While wheat, barley, rye, and cross-contaminated oats are considered dangerous grains to those who can’t digest them properly, they are by nature filled with valuable nutrition. For example, whole wheat in its whole grain state or when stone ground into flour is naturally packed with protein and fiber. When you eliminate whole wheat from your lifestyle, you automatically eliminate its nutrients and will need to find gluten-free replacements with similar nutritional features.
But when transitioning to a gluten-free diet, it’s easy to get in trouble from the start, feasting upon highly-refined, high-carbohydrate gluten-free foods made from white rice flour, potato flour, tapioca starch, and lots of sugar. Even though these flours work well functionally within gluten-free baked goods and products, they alone are not equivalent replacements for the nutrition whole wheat flour provides.
So, what are you missing? Whole wheat flour has 16 grams of protein per cup, while white rice flour has 8 grams per cup and tapioca flour has zero grams per cup. Wheat flour has 12 grams of dietary fiber, whereas white rice flour has 4 grams of dietary fiber per cup and tapioca flour has zero grams. By comparing these figures, it’s clear that a gluten-free diet is susceptible to a nutritional deficiency if other whole grains and flours are not incorporated.
Try to include higher protein, higher fiber gluten-free grains and flours in your diet.
Quinoa, amaranth, teff, and millet are sound replacements for wheat, barley, and rye. Even pure, gluten-free oats are an option if you have determined you can tolerate oats. Also, flours made from these grains will have a higher nutritional value when used in baked goods. Sorghum flour is also known for its wheat-like properties in baking and has a high nutritional value similar to wheat.