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The gluten-free diet: access and economic aspects and impact on lifestyle

Authors Arias-Gastelum M, Cabrera-Chávez F, Vergara-Jiménez MDJ, Ontiveros N

Received 2 February 2018

Accepted for publication 4 April 2018

Published 21 June 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 27—34

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDS.S143404

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Chandrika Piyathilake


Mayra Arias-Gastelum,1 Francisco Cabrera-Chávez,1 Marcela de Jesús Vergara-Jiménez,1 Noé Ontiveros1,2

1School of Nutrition Sciences, Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico; 2Department of Chemical, Biological, and Agricultural Sciences, Universidad de Sonora, Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico

Background: The cost and availability of gluten-free products (GFPs) are aspects associated with gluten-free dietary compliance. In turn, following a gluten-free diet (GFD) could impact on lifestyle.
Objectives: To investigate the availability and cost of GFPs in Northwestern Mexico, to associate these factors with gluten-free dietary noncompliance, and to evaluate the impact of the GFD on lifestyle.
Materials and methods: Gluten-containing foods were compared with their gluten-free versions. The data were collected by store visitation (16 supermarkets and 10 health food stores). Individuals prescribed a GFD by a physician were surveyed (n=36).
Results: The gluten-free versions investigated (n=16) had limited availability (average 26.9%; 4.3 gluten-free versions available per store) and were more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts (190%–1088%, P<0.05). Poor gluten-free dietary compliance was attributed to the high cost (n=36) and low availability (n=30) of GFPs. Most respondents were afraid of dining out (n=35), were limiting their social activities (n=32), and had difficulties traveling (n=30).
Conclusion: Health care professionals who counsel gluten-sensitive patients should provide tools to facilitate access to GFPs and to minimize the cost of the GFD, and consider the diet-associated social restrictions.

Keywords: gluten-free diet, cost, availability, lifestyle, Mexico

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