Yet another reason to skip those trendy “gluten-free” products

I’m astonished at how many of my patients believe all gluten-free foods are created equal. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Just because something’s gluten-free, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Especially if it’s a pre-packaged, processed “food” loaded with preservatives. And now there’s even more reason to stay away from these junk foods in disguise.

Apparently, a number of gluten-free products here in the U.S. are starting to include a legume called lupin, which is used frequently in other countries. This yellow-colored bean is particularly popular in Europe, Mediterranean countries, Australia and New Zealand.

Here’s what’s so concerning: Lupin contains the same protein that causes allergic reactions to peanuts and soybeans.[1] But since it’s not a nut, people who have peanut or soy allergies don’t know to look for it on labels. Obviously, this can be very dangerous—downright deadly, even.

But despite the risks, lupin is expected to become more popular because it’s high in protein and fiber and low in fat. (A perfect trifecta for food manufacturers, and their advertising teams.)

Supposedly, the FDA is “actively monitoring complaints of lupin allergies by U.S. consumers.” But I won’t hold my breath for them to do anything about it anytime soon.

If you’ve got a peanut, soy, or other legume allergy, make sure to look for lupin on the label of ANY food you pick up in the supermarket.

But, once again, your best bet is to skip packaged, processed foods altogether—“gluten-free” or otherwise

1. “New gluten-free ingredient may cause allergic reaction, expert warns.”, 8/25/14