Prevalence of adverse reactions to gluten and people going on a gluten-free diet: A survey study conducted in Brazil

Jesús Gilberto Arámburo-Gálvez, Carlos Eduardo Beltrán-Cárdenas, Tatiane Geralda André, Itallo Carvalho Gomes, María Auxiliadora Macêdo-Callou, Élida Mara Braga-Rocha, Elaine Aparecida Mye-Takamatu-watanabe, Vivian Rahmeier-Fietz, Oscar Gerardo Figueroa-Salcido, Marcela de Jesus Vergara-Jiménez, Lilian Karem Flores-Mendoza, Noé Ontiveros*, Francisco Cabrera-Chávez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence of gluten-related disorders (GRD) and adherence to a gluten-free diet (GFD) remains unknown in Brazilian population and there is no published information on the scientific literature about the proportion of Brazilians that were diagnosed with a gluten-related disorder. Thus, the aim of this work was to estimate the prevalence of GRDs and adherence to a GFD by self-report in adult Brazilian population. Materials and Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted in two Brazilian cities. Results: The response rate was 93.2% (1630/1749). The self-reported prevalence rates were (95% CI): adverse reactions to gluten 10.06% (8.64–11.62); gluten sensitivity 2.33% (1.65–3.18); physician-diagnosed celiac disease 0.3% (0.09– 0.71); non-celiac gluten sensitivity 1.71% (1.14–2.47); wheat allergy 0.79% (0.42–1.36); adherence to gluten-free diet 7.48% (6.25–8.87); gluten avoiders 15.21% (13.5–17.05). Among those who were following a GFD (n = 122), 65.6% (n = 80) of them reported that they did not develop symptoms after wheat/gluten ingestion and 50% (n = 61) were following the diet without medical/dietitian advice. The main motivation for following a GFD in the self-reported and non-self-reported gluten sensitivity groups were the symptoms triggered after wheat/gluten ingestion (86.8%) and weight control (57.1%), respectively. Conclusions: Implementation of programs to increase awareness about GRDs among healthcare professionals and giving scientifically sound information to the general population about the risks and benefits for following a GFD are desirable actions in Brazil. The results also add to the growing body of evidence for highlighting the under-diagnosis of GRD and the trend for following a GFD in Latin America.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Celiac disease
  • Gluten-free diet
  • Gluten-related disorders
  • NCGS
  • Self-report
  • Survey studies
  • Wheat allergy


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