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Gluten Could Be Making You Ill - But Do You

Monday, 10 May 2010


Nine out of ten people don't know what gluten is, even though more than half a million* of us could have an undiagnosed intolerance to it.


Suggested answers in a survey by gluten and wheat free food brand dietary specials (ds) included a dairy substitute, wallpaper paste, a greedy person or a fat calf, but actually, the ingredient is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.


Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition which is triggered by an intolerance to gluten and can cause a variety of symptoms including diarrhoea, weight loss, abdominal pain, bloating, excessive wind, constipation and tiredness. One person in every 100 in the UK has coeliac disease, but of these only one in eight is diagnosed** - meaning thousands could have the disease without realising.


The gluten survey was conducted as part of ds' Coeliac Awareness Week activity.  The awareness week, which runs from 10 to 16 May, aims to highlight coeliac disease to people across the UK.


Chris Hook, Managing Director at ds, said: "These silly suggestions as to what gluten might be are comical but it's frightening to think some of these people may have an intolerance to gluten without even realising it.


"It's amazing how many people have heard of gluten and yet don't know what it is.  It's an ingredient which so many people can't tolerate - either because they have coeliac disease, or an allergy or intolerance - and it's important to raise awareness of these conditions so people can learn to control them effectively.


"Coeliac disease can only be controlled via changes to diet, and as a result, it's important to recognise the symptoms and understand more about gluten containing foods.  Many people questioned had suffered from stomach cramps, bloating and diarrhoea on a regular basis, but only 2 per cent had even considered that they could have coeliac disease." 


For more information on ds visit www.dietaryspecials.co.uk




* Statistics from Coeliac UK

** Statistic from Van Heel D & West J. Recent advances in coeliac disease. Gut 2006;55: 1037-46

Notes to editors:

  • Nutrition Point is a UK company which was established in 1998 by entrepreneur Chris Hook, who was frustrated at the lack of food choices available for his wife and son who both suffer from wheat intolerance
  • Nutrition Point was established to distribute and market gluten and wheat free products and remains committed to making gluten and wheat free food as convenient and tasty as mainstream foods
  • Their Dietary Specials brand (ds) is brand leader in the sector
  • Since 1998 the team has been working closely with the loyal ds customer base to develop a superb product range including ambient, chilled and frozen foods
  • ds products cater for those with Coeliac Disease, and wheat or gluten allergies or intolerances, and are also suitable for those who choose a wheat or gluten free diet for lifestyle reasons
  • In 2002, Nutrition Point became part of the Dr Schar group, which has been established for over 25 years and is the European market leader in gluten and wheat free foods
  • In 2006, Dr Schar further strengthened their consumer offering across Europe by acquiring the whole free from business unit from Numico. This acquisition meant that Nutrition Point became responsible for the distribution and marketing of the Glutafin brand in healthcare, and TRUfree brand in retail throughout the UK and Ireland