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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-Free Foods High in Fat, Salt and Sugar

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Except for crackers, every gluten-free food in the survey had more saturated fat, sugar and salt than non-gluten-free counterparts.

    Caption: Photo CC--GFVancouver

    Celiac.com 02/13/2018 - It is perhaps unsurprising that processed gluten-free foods are less nutritious than their gluten-containing counterparts.

    We've had data showing gluten-free foods to be high in sugar. We've had studies that show us they contain more salt. And now, for the trifecta, we have a recent study that shows us they contain more fat, sugar and salt.

    A study by the University of Hertfordshire surveyed more than 1,700 products from five UK supermarket chains and found that gluten-free foods have more fat, salt and sugar than their gluten-including counterparts, despite consumer perception that they "healthier" options. Except for crackers, every gluten-free food in the survey had more saturated fat, sugar and salt than non-gluten-free counterparts.

    On average for gluten-free brown bread and white bread had more than double the fat of regular breads. Gluten-free products also had significantly lower protein content than their gluten-containing equivalents, and were generally lower in ï¬ber and protein.

    Gluten-free products were also more likely to break the budget. On average, gluten-free products were also more than 1½ times more expensive than their counterparts, while gluten-free brown and white bread and gluten-free white and wholegrain flour sold at more than four times the price of comparable regular breads, on average.

    Overall, gluten-free foods are likely to be less nutritious and more expensive than their non-gluten-free counterparts.

    Basically, people on a gluten-free diet need to be extra careful about getting nutritious food. Simply substituting gluten-free versions of a a standard non-gluten-free diet likely means more fat, sugar and salt in your diet, along with less fiber. If you don't have a medically diagnosed reason for avoiding gluten, then be mindful about four food choices.

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    Guest Barbara Anne Woodarek


    gluten-free folks should look to fruits and vegetables and safe grains for carbohydrate needs. When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, like most, I searched for gluten-free substitutes until I realized how expensive these products are and how nutritionally lacking/harmful they can be. Dessert products are particularly offensive. I do rely on a favorite gluten-free bread and gluten-free pasta but for the most part, I avoid gluten-free processed foods. Live and learn.

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    Yet another stupid article on this topic. Gluten free foods are vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and all kinds of other healthy items. Processed food is unhealthy. If you want to be healthy, you eat things that are naturally gluten free, Nobody has ever written an article disputing this, yet we see these stupid articles from time to time comparing the healthiness of regular cookies and gluten free cookies. Or pretzels. Or breads, or some other junk food.

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    I have seen many ads on the Celiac foundation site for breads and snacks all filled with high sugar high fats. I get it. Advertisement pays the bills but pressure should be placed on these manufactures if not already to make more healthy products. Our children deserve better, we all deserve better. This article is good as it is states the obvious to us celiacs but does not suggest a solution.

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    Just read the labels and you can see the foods are high in carbs also. The fruit, vegetable, nuts, seeds. comment is a stupid comment. We all know what food groups to eat but I cannot live without some bread or a muffin every now and then. Everything in moderation!

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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 science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. 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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