Are gluten-free snacks a healthier choice?
Gluten-free foods are increasingly popular. People often think that a gluten-free diet is healthier, and that it can help with weight loss and improve energy levels. By Joana da Silva, Dietitian at safefood.
But our research on gluten-free snack foods found that:
- One in five people buy gluten-free products even though the majority of them have not been diagnosed with a coeliac disease and don’t have gluten intolerance.
- Three quarters of gluten-free snack foods were high in fat
- Seven out of 10 of the snack foods were high in sugar
- Most of the gluten-free snack foods have the same calories as a regular chocolate bar
Like high-protein snack foods, buying gluten-free products could see you paying more for snacks foods that have lots of added fat and sugar, and are of no added benefit to your health.
Healthy gluten-free snacks
Gluten-free snack foods mainly fall into three categories – nut products and savoury snacks; cereal and baked products; and confectionery. As many of these are high in fat and sugar, it is better to choose on-the-go snacks like:
- Chopped fruit and vegetables
- Unsalted plain nuts
- Gluten-free rice cakes and cheese
People with coeliac disease MUST avoid gluten for life to protect their health and well-being. It is not a choice, but a medical necessity.
Gluten-free snacks that are high fat, sugar or salt snacks should be limited to small portions once or twice a week as part of a healthy diet.