The Rise of The Gluten Free Lifestyle - Why Coeliac Disease Has Exploded In Recent Times

Have you ever heard of Coeliac Disease? It's an autoimmune disorder caused by a reaction to gluten and is all too common in the UK and Europe, affecting around 1 in 100 people - yet only 30% are diagnosed! What's even crazier is that it can take 13 years for someone with symptoms to be correctly identified as having this condition. Thankfully though, awareness about Coeliac disease has been increasing over recent years so more testing options mean diagnosis times have been drastically decreasing. Unfortunately, its prevalence continues to rise each year at a rate of 7.5%. Gluten intolerance isn't something we should ignore or overlook; if anything it’s our responsibility now more than ever before.

Gluten Free

What are the causes?

Gluten intolerance is on the rise as more and more people have to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle. Could gluten sensitivity be linked to genetics? As more people have to turn to a gluten-free lifestyle, scientists may have stumbled upon an answer – and it's not what you'd expect. Recent research suggests this dietary intolerance could stem from genetic abnormalities which activate the immune system when exposed to wheat, rye and barley.

On top of this theory however is another perspective; some suggest gut bacteria imbalance can affect one’s ability to consume foods with gluten - leading us all into uncharted territory to better our understanding of digestion. Research also suggests that the early introduction of gluten to youngsters when their GI tract is still developing may increase the likelihood of sensitivities later on in life. Furthermore, specific environmental agents or diseases can also be implicated in such responses.

Gluten sensitivity or intolerance can often go undetected for years. However, it's essential to be aware of the warning signs such as gastrointestinal issues, skin diseases like eczema or dermatitis herpetiformis (an intensely itchy rash), lethargy and headaches - not to mention mental fog! If you experience any of these symptoms after eating gluten-containing foods, don't hesitate to seek advice from your doctor about possible diagnosis and treatment options.

What are the symptoms of Gluten intolerance?

Common symptoms of gluten intolerance may include the following:

  1. Bloating
  2. Abdominal pain
  3. Diarrhoea or constipation
  4. Headaches
  5. Fatigue
  6. Brain fog
  7. Vomiting
  8. Skin rash
  9. Difficulty concentrating
  10. Depression or anxiety

When dealing with gluten intolerance, it's essential to be mindful of what you eat. Gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley, rye, malt and oats should all be avoided unless labelled 'gluten-free'. Furthermore, when buying processed or packaged food items it pays to take a closer look at the ingredients list - there may well be hidden sources of gluten in them.

What not to eat if you’re Gluten intolerant

  1. Wheat
  2. Barley
  3. Rye
  4. Malt
  5. Oats (unless labelled as gluten-free)

Surprising Foods That Are Gluten Free

  1. Gluten-Free Crisps e.g. Lentil Chips
  2. Gluten-Free Chocolate
  3. Gluten-Free Ice Cream
  4. Gluten Free Sausages

What are alternatives and treatments?

If you have a gluten intolerance, don't worry - there are still plenty of delicious and nutritious options out there! Make sure to chat with a doctor about nutritional deficiencies that might occur from cutting out any food containing gluten too. That way, living without it won’t be much of a challenge at all.

If you have a gluten intolerance, don't worry - there is plenty of help out there. You can in-depth help and advice at Coeliac UK.

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