Food and Behaviour Research

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Gluten-free diet in children: an approach to a nutritionally adequate and balanced diet.

Penagini F, Dilillo D, Meneghin F, Mameli C, Fabiano V, Zuccotti GV. (2013) Nutrients.  2013 Nov 18 5(11) 4553-4565 doi: 10.3390/nu5114553.

Web URL: View this and related abstract via PubMed here. Free full text is available online.


Gluten-free diet (GFD) is the cornerstone treatment for celiac disease (CD). GFD implies a strict and lifelong elimination from the diet of gluten, the storage protein found in wheat, barley, rye and hybrids of these grains, such as kamut and triticale. The absence of gluten in natural and processed foods, despite being the key aspect of GFD, may lead to nutritional consequences, such as deficits and imbalances.

The nutritional adequacy of GFD is particularly important in children, this the age being of maximal energy and nutrient requirements for growth, development and activity. In recent years, attention has focused on the nutritional quality of gluten-free products (GFPs) available in the market. It is well recognized that GFPs are considered of lower quality and poorer nutritional value compared to the gluten-containing counterparts.

The present review focuses on the nutritional adequacy of GFD at the pediatric age, with the aim being to increase awareness of the potential complications associated with this diet, to identify strategies in order to avoid them and to promote a healthier diet and lifestyle in children with CD.