Are a Gluten-Free and Low-Carb Diet the Same?

We recently talked about what you should consider before going gluten-free, but we wanted to clear up a big misconception surrounding this trendy diet. Is going gluten-free the same as cutting out carbs?

While there are a lot of similarities between a gluten-free and low-carb diet, they aren’t identical. The confusion stems from the fact that gluten is found in carbohydrates like wheat, rye and barley. (In other words, if you’re on either diet toast is … toast.)  But not all carbs have gluten and gluten is found in places other than carbs. In fact, gluten itself is actually a form of protein, not a carbohydrate.

If you decide to cut out carbs, you will definitely cut out grains like wheat (so no bread, pastas, etc.), but you will also limit your starchy vegetables (potatoes and corn), beans, some fruit (bananas, dried fruit) and sugar (candy, soda and desserts all have carbs).

On the other hand, if you’re going gluten-free you will have a different list of foods to avoid. Yes you’ll still nix wheat and wheat-products (cereal, pasta, cake, crackers, breads), rye and barley, but you’ll also need to avoid beer, processed lunch meat, salad dressing, soy sauce, most soups and anything with seasoning or flavoring added (most of those contain gluten). It seems like a lot, but it can be done.

Let us know if you’ve gone gluten-free or low-carb and how hard or easy it was!

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Photo credit: Joe Gough

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