An online survey of gluten-free meal availability in restaurants in Cardiff, South Wales
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Background Coeliac disease affects 1% of people in the UK and Europe. Eating away from home is associated with poor adherence to a gluten free diet due to poor availability of suitable options and limited choice. Poor adherence is linked to decreased quality of life and increase mortality rate in coeliac sufferers. Methods An online survey and analysis of Cardiff (South Wales) based restaurants was conducted. Information was collected from restaurants which displayed an online food menu; including the variety and nutritional value of GF menu options available. Results Of the 53 restaurants surveyed, 21% offered gluten-free options on their online menu. Of those that displayed GF choices, just over half of those standard restaurant menus are suitable for people with coeliac disease. However, this value varied greatly across the restaurants studied. Unfortunately, this included restaurants with only 12% of the menu available to people with coeliac disease. In particular, meal options were more restricted for vegetarians with coeliac disease. Nutritional assessment of comparable foods showed minimal differences between gluten-free and standard menu options. Conclusions This study highlights the poor availability of gluten-free meals in restaurants in Cardiff. Eating away from home is associated with poor adherence to a gluten-free diet and a decreased quality of life and the lack of availability and variety of gluten-free restaurant options contributes to this. Therefore, this is an area which needs to be addressed to support people with coeliac disease to maintain a life-long gluten-free diet.
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