Going Gluten-Free? All your Questions Answered.

  • What is gluten?A protein which occurs naturally in wheat, barley, and rye. More information.
  • Why is gluten bad for you?Most people can eat gluten without any negative effects, in fact whole-grains contain important nutrients. However, a small percentage of the population experience unpleasant side-effects as a result of eating gluten. This reaction is due to Coeliac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, or a wheat allergy.
  • What is Coeliac Disease?An autoimmune disease which is incurable but can be controlled by adopting a strict gluten-free diet.More information .
  • Why has gluten become a problem now?The wheat we eat today is very different to the grain grown in our grandparents’ time. Due to selective breeding to increase crop yields, the wheat we consume nowadays has a much higher concentration of gluten.
  • What are the effects of eliminating gluten?A Coeliac sufferer will experience a reduction in symptoms. There may also be some weight loss, or weight gain more information.
  • Is it safe to eat Gluten? Most people can eat gluten without experiencing any problems.  However, approximately 1 in 100 people worldwide have Coeliac Disease and must avoid gluten completely.    This means that in America alone, there are over 3 million people who cannot eat gluten.           10 – 15% of the population of The U.S. and Europe suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. These people may benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet.Anyone who is gluten intolerant and wheat allergy sufferers may also experience a reduction in symptoms by cutting out gluten.                         Figures from the World Gastroenterology Organisation, September 2015 
  • What is Gluten Intolerance? Some people who do not have Coeliac Disease do experience symptoms when they eat gluten. This is called a Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (or Gluten Intolerance). Gluten grains contain a high percentage of starch and sugars, both of which are easily fermented by bacteria in the intestine. This can result in bloating, cramping and diarrhea. Other symptoms include fatigue and joint pain but sufferers do not appear to have intestinal damage.
  • What is Wheat Allergy? Wheat allergy is a rare allergy, the symptoms of which include skin, respiratory or gastrointestinal reactions to wheat but not necessarily to the gluten itself. 65% of children with an allergy to wheat grow out of it by the age of 12. Figures from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI), 2014.
  • How long will it take until I feel better? This varies with each individual person. Some people experience relief of symptoms in 1 or 2 days, for others it can take months.
  • Which foods contain gluten? Wheat, barley, and rye are the main sources. However gluten can be present in many other foods, as an ingredient. See our  Foods to Avoid  list.
  • I’ve given up gluten. What can I eat? All meats, fruits, and vegetables are gluten-free, in their natural state. Many grains are also suitable, check out our Grain Finder for more information on what products to look for in your local health food shop. Most supermarkets stock gluten-free flour also. 
  • How do I use gluten-free flour? GF flour is slightly different from the traditional wheat-based product. It’s a combination of several different flours, often potato, maize and rice. See how to cook with gluten-free flour  for hints on how to get the best results.