Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, affecting about 1% of the UK population. Symptoms can vary and can occur at any age - they include diarrhoea, stomach pain and indigestion. They are triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which damages the small intestine of people with coeliac disease, preventing the body from absorbing all the nutrients it needs from food. If left undiagnosed, it can lead to malnutrition and can prevent children from growing normally. Although the condition is permanent, by avoiding gluten you can stop the symptoms and limit the damage to the intestine.
Where can gluten be found?
Gluten is found in the cereals wheat, rye and barley and sometimes oats. But, cutting out gluten from your diet doesn’t mean you need to stop enjoying your food. Be inspired with our gluten-free recipe ideas and see our top-rated gluten-free foods, as voted by you. Going gluten-free is easier than you think!
*Coeliac disease can only be confirmed by a medical diagnosis, so if you have any concerns it is important that you consult a doctor before changing your diet.
Which foods should I avoid?
Wheat & rye based bread
Foods that are naturally gluten-free
Pulses (beans, peas and lentils)
Gluten-free recipe ideas
Nicola's gluten myth busters
Our Nutritionist Nicola Selwood, shares her top tips on what to look out for if you are going gluten-free. "There can be contradicting advice when it comes to gluten and what you can and cannot eat, so make sure you have all the facts to still enjoy a healthy, balanced diet."
I won’t be able to have bread or pasta again.Foods based on wheat, barley and rye can be made suitable for those with coeliac disease by removing the gluten. We stock a variety of gluten-free products, including breads, flour, cakes, biscuits, pasta, sausages and breakfast cereals.
Should buckwheat be avoided?Buckwheat is actually a herb, not a form of wheat and is tolerated by most coeliac sufferers.
Is spelt suitable for coeliac sufferers?
Although spelt, which is a type of wheat, contains less gluten than other wheat varieties, it is not suitable for coeliac sufferers.
Should wheat glucose syrup, wheat dextrose and maltodextrin be avoided?Although these ingredients are made from cereals which contain gluten, they have been processed (hydrolysed) so no gluten remains.
Can I drink spirits made from wheat?Spirits, where wheat is used, are gluten-free as all traces of gluten are removed during distillation.
What about beer and lager?
Beer and lager contain varying amounts of gluten and so are not suitable for people with coeliac disease. There are some that are specially manufactured to be gluten-free and will be labelled as such.
Should gluten-free products that contain malt extract or malt vinegar be avoided?
Some gluten-free products may contain small amounts of malt extract or malt vinegar and these are tolerated by most people with coeliac disease.