A gluten-free diet

A gluten-free diet is primarily recommended for people with Coeliac disease; an autoimmune condition which is triggered by gluten in food, and for those with an intolerance, hypersensitivity or allergy to gluten. The diet involves the total elimination of products containing gluten from the daily diet.

Coeliac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disorder associated with the ingestion of gluten–a composite of storage proteins found in cereals: wheat, spelt, rye, triticale and barley. Gluten can also be found in oats, because of the high risk of contamination of the crop with other gluten cereals.

In Coeliac disease sufferers, gluten causes atrophy of intestinal villi, which are responsible for the absorption of nutrients from food, which consequently leads to malabsorption, malnutrition and a deficiency of nutrients in the body.

Untreated Coeliac disease, in this case not sticking to a proper, restrictive diet, can lead to very serious complications and health problems.

Such as: anaemia, osteoporosis, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, non-specific inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, high cholesterol, multiple sclerosis, infertility and even cancer.

As well as Coeliac disease sufferers, there are also people who don’t tolerate gluten well, and who observe symptoms such as: chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pains, bloating, constant fatigue, headaches, a high cholesterol level, depression and other symptoms. Gluten does not harm intestinal villi in these people, but it has a negative effect on their well-being.

Coeliac disease can develop at any age, both in young children and teenagers, as well as in adults. Once Coeliac Disease is diagnosed, a gluten-free diet should be followed for life.

In the case of a food allergy or intolerance, a gluten-free diet can reduce the severity of symptoms, or make them disappear completely.