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PHiE 2019, 100(2)

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Probl Hig Epidemiol 2018, 99(4): 351-357pl

Comparison of levels of knowledge and awareness in those on a gluten-free diet and those not following a gluten-free diet

Maria Sielicka 1/, Sylwia Sady 2/, Joanna Brzezińska 3/

1/ Katedra Towaroznawstwa Żywności, Wydział Towaroznawstwa, Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu
2/ Katedra Przyrodniczych Podstaw Jakości, Wydział Towaroznawstwa, Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu
3/ Studenckie Koło Naukowe Towaroznawstwa Żywności SPECTRUM, Wydział Towaroznawstwa, Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny w Poznaniu

Introduction. The basis for following a gluten-free diet is having sufficient knowledge concerning gluten-free ingredients and products.
Aim. The aim was to compare the level of knowledge and awareness among consumers and non-consumers of gluten-free diet with regard to gluten, its presence in cereals and selected food products, and coeliac disease. Moreover, the impact of period of following gluten-free diet on selected issues concerning compliance with such a diet was assessed.
Materials & methods. The study was conducted by with use of questionnaire among 600 respondents, 50% of whom were following a gluten-free diet for health-related reasons, the other half was not on a gluten-free diet.
Results. The majority (95.0%) of respondents on a gluten-free diet and 80.3% of those not on a diet correctly answered that gluten is a plant protein complex. Only 44.3% and 51.3% of respondents on a gluten-free diet knew that amaranthus and teff are gluten-free. Only 6.2% of respondents correctly indicated the presence of gluten in 10 of the products listed in the questionnaire. Respondents claimed that the high prices of gluten-free products and the necessity of eating meals outside the home are the biggest problems in complying with the diet.
Conclusions. Those on gluten-free diet showed a significantly higher level of knowledge concerning the properties of gluten, its presence in cereals, coeliac disease, and its symptoms and treatment compared with those respondents not following diets. Knowledge of the presence of gluten in selected food products varied. The period, a gluten-free diet was followed, had little impact on the level of respondents´ knowledge and the perceived problems in applying the diet.

Key words:  gluten, gluten-free diet, coeliac disease, consumer awareness