Assessment of Nutritional Adequacy of Packaged Gluten-free Food Products

Can J Diet Pract Res. 2014 Dec;75(4):186-90. doi: 10.3148/cjdpr-2014-022.

Abstract

Purpose: There is concern about the nutritional quality of processed gluten-free (GF) products. The aim was to investigate the nutrient composition and cost of processed GF products compared with similar regular products.

Methods: Product size, price, caloric value, and macro- and micronutrient composition were compared between foods labeled "Gluten-free" and comparable regular products in 5 grocery stores in 3 Canadian cities. Data were calculated per 100 g of product.

Results: A total of 131 products were studied (71 GF, 60 regular). Overall, calories were comparable between GF and regular foods. However, fat content of GF breads was higher (mean 7.7 vs. 3.6 g, P = 0.003), whereas protein was lower (mean 5.0 vs. 8.0 g, P = 0.001). Mean carbohydrate content of GF pasta was higher (78 vs. 74 g, P = 0.001), whereas protein (7.5 vs. 13.3 g, P < 0.001), fibre (3.3 vs. 5.8 g, P = 0.048), iron (9% vs. 25%DV, P < 0.001), and folate content (5% vs. 95%DV, P < 0.001) were lower. Mean price of GF products was $1.99 versus $1.23 for regular products (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Some commonly consumed packaged GF foods are higher in fat and carbohydrates and lower in protein, iron, and folate compared with regular products. GF products are more expensive. Dietitians should counsel patients on the GF diet regarding its nutritional and financial impact.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Bread / adverse effects
  • Bread / analysis
  • Bread / economics
  • British Columbia
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Diet, Gluten-Free* / adverse effects
  • Diet, Gluten-Free* / economics
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Diet, High-Fat / economics
  • Edible Grain / adverse effects
  • Edible Grain / chemistry
  • Edible Grain / economics
  • Fast Foods / adverse effects
  • Fast Foods / analysis*
  • Fast Foods / economics
  • Flour / adverse effects
  • Flour / analysis*
  • Flour / economics
  • Food Labeling
  • Frozen Foods / adverse effects
  • Frozen Foods / analysis*
  • Frozen Foods / economics
  • Humans
  • Meat Products / adverse effects
  • Meat Products / analysis*
  • Meat Products / economics
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nutritive Value
  • Serving Size