Getting Gluten in Perspective

Gluten is a complex of proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and (sometimes) oats. By extension, it is commonly found in bread, beer, pasta and a wide range of processed foods.

For a small but growing part of the population (currently about 1.4%) eating gluten leads to coeliac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine (more).

Coeliac can be difficult to diagnose (more) and most sufferers do not realise they have the condition. A 2013 study suggests that about 65,000 New Zealanders may have the disease, of whom 75% are unaware of the fact (more).

At present, the only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet (more). More recently a coeliac disease vaccine entered Phase 2 trials  (more).

This and two other problems – wheat allergy and gluten intolerance – has led to a huge demand for gluten-free food, however nutritionists do not recommend a gluten-free diet unless it is necessary (more).

Do you have a problem with gluten?

Coeliac NZ offers their advice here.

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