Gluten-free foods aren't as healthy as the real thing, nutrition experts warn

Gluten-free diets might not be as good for us as they seem [Photo: Pexels]

Gluten-free diets are having a bit of a moment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for us.

According to nutrition experts, gluten-free foods aren’t a healthy substitute for regular versions of certain dishes as they often contain lots of sugar and fat – and much less protein.

Researchers from the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition are urging that gluten-free products are re-created on a wide scale so that they match the products they’re substituting more closely.

An assessment of 654 products from 25 brands found that gluten-free options had a significantly higher fat content and poor nutritional composition in comparison to their regular counterparts.

Is saying farewell to pizza ever worth it? [Photo: Pexels]

They also lacked in protein, with normal versions of foods containing up to three times more protein than their ‘clean’ versions.

While Coeliac disease – a digestive condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed and unable to absorb nutrients – isn’t uncommon in the UK, many adults are taking on gluten-free diets despite not having the condition, which scientists have already warned against for the sake of our heart health.

Dr Joaquim Calvo Lerma, who lead the analysis of gluten-free foods, told The Telegraph: “As more and more people are following a gluten-free diet to effectively manage Coeliac disease, it is imperative that foods marketed as substitutes are reformulated to ensure that they truly do have similar nutritional values.

“This is especially important for children, as a well-balanced diet is essential to healthy growth and development.”

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