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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-free Foods Have Lots of Salt

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Many gluten-free foods and snacks are heavy on the salt, says a new study.


    Caption: Are gluten-free foods and snacks too salty? Photo: CC-- Ian Watson

    Celiac.com 08/29/2017 - The popularity of gluten-free products has soared, despite little evidence that gluten-free products are beneficial for people who do not have celiac disease.

    The number and range of gluten-free products continue to grow at a rapid pace, and manufacturers are adding more all the time. The proliferation of gluten-free products is inviting the scrutiny of nutritionists, some of whom are arraigning the alarm about questionable nutrition of many gluten-free foods and snacks.

    Recent products tests show that the vast majority of gluten-free snacks tested are far saltier than their non-gluten-free alternatives, say researchers. Just how much saltier? Researchers surveyed a total of 106 products, and found that many gluten-free snacks have up to five times more salt than non-gluten-free counterparts. And only a third of these products have proper warnings on their labels, according to a separate study by health campaigners.

    The team also compared salt content for each product in a particular category to the salt content (per 100g) of a randomly chosen gluten-containing equivalent product of that category. Notable differences in salt content include:

    • Schar Gluten Free Pretzels (3.0/100g), twice the salt of Sainsbury's Salted Pretzels (1.5g/100g)
    • Mrs Crimble's Original Cheese Crackers (3.5/100g), 2.5 times the salt of Ritz Original Crackers (1.38/100g)
    • The Snack Organisation Sweet Chilli Rice Crackers (2.6/100g), 3 times as salty as Aldi's The Foodie Market Crunchy Chilli Rice Snacks (0.84/100g)

    These revelations invite questions about whether health-conscious shoppers are being misled.

    Nutritionists are urging shoppers to look past clever packaging, and to not automatically assume that "gluten-free" foods are healthy.

    Full Survey Data: Actiononsalt.org


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    "These revelations invite questions about whether health-conscious shoppers are being misled."Indeed, I wonder whether we health-conscious shoppers have been misled for decades... being told about how dangerous salt is, when in fact there's little basis for the dire warnings. You might consider reading this book: "The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong--and How Eating More Might Save Your Life" by James DiNicolantoniorn

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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