Author Archives: Peter Bronski

I’m deficient, You’re deficient, We’re all deficient? (Part 2)

In  Part 1 of this article about nutrient deficiencies in the gluten-free population, I posed four critiques and questions that I promised to answer in today’s part 2. Without further ado, here we go…

Critique #1 questioned the small sample size of the research. I can’t do anything about that, and there’s not much to be said about it, so let’s move on.

Next, I think it’s easiest to address critique #3: How did nutrient deficiencies in the gluten-free population compare to Americans as a whole? To answer that question, I pulled data regarding nationwide averages from the USDA’s Community Nutrition Mapping Project. If I amend yesterday’s table that showed the percent of the gluten-free population who are deficient in given nutrients, and add to it a column for the national averages, this is what you find:

 

Nutrient GF Deficiency Nationwide Deficiency
fiber 74% 92%
calcium 82% 69%
thiamin 59% 19%
riboflavin 25% 11%
B6 35% 26%
folate 85% 40%
B12 29% 20%
iron 41% 11%

 

These numbers change the perspective a bit, I think. It’s not simply that the gluten-free population is nutrient deficient. When you compare us to the national averages, it gets slightly more complex. In some cases, such as folate, riboflavin, thiamin, and iron, we’re two or more times as deficient (as a group) than the nation. However, in other cases, such as B12, B6, and calcium, we still have greater rates Read More »

I’m deficient, You’re deficient, We’re all deficient? (Part 1)

I was recently reading a press release from Nature’s Path Organic about two of their new cereals. The press release made a familiar argument: the cereals “provide gluten avoiders with whole grains… unlike many gluten-free cereals which forfeit nutritional benefits…” The implication is that many gluten-free cereals (and other gluten-free processed foods, by extension) are more highly processed in order to improve taste and texture. But they do so by sacrificing nutritional quality.

There is some truth to this logic. Foods made from whole grains are inherently healthier than heavily processed foods, and I’ll use our good old enemy – wheat – to demonstrate. I compared whole grain wheat flour (less processed) with white, unenriched wheat flour (more processed) across a range of nutrient measures. Not surprisingly, the wheat underwent a profound loss in Read More »

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