COELIAC AWARENESS WEEK
As Coeliac Awareness Week kicks off this week, the dietitians at Be Fit Food thought it would be a great opportunity to explain what coeliac disease is and how we implement coeliac-friendly ingredients into our meals.
Coeliac disease is a chronic autoimmune condition where the body has an abnormal reaction to gluten, a type of protein found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. For someone with coeliac disease, eating gluten causes an immune reaction which damages the lining of the small intestine. This damage can affect the absorption of nutrients.
Symptoms can vary in those with coeliac disease, and some people may not have any symptoms at all. Common symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain) and prolonged fatigue, weakness and lethargy.
Coeliac disease reportedly affects 1 in 70 Australians, however approximately 80% of this number remain undiagnosed. This means that most people with coeliac disease don't even know they have it!
Coeliac disease affects people of all ages and genders, and although the exact cause of the disease is not known, a genetic predisposition to develop coeliac disease must be present. Environmental factors such as gastrointestinal infection during early childhood may also play an important role in triggering coeliac disease across the life cycle. (2, 3)
There are tests you can do if you suspect you have coeliac disease. However, for the test to be accurate, you must be consuming gluten in your diet.
People with coeliac disease must maintain a life-long gluten-free diet to avoid and minimise damage to the small intestine. This means removing all breads, pasta, cereal, biscuits, cake and other processed foods containing gluten. Careful attention should be paid to the labelled ingredients of processed foods and sauces, as many of these may contain sources of gluten that are not commonly known. While the trend of gluten-free diets has led to production of many gluten-free alternatives to bread, pasta, biscuits and other processed foods, people with coeliac disease are advised to consume these food products in small amounts, as many of these are highly processed and contain several food additives and preservatives. (3, 4)
At Be Fit Food, we use a range of gluten-free alternatives such as lupin flour as a replacement for regular wheat flour. Lupin is a kernel or seed part of the pulse family; closely related to soybeans and peanuts. Sweet lupin is the most common type of lupin produced and used in Australia. Sweet lupin is commonly used to enhance the nutritional content in a variety of products including baked goods such as breads and bakery items, pastas sauces and in meat products. Not only is lupin gluten free and soy free, it is made up of 35% dietary fibre and 35% protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains phytochemicals that have an antioxidant capacity from polyphenols and contains sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals including thiamine(B1), riboflavin (B2), Vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. At Be Fit Food, we use Lupin in our cookies, muffins and bread in order to take advantage of all the wonderful benefits lupin has to offer, including reduced hunger while dieting! Enjoy these as a snack on any of our programs or just as a healthy alternative to other sweet biscuit options available from supermarkets.
We offer a range of gluten-free meals that may be suitable for people with coeliac disease.
For more information about our gluten-free meals, you can book a complimentary dietitian consultation with a Be Fit Food Dietitian.
- Fasano A, Catassi C. Coeliac disease. N Eng J Med. 2012 Dec;367:2419-2426. doi: 10.1056/NEJMcp1113994
- Catassi C, Gatti S, Lioneeti E. World perspective and coeliac disease epidemiology. Dig Dis. 2015;33(2):141-6. doi: 10.1159/000369518
- Lionetti E, Catassi C. The Role of the Environmental Factors in the Development of Coeliac Disease: What Is New? Diseases. 2015 Dec;3(4):282-293. doi: 10.3390/diseases3040282
- Lionetti E, Catassdsi C. New clues in coeliac disease epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical manifestations and treatment. Int Rev Immunol. 2011;30:219-231. doi: 10.3109/08830185.2011.602443