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Gluten-free food isn't healthier for you, new study indicates

It’s also far more expensive

Sabrina Barr
Friday 19 January 2018 11:19 GMT

Eating gluten-free food isn’t necessarily beneficial for your health, a new study has claimed.

The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, compared the nutrient content and cost of regular and gluten-free food products in the UK.

Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire assessed the nutritional information and costs of the food products by collecting the data from manufacturer and supermarket websites.

While many people nowadays have begun following gluten-free diets or eating a reduced amount of food containing gluten, this may not be a wise course of action.

For those who have medical conditions such as coeliac disease, eating gluten-free foods is essential for their wellbeing.

However, for others, this isn’t the case.

According to the researchers, there’s no reason why anyone who doesn’t have a medical condition affected by the consumption of gluten should be avoiding it altogether.

“GF [gluten-free] food is unlikely to offer healthier alternatives to regular foods, except for those who require a GF diet for medically diagnosed conditions, and it is associated with higher costs,” the study concluded.

The researchers discovered that gluten-free foods typically contained more saturated fat, sugar and salt than regular food items, while also being lower in fibre and protein content.

The results of the study also highlighted the difference in cost between regular food and gluten-free food.

Gluten-free food products were approximately 159 per cent more expensive than regular food.

On the Waitrose website, you can see that 500g of Waitrose LoveLife gluten-free spaghetti is sold for £1.89, in comparison to 500g of regular essential Waitrose spaghetti for 89p.

In this instance, the price of a regular food item is over double the cost of the gluten-free version.

Around one in every 100 people in the UK suffer from coeliac disease.

However, in April last year it was reported that sales of “free from” products had seen an increase of 36 per cent in comparison to the previous year.

Experts have warned that avoiding gluten when you don’t need to could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.

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