In fact, many people are still unaware of what gluten actually is, or the variety of different foods and products in which it is found. By definition, gluten is a protein compound found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye; which is used in products to increase elasticity, giving them a chewy texture. Products as diverse as bread, chocolate bars, cosmetics, hair products, cakes and vegetarian meat alternatives can all contain gluten.
For those with gluten sensitivity, eating products containing gluten triggers their immune system, causing internal and external inflammation and digestive problems which can lead to intestinal damage. However, gluten sensitivity and the very serious Coeliac Disease, often go undiagnosed, because there are over 300 associated symptoms which can often be misdiagnosed as signs of other ailments, according to the Gluten Intolerance Group.
Recently, those with Coeliac Disease and gluten sensitivity are having their voices heard more through organisations like Coeliac UK, as well as individuals and bloggers like Intolerant London.