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Food and health

Differences in the macronutrient and dietary fibre profile of gluten-free products as compared to their gluten-containing counterparts

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2019) | Download Citation



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). The aim of this study was to compare the macronutrient and dietary fibre composition of GFP and GCC currently available in Spain.


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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Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Joaquim Calvo-Lerma, Paula Crespo-Escobar


  1. Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria La Fe, Avenida Fernando Abril Martorell 106, Torre A planta 0, 46026, Valencia, Spain

    • Joaquim Calvo-Lerma
    • , Paula Crespo-Escobar
    • , Sandra Martínez-Barona
    • , Victoria Fornés-Ferrer
    •  & Carmen Ribes-Koninckx
  2. Instituto de Ingeniería de Alimentos para el Desarrollo, Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain

    • Joaquim Calvo-Lerma
  3. Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe. Avda, Fernando Abril Martorell 106, Torre C planta 2, 46026, Valencia, Spain

    • Ester Donat
    •  & Carmen Ribes-Koninckx


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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Joaquim Calvo-Lerma.

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