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Open AccessArticle

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

Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, 711 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111, USA
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Nutrients 2018, 10(12), 1881; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121881
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 23 November 2018 / Published: 3 December 2018
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: gluten; nutrient composition; energy intake; dietary fiber; folate; MyPlate gluten; nutrient composition; energy intake; dietary fiber; folate; MyPlate
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Taetzsch, A.; Das, S.K.; Brown, C.; Krauss, A.; Silver, R.E.; Roberts, S.B. Are Gluten-Free Diets More Nutritious? An Evaluation of Self-Selected and Recommended Gluten-Free and Gluten-Containing Dietary Patterns. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1881.

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