how can I tell if a food is gluten free?
There are several ways you can verify that foods in the "foods to check" column of the "what can I eat
" page are safe foods for coeliacs.
1. Reading the label
All pre-packaged foods in the UK are required by European law to list common food allergens where used. It is important that you make sure you fully check the product label and if you are unsure in any way confirm with the manufacturer of the product, who should be able to advise you if the food is safe for coeliacs. Many manufacturers feature a “contains” bar which highlights any of the common allergens which are contained in the product.
|Ingredients that are safe for coeliacs*
||Ingredients that should be avoided
|Glucose syrups derived from wheat or barley (including dextrose)
|Distelled ingredients made from gluten-containing cereals, for example alcoholic spirits
* These are ingredients derived from gluten-containing cereals but are exempt from allergen labelling due to the fact that they are so highly refined. Experts opinion is that wheat-based glucose syrups and maltodextrins have no harmful effects on people with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. Manufacturers are not required to list the origin of glucose syrups and maltodextrins, as they are gluten free.
2. Coeliac UK’s food and drink directory
Every year, Coeliac UK produce a food and drink directory for their members which contains a list of all of the products available on prescription and in the supermarket which are safe foods for coeliacs following a gluten free diet. It is broken down into a useful index of foods manufactured especially for a gluten free diet and mainstream products which are safe foods for coeliacs to eat. The directory can also now be accessed online if you are a member of Coeliac UK
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein, which is commonly found in rye, wheat and barley. Gluten is found in most types of cereals, bread and pasta.
What can I eat?
Dietary Specials have constructed a table which is a quick reference guide, by category, to the foods that contain gluten versus those that are gluten free.
Avoiding gluten contamination
It is important that gluten free foods are not contaminated by gluten during storage and food preparation.
How healthy is a gluten free diet?
Within the media there have been questions raised about gluten free diets, claiming that they are unhealthy, lead to a high intake of fat and sugar and just don’t provide the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. This is simply not true!
Travelling abroad gluten free
For people following a gluten free diet, travelling abroad can often be difficult. We have a few useful tips that should make your gluten free travels abroad a little easier.