Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Nutrition Science and Dietetics

Advisor(s)

Sudha Raj

Second Advisor

Rick Welsh

Keywords

Celiac Disease, Dietetics, Gluten-Free Diet, Gluten Sensitivity, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Nutrition science

Subject Categories

Medicine and Health Sciences | Nutrition

Abstract

Objective: Gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley has been linked to the inflammatory response of the GI tract in individuals with Celiac Disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and in some cases irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Several factors have contributed to the increase in these gluten-related disorders in recent years, including improved medical diagnosis, public awareness of the disease, changes in the composition of wheat due to modern agricultural technologies and perceived health benefits from following a gluten-free diet. The purpose of this research was to examine the knowledge, behaviors and adherence to a gluten-free diet by individuals with a medical diagnosis versus those who self-diagnose themselves, and the nutritional consequences of following a gluten-free diet.

Methods: A survey instrument consisting of forty-three questions was designed to collect data. The self-administered questionnaire was distributed online using Qualtrics Survey Software and was made available to participants throughout Syracuse University from January 26, 2015 to February 9, 2015.

Results: Two hundred and eighteen individuals completed the questionnaire. Of these respondents, seventy-three individuals reported a gluten sensitivity/intolerance diagnosis, of whom 63% (n=46) identified as self-diagnosed and 37% (n=27) were medically diagnosed.

Conclusion: There are several reasons why individuals choose to follow a gluten-free diet (GFD). A GFD requires education and knowledge of gluten containing foods. Strict adherence of a GFD is challenging and may cause several nutritional deficiencies. However, a GFD can be wholesome and nutrient dense provided it is well planned under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

Access

Open Access

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