If you suffer from gluten intolerance – or coeliac disease – the consumption of cereal-based products containing gluten proteins can damage the mucous lining of the small intestine. The small intestine cannot process the protein and becomes inflamed if it comes into contact with it. The symptoms range from diarrhoea and stomach pain to bloating; in children with coeliac disease the consumption of gluten can even lead to arrested growth or a delay in the onset of puberty. A doctor should always be consulted if gluten intolerance is suspected.
A diagnosis of coeliac disease means that you will have to modify your diet. Since the gluten proteins in question are found in many different cereals (e.g. wheat, rye, spelt and barley), you have to be careful in your choice of bread or pasta, but there is no need to avoid these foods completely. More and more retail outlets have begun stocking gluten-free products including pasta, baking mixes and even beer.
We recommend natural foodstuffs such as fruit and vegetables, but you can also safely eat maize, rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat and nuts. Unprocessed meat and fish can also be eaten, as can natural dairy products.
Gluten often occurs in foodstuffs where you might not expect to find it. You should exercise caution when buying ready-made products, many types of seasoning and, by extension, seasoned foodstuffs. It's worth looking closely at the list of ingredients before placing an item in your trolley.