ULTIMATE Guide To Living GLUTEN-FREE In Singapore With Kids

This story is not – we repeat, not – about the latest food fad. For many families, going gluten-free is the difference between being healthy, or feeling sick. All. The. Time. Get help here!
23 July 2019


That’s what 13-year old Cate McNulty felt when, four months ago, she was diagnosed with Celiac disease, an autoimmune condition in which the body cannot tolerate gluten. The disease causes bloating and other unpleasant symptoms such as poor-quality sleep,  constipation or even diarrhoea and vomiting.

If Cate has gluten, she explains, “I feel terrible for two days, and spend time backtracking to figure out what I ate that made me sick.”

Though Celiac disease is treatable, it can bring on a host of symptoms, including digestive issues – like  Cate’s – and nutritional deficiencies, such as the malabsorption of iron, vitamin B12, zinc and other nutrients. The disease affects about 1 out of every 100 people.

And, there has been a substantial increase in the prevalence of Celiac disease over the last 50 years – with more people being diagnosed in the last 10 years, likely due to more attention given to gluten-aggravated symptoms, say experts interviewed for this story. Celiac disease is usually detected by blood tests and confirmed by small intestine biopsies. Other testing may include genetic risk testing to see if the person is predisposed to the condition.

A different diagnosis, with similar symptoms to Celiac disease, is gluten intolerance, or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). “If the work-up for Celiac disease is negative for an individual with symptoms associated with gluten intolerance,  they may be diagnosed with NCGS,” explains Dr. Brian Schwender, who is a Senior Consultant for Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Tucker Medical.

What is Gluten, Exactly?

Gluten is a type of protein found in grains including wheat, barley, spelt and rye. It’s found in most cookies, biscuits, cakes, pastries, crackers and breads, including pizza dough and noodles. With Celiac disease or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), eating gluten triggers an immune response in the body, causing inflammation and damage to the small intestine.

Read more tips in our gallery below!

(Bonus: Check out our great roundups of places to shop for gluten-free goods and restaurants that cater to gluten-free customers. Also, read this smart advice from an expat mum who’s been there, done that when it comes to raising her daughter with Celiac disease.)

By Andrea McKenna Brankin, The Finder Kids Vol. 27 / Images: 123RF.com, respective shops and businesses, GlutenFree.SG 

Like this? Read more Kids articles here and download the digital magazine from the App StoreGoogle Play or Magzter.

More on The Finder:

10 Best Places That Make GLUTEN-FREE Dining In Singapore A Breeze

5 Great GLUTEN-FREE Stores To Shop At In Singapore

Finding What Works: When Your Child Has To Go Gluten-Free

10 Best Places That Make GLUTEN-FREE Dining In Singapore A Breeze

This e-Bakery In Singapore Is Tops For Gluten- and Dairy-Free Bread and Cakes

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