Protein labelling accuracy for uk patients with pku following a low protein diet

Dilyana Kraleva, Sharon Evans, Alex Pinto, Anne Daly, Catherine Ashmore, Kiri Pointon-Bell, Júlio César Rocha, Anita Macdonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A phenylalanine (protein)-restricted diet is the primary treatment for phenylketonuria (PKU). Patients are dependent on food protein labelling to successfully manage their condition. We evaluated the accuracy of protein labelling on packaged manufactured foods from supermarket websites for foods that may be eaten as part of a phenylalanine-restricted diet. Protein labelling information was evaluated for 462 food items (“free from”, n = 159, regular, n = 303), divided into 16 food groups using supermarket website data. Data collection included protein content per portion/100 g when food was “as sold”, “cooked” or “prepared”; cooking methods, and preparation instructions. Labelling errors affecting protein content were observed in every food group, with overall protein labelling unclear in 55% (n = 255/462) of foods. There was misleading, omitted, or erroneous (MOE) information in 43% (n = 68/159) of “free from” foods compared with 62% (n = 187/303) of regular foods, with fewer inaccuracies in “free from” food labelling (p = 0.007). Protein analysis was available for uncooked weight only but not cooked weight for 58% (n = 85/146) of foods; 4% (n = 17/462) had misleading protein content. There was a high rate of incomplete, misleading, or inaccurate data affecting the interpretation of the protein content of food items on supermarket websites. This could adversely affect metabolic control of patients with PKU and warrants serious consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3440
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Food labelling
  • Free from
  • Gluten free
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Protein content


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