Is Gluten-Free Just an Expensive Corn Overload?

Dawson tested a strand of my hair: 69 percent of the carbon came from corn. This may seem high, but it is typical for Americans.

I’m coasting past a week and a half of gluten-free eating.

The Cost of Eating Gluten-Free

My Wegman’s bill last night was just over $80 for what would normally be a typical weekly grocery shopping trip at my local Harris Teeter for about $40. Despite Wegman’s lower prices on most goods, my bill just about doubled. Why might you ask? Small box of corn pasta: $6. Gluten-free, steel-cut oats? $5. Not only are the specialty gluten-free goods exceptionally expensive, but other things that you would guess would be gluten-free (dressing? corn cereals?) typically like to stuff some extra tasty malt, barley flavoring, or wheat protein in. That means you’ll be shopping in the natural or organic sections for just about everything, if you haven’t been convinced to do so already. Alright, it’s expensive. You should have guessed that. What else?

Trade Wheat Gluten for Corn

Dawson tested a strand of my hair: 69 percent of the carbon came from corn. This may seem high, but it is typical for Americans. [source]

69% corn and that’s without going gluten-free. Sure, hopefully that number has gone down a bit over the past few years (the study was done in 2007) as the public has become more weary of high-fructose corn syrup and lots of other corn-based unnatural products; but what happens when corn becomes the grain-star of your diet?

I like bread. I like pasta. I like crackers. Before this experiment, I’ve generally eaten pretty healthy wheat products: Arnold’s double-fiber wheat bread, whole-grain wheat pasta, tasty wheat, garden-vegetable crackers. Those are all gone now though. Want to replace bread? Have a nice corn-based clump of bread-like substance. Your cracker replacement is covered with some tasty corn chips and your pasta can be replaced with that somewhat odd smelling corn-based stuff. Sure, there’s alternatives to the alternatives but the point is that going gluten-free puts an even further emphasis on corn in your diet.

Be weary. My stomach hurts.

➤ Read gluten-free experiment series

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