If you've got a family member or guest with food intolerances, learn to read the ingredients...
As many as one in 100 people in the UK are gluten intolerant and research indicates that up to 15% of people in the UK are estimated to be lactose intolerant.
Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Foods, the UK's leading gluten-free brand, and author of How to Cook for Food Allergies says, 'Even if you aren't lactose or gluten intolerant, cutting them out is not dangerous to your health. Some people find that just cutting down on these ingredients can actually make them feel less bloated and more energetic.'
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Sian Porter, Consultant Dietitian, advises, 'When in the supermarket, take extra time to read food labels. Many products contain both lactose and gluten, derived from dairy and wheat, barley or rye respectively. However, there are gluten-free alternatives available. If you're making a creamy homemade dessert, make it with lactose-free dairy to ensure you can all enjoy it without the worry that some of your guests will pay for it afterwards.'
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Both lactose and gluten intolerances share symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, sickness and cramps. In fact, many intolerances are misdiagnosed and as a result, 38% of people who think they suffer from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) might in fact be lactose intolerant.
It is also thought that between 50% and 90% of gluten-intolerance (coeliac disease) cases are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as IBS. Opting for gluten- and lactose-free can actually have benefits even for people who don't know they suffer from a food intolerance.
If you are catering for someone who is lactose intolerant, opt for non-dairy products like soy, or look for Lactofree®, the UK's only lactose-free dairy range (its cheese comes highly recommended).
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