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Get familiar with gluten-free diets

Get familiar with gluten-free diets

While gluten intolerance and coeliac disease aren't uncommon, many people still aren't fully aware of what they mean, while those who suffer admit to feeling judged.

New research conducted by Schär, Europe’s number one gluten free brand, found that 48 per cent of those diagnosed have been accused of following a 'fad diet' while 61 per cent have felt criticised because of their eating habits. More worryingly, 62 per cent of those surveyed revealed friends and family members have told them that eating ‘just a little bit’ of gluten won’t do any harm, unaware that it could cause serious problems and discomfort.

"The gluten-free diet is the cornerstone of treatment for those with coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity. No other medical treatment options exist for these individuals. This attitude that ‘just a little bit won’t hurt’ could lead to the continuation of unpleasant symptoms and, for those with coeliac disease, may result in serious long-term health complications,” Professor David Sanders, consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, said in a press release.

Over half of sufferers, 54 per cent, confessed to eating foods that they shouldn't as they didn't want to feel like a burden, only to feel bad afterwards. A total of 37 per cent wouldn't even visit someone else's house for dinner to avoid being difficult, while 43 per cent no longer enjoy eating at social occasions because of their diets.

“These findings suggest that the dining experience is uncomfortable both physically and mentally for a significant percentage of those who must omit gluten from their diet," Schär dietitian Katie Kennedy said. "We need to help families and friends better understand these conditions so they recognise how important the food chosen and its preparation is for the wellbeing of sufferers."

For those who can relate, whether you're suffering or know someone who is, now is the time to act. Coeliac disease/ gluten intolerance people can't eat wheat, barley and rye, found in the likes of pasta, cereals, bread and cakes, but there are plenty of gluten-free options in the shops, or you can make them yourselves. Corn and rice are still fine to eat, as are seeds, millet and quinoa, so get adventurous in the kitchen with some meals including these ingredients. As for bread and cakes, try rice flower or corn flower.

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