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Awareness of Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance Growing Among Chefs and Public

Celiac.com 12/23/2011 - A research team recently sought to figure out the basic level of awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity among the general public and trained and untrained chefs, and to compare dining habits of people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity to those of the general public.

Photo: CC--Thomas SlyIn face-to-face interviews, and via internet survey, researchers asked people about their knowledge of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. They also asked people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity about their dining habits, in addition to asking chefs about their levels of training and education.

In all, the researchers surveyed 861 persons from the general public. They found that 47% had heard of celiac disease, 67% had heard of gluten sensitivity, and 88% had heard about peanut allergy.

They surveyed 790 people with either celiac disease (82%, n=646), or gluten sensitivity (18% n=144).  The vast majority of respondents to the study were female, making up 83% of those with celiac disease, and 90% of those with gluten sensitivity.

Those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity were older than the general public respondents, 57% of the patients were over 45 years of age compared with just 32% of the general public respondents (p< 0.0001).

The 200 chefs who were surveyed showed a much higher awareness of celiac disease, with 77% of chefs having heard about celiac disease compared to less than half of the general population. Interestingly, many more people in both groups had heard of gluten sensitivity, with 89% for chefs, and 67% for the general population, respectively.

Still, the chefs, like the general public, had a tendency to underestimate celiac disease was underestimated by both chefs (56%) and the general public (69%) while peanut allergy was overestimated by 55% of the general public and 60% of chefs.

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People with celiac disease may not be surprised to learn that a large majority, 63% of the 790 following a gluten-free diet reported avoiding restaurants more, and eating take-out food much less often than the general public.

One important finding was that the level of training had a great deal of impact on a chef's knowledge of celiac disease. Overall, trained chefs were much more likely to be familiar with celiac disease compared with untrained chefs (83% vs. 52%)

Also, there was a direct connection between the average price of a meal and the likelihood that the chef was familiar with gluten-free concerns. The more expensive the restaurant, the more likely the chef was familiar with celiac disease and gluten-free concerns. Restaurants with an average check below $25 had a 64% rate of awareness, while the rate for restaurants with a check over $65 had a 94% awareness of gluten-free concerns (p<0.0001).

In general, the survey team was impressed by what they saw as a fairly high degree of awareness of gluten-related concerns. Interestingly, both trained and untrained chefs were more likely to have heard of gluten sensitivity than of celiac disease.

Most people with celiac disease avoid restaurants, and eat out the home far less often than the general public. Still, many do eat out, and they do so by making sure they get their needs met.

The simple take away is that chefs are generally pretty aware of gluten-intolerance and celiac disease, and that chefs with better training and higher-end restaurants are more likely to deliver a gluten-free dining experience.

As always, communication goes a long way toward ensuring a pleasant and successful restaurant experience for anyone with celiac disease. Knowing your needs, sharing your concerns, and asking your server and/or chef about their gluten-free options and preparation methods can go a long way toward a smooth gluten-free dining experience.

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1 Response:

 
Kim
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said this on
23 Dec 2011 9:53:36 AM PDT
Thanks so much for posting this. It was great to read this, as I am new to celiac disease and was concerned about this. Now, I can rest assured that I won't hesitate to ask about this when dining out.




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Hi Steph and welcome I'm yet another Brit, funny how the alcohol threads flush us out I don't drink now but after a big night I used to get truly savage all day hangovers, much worse than those of my friends. They could include splitting headaches, vomiting, nausea, a 'fuzziness' in my head, sweats etc. After I put the pieces together and went gluten free I had a 'big night' on cider only and the next day was a revelation. What I'd thought was a 'normal' hangover was, for me at least, anything but. With gluten out of the equation hangovers were a breeze! The difference was mind blowing and just one more example of how gluten had been messing with me over the years. So when I read your post my first thought was that there was some trace gluten contamination going on. However: Obviously you've been at the diet for some considerable time now and know the score. I know Coeliac UK are firmly of the opinion that all spirits are safe but some (note some this a contentious one :D) members here will tell you they react to gluten based grain spirits for instance which distillation should render safe. Then there's the dangers of shared lines if you're drinking say Strongbow in a pub as alluded to above. Lastly it its wine, there's the often cited but maybe apocryphal these days 'flour to seal the casks' possibility. Finally there's bar snacks, maybe a brand of nuts etc that you snack on that may have changed their production process? I'm sure you've thought of these already, but it may be useful if you post your alcoholic drink choices / bar snack of choice up here maybe someone will have some input?. The second thing which leapt out was: Would you class yourself as super sensitive to cross contamination etc? Firstly that would make the cross contamination theory more compelling. You could test that out by having a drink at home under controlled circumstances to see whether the same issue arises? That could also answer the quantity question. Does one safe drink trigger it, two, three etc? Finally, and this is one that I find difficult, knowing you have the gluten issue may lead you to assume it's that when it could be something else. I tend to attribute EVERYTHING in the world to gluten these days due to it being able to affect me in so many different ways. Crisis in Korea? Gluten. Russian tanks massing on the Ukrainian border? Check their wheat intake. Global warming? etc. So it may make sense to pursue some other ideas at the same time. Try: http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/suddenly-drinking-alcohol-makes-me-sick http://www.steadyhealth.com/topics/very-abnormal-hangovers-thinking-it-could-be-allergy-to-alcohol Cheers Sorry, best of luck! Matt

