Reducing salt and sugar in gluten-free foods

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN

Q: Gluten-free food has too much salt and sugar, any suggestions?


Yes, it is true that gluten-free processed foods often have higher salt and sugar content than their regular counterparts. The food industry loves to add those in to increase the palatability of the food.

Here are some things you can do to optimize nutrition and reduce salt and sugar:

  • Focus on naturally gluten-free whole foods (fruits, vegetables, lean meats, legumes, dairy and gluten-free whole grains) and avoid processed foods.
  • Choose gluten-free whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, sorghum, amaranth, teff (make sure they are labeled gluten-free.)
  • For those times you choose processed foods, look at the label carefully for sodium and sugar content. Avoid those with "added sugar" and look for "low sodium" on the label or those that provide less than 5% daily value of sodium.

General tips to reduce sodium:

  • Avoid the salt shaker - use other spices and herbs to flavor foods
  • Avoid canned foods and vegetables - choose fresh or frozen.
  • Reduce intake of cold cuts, they are very high in sodium.
  • Watch condiments and spice mixes as they are often high in sodium.

Here is a link to a question Melinda answered about how to reduce sugar in your diet:

Reviewed and updated October 14, 2022.

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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