Gluten Free Products for Children

A study in the August 2018 issue of Pediatrics, "The Nutritional Quality of Gluten-Free Products for Children," examined the nutritional content of gluten-free products marketed specifically to children. The research showed that products labeled gluten-free are not nutritionally better compared to "regular" children's foods (those without a gluten free claim). In addition, many of the gluten-free foods for children had less protein, high sugar levels, and were of poor nutritional quality due to high levels of sugar, sodium, and/or fat.

Carefully look at product labels when making purchases.  Labeling foods "Gluten-Free" isn't required information. It is a voluntary claim that can be used at the manufacturer’s discretion. This claim should not appear in the ingredient statement on the Nutrition Facts label and can be included on the front of the package. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "Gluten-Free" Rule allows manufacturers to label a food “gluten-free” if the food does not contain an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, or barley or mixture of these grains.  To read the original articles and find tips for choosing foods, go to Healthy Children: Are Gluten-Free Products for Children a Healthier Option? at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Are-Gluten-Free-Products-for-Children-a-Healthier-Option.aspx and Healthy Children: Gluten-Free Food Labeling at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/nutrition/Pages/Gluten-Free-Food-Labeling.aspx                                                                                          9/2018