Celiac.com 06/19/2014 - Congratulations, you’ve begun to eat gluten-free! However, just because a product is gluten-free doesn't mean that it is automatically healthier than gluten-containing counterpart.

Photo: CC--RestrictedDataSo, before you go patting yourself on the back for embracing gluten-free food, keep in minds that many gluten-free products are no healthier than their gluten-containing counterparts. Like many regular commercial products, many gluten-free foods are hiding one or more of these dirty secrets in plain sight on their labels.

Many gluten-free products, especially baked goods, are made with high amounts of sugar, salt, refined ingredients, fillers, fats, and even gluten contamination. Here are a few common offenders:

  1. Sugar—Many gluten-free products are high in sugar. In fact, many gluten-free foods contain more sugar than their gluten-containing counterparts.
  2. Salt—To make up for what they lack in flavor, many gluten-free foods contain as much or more salt than their gluten-containing counterparts.
  3. Refined ingredients—Just like many regular commercial food products, many gluten-free products are contain highly processed ingredients.
  4. Preservatives—Just like many regular food products. Many gluten-free products contain preservatives.
  5. Fats—Because gluten-free flours don’t bind with fats the same way as wheat flour does, many gluten-free products, especially baked goods, include vegetable oils or other refined fats to try to mimic their gluten-containing counterparts. This can make them no better in terms of nutrition.
  6. Gluten Contamination—In a recent test of grocery products claiming to be gluten-free, a number of products actually showed levels of gluten that were above the federally allowed maximum of 20 parts per million.

Check the label, especially with prepared, processed or refined foods. Meantime, I’ll be thinking up a list of examples to go with these categories. Share your own examples or comments below.

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