Friday, May 31, 2024

Study reveals high cost of eating gluten free

Families could be paying up to 17 per cent more for a gluten-free diet, according to a study published in the Dietitians Association of Australia’s journal Nutrition & Dietetics.

University of Wollongong researchers Kelly Lambert and Caitlin Ficken compared the cost of a basket of gluten-free healthy food with a traditional healthy food basket, among four different family types. They found that following a healthy gluten-free diet was most expensive for nuclear families, single-parent families and single young males – and was even more difficult for these family types receiving welfare payments.

“A gluten-free diet is unaffordable for the majority of family types we studied and for most families receiving welfare payments in Australia,” said Ms Lambert, an Accredited Practising Dietitian.

The study found the purchase price of a basket of gluten-free staple foods was up to 17 per cent higher than the equivalent gluten-containing foods. It also found a hefty mark-up for gluten-free staples, such as bread and flour, compared with ‘regular’ foods.

“In all cases, gluten-free flour, muesli, wraps and bread were more expensive,” Ms Lambert said. “For example, gluten-free items were between 316 per cent (for wraps) and 574 per cent (for flour) more expensive per 100g.”

She is calling on the federal Government to consider a national subsidised ‘medical food’ program in Australia, similar to a model being used in England, so that people with coeliac disease can have better access to affordable gluten-free staple foods via prescription.

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