Advertisement

Are gluten-free food products healthier than wheat products?

Nancee Jaffe, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Gluten-free food products may not be healthier than wheat products. B vitamins and iron are stripped from wheat during processing, but then they're added back by law to improve its nutritional profile. Gluten-free products, unfortunately, are not included in that law, so any vitamins and minerals that are stripped out of the grain during processing do not have to be added back. Only a handful of the gluten-free manufacturers out of the hundreds upon hundreds of gluten-free manufacturers enrich their products.

In addition, the different types of flour that are used in some products -- for instance, gluten-free pretzels -- are not high-quality flours. They contain cornstarch and potato starch, which are broken-down carbohydrates that have no fiber in them. For the most part, these are processed white flours that just happen to be from gluten-free grains.

Gluten helps to hold food products together. To replace the gluten in a gluten-free product, manufacturers use different binders, fillers and stabilizers to keep the product together and cohesive so that it is similar to the corresponding product that contains gluten. Unfortunately these binders and fillers can cause all sorts of gastrointestinal distress.

Continue Learning about Special Diets

Why So Many People Are Going Gluten-Free - Should You?
Why So Many People Are Going Gluten-Free - Should You?
If you've ever polished off a fresh baguette or fought over that last slice of deep-dish pizza, you've eaten gluten. It's the healthy plant protein fo...
Read More
What fruit products should I avoid on the FODMAP elimination diet?
Patsy CatsosPatsy Catsos
The FODMAPS elimination diet is based on limiting "FODMAPS" in the diet. FODMAPS stands for Fermenta...
More Answers
What is carb-cycling?
Chris PowellChris Powell
Carb-cycling is a nutrition method that consists of alternating between high-carb and low-carb days,...
More Answers
Do Probiotics Have Any Side Effects?
Do Probiotics Have Any Side Effects?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.