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Coeliac diets can cost nearly €1,000 more per year, research finds

The report from Safefood also found that coeliacs spend several hundreds euro more on healthcare every year.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

GLUTEN-FREE diets cost can cost nearly €1,000 more per year than regular diets, according to new research from Safefood.

Adults with coeliac disease face additional costs of €444 annually to follow a gluten-free diet, the research found, or €903 annually for a child.

It also found that additional healthcare costs for coeliacs amount to €426 for adults and €679 for children.

The Coeliac Society of Ireland has called for increased support to help people with coeliac disease pay for gluten free food amidst the cost of living crisis.

The society warned that coeliacs could suffer health complications if they cannot afford to eat a gluten-free diet.

The report, which was conducted across the island of Ireland, also found that 55% of people with coeliac disease in Ireland do not have good access to a dietitian. GPs are often unable to refer patients to a dietitian due to a lack of available services.
It also called for training in educational settings around food sensitivities.

People with coeliac disease cannot digest gluten, a protein found in wheat. This means they cannot eat most types of bread, pasta or breakfast cereals.

Sarah Keogh, a dietitian at the Coeliac Society of Ireland and a contributor to the research, said the findings “clearly demonstrates the financial burden people face if they have coeliac disease.

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“Coeliac sufferers have no option but to eat gluten free food and amid a cost of living crisis, with food prices rising for everyone, they will be worse hit than others.

“Without support to meet these extra costs, some may revert to cheaper foods that will lead to complications with their health and result in an avoidable burden on the State’s health services.

“Coeliac disease is a lifelong medical condition. The treatment for coeliac disease is dietary – they have to live gluten free – yet there is no support for medical card holders, under the Long Term Illness Scheme, or through the Drugs Payment Scheme. Why not?”

The report recommended that gluten-free food should be on prescription for people aged up to 18. PAYE workers who have coeliac disease are able to claim back 20% tax back on any food that is in the Coeliac Society’s foodlList.

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