What is a gluten-free diet?

In Switzerland, about 1% of the population suffers from gluten intolerance. Those affected can suffer disorders of the digestive tract if they eat cereal-based products. However, the range of foods which sufferers can eat is not as limited as you might think. Here is what to look out for if you require a gluten-free diet.

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.


No need to avoid pasta etc.

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.


Be careful when buying spices and ready-made products

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.


The trend towards a gluten-free lifestyle

Eating a gluten-free diet has become something of a trend in recent years. The jury is still out on whether a gluten-free diet has any real benefits for those who do not suffer from coeliac disease. Whatever the benefits, real or imagined, coeliac sufferers can take advantage of the increased range of gluten-free foodstuffs that have become available.

In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.