Are Gluten-Free Diets More Nutritious? An Evaluation of Self-Selected and Recommended Gluten-Free and Gluten-Containing Dietary Patterns.

Academic Article


  • Gluten-free (GF) eating patterns are frequently perceived to be healthier than gluten-containing (GC) ones, but there has been very little research to evaluate this viewpoint. The effect of GF eating patterns on dietary composition was assessed using two independent approaches. One approach compared macronutrients and typical shortfall nutrients between MyPlate example menus developed with either GC or equivalent GF foods. In this analysis, the GF menus were significantly lower in protein, magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, folate, and sodium (p = 0.002⁻0.03), with suggestive trends towards lower calcium and higher fat (p = 0.06⁻0.08). The second approach was a meta-analysis of seven studies comparing information on the nutrient intakes of adults with celiac disease following a GF diet with control subjects eating a GC diet, and differences were evaluated using paired t-tests or Wilcoxon Signed rank tests. In this analysis, consuming a GF diet was associated with higher energy and fat intakes, and lower fiber and folate intakes compared to controls (p < 0.001 to p = 0.03). After adjusting for heterogeneity and accounting for the large mean effect size (-0.88 ± 0.09), the lower fiber remained significant (p < 0.001). These combined analyses indicate that GF diets are not nutritionally superior except for sodium, and in several respects are actually worse.
  • Authors

  • Taetzsch, Amy
  • Das, Sai Krupa
  • Brown, Carrie
  • Krauss, Amy
  • Silver, Rachel E
  • Roberts, Susan B
  • Publication Date

  • December 3, 2018
  • Published In

  • Nutrients  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Adult
  • Celiac Disease
  • Diet, Gluten-Free
  • Foods, Specialized
  • Humans
  • Meals
  • MyPlate
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritive Value
  • dietary fiber
  • energy intake
  • folate
  • gluten
  • nutrient composition
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • E1881
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 12