Gluten-Free, Multi-Grain, and Organic Junk Food

When shopping for food there are quite a few confusing buzz words out there that can easily be misleading. Just because a product says it’s multi-grain, 7-grain, gluten-free, or organic does not mean it isn’t highly processed. First and foremost, always read the ingredient label (as opposed to relying on the health claims on the front of the package). That is the only way to know what’s really in your food, and what you find may be surprising.

how to avoid organic junk food

  • Multi-Grain / 7-Grain: This claim simply means the product contains more than one type of grain (or in some cases as many as 7 grains). Some examples of different grains are wheat, barley, rye, spelt, rice, oats, and corn. Just because a food product is made with more than one of these grains does not automatically mean any of them are whole grain…and nutritionally speaking there is a big difference between refined and whole grains. For more on this topic check out: Understanding Grains and Nutrients in Refined vs. Whole Grains.

    Product Example: Snyder’s Multi-Grain Pretzel Sticks
    These pretzels contain more refined white flour (labeled as enriched wheat flour) and sweetener (labeled as molasses) than whole-grain flours.
  • Gluten-Free: Obviously the gluten-free label is important for those with an allergy, sensitivity or intolerance to gluten, but just because a food is labeled as gluten-free does not mean it isn’t highly processed. Gluten-free simply means that grains with gluten (like wheat, barley and rye) were not used when making the product. But just like the multi-grain example above the alternate grains may or may not be whole grain products…you must read the ingredient label to find out!

    Product Example: DeBoles Gluten-Free Rice Pasta
    This pasta is made from refined “rice” and contains no whole grains (like brown rice).
  • Organic: Even if a food product is labeled as certified organic it could still be made with sugar, white flour, and other refined ingredients. Just because the cookies are organic does not mean they aren’t junk food!

    Product Example: Late July Organic Vanilla Bean Cookies
    These cookies may be organic, but they still contain refined white flour (labeled as organic wheat flour), refined sweeteners (labeled as organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice syrup, and organic evaporated cane juice syrup), and additives (including soy lecithin and natural flavors).

The moral of the story is…always read the ingredient label to know what’s really in your food!

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  • Comments

    1. Dawn Font |

      weird question maybe but if we are not looking for ‘enriched wheat flour’ what are we looking for? i get so confused sometimes, aren’t we looking for wheat flour? and if it says that why would it automatically make it WHITE flour?

    2. |

      Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and
      sources back to your weblog? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my users would
      definitely benefit from some of the information you present here.

      Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!

    3. |

      This is great information which I will share. We just went officially gluten free after a blood test determined my son’s allergy. I am finding most “Gluten Free” products are just expensive junk food! I ordered some coconut flour and will be making him treats at home now. We will save the store bought stuff for special occasions.

    4. Lisa |

      Hi Lisa
      Many of your recipes use whole wheat flour. what is your best suggestion as a substitute for someone who needs to cook gluten free?

      • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

        Hello Lisa. Look for a gluten free flour option that consists of as many whole grains as possible vs the refined gluten free grains. Here is an example of one you can make yourself: Bob’s Red Mill has several options, as well. ~Amy

    5. S.P. |


      I’m new to the website, but was just wondering if people on a gluten-free diet eat bread of any kind? I have tried Rice bread, but it’s texture is not the same as other bread. Do most people on a gluten-free diet just totally avoid bread?

      Thanks so much!

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi S.P. I completely depends on the person. I am gluten free and only eat gluten free bread on occasion. It is hard to find a GF bread with quality ingredients and good texture but I do toast some from time to time. :)

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