Are the dietary habits of treated individuals with celiac disease adherent to a Mediterranean diet?

F. Morreale, C. Agnoli, L. Roncoroni, S. Sieri, V. Lombardo, T. Mazzeo, L. Elli, M. T. Bardella, C. Agostoni, L. Doneda, A. Scricciolo, F. Brighenti, N. Pellegrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: The only treatment for celiac disease (CD) is strict, lifelong adherence to a gluten-free (GF) diet. To date, there are contrasting data concerning the nutritional adequacy of GF products and diet. There have been no studies that have assessed the adherence of individuals with CD to a Mediterranean diet (MD), a protective dietary regimen against major non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Therefore, we examined the adherence to an MD of a group of Italian individuals with CD and compared it with that of a healthy control group. Methods and Results: In a cross-sectional study, a sample of individuals with CD and a group of healthy subjects were included. The dietary habits of all participants were recorded using a validated food frequency questionnaire, and the adherence to an MD was determined using the Italian Mediterranean Index. Typical Mediterranean food consumption was not significantly different between individuals with CD and the healthy participants, except for fruits (P = 0.017). However, individuals with CD consumed significantly higher amounts of potatoes (P = 0.003) and red and processed meat (P = 0.005) than healthy participants. The resulting mean Italian Mediterranean Index was significantly higher in healthy participants than in individuals with CD (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The results raise questions concerning the food choices of individuals with CD, suggesting the need of encouraging them to make better food choices more in line with an MD, which would improve their nutritional status and better protect them from NCDs at long term. Protocol registration: (ID NCT01975155) on November 4 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1148-1154
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Gluten-free diet
  • Individuals with celiac disease
  • Italian Mediterranean index
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Nutritional quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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