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Coeliac Awareness and Gluten Free Diets

Coeliac Awareness and Gluten Free Diets

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This week is Coeliac Awareness Week, so a good time to discuss all things going gluten-free!

Being gluten free is a bit of a fad recently, and I wrote a post a while back about if it matters if someone follows a gluten-free diet if they don’t actually need to.

However, it is a good idea to get checked first for Coeliac Disease if you are going gluten-free because of gastrointestinal difficulties, anaemia and nutrient deficiencies, chronic fatigue or headaches.

Why? Because if gluten isn’t being included in the diet, it makes it very difficult to pick up the presence of Coeliac Disease. Research indicates that early diagnosis results in better health management.

Coeliac Australia reports that if Coeliac Disease is left untreated, risk of osteoporosis, infertility and some cancers increases. Further to that, 80% of Australians with Coeliac Disease remain undiagnosed; some can have symptoms for up to 10 years before getting their diagnosis!

Some people don’t have Coeliac Disease, but do suffer from Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity, whilst others are actually intolerant to wheat, not gluten. In these cases, gluten does not need to be removed from the diet entirely, in fact having a small amount sometimes can be a good idea.

Further to this, some people don’t find that following the gluten free diet to be enough; in these instances, trialling a lactose free, and/or the low FODMAP diet may be useful for symptom management (you can download our handy guide if you like!)

The thing that my clients with Coeliac Disease or Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity report to be the most challenging is eating food away from home; whilst the gluten free movement has been great for raising awareness of gluten, and increasing provision of gluten free options, some food service providers unfortunately don’t always take the gluten free claim as seriously as someone with Coeliac Disease need it to be.

The key things to remember include:

  • If you are having gastrointestinal difficulties, anaemia and nutrient deficiencies, chronic fatigue or headaches, it is a good idea to get tested for Coeliac Disease.
  • Not everyone who follows a gluten free diet needs to be 100% gluten free
  • If you work in food service, take the person seriously if they say they need to be gluten free… don’t assume they’re just someone on a fad diet.
  • If your symptoms don’t improve as much as you’d like, trialling a low FODMAP diet may help!

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