European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 1021–1026 | Cite as

Glycaemic index of some commercial gluten-free foods

  • Francesca Scazzina
  • Margherita Dall’Asta
  • Nicoletta PellegriniEmail author
  • Furio Brighenti
Original Contribution



Gluten-free products present major challenges for the food industry in terms of organoleptic, technological and nutritional characteristics. The absence of gluten has been shown to affect starch digestibility, thus increasing the postprandial glycaemic response. However, in recent years, gluten-free technologies have been improved, thus possibly modifying this quality parameter. We investigated the glycaemic index (GI) of 10 commercial foods aiming to update the GI values of the most common gluten-free products consumed in Italy.


The in vivo GI was evaluated for six bakery products and four types of pasta. The postprandial glucose response was obtained in two groups with 10 healthy volunteers each.


The overall GI values ranged from 37.5 for breakfast biscuits to 66.7 for puffed multigrain cake. Breads and pasta had GI values consistently lower than those previously reported in the literature.


The present study showed that several commercial GF products exhibited low and medium GI values, not confirming the previous observations on the high GI of GF. However, considering the multiple formulations and processes for preparation of these products, further studies are recommended.


Glycaemic index Gluten-free products Coeliac patients Pasta Bakery products 


Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    Gujral N, Freeman HJ, Thomson AB (2012) Celiac disease: prevalence, diagnosis, pathogenesis and treatment. World J Gastroenterol 18(42):6036–6059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Thompson T (2009) The nutritional quality of gluten-free foods. In: Gallagher E (ed) Gluten-free food science and technology, 1st edn. Wiley, Oxford, pp 42–51Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Marco C, Rosell CM (2008) Effect of different protein isolates and transglutaminase on rice flour properties. J Food Eng 84(1):132–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Matos Segura ME, Rosell CM (2011) Chemical composition and starch digestibility of different gluten-free breads. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 66(3):224–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Korus J, Witczak M, Ziobroa R, Juszczak L (2009) The impact of resistant starch on characteristics of gluten-free dough and bread. Food Hydrocolloid 23(3):988–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jenkins DJ, Thorne MJ, Wolever TM, Jenkins AL, Rao AV, Thompson LU (1987) The effect of starch-protein interaction in wheat on the glycemic response and rate of in vitro digestion. Am J Clin Nutr 45(5):946–951Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Scazzina F, Siebenhandl-Ehn S, Pellegrini N (2013) The effect of dietary fibre on reducing the glycaemic index of bread. Br J Nutr 109(7):1163–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Moghaddam E, Vogt JA, Wolever TM (2006) The effects of fat and protein on glycemic responses in nondiabetic humans vary with waist circumference, fasting plasma insulin, and dietary fiber intake. J Nutr 136(10):2506–2511Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Emilsson L, Carlsson R, Holmqvist M, James S, Ludvigsson JF (2013) The characterisation and risk factors of ischaemic heart disease in patients with coeliac disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 37(9):905–914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Manavalan JS, Hernandez L, Shah JG, Konikkara J, Naiyer AJ, Lee AR, Ciaccio E, Minaya MT, Green PH, Bhagat G (2010) Serum cytokine elevations in celiac disease: association with disease presentation. Hum Immunol 71(1):50–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bulló M, Casas R, Portillo MP, Basora J, Estruch R, García-Arellano A, Lasa A, Juanola-Falgarona M, Arós F, Salas-Salvadó J (2013) Dietary glycemic index/load and peripheral adipokines and inflammatory markers in elderly subjects at high cardiovascular risk. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 23(4):443–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Berti C, Riso P, Monti LD, Porrini M (2004) In vitro starch digestibility and in vivo glucose response of gluten-free foods and their gluten counterparts. Eur J Nutr 43(4):198–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Packer SC, Dornhorst A, Frost GS (2000) The glycaemic index of a range of gluten-free foods. Diabet Med 17(9):657–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Novotni D, Čukelj N, Smerdel B, Bituh M, Dujmić F, Dujmić F, Ćurić D (2012) Glycemic index and firming kinetics of partially baked frozen gluten-free bread with sourdough. J Cereal Sci 55(2):120–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Capriles VD, Arêas JAG (2013) Effects of prebiotic inulin-type fructans on structure, quality, sensory acceptance and glycemic response of gluten-free breads. Food Funct 4(1):104–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dall’Asta C, Scarlato AP, Galaverna G, Brighenti F, Pellegrini N (2012) Dietary exposure to fumonisins and evaluation of nutrient intake in a group of adult celiac patients on a gluten-free diet. Mol Nutr Food Res 56(4):632–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    International Standards Organisation (2010) ISO 26642-2010. Food products—determination of the glycaemic index (GI) and recommendation for food classification. In: International Standards OrganisationGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Finocchiaro F, Ferrari B, Gianinetti A, Scazzina F, Pellegrini N, Caramanico R, Salati C, Shirvanian V, Stanca AM (2012) Effects of barley β-glucan-enriched flour fractions on the glycaemic index of bread. Int J Food Sci Nutr 63(1):23–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jenkins DJ, Wolever TM, Taylor RH, Barker H, Fielden H, Baldwin JM, Bowling AC, Newman HC, Jenkins AL, Goff DV (1981) Glycemic index of foods: a physiological basis for carbohydrate exchange. Am J Clin Nutr 34:362–366Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Frati Munari AC, Benítez Pinto W, Raúl AAC, Casarrubias M (1998) Lowering glycemic index of food by acarbose and Plantago psyllium mucilage. Arch Med Res 29:137–141Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Wolever TMS, Vuksan V, Eshuis H, Spadafora P, Peterson RD, Chao ESM, Storey ML, Jenkins DJA (1991) Effect of method of administration of psyllium on glycemic response and carbohydrate digestibility. J Am Coll Nutr 10(4):364–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wolever TM, Jenkins DJ, Nineham R, Alberti KG (1979) Guar gum and reduction of post-prandial glycaemia: effect of incorporation into solid food, liquid food, and both. Br J Nutr 41(3):505–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Gómez M, Talegón M, de la Hera E (2013) Influence of mixing on quality of gluten-free bread. J Food Quality 36(2):139–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Sciarini LS, Ribotta PD, León AE, Pérez GT (2010) Influence of gluten-free flours and their mixtures on batter properties and bread quality. Food Bioprocess Technol 3(4):577–585CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Smerdel B, Pollak L, Novotni D, Čukelj N, Benković M, Lušić D, Ćurić D (2012) Improvement of gluten-free bread quality using transglutaminase, various extruded flours and protein isolates. J Food Nutr Res 51(4):242–253Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Shobana S, Kumari SRU, Malleshi NG, Ali SZ (2007) Glycemic response of rice, wheat and finger millet based diabetic food formulations in normoglycemic subjects. Int J Food Sci Nutr 58(5):363–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Marti A, Pagani MA (2013) What can play the role of gluten in gluten free pasta? Trends Food Sci Tech 31(1):63–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Merayo YA, Gonzalez RJ, Drago SR, Torres RL, De Greef DM (2011) Extrusion conditions and zea mays endosperm hardness affecting gluten-free spaghetti quality. Intern J Food Sci Technol 46:2321–2328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Clemente G, Giacco R, Lasorella G, Coppola S, Trapanese E, Torre P, Greco L (2001) Homemade gluten-free pasta is as well or better digested than gluten-containing pasta. J Pediatric Gastroenterol Nutr 32:110–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Scazzina
    • 1
  • Margherita Dall’Asta
    • 1
  • Nicoletta Pellegrini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Furio Brighenti
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Nutrition Unit, Department of Food ScienceUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly

Personalised recommendations