Gluten Free Potato Chips Do Not Make You Healthy

gluten free without breaking the bank

My friend and I took a road trip with our kids a few weeks ago to spend the day at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. After a full day of swimming, sun, and realizing our brown bag food was all gone, we stopped at a small market for snacks . I was craving potato chips, a treat I love but try to avoid. Anyway, we decided junk food was going to be a sweet splurge for the ride home and began to search the potato chip aisle. I was amazed at all the bags of chips trying to disguise themselves as healthy; organic, all natural, and especially the ones marked gluten free. I’m sorry but gluten free potato chips do not make you healthy.

Gluten Free is a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

Americans spent seven billion dollars on gluten free foods last year. For the one percent of the population who suffer from celiac disease, a gluten free diet is necessary to prevent gastrointestinal distress and other inflammatory problems. However, while only a small percentage of people are truly gluten intolerant, almost 30 percent of people say they are trying to eat gluten free.

I do agree that eating copious amounts of bread and pasta can make anyone feel bloated and lethargic, but does that mean we are sensitive to gluten or that we ate too much? Spending double the price to buy gluten free chips, cookies, crackers, and lasagna isn’t going to make anyone healthier if they don’t control portion size and have a variety of nutritious foods to go along with all the gluten free goodies.

Gluten Free Deja Vu

I am maybe a bit more sensitive to the diet of the day bandwagon because my mother jumped on every diet fad imaginable when I was a child. From sugar free to low fat to Slim Fast, you never knew when our whole pantry might be replaced with the latest diet craze. More recently, we’ve seen low carb, Paleo, and even raw foods become popular. Gluten free is not original in concept but does seem to offer a new bonanza of marketing options for companies taking advantage of the latest trend.

Being Gluten Free Without Breaking the Bank

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness estimates that eventually 50 to 60 percent of the population will be diagnosed with celiac disease. If that holds true, many more of us might be looking to go gluten free.

If you’ve done the homework and feel a gluten free diet might benefit you, keep in mind that vegetables, fruits, dairy, and non-processed meats are all naturally gluten free. Snack foods are generally not healthy, whether they are gluten free or not. Filling your kitchen up with processed, gluten free foods is going to cost a fortune and probably isn’t going to make you any healthier. A balanced diet with a few snacks thrown in here and there is the best way to achieve lifelong nutritional health.

If you do suffer from true gluten intolerance, I know many groceries offer gluten free flour. While it might not be as convenient, preparing food from scratch is almost always cheaper than buying processed. Anyone can save money by cooking at home.

Will Gluten Free Last?

It remains to be seen if gluten free will become a long term way of eating or go the way of the Atkin’s or Scarsdale diets. If you believe some researchers, more and more people will be diagnosed as gluten intolerant. Others believe gluten has been here for a long time, and it’s our processed diets that are causing the problem. Either way, don’t jump on the gluten free bandwagon just because it’s popular. If you want to eat a healthy diet, limiting wheat might be part of that plan, but make sure the foods you put into your body are nutritious and not potato chips disguised as healthy because of a gluten free label.

Have you enjoyed benefits of a gluten free diet? Do you think people associate gluten free with being healthy? 


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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of


  1. The problem is not on the food at all but to someone who partakes it. I consider your opinion about “Don’t jump on the gluten free bandwagon just because it’s popular.” We really have to be careful on the food we eat. After all, we are the one who could benefit it. We need for us to maintain more healthier than eating gluten foods. No need to be worry when you get weaken, gluten- free is more favorable to boost our metabolism. In regards to weight problems? Well, “It’s gluttony rather than gluten that is to blame for weight problems.”

  2. I’ve noticed a ton of food that says “gluten free” is actually pretty unhealthy. People would be quite shocked to hear that, especially since everyone believes gluten free diets are the new way to lose weight.

  3. I went on a gluten-free diet for fatigue a couple of times. It did help… But I spent most of the energy worrying what I could eat. Granted, this was 15 and 10 years ago before the diet truly took off and products were widely available. Still, it’s a lot of work even today.

    You’re right that most people won’t see — but may imagine — a big benefit. I think it’s probably more due to eating fewer carbs. Sounds like that’s going to change as gluten-free snacks become more widely available.

    And yes, people shouldn’t equate gluten-free with healthy. Dark chocolate is gluten-free. There is a great brownie mix that’s gluten free. Doesn’t mean they’re good for you.

  4. Thank you for writing this, Kim! I think we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to our bodies/environment that Celiac instances are rising so sharply. I’ve heard that it’s due to the Roundup in our wheat. Not sure if that’s true, but obviously something is wrong with our food supply or something that these folks are suffering more and more from Celiac. I personally have trouble with wheat, so I by and large just don’t eat it. Eating whole foods like veggies (primarily), fresh fruit, nuts and eggs have helped ensure me optimum health. So much of the Gluten Free food out there is simply a different version of processed crap. And as someone mentioned, most potato chips are gluten free anyway! I think the food industry is duping the public, as usual.

  5. My sister is glutent-intolerant, so I’m a bit more sensitive to the diet needs of people who truly can’t have gluten. While I do not think eating gluten-free chips makes you “healthy” per se, I do think that if more and more people are diagnosed and found to be glutent-intolerant, it’s probably a good idea to at least be aware of some foods/recipes they can eat so that you can be accommodating to them.

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