Similarly, I've been vegetarian for 25+ years. A 2015 Nature study connecting emulsifiers with microbiome changes has me wondering about the processed foods that I ate in the past, and I wonder about the wisdom of eating as much seitan as I did. I mostly prefer my post-diagnosis diet since it forces me to consider every ingredient and to cook from scratch more.

LOL, that might put it into perspective if I explain it that way.

I am very interested in this too. My daughter tested negative for celiac, but has terrible primarily neurological symptoms. Because she tested positive for SIBO at the time and was having some GI symptoms, I was told it was just a Fodmap issue. I knew better and we have been gluten free for 2 years. Fast forward to this February. She had a SIBO recurrence that I treated at home with diet and herbal antibiotics because I couldn't get the insurance referral. She was doing great. Then stupid me brought in gluten containing chick feed for the new baby chicks we got. Feed dust everywhere. Total mess. Really, no GI symptoms (she was SIBO free by then)...but the neurological symptoms! my daughter couldn't walk for three days. Burning down one leg, nerve pain in the foot. Also heaviness of limbs, headache and fatigue. Better after three days. But unfortunately she had a TINY gluten exposure at that three day mark and had another severe reaction: loss of balance, loss of feeling in her back and arms, couldn't see for a few seconds, and three days of hand numbness, fatigue, concentration problems. Well, I actually contacted Dr. Hadjivassilou by email and he confirmed that the symptoms are consistent with gluten ataxia but any testing would require a gluten challenge. Even with these exposures, antibodies would not be high enough. His suggestion was maintain vigilance gluten free. I just saw my daughter's GI at U of C and she really only recognizes celiac disease and neurological complications of that. But my impression is that gluten ataxia is another branch in the autoimmune side of things (with celiac and DH being the other two). At this point, I know a diagnosis is important. But I don't know how to get there. We homeschool right now so I can give her time to heal when she is accidentally glutened, I can keep my home safe for her (ugh, that I didn't think of the chicken feed!) But at some point, she is going to be in college, needing to take exams, and totally incapacitated because of an exposure. And doctors state side that are worth seeing? Who is looking at gluten ataxia in the US?

Caro..............monitoring only the TSH to gauge thyroid function is what endo's do who don' t do a good job of managing thyroid disease. They should do the full panel and check the actual thyroid hormone numbers.........T3 and T4. The importance of the TSH comes second to hormone levels. In order to track how severely the thyroid is under attack, you need to track antibody levels.......not the TSH. I did not stay with endocrinologists because I found they did not do a very good job and found much greater help and results with a functional medicine MD. You should not have a goiter if your thyroid is functioning well and your TSH is "normal". Maybe they should do a full panel? Going gluten free can have a profound affect for the better on thyroid function and that is something that is becoming more and more accepted today. Ask most people with Celiac and thyroid disease and they will tell you that. My thyroid never functioned well or was under control under after I discovered I had Celiac and went gluten free. It was the only way I got my antibody numbers back down close to normal and they were around 1200 when it was diagnosed with Celiac. I was diagnosed with Hashi's long before the Celiac diagnosis. I am not sure Vitamin D has anything to do with thyroid antibodies but who knows? Maybe it does have an affect for the better. It is really hard to get Vitmain D levels up, depending on where you live. Mine are going up, slowly, even after 12 years gluten-free but I live in the Northeast in the US and we don't have sun levels like they do in the South. I take 5,000 IU daily and that is a safe level to take, believe it or not. I get no sun on my job so the large dose it is! Having Celiac Disease should not stop you from being able to travel, especially S. America. I travel, although I do agree that some countries might be very difficult to be gluten free in. You can be a foodie and travel with Celiac so no worries on that front. You may not be able to sample from someone else's plate, unless they are eating gluten-free too but I have had awesome experiences with food when traveling so you can too!