If Lucky Charms are one of your favorite breakfast cereals but you can't tolerate gluten, you might be wondering if this sweet morning pick-me-up is on the list of foods you can eat. Knowing more about the manufacturing process will help you determine if Lucky Charms should be part of your daily meal plan.
Are They Gluten Free?
While once not gluten-free, Original Lucky Charms now are (according to Lucky Charms website)! This cereal, made with oats instead of gluten-containing grains may not be entire 100 percent gluten-free, but it's tested and retested to ensure it contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten. This is the amount the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says is acceptable to be labeled as gluten-free.
Lucky Charms contain gluten (barley, wheat, or rye grains) before the grains are sifted during the manufacturing process. However, this cereal is tested three separate times to ensure less than 20 ppm gluten are in the product. The Celiac Disease Foundation says 20 ppm is the lowest level of gluten that be scientifically detected, and it is an amount shown to be tolerated by people with Celiac Disease.
Choosing Lucky Charms
Lucky Charms are a safe bet if you have Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity because of the gluten-free status (containing less than 20 ppm gluten) of this cereal . However, Lucky Charms do provide higher amounts of added sugar (10 grams per serving) and are lower in fiber than many other breakfast cereals so they aren't necessarily the healthiest option. Sugar is the second ingredient listed on Lucky Charms food labels, and corn syrup is the fourth ingredient. The good news is Lucky Charms cereal is fortified with lots of essential vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of protein when mixed with low-fat milk or soymilk.
Lower Sugar Alternatives
When trying to shed pounds or simply maintain a healthy weight (and blood sugar) without the added sugar, consider lower-sugar gluten-free cereal alternatives. Aim for breakfast cereals with whole-grain oats or whole-grain rice listed as the first ingredient, and 5 grams or less of sugar per serving. Examples of healthier gluten-free options include Cheerios, Rice Chex, and gluten-free plain oatmeal. Cornflakes, Crispix, and Rice Crispies cereals are wheat-free and may be gluten-free in the future, says Kellogg's.