Gluten-free bread has not been around for very long, yet it has already evolved in a number of interesting ways.
With more Americans reporting some level of gluten sensitivity year over year, it makes sense that the market would respond with gluten-free bread options.
The response to this bread has been mixed, to say the least, but for many health-conscious eaters, it’s better than nothing.
Today we’re looking at the various types of gluten-free bread, how the trend has evolved, what bread is truly the best for your health, and what the future holds.
Why some people avoid gluten
We often hear folks going to great lengths to avoid gluten, so we assume it must be harmful.
While there is a large portion of the population that can handle the stuff, for some people, it really does have an adverse impact on their health.
Gluten is a protein molecule with gluey, stretchy qualities, and is found in most processed flour.
These characteristics make for great pizza dough, spaghetti, and waffles, but we’re not all equipped with the proper enzymes to digest this material effectively.
What results is a type of low-level allergic reaction that can cause inflammation, stomach pain, and even cognition problems.
For those with Celiac disease, around one percent of the population, the impact of gluten is even more severe, sometimes resulting in difficulty breathing and hospitalization.
While only one in ten people have been officially diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, many other people have experimented with low or no-gluten diets and seen great results.
You don’t have to have a doctor tell you to avoid gluten. If you feel better without it, there’s no reason to keep it in your diet.
Now that nearly every restaurant has gluten-free options readily available, it’s clear that the market has responded to provide what the people really want.
But are those gluten-free choices really all they’re cracked up to be? That’s up for debate.
Popular gluten-free bread
According to Spruce Eats, it’s been an up-and-down journey for gluten-free bread over the years. The natural binding and rising qualities of gluten make GF bread hard to pull off.
Home cooks and health food companies have been experimenting since the 1980s to figure out the perfect mix of ingredients that replicates the fluffy, airy characteristics of classic bread.
At first, it wasn’t pretty. Both customers and food critics complained about the crumbly textures and uninspiring flavors that came to define the first generation of GF bread.
When the 90s rolled around, things picked up, and producers got more aggressive with testing new products that actually tasted good.
They branched out beyond bread and started to release cereals, crackers, and crisps, all 100% gluten-free. They weren’t mainstream quite yet, but the movement was in motion.
Over time, recipes got better, and GF bread saw increases in quantity and quality. Eventually, brands like Trader Joes caught wind of the trend, and gluten-free hit the big time.
Keep in mind that this happened over the span of over 40 years!
It didn’t happen on the cheap, either.
Prominent producer Three Bakers tells us that gluten-free products cost around 242% more than traditional bread products, offering some insight on the tight margins of these operations.
Luckily, consumer demand led to a boost in the industry at large, and breadmakers decided to hop on the gluten-free train one after the other.
Today, gluten-free products are seen in nearly every section of the grocery store.
Still, the gluten-free bread on the shelves leaves a lot to be desired. While they have certainly improved, consumers still have problems with consistency, flavor, and cost.
For this reason, many gluten-free folks have decided to abandon the majority of bread products and stick with crackers and smaller items that pack a crunch without the risk.
From a broader perspective, critics have made the point that these gluten-free products are not actually healthy, despite their marketing claims.
Is gluten-free bread really healthier?
Gluten-free bread has allowed millions of people to enjoy sandwiches, toast, and other favorites without putting themselves at risk of an allergic response.
The problem comes with the other aspects of gluten-free bread that are not so healthy.
For starters, it is uncommon that gluten-free bread is low in carbs. In fact, we’ve found that the majority of store-bought GF bread actually has more carbs than regular whole wheat bread.
Then there’s the issue of other questionable ingredients used to imitate the natural action of wheat and yeast in normal bread.
Stuff like xanthan gum, tapioca starch, and lots of processed sugars are a big turnoff for the health food crowd, despite their best efforts to leave gluten behind.
In an article for Lark, nutrition expert Natalie Stein made some good points as the debunked some of the main myths about gluten-free food.
The key takeaway: that GF label means nothing if there is no nutritional value to the food! This has been the downfall of so many brands, and the reason is now exposed.
It doesn’t matter if a brownie is gluten-free, it’s still loaded with sugar and weird oils.
It doesn’t matter if a portion of pasta is gluten-free, it still has enough carbs to last you an entire marathon, and then some.
It doesn’t matter if that cereal is gluten-free since it contains no fiber and will sit in your stomach like hardening concrete when it mixes with milk.
Natalie Stein made her point loud and clear, and many gluten-free diners are waking up.
All of these factors have put the GF crowd in a tricky spot.
Either they buy gluten-free bread and run the risk of overdoing it on carbs, sugar, and dairy, or they bite the bullet and totally give up bread for good.
And although corn tortillas, crackers, and lettuce wraps can fill the void for a little while, there’s still a deep yearning for real, delicious bread!
Enter the new gluten-free champ
It can feel like healthy food is now a game of jumping through hoops and Venn diagrams.
On one hand, a product may have some great features and appear intriguing at first, but you feel betrayed when you find out it is a total diet-buster just one or two other ingredients!
Just like the countless gluten-free dieters who aren’t satisfied with their grocery store GF bread options, we decided it was time to put real, tasty, chewy bread back on the menu.
After years of research, experimentation, and trial-and-error testing, we came up with a formula for great-tasting, gluten-free Superfood Bread, and we’re thrilled with the outcome.
We tracked the history of gluten-free bread over the years, picked up on the things they did right, and how so many producers went wrong.
For example, we got rid of the potato, rice, and other low-quality flours, and instead opted to use top-tier almond flour as our main source of starch, with plenty of healthy fat on top.
Instead of using sketchy binding agents and gums, we figured out a way to use egg whites and apple cider vinegar to reimagine the entire structure of gluten-free bread.
Our ingredients make a world of difference in terms of texture, taste, and nutrition.
Not only does the bread check all those key boxes it actually BEHAVES like real bread in the oven, toaster, and skillet.
That’s right, you can make grilled cheese, french toast, BLTs, and thousands of other amazing healthy creations with our bread as the foundation.
This bread doesn’t crumble or fold under the pressure of high heat or heavy ingredients. It holds it’s own and delivers on all fronts!
No more Venn diagrams, no more pros and cons, no more stress. Just amazing, delicious bread that you never have to question or feel guilty about.
Those who go gluten-free often have to give up some of their favorite foods in the pursuit of better health and a smaller waistline.
Although gluten-free bread has definitely been a step in the right direction for the health food movement overall, the current lineup of products simply doesn’t check all the necessary boxes for many people.
Even the healthiest gluten-free bread is still loaded with carbs, contains some iffy binding ingredients, and raises red-flags for folks who are also dairy-free.
We saw that too many folks couldn’t fully enjoy the gluten-free bread as it was, and we saw an opening for a bread that hits all the right notes for the health-conscious eater.
Low-carb, dairy-free, gluten-free bread that tastes amazing and delivers a huge amount of nutritional value in every slice. That’s what we do.
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We’re always sharing new stories, recipes, and reviews about our game-changing bread, and we hope you jump in on the fun with us!