Like most of us, when shopping in health foods stores, I have a belief that the products there are of a higher nutritional value. It is easy to place foods in my cart without feeling the need to scrutinize labels and worry about additives or chemicals. But is this really safe to do?

As an acupuncturist and a nutritional advisor, I am often helping patients find higher quality foods that fit their particular needs and lifestyle. I like to keep abreast of the latest trends in healthy eating so I can help my patients and my family eat the best foods available on the market.

The latest craze is a gluten and wheat free diet. The word is out, and there is an endless selection of gluten and wheat free products on the market these days. With the new variety available, many of my patients have switched to gluten and wheat free breads for a more health-conscious approach to eating grains.

Wheat products that are produced in the United States today are not as healthy for our bodies; these products are super-charged with gluten and a type of wheat that sky-rockets blood sugar even higher than white table sugar does!

I am a supporter of this trend, but have noticed that all products on the market are not produced equally. During my latest trip to the health food store, I began to really read the ingredients in some of the most popular products on the market. While it is a great idea to avoid wheat products, it also is necessary to truly look at the ‘healthy’ products replacing them.

Take Udi’s, for example. Marketed as an ancient grain bread, upon closer inspection of their ingredients, I’d have to say they are anything but ancient. Certainly tapioca starch, corn starch, and evaporated cane juice (to name a few) are not ancient creations, and not anything any of us should be ingesting. And Udi’s is not the only company adding unhealthy ingredients to health food products!

As consumers, we all need to be wary of gluten and wheat free labels, as they do not always mean a more healthy choice in foods. Through my own research, I have found a few gluten and wheat free breads that practice what they preach–healthy ingredients in healthy food. Mana Bread and Paleo Bread (look for almond or coconut products) are companies with good products made with healthy ingredients.

My advice for all looking to eat consciously is to really look at ingredients no matter where you are shopping. Companies want to sell their products, and will market in any way they can to buyers–so don’t fall for marketing schemes! Be an educated consumer and you will be one step closer to a better, healthier you!