Adherence to a gluten free diet is associated with receiving gluten free foods on prescription and understanding food labelling

Humayun Mohammad, Sue Reeves, Sauid Ishaq, John Mayberry, Yvonne Jeanes

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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.

© 2017 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoi:10.3390/nu9070705
Pages (from-to)705
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2017

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