Celiac disease and gluten free diet are both relatively new terms in India. There are many false notions around these which baffle new patients and their families. Here are some facts to dispel some of these myths.
Celiac disease is a childhood disease
FACT: Celiac disease can develop anytime between infancy and 90 years of age. Initially only children were being diagnosed with this condition but now more and more adults are being diagnosed all over the world including in India.
Celiac disease is a "western" disease
FACT: The prevalence rate of 1% in India is the same as in other parts of the world. However, the diagnosis rate and awareness of the condition are extremely low here, hence the perception that it is a western disease.
Celiac disease is to be suspected only in case of gastro-intestinal problems.
FACT: Till few years back, almost all patients presented with gastrointestinal symptoms but today, about one third of children and most adults present with extra – intestinal symptoms. Celiac disease is now established as a multi-system disorder and hence should be suspected even if symptoms are not gastro-intestinal.
Only wheat needs to be avoided on a gluten free diet.
FACT: Apart from wheat, barley, rye, oats and products made out of them in any form need to be avoided too.
Gluten free food is not available in India.
FACT: India has many gluten free grains which are grown locally which are hence available in abundance and at reasonable prices – jowar, bajra, makki, ragi, kuttu, cholai etc. Daals, rice and vegetables form part of our everyday food. Hence, gluten free offers many flavors in India. In fact, world over, Indian cuisine is perceived as one of the most popular cuisines by the gluten intolerant community! Information about gluten in packaged products is however not available and hence the perception that gluten free food is difficult to obtain in India.
Source: Celiac India
Facebook account : https://www.facebook.com/CeliacIndiaandBeyondFoundation