You’re probably never far from someone who suffers from a mild-to-severe food allergy. Peanut, fish, and eggs are just a handful of common allergies that have forced people to change their lifestyle and eating requirements.

You’ve also probably noticed a discernible rise in the ‘gluten-free’ lifestyle led by many up and down the country – and indeed the world.

It’s estimated that nearly 9 million people in the UK have now gone ‘gluten-free’, joining the ranks of people looking to improve their lifestyle, whether by force or by preference.

For those suffering from coeliac disease, though, living a gluten-free lifestyle is far from a trendy transition to cut the grain.

Gluten-free products have a huge presence in supermarkets, alongside vegetarian and vegan selections. Many see these ‘free-from’ products as expensive alternatives, with supermarkets capitalising on dietary requirements when possible.

But what does it mean if someone is ‘gluten-free’, and how has it transformed the lives of millions around the world?

Generally, ‘gluten’ is an umbrella term to describe the many proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Gluten’s main property is ‘holding’ foods together and maintaining their shapes. You won’t just find it in bread, cakes, and cereals, though – gluten can often sneak into shampoo and lipstick.

Some of our most popular foods present in our diets contain gluten. Bread, cakes, pasta, malt milkshakes, beer, and cereals are just a selection of foods containing those gluten proteins.

It’s clear that gluten has become a massive part of our diet. The vast majority of meals that we see as convenient all contain gluten, and this makes it even more difficult for those who need to avoid it.

Want to get up-to-scratch on all things gluten? MedAlertHelp has everything you need to know in this whistle-stop infographic.