In recent news, the headlines are bold, claiming that gluten free diets can raise your risk of cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease. This has therefore, and rightly so had a number of questions thrown in my direction based on the above headlines. As well as sharing my recipes I am also passionate about taking the time to educate you all on living a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.
Firstly, I want to inform you that to date there is no scientific research that supports the above media headlines. When exploring the gluten-free research, the most important finding has been reported that when an individual who suffers with celiac disease (caused by an intolerance to gluten) is not treated with a gluten free diet, it can raise the HDL cholesterol levels and therefore, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (1). I often question where does the media get there information from or why do they even begin to think this way?
One of the highlighted nutritional components that the media has questioned is the lack of fibre intake in a gluten free diet. This may have some truth to the gluten free products you can purchase in supermarkets, which tend to also have a high sugar content. Current government guidelines published in July 2015, recommend that adults should consume at least 30g of fibre a day, as part of a healthy balanced diet. A diet low in fibre has been shown to be linked to an increase risk in cardiovascular disease (2), therefore, this is one of the reasons why the media would post about gluten free diets causing an increase risk in cardiovascular disease. Below I have listed the fibre content of what a typical day, using my own recipes looks like. It shows that eating a balanced, varied and nutritious diet, which is gluten free can still provide your body and mind with all that it requires to stay healthy, while lowering your risk of the above disease.
A typical Lisa day – All recipes are available on my website
Breakfast: Matcha Smoothie Breakfast Bowl – 16g Fibre
Lunch: Red Cabbage and Cashew soup – 5.25g Fibre
Snack: Raw Cashew and Peanut Butter Bars – 3.71g Fibre
Dinner: Candied Walnut Crusted Salmon (Brown Rice & Steamed Broccoli) – 7.89 g Fibre
Total fibre intake = 32.85g
I highlighted above that packaged gluten free foods purchased form a supermarket may contain a high sugar content, including mainly refined sugar. Excess sugar intake is well known to be bad for our health, leading to an increase risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Alarming more recent scientific research has also linked sugar intake to Alzheimer’s disease (3) labelling it as ‘type 3 diabetes’. Just because these foods are advertised as gluten free, it does not give them the green light that they are healthy, they still fall under the processed food category. For this reason, the media can understandably make judgement from these products sold on the shelves. You don’t have to have celiac disease to benefit from my recipes which are all gluten free and limited in both refined sugar and dairy. I am keen to design my recipes around natural and wholesome ingredients that incorporate all the nutrients you need, while tasting delicious.
- Brar, P., Kwon, G.Y., Holleran, S., Bai, D., Tall, A.R., Ramakrishnan, R., & Green, P.H.R. (2006). “Change in lipid profile in Celiac Disease: Beneficial Effect of Gluten-Free Diet. The American Journal of Medicine. 119: 786-790.
- T., & Bazzano, L.A. (2014). “The low carbohydrate diet and cardiovascular risk factors: Evidence from epidemiologic studies.” Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease. 24(4): 337-343.
- Kassaar, O., Morais, M.P., Xu, S., Adam, E.L., Chamberlain, R.C., Jenkins, C.B., James, T.D., Francis, P.T., Ward, S., Williams, R.J., & Elsen, J.V.D. (2017). “Macrophage migration inhibitory factor is subjected to glucose modification and oxidation in Alzheimer’s disease.” Scientific Reports. 7: 42874.