A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale.
A gluten-free diet is essential for managing signs and symptoms of celiac disease and other medical conditions associated with gluten.
A new research report launched by safe food has revealed a number of misperceptions of the health benefits of gluten-free products.
The new figures reveal that 75% of gluten-free snack foods were high in fat and 69% high in sugar, with calorie levels similar to a standard chocolate bar.
The findings showed that more than 1 in 7 people across the world considered a gluten-free diet a healthy way to lose weight, with 17% of people thinking gluten-free products are lower in fat than foods that contain gluten and a further 17% thinking they contained less sugar.
The research included an analysis of the nutritional content of 67 gluten-free snack foods, including nut products and savoury snacks, cereal and baked products, and confectionery.
Of course, for people who have a diagnosis of coeliac disease or those with a gluten-related disorder, avoiding gluten in their daily diet is an absolute must.
However, there is no consistent evidence that a gluten-free diet will improve your health if you aren’t sensitive to gluten.
Yet, we know from our survey that over 90% of people buying these products do not have a gluten-related disorder or have not been diagnosed with coeliac disease and therefore have no medical reason to avoid gluten in their diet.
A majority of gluten-free snack products have an unhealthy nutritional profile for everyone, whether or not they have a gluten-related disorder.
Many of the gluten-free snacks we surveyed are high in fat and sugar like other treat foods.
Snacking on foods such as fruit and vegetables, unsalted plain nuts and gluten-free rice cakes and cheese, are healthier options for us all.
According to industry estimates, the gluten-free food market worth $838m in 2016, an increase of 36% on the previous year with many gluten-free food products promoted by media personalities and sports stars as part of a trend for ‘clean label’, including ‘free-from’, food products.
Similar to recent trends we’ve seen with high-protein foods, gluten-free food is big business.
In the case of gluten-free snacks, you could end up purchasing snack foods with lots of added fat and sugar which are of no added benefit to your health.
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