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Six Dirty Secrets of Gluten-free Food

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.

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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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10 Responses:

 
celiac
Rating: ratingfullratingemptyratingemptyratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
23 Jun 2014 6:23:07 AM PDT
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.

 
Linda
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said this on
24 Jun 2014 7:38:21 AM PDT
I agree, give examples!

 
Mary
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said this on
23 Jun 2014 9:28:01 AM PDT
The points in the article remind people with celiac to keep reading labels even though a package reads "gluten free".

 
Doris
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said this on
23 Jun 2014 11:27:08 AM PDT
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.

 
Judy
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said this on
23 Jun 2014 4:11:46 PM PDT
What happens to companies whose products test more ram 20ppm but are labeled gluten free?

 
john j acres
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said this on
23 Jun 2014 4:27:48 PM PDT
In my opinion if there is dextrose or wheat fiber in gluten free products how could it be gluten free as these are derivatives of wheat?

 
sita
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said this on
24 Jun 2014 10:23:20 AM PDT
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.

 
SHansen
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said this on
30 Jun 2014 9:59:20 AM PDT
I see this article as a note for those needing/choosing the GF 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 GF foods are not always the "healthy" choice. Read the labels and not just the ingredients!!! Stay healthy!

 
Ruth Miller
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said this on
01 Jul 2014 8:34:40 AM PDT
Didn't say anything more than we already knew. Reliable info is what we need .

 
Sandra Christine
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said this on
06 Jul 2014 10:53:13 PM PDT
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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I have 2 copies of DQ9. One from each parent.

Obviously from the outside it's difficult to comment, but if I were you I'd leave allergies for now and pursue definitive celiac testing via your doctor and preferably a gastroenterologist. They're the first port of call for digestion issues. If you do wind up being celiac it's possible that other allergies or intolerances would resolve or improve in any case once you've been on the diet for awhile. That's been my experience. Ps note that wheat allergy is completely different and unrelated to celiac or non celiac gluten sensitivity.

Thank you ps, it may be better if the thread title was changed as we now have two 'overwhelmed' topics. If it were 'Bile ducts and celiac?' then it may attract more users with direct experience?

Hello and welcome Maybe? From reading others accounts there's a big variation in how quickly gluten antibodies respond to the gluten diet. I did similar to you and my doctor said that 1 week back on should be enough to show up in a test, but he didn't know what he was talking about sadly... The 2 week figure refers to the endoscopy, for blood testing 8-12 weeks on gluten is more normal. Basically if it comes back positive fine you have your answer. If its negative it may be a false negative due to your going gluten free beforehand. If you want to pursue a diagnosis then yes. Don't go off gluten again until you confirm that all testing is complete. Keep a journal noting any symptoms, that may be useful to you later. More info here: There's some good info in the site faq: https://www.celiac.com/gluten-free/announcement/3-frequently-asked-questions-about-celiac-disease/ I know how you feel! Partway through my gluten challenge I knew that too results notwithstanding. Fwiw I think you've found your answer. Good luck!

Learn more about testing for celiac disease here: http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/screening/ You do have to be on a gluten diet for ANY of the celiac tests (blood and biopsy) to work. While the endoscopy (with biopsies) can reveal villi damage, many other things besides celiac disease can cause villi damage too: http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/faq/what-else-can-cause-damage-to-the-small-intestine-other-than-celiac-disease/ So, both the blood test and endoscopy are usually ordered. There are some exceptions, but those are not common.