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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Six Dirty Secrets of Gluten-free Food

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    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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    These generalized condemnations are not helpful. If you have information about what is healthy and what contains more than acceptable percent of gluten please tell what they are. This article just leaves one wondering and does not give useable information.

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    That would explain why I often get bloated after eating processed gluten free foods. I believe it's the preservatives and additives that are the problem. I try to eat fresh foods and bake my own bread.

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    These generalized condemnations are not helpful. If you have information about what is healthy and what contains more than acceptable percent of gluten please tell what they are. This article just leaves one wondering and does not give useable information.

    I agree, give examples!

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    We have also found that the dough conditioners like guar gum can aggravate digestion and gut disbiosis. When we cook gluten-free at home we never use these gums or carageenan and our foods turn out great. I wish manufacturers would stop using them.

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    I see this article as a note for those needing/choosing the gluten-free diet that being gluten free is not the only thing we need to know about the more readily available commercial products. Considering the healthy "extras" that I have to add to my own baking, it doesn't surprise me that commercially prepared foods find the cheapest/easiest way to produce and sell a food in demand for today's markets. A good reminder that not all gluten-free foods are not always the "healthy" choice. Read the labels and not just the ingredients!!! Stay healthy!

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    Guest Sandra Christine

    Posted

    We are all at different levels of learning. Some of you could be a little more grateful that this website is putting forth an effort to inform all people wherever they may be in knowing and learning. You may know the information, but if you haven't applied it...then what have you really learned and how have you applied it to your own personal health and well-being success?

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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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