Background: For patients with coeliac disease (CD), compliance with a gluten-free diet, when eating food not prepared at home may be difficult.
Aims: We assessed whether there are differences in the eating habits of coeliac patients when compared to the general public. In addition, we compared chefs' knowledge with the public's knowledge about CD.
Method: A questionnaire survey about CD was performed on coeliac patients, chefs and the general public from the United Kingdom (UK).
Results: Three hundred and nineteen coeliac patients [mean age 53.8 years, 65.8% female], 513 members of the public [49.2 years, 62.6% female] and 322 chefs [37.6 years, 15.2% female] were interviewed. Chefs were less likely to have heard of CD when compared to the public (17.1% (55/322) versus 44.2% (227/513), respectively, P<0.0001). Coeliac patients ate less frequently at a friend's house than the general public (P = 0.003). Coeliac patients ate less frequently from take-away establishments (P<0.0001). However, coeliac patients' ate as frequently in restaurants (P = 0.078).
Conclusions: In the UK, chefs appear to know less about CD than the general public. Patients with CD feel justifiably cautious when eating food not prepared at home. Educating chefs about a gluten-free diet may alleviate the social restrictions on coeliac patients.