Investigating the public’s perception of the gluten free diet and whether health magazines, age and gender influence views and behaviour
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background Reports indicate that in 2012, the global market for gluten free foods was worth $4.2 billion and the free-from allergens market in the UK demonstrates impressive growth. Gluten free foods have increased in popularity for people not diagnosed with coeliac disease and are being endorsed as part of a ‘healthy lifestyle’. Methods A cross sectional, online survey of adults recruited via Facebook was used. Linkert Scale and open and closed questions were used to obtain the UK’s current perception and prevalence of a gluten free diet, investigating whether health magazines, age or gender affect opinions and behaviour. Results Almost half of respondents 44% (n=29) answered ‘I don’t know’ to the statement ‘a gluten free diet is the healthier choice for most’. 22% (n=29) of participants agreed or strongly agreed with this statement and were highly represented by females aged 25-34. 15% (n=10) of respondents had followed a gluten free diet in absence of coeliac disease for varied reasons, mostly relating to health and physical symptoms and 90% (n=9) of this group had excluded other allergens from their diet, such as egg, wheat and soya. Conclusions The number of people excluding gluten from their diet is higher than the 0.5-1% prevalence of those living with coeliac disease (Ciclitira et al 2010). Reasons for excluding gluten in the absence of CD are broad. Those excluding gluten in the absence of coeliac disease could be at risk of nutritional deficiencies, therefore may benefit from education and support in maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition and Dietetics
BSc (Hons) Public Health Nutrition