Research reveals gluten-free snack foods are not as healthy as we think

New research has found that gluten-free foods are not as healthy as we believed. According to safefood more than 1 in 5 people (23%) thought that gluten-free products were lower in fat, 21% thought they were lower in sugar and 19% considered a gluten-free diet was a healthy way to lose weight.

1 in 5 people purchase gluten-free foods but know so little about what is inside the products.

The safefood research also included a snapshot survey that looked at the nutritional content of 67 gluten-free snack foods. These snack foods included nut products and savoury snacks, cereal and baked products, and confectionery. Of all the gluten-free snack products surveyed, 75% were high in fat and 69% were high in sugar, with calorie levels similar to a standard chocolate bar.

Dr Catherine Conlon, Director of Human Health & Nutrition, safefood said: “For those 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, we would have a concern that some of these snack foods have an unhealthy nutritional profile for everyone, whether or not they have a gluten-related disorder. Snacking on foods such as fruit and vegetables, unsalted plain nuts and gluten-free rice cakes and cheese, are healthier options for us all.”

“We know from our survey that 92% 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. There is no consistent evidence that a gluten-free diet will improve your health if you aren’t sensitive to gluten. Many of the gluten-free snacks we surveyed are high in fat and sugar like other treat foods.”