Pretzels are made primarily from wheat that has been made into a dough and constructed into a fun shape. No matter how much fun they may be to eat, though, pretzels are definitely not Paleo.
Paleo and Carbohydrates
To begin with, pretzels are composed almost entirely of carbohydrates. This means that consuming them (especially a large one, or a handful of smaller ones) can result in a spike in blood sugar, which then leads to a crash a few hours later. This is what leaves us feeling hungry, tired, and cranky, commonly referred to as “hangry”.
The Problem With Gluten
Macronutrients aside, wheat is highly inflammatory, thanks largely to the gluten it contains. Gluten causes problems for many individuals, even those who do not test positive for a gluten allergy. The best way to determine if you are sensitive to gluten is to eliminate it from your diet for at least 30 days, then reintroduce it to see how it makes you feel.
Gluten acts like glue and forms a barrier against the lining of our gut. This is problematic because the lining of our gut is designed to let some nutrients into the bloodstream, and keep others in the stomach until they are more fully digested. Gluten messes with this system and increases the permeability of the lining of our gut, allowing all sorts of toxins to get into our blood stream. This, in turn, creates an immune response which includes inflammation. This reaction is designed to protect us from toxins, but chronic inflammation can create a host of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
There’s even some evidence that wheat may be addictive.