Published in Nutrition
Differences in the macronutrient of gluten-free and conventional products

Gluten-free diet is the lifelong therapy for patients with coeliac disease. A wide range of gluten-free products (GFP) is available, which mimics the characteristics of their gluten-containing counterparts (GCC).

Spanish Researchers compared the macronutrient and dietary fibre composition of GFP and GCC currently available in Spain and the results were published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 73, (6): 930-936, 2019.  

A cross-sectional study analysing the nutritional differences between 621 GFP and 600 GCC based on labelling information was conducted. Food items were categorized in one of 14 food groups. The first six ingredients were noted for each food item. A linear regression model was used to explain differences in nutritional composition between GFP and GCC and three independent models were created for bread, pasta and biscuits. 

Results showed that GCC had higher protein content than GFP, especially in flour, bread, pasta and pizza. Bread had higher total and saturated fat contents in the GFP in which palm oil was the main fat used. Flours and starchy ingredients used in GFP formulation were mainly rice and corn flours and corn starch, and palm oil was the most commonly used fat. In conclusion, GFP cannot currently be considered as equivalent substitutes for their GCC. The reformulation of the GFP with more healthy ingredients and ingredients is encouraged, using a healthy oil, pseudocereals and whole flour.

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