duh. I found Paleo too restrictive and do gluten free now, but man-made ‘foods’ have always been out of the question. The result is I feel and look just as great while I can eat more things I like.

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