KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- We've all heard about it -- the gluten-free diet -- but now consumer experts are poking holes in the craze, saying that some gluten-free foods are actually unhealthy alternatives to the real deal.
Consumer Reports looked at 81 gluten-free foods and its findings may have some people rethinking what they buy in an effort to stay gluten-free. Many were higher in fat, sugar and sodium.
For example, Rudi's Gluten Free multi-grain bread was twice the price of Nature's Own Whole Grain Bread. Plus Rudi's had more calories, more sodium and more fat, according to Consumer Reports.
XO Baking Company's gluten-free brownie mix had three times the saturated fat as a regular brownie mix, plus it was about five times the price. Gluten-free Honey Nut Corn Chex has 33 percent more sugar and 25 percent more sodium than some regular cereals.
None of Consumer Reports findings surprised Registered Dietician Diadra Harnden.
"Because of the popularity of the gluten-free diet a lot of people have misconceptions," Harnden said. "It's a weight- loss diet. Its going to make me look younger, but in actuality it depends on how you do it."
Harnden is a major proponent of reducing gluten in a diet, but she said people are kidding themselves if they think that somehow by replacing a processed food with gluten for a processed food without gluten they are being healthy.
The key she said is "eating healthy gluten-free foods, like brown rice corn, lots of fruits and vegetables , cheese and other dairy products. You will find your health will benefit from that in a lot of ways."