Food label usage and reported difficulty with following a gluten-free diet among individuals in the USA with coeliac disease and those with noncoeliac gluten sensitivity
- Y. Zhang,
- R. Kane. US Food and Drug Administration
Individuals with coeliac disease (CD) and those with noncoeliac gluten sensitivity (GS) have reported difficulty following a gluten-free diet (GFD); however, few studies have explored the link between the food label, gluten-free (GF) claims and the difficulty associated with following a GFD.
The present study surveyed adults with CD (n = 1,583) and adults with GS (n = 797) about their reported difficulty following a GFD, including assessing the role of food labels and GF claims, as well as other factors known to contribute to this difficulty. A two-sample t-test and chi-squared tests for equality of means or proportions were used for the descriptive data and ordinal logistic regression (OLR) was used to model associations.
On average, individuals with GS reported slightly more difficulty following the GFD than did participants with CD. According to the OLR results, reading the food label often was significantly associated with less reported difficulty following a GFD, whereas consuming packaged processed foods and looking for GF claims more often were significantly associated with more reported difficulty for both respondent groups.
Individuals with GS may rely more heavily on the GF claim for information about a product’s gluten content. Individuals with CD, on the other hand, may be more experienced food label readers and may rely more on the ingredient list for finding GF foods. More studies are needed aiming to understand the role of the food label in facilitating consumers’ ability to follow a GFD.