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Environmental Nutrition: Gluten-free cookies, crackers, chips

Heidi McIndoo, Environmental Nutrition on

The onslaught of gluten-free foods has been a tremendous help to those managing celiac disease and other conditions requiring gluten avoidance. However, it has also led to misunderstandings for some trying to eat more healthfully.

Misconceptions include believing all gluten-free foods are inherently better for you than their gluten-containing counterparts. Another is that eating gluten-free is a healthier way for everyone to eat. In reality, neither of those beliefs are true.

Avoiding gluten does not guarantee a healthy eating plan for those without gluten-related conditions. In fact, without the guidance of a knowledgeable expert, like a registered dietitian, eliminating gluten-containing foods may result in nutritional deficiencies of various nutrients. In addition (and in most cases), a cookie is a cookie, a chip is a chip. In other words, just because an item is gluten-free does not automatically make it a superfood. However, a gluten-free snack can fit into a healthy eating plan.

In general, foods in this category aren’t going to provide substantial amounts of many nutrients. When making your choices, look for options that may contain protein or fiber or aren’t too high in sodium, saturated fat, or added sugar.

Helpful hints: Consider the following when selecting your gluten-free snacks.

Be in the know. The serving sizes vary greatly between products so be sure you’re aware of the serving size of your snack of choice.

 

Sweeties. Most gluten-free cookies contain added sugar just as traditional cookies do. Be sure to include it as part of your daily added sugar amount.

Allergy alert. When replacing gluten, manufacturers sometimes use uncommon ingredients. Be sure to scan the ingredient list for potential allergens.

(Environmental Nutrition is the award-winning independent newsletter written by nutrition experts dedicated to providing readers up-to-date, accurate information about health and nutrition in clear, concise English. For more information, visit www.environmentalnutrition.com.)

©2024 Belvoir Media Group, LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



 

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