Are gluten-free food staples accessible to all patients with coeliac disease?

Original article by: Ozan Hanci, Yvonne M Jeanes

I think as gastroenterologists advice regarding lifestyle becomes a standard part of our everyday consultation. Eat less saturated fats, increase fruit and vegetables, decrease the amount of alcohol and in the case of a patient with coeliac disease, stop all gluten products.

I am certainly guilty of giving advice to my patients without really considering how easy my advice is to follow. This lovely article By Hanci and Jeanes, was one of those articles that really explores the patient experience and for me this has amazing value.

What surprised me when reading this article was that patients with coeliac disease get their pockets hit really hard. A striking example was that gluten free breads were 400% more expensive than standard breads.  Furthermore, as a patient with coeliac disease the convenience store is anything but well…..convenient. importantly,  none of the convenience stores sampled in this  study contained any gluten free food products.

It seems to me that advice is very easy to offer in clinic, the practicalities of following through with this advice is really important to consider. It should be noted and probably explained to patients the financial burden of having coeliac disease, the often difficulty in finding gluten free products outside the big supermarket setting.

Importantly, this sort of article shows us potential gaps in where we can help our patients.  Charities such as Coeliac UK are a fantastic resource to help our patients find foods they can eat and support that’s available. Significantly, this article is a timely reminder to think about the practicalities of the advice with give our patients in terms of diet. Think about cost, think about availability and discuss this with the patient at first diagnosis.

Being a coeliac disease is expensive….in the year 2019…this probably shouldn’t be the case.

Find the full article here :
Hanci O, Jeanes YM Are gluten-free food staples accessible to all patients with coeliac disease? Frontline Gastroenterology 2019;10:222-228.
https://fg.bmj.com/content/10/3/222

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