The gluten free diet has become the latest trend to hit the headlines. Gluten free options are found almost everywhere today but why has gluten been turned into the enemy?

Over the past 10 years gluten free products have become a familiar find on our supermarket shelves and on high street restaurant menus. The gluten free market is set to rise by 46% by 2017 according to Food Market UK so it looks like the gluten free option is here to stay.

Society is exposed to the diet within the media, with stories based around celebrities taking on the diet, emphasising why gluten is bad for you. This has resulted in the diet being turned into a ‘fad’. Some people take on the diet as a lifestyle choice. Because of this, the real reason why people cut gluten out of their diet has been overshadowed.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye which creates the elasticity in dough. When gluten is eaten by someone who has an intolerance or an allergy it can have a serious affect of their body. But alongside the intolerances and allergies some people have a disease called coeliac disease, which is controlled by a life long gluten free diet.

Despite one in 100 people in the UK suffering with the disease, there is still a lack of awareness. Nottingham based dietician Trish McDonnell explains the affect coeliac disease can have on a sufferer.

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Dawn Hartley, the owner of Hartley’s Coffee and Sandwich Bar which is based in the heart of Nottingham, was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2011 after many years of investigating her digestive problems.

“I think the media has made it a fashion thing”
Dawn Hartley, owner of Hartley’s

She decided to open Hartley’s cafe due to the lack of places that catered for her needs at a lunch time, such as a simple sandwich. She feels very strongly about the media’s representation of the gluten free diet.

 

There are many other diseases caused by gluten alongside coeliac disease. Dan Hodgett, was diagnosed in 2011 with colitis, diverticulitis and IBS. Although the 36-year-old technician’s condition had a turn for the worse.

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A lack of understanding about the reasons behind a gluten free diet can lead to serious consequences. If people with a gluten related disease, intolerance or allergy become ‘glutened’ it can lead to life threatening consquences for some. It’s extremely important for restaurants, cafes and those that provide a gluten free option express if there is a cross contamination of gluten within their food.

For more help and advice visit www.coeliac.org.uk

Signs of a gluten intolerance/allergy/disease

Bloating, diarrhoea, nausea, wind, constipation, tiredness, mouth ulcers, sudden or unexpected weight loss (but not in all cases), hair loss and anaemia.

If you feel you have any of these symptoms, please consult your doctor.

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