Are Pretzels Gluten Free?
When adopting a gluten free diet, it is common for patients to think through many of their favorite foods to determine whether they are gluten free, or if a gluten free version exists.
This happens often with snacks, so we’re taking a look at one of the most popular snacks – pretzels! Are pretzels gluten free? Are pretzels safe to eat on a gluten free diet? This article will explore these questions and more.
What is gluten?
As a refresher, gluten is a protein found in grains. While most sources point to wheat, barley, and rye as the gluten-containing grains, the reality is, other grains, like oats and corn, also contain gluten.
While gluten is present in a huge variety of foods, it is not an essential component of any diet. In fact, there are no nutrients in gluten that are not better obtained through other healthier food sources, like whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, as well as pasture raised meat and eggs, and wild-caught fish. In fact, not only is gluten not essential, it is actually detrimental.
Gluten is commonly found in bread, muffins, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. It is used as a coating on meats and fried foods, and is often hidden in sauces, dressings, and condiments.
What is gluten intolerance and what is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that is triggered by the ingestion of gluten. This causes Inflammation in the intestinal tract and other parts of the body. Systemic inflammation then contributes to further autoimmunity and health concerns.
Gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity describes a condition in which individuals have symptoms when they eat gluten that are similar to those with celiac disease. However, these people do not have the same antibodies and intestinal damage that exist in celiac disease.
Are Pretzels Gluten-Free?
Pretzels are typically made with wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Therefore, pretzels are generally not gluten free.
Are Pretzels Healthy?
Many brands have come out with a gluten free version of their pretzels, but are they healthy?
The reality is that many gluten free pretzels are not much better (or better at all) than their gluten-containing counterparts. Instead, many gluten free pretzels simply replace wheat flour with other refined flours and starches like rice flour, corn starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch.
If you do decide to snack on pretzels, I recommend watching your portion size so that you aren’t replacing more nutritious whole foods with processed snack foods. I also recommend opting for more thoughtful grain-free options like Fit Joy and Savor by Suzie.
The Bottom Line
Pretzels are typically made with wheat or other gluten-containing grains. Therefore, pretzels are generally not gluten free. While gluten free pretzels exist, they often use other inflammatory grains and oils, and they are highly processed and devoid of nutrients. Of course, gluten free pretzels can be enjoyed in moderation, just include them in your diet sparingly so that your diet consists primarily of healthy whole foods.
Limiting processed foods, even gluten free options, is especially important for those newly diagnosed with celiac disease or non celiac gluten sensitivity, or those trying to heal from years of gluten induced damage. Check out this article for more on Gluten Free Snacks!