Study shows many packaged items are high in sugar, sodium and fat.

Parents need to pay attention to all the ingredients in gluten-free foods, according to a recent study in Pediatrics, the medical journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The study, published in August, looked at the nutritional content of gluten-free products that manufacturers market to children and compared them with their traditional counterparts. Researchers found that the gluten-free products were not nutritionally better. To the contrary, 88 percent of them were high in sugar, sodium and fat.

The results are important for moms and dads whose children cannot eat gluten, but also for those who buy these products simply as a nutritional choice. “As for the parents who purchase GF products for their children because they believe such items are healthier than regular products, this study reveals that there is little nutritional advantage to doing so. Such findings echo those in other studies of child-targeted supermarket foods and reveal that products marketed as ‘better for you’ for children are as much about marketing as they are about nutrition,” the study said.

To read the full study, go to pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/142/2/e20180525.

For general information about reading food labels and making nutrition decisions for children, check out this AAP article, healthychildren.org/english/healthy-living/nutrition/pages/front-of-package-nutrition-labels.aspx.