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Adherence to a Gluten Free Diet Is Associated with Receiving Gluten Free Foods on Prescription and Understanding Food Labelling

Muhammad, Humayun, Reeves, Sue, Ishaq, Sauid, Mayberry, John, Jeanes, Yvonne M.
Nutrients 2017 v.9 no.7
Asians, Whites, adults, biopsy, celiac disease, databases, diet, dietitians, food labeling, gluten-free foods, hospitals, patients, questionnaires, surveys, United Kingdom
Treatment of coeliac disease requires a strict gluten-free (GF) diet, however, a high proportion of patients do not adhere to a GF diet. The study explores the practical challenges of a GF diet and dietary adherence in Caucasian and South Asian adults with coeliac disease. Patients with biopsy- and serology-proven coeliac disease were recruited from a hospital database. Participants completed a postal survey (n = 375), including a validated questionnaire designed to measure GF dietary adherence. Half of Caucasians (53%) and South Asians (53%) were adhering to a GF diet. The quarter of patients (n = 97) not receiving GF foods on prescription had a lower GF dietary adherence score compared with those receiving GF foods on prescription (12.5 versus 16.0; p < 0.001). Not understanding food labelling and non-membership of Coeliac UK were also associated with lower GF dietary adherence scores. A higher proportion of South Asian patients, compared with Caucasians, reported difficulties understanding what they can eat (76% versus 5%; p < 0.001) and understanding of food labels (53% versus 4%; p < 0.001). We recommend retaining GF foods on prescription, membership of a coeliac society, and regular consultations with a dietitian to enable better understanding of food labels. Robust studies are urgently needed to evaluate the impact of reducing the amount of GF foods prescribed on adherence to a GF diet in all population groups.