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Availability, cost and nutritional composition of gluten-free products

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Purpose

– A gluten-free diet is the only possible treatment for coeliac disease, but studies about the nutritional content of gluten-free products and coeliac individual's diet quality are scarce. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the availability, price, and nutritional composition of gluten-free products in retail stores of a Brazilian capital city.

Design/methodology/approach

– All retail stores listed by the Brazilian Coeliac Association as gluten-free product selling places in the city of Florianópolis were visited. All available products were catalogued and their labels analysed for nutritional content. Similar gluten-containing products were systematically selected in order to allow comparisons. t-test, analyses of covariance, and cluster analysis were performed, all considering a 5 per cent significance level.

Findings

– Availability and variety of gluten-free products was limited and prices were high. Cluster analysis found similarities in the nutritional content of gluten-free and conventional food products, suggesting that although raw materials different than wheat were being employed, the composition patterns are the same. Certain advantages in the composition of gluten-free products were observed, regarding mainly calories and sodium, however, protein and dietary fibre values were inferior.

Social implications

– Results observed may negatively impact diet adherence and stimulate the intake of conventional products with harmful consequences to the quality of life and health of coeliac individuals.

Originality/value

– This paper conducted a careful evaluation of nutrition composition of gluten-free products from different categories, available in retail stores, which is rare in researches on this topic. Moreover, results call attention to the need of better care in product formulation and dietary guidance for coeliac individuals.
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Keywords: Availability; Coeliac disease; Gluten-free; Hierarchical clustering; Nutritional content; Price

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Programa de Pós-Graduação em Cie^ncia dos Alimentos, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil 2: Departamento de Nutrição, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil 3: Departamento de Estatística Universidade Federal do Paraná, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Florianópolis, Brazil and Programa de Pós-Graduação em Engenharia de Produção da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil 4: Departamento de Cie^ncia e Tecnologia de Alimentos, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Cie^ncia dos Alimentos, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil

Publication date: November 25, 2014

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