The rise of the gluten-free fad has grown year on year, and with over a third of adult Americans trying to cut the stuff out of their diets, the gluten-free food industry has boomed. But the question is, unless you’re one of the 1% of people who actually have celiac disease, meaning that you can’t eat gluten without getting seriously ill, are there really any benefits to eating gluten-free products?
Probably not. “The foods can be significantly more expensive and are very trendy to eat, but we discovered a negligible difference when looking at their overall nutrition,” explains Dr Jason Wu from The George Institute for Global Health, Australia, who led a recent study looking into the differences between standard products and their gluten-free counterparts.
After looking at over 3,200 products across ten food categories, the researchers were able to find little to no difference in nutritional value of gluten-free food. They looked at core foods, like bread and pasta, but also at those considered to be junk like cookies and chips.
“In the core foods we found significantly lower levels of protein in gluten-free foods, but the remaining content such as sugar and sodium was actually very similar,” said Wu. “The same was the case in the discretionary foods, with almost no difference in their nutritional make-up.”
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