Gluten-free diet in French adults without coeliac disease: sociodemographic characteristics, motives and dietary profile

Br J Nutr. 2019 Jul 28;122(2):231-239. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519001053. Epub 2019 Jun 24.


The number of people avoiding gluten is growing in many Western countries. However, little information is available on their sociodemographic and dietary profiles. We aimed to describe sociodemographic, behavioural and dietary profiles of participants avoiding gluten in the NutriNet-Santé cohort. Participants of the NutriNet-Santé cohort - excluding coeliac patients - who completed a questionnaire about food exclusions, with complete data on sociodemographic characteristics and dietary intake were included (n 20 456). Food group consumptions and nutrient intakes according to self-reported avoidance of gluten were estimated using ANCOVA adjusted for age, sex and daily energy intake. Based on principal component analysis, three dietary patterns (DP) were identified. Association between DP and avoidance of gluten was investigated using multivariate logistic regression. All data were weighted on the French census. A total of 10·31 (95 % CI 9·90, 10·73) % of the participants declared avoiding gluten, of which 1·65 % totally. They were more likely to be women, older persons, non-smokers, to have a lower educational level and declared more food intolerances. They had higher consumption of fruit, vegetables and lower consumption of dairy products, salty/sweet and fatty foods and alcohol. After adjustments on confounders, a healthy dietary pattern was positively associated with total gluten avoidance (ORQuintile5vsQuintile1 = 14·44, 95 % CI 8·62, 24·19). Our study highlighted that, in this population, individuals who avoid gluten from their diet tend to have a diet more favourable to health. These results can serve as a basis for future studies investigating the potential consequences of a gluten-free diet in non-coeliac population.

Keywords: Dietary patterns; Gluten-free diet; Motives; Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity; Sociodemographic characteristics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Celiac Disease
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Gluten-Free / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet, Healthy / statistics & numerical data
  • Educational Status
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • France
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Socioeconomic Factors