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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Just How Expensive is a Gluten-free Diet?

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 05/26/2016 - An Australian dietary organization has published a study showing the high and hidden costs of a gluten-free diet, and is calling for a subsidy program to help offset those extra costs.

    A newly published study quantifying the cost of gluten-free foods shows a family with two children can pay nearly 20% more for gluten-free food. The costs are even greater for single men on welfare.

    The study is the first of its kind to prove "that a gluten-free diet is a significant financial burden for many Australian family types," say University of Wollongong researchers Kelly Lambert and Caitlin Ficken, the study's authors.

    The study was supported by the Dieticians Association (DAA) of Australia, and the results appear in its scientific journal Nutrition and Dietetics. For their study, Lambert and Ficken compared gluten-free diet groceries with a standard non-gluten-free shopping basket using data from supermarkets in five varying suburbs in the Illawarra region south of Sydney.

    They found that flour actually showed the highest cost differential, with gluten-free flour costing 570 per cent more than plain flour, "so even making things from scratch is exorbitantly more expensive," said Ms Lambert, who is also a dietician at Wollongong Hospital.

    The study showed that wholemeal gluten-free bread was nearly five times more expensive than comparable non-gluten-free bread.

    In the face of these results, the DAA is calling for gluten-free diets to be subsidized for those with medical need.

    What do you think? Is a gluten-free diet for people in medical need something that deserves to be subsidized?

    Read the more at: Dietitians Association of Australia


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    Absolutely it should be subsidized! There are many of us who struggle just paying everyday bills that continue to rise while paychecks continue to shrink!

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    Guest Deborah Fletcher

    Posted

    I hope the US adapts to this as well and subsidizes the cost of gluten-free foods here for those who medically need it as well. It is very expensive for those on a limited monthly budget who have celiac or are gluten sensitive to afford to eat. This would help tremendously!

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    Guest Graham Ansell

    Posted

    Fruit, Vegetables, plain rice, meat, fish, eggs, dairy (if you can tolerate) it is all gluten free, it's the processed Gluten free man made rubbish that people don't need to eat that's expensive. Stay away from it!

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    A gluten-free convenience food diet should not be subsidized as this food is just not healthy, too many additives and sugar, and anyway most of it doesn't taste very good either. By subsidizing just bread and baking ingredients, including a variety of gluten-free flours, celiac sufferers could then afford to make their own food, much healthier and tastier. Manufacturers should be subsidized to get their food gluten-free classified and not be allowed to charge more just for a label. In Europe the allergens in food must be stated so reading labels is less of a risk.

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    As a person with celiac disease, I strongly believe that gluten free food should be subsidized worldwide. I don't buy a lot of gluten-free items because they cost way too much. So my diet is not as good as it should be. You end up depriving yourself of a lot of foods because you can't afford them.

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    I hope the US adapts to this as well and subsidizes the cost of gluten-free foods here for those who medically need it as well. It is very expensive for those on a limited monthly budget who have celiac or are gluten sensitive to afford to eat. This would help tremendously!

    So true.

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    Yes! I am the only one in my household who has to eat gluten-free and I spend an extra $800-$1000 a year. This doesn't include the extra fees passed on at restaurants. If it is necessary medically it should be subsidized.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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