Are Croutons Paleo? No

Croutons may seem harmless enough. After all, they’re usually included in salads and salads are healthy, right? As it turns out, that’s not always the case. Not all salads are created equal and those that include croutons definitely don’t make the top of the list. Bread that has been chopped up and dried out is still bread and it can still cause all of the problems normally associated with consuming wheat and gluten.

The Problems With Gluten

Those who are sensitive to gluten know that just a little bit of the stuff is enough to make them regret it. Even those of us who don’t have a reaction to the protein, though, should still be wary of eating it. Although our stomach has a pretty handy system of letting some nutrients into the bloodstream, while keeping others in the stomach until they are more fully digested, gluten messes with this system. It’s a sticky substance (it is, after all, what holds bread together and makes it soft and chewy) that adheres to just about everything, including the lining of the stomach. The body’s reaction to this is to increase the permeability of the lining of the gut. While this lets through the nutrients that need to get into the bloodstream, it also has the unfortunate consequence of letting in other substances that should stay in the stomach. When this happens, the body initiates an immune response to attack the foreign substances. This leads to inflammation, which, if allowed to become chronic, can lead to everything from heart disease to diabetes to Alzheimer’s.

Mark Sisson gives a more complete explanation on why, exactly, we should be avoiding grains on his blog.