Carbohydrates and gluten

Basically eat a wide variety, always choose whole grain.

Gluten and gluten-like proteins can cause inflammation in the gut. In most people this is insignificant, but in those prone to inflammatory conditions, they find avoiding gluten helpful. Predominantly gluten containing food includes:

  • Wheat (bread, pasta, cous cous, noodles, bulghar wheat, semolina) DO NOT eat these if they are refined – if white flour is above wholewheat in the ingredients – avoid. Only eat 100% whole wheat, if you want to eat a little gluten.
  • Rye, barley, spelt (these all contain gluten) You can eat these in small quantities, if you want to have a little gluten. They are more nutritious than refined wheat.
  • Oats (contain a gluten-like protein – may be OK in small/mod amounts in those wishing to avoid gluten). If you are not avoiding gluten, oats are a good source of nutrients.

Non-gluten carbohydrates include the following. Aim to eat a range of these:

  • Rice (brown is best) (gluten free, medium protein) White rice is slightly better than refined wheat. Rice noodles and rice flour are usually refined.
  • Buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth (gluten free, high protein)
  • Potatoes (choose multiple small ones, and leave skins on for maximum nutrients). Don’t eat processed (frozen) potato products such as frozen chips/hash browns. Avoid chippies/crisps.
  • Coconut flour (high fibre and protein, harder to cook with, look up recipes)
  • Millet, tapioca, polenta, corn, maize (Check these carefully as they are usually highly refined. Only eat if wholegrain).

Eat a variety of the wholegrains listed above throughout the week.

Avoid eating white carbs (ie. don’t have toast (even gluten-free) for breakfast, or sandwiches for lunch). This is because they are metabolised fast and can make you feel unwell. Common symptoms include tiredness, loss of concentration and more hunger. Left-overs from dinner make one of the best lunches.

Avoid carbs at lunchtime (and maybe for breakfast also) as they make you feel sleepy. Aim for more protein and fibre earlier in the day. Carbohydrates make more tryptophan available to the brain which makes us sleepy.

A good breakfast is a homemade muesli with a variety of whole grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruit rather than a pure protein meal of eggs/meat/fish. The fibre and complexity of whole grains will fill you up for longer.

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