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Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I eat dextrose?

Dextrose is gluten free. It can be made from wheat but the production methods involve a high level of hydrolysation, which means that no gluten is left in the sugars. The final ingredient is gluten free and dextrose can be eaten by people with coeliac disease.

Can I eat oats?

Oats do not contain gluten. They contain a similar protein called avenin and research has shown that most people with coeliac disease can safely eat avenin.

The main problem with a lot of the oats and oat products that you find in the supermarket is that they are very often contaminated with gluten from wheat, rye or barley during processing (such as harvesting or milling). Therefore, oats that are NOT labelled as gluten free should always be avoided.

Many specialist manufacturers now produce gluten free oats. 

If you have an ongoing symptoms or any concerns about including gluten free oats in your diet, please speak to your health professional.  

Do you have charity places in the London Marathon? How do I get a place?

Coeliac UK has charity places in a number of events, but places are limited. See our full list of events.

For the London and Brighton Marathon you will need to complete an application form, please email to register your interest.

What’s the difference between a gift and a donation?

Giving a donation to Coeliac UK covers both one off donations and regular amounts you decide to contribute. A gift is an amount of money you donate to us in place of receiving a gift for events such as birthdays, weddings or anniversaries and the funds will be made up of donations from your friends or family. To read more about these types of donations, take a look at our pages on gifts.

Prescriptions foods are fortified so they’re better for me, aren’t they?

Fortification of gluten free foods is not compulsory and there are examples of both prescription only and retail products that are fortified and conversely not fortified. Unfortunately, labelling legislation does not require declaration of nutrients such as iron and calcium but some products will put information about this, particularly where they have been fortified.

I’m confused by the ‘very low gluten’ label. Can I eat foods labelled as this?

Foods labelled ‘very low gluten’ have to be between 21 and 100 part per million gluten. This can only apply to specialist foods made for people with coeliac disease and we are not seeing this label in use in the UK. This level is suitable for most people with coeliac disease but if you are particularly sensitive, it may not be right for you.


Why is access to gluten-free staple food on prescription important?

Wheat is the basis of the staples in the diet and is therefore the most widely consumed grain in the UK. Removing gluten from the diet can therefore have significant impact on the diet.

Rates for adherence to the gluten-free diet can vary between 42-91% [1] and gluten-free staples on prescription have been related to inadvertent adherence [2].  Non-adherence to the gluten-free diet, the medical treatment for coeliac disease is associated with increased risk of complications including osteoporosis, infertility problems and in rare cases intestinal malignancy.

Research has shown that gluten-free staple foods are 3-4 times more expensive than equivalents containing gluten [3,4]. Availability of gluten-free food, particularly in budget supermarkets and corner shops is also limited or non-existent. These access problems underpin the need for provision of gluten-free staple food on prescription, particularly for those on a limited income or with limited mobility.

[1] Hall, N.J. Rubin, G. & Charnock, A. (2009). Systematic review: adherence to a gluten-free diet in adult patients with coeliac disease. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 30, 315-330.

[2] Hall, N. et al. (2013). Intentional and inadvertent non-adherence in adult coeliac disease. A cross-sectional survey. Appetite 68 56-62

[3] Singh, J. & Whelan, K. (2011). Limited availability and higher cost of gluten-free foods. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 24, 479-486.

[4] Burden, M., et al., Cost and availability of gluten-free food in the UK: in store and online. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 2015: p. postgradmedj-2015-133395

Why isn’t Coeliac UK taking legal action?

In England health policy is localised and in the last 12 months we have taken legal action where a CCG policy presented a blanket ban on gluten free prescribing. See our web page on Somerset CCG.  Once the results of the consultation are known we will consider next steps. The grounds for making a legal challenge may be very restricted if the implementation of change follows the law on the required consultation approach and appropriate changes in the regulations.

Are there any incentives for pharmacists taking part in the Community pharmacy supply of gluten-free foods scheme?

Introducing a pharmacy led supply scheme allows better stock control of gluten-free foods for pharmacists as well as providing a more flexible service to improve the patient experience.

Pharmacists and GP dispensaries are paid a service charge at six monthly intervals for each patient who accesses the service. When the scheme in Northamptonshire was introduced it was run as an Enhanced Service with funding for this element of the contract coming from Primary Care Contracting budgets.

Why does Coeliac UK engage with volunteers?

Coeliac UK engages with volunteers because they are very important in helping us achieve our vision and mission. Not only do volunteers add to the Charity through their skills and experiences, but they also bring with them passion and a desire to help. Volunteers are an essential part of Coeliac UK.

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