No more digestives for Lancashire coeliacs?

Following on from my previous post about restricted coeliac prescriptions in Yorkshire, it seems Lancashire is following suit. News today in The Bolton News says that treat foods are being ‘axed’. Is this part of a larger trend, then? Will we be seeing more PCTs curbing cake mixes and biscuits?

It’s been two months since I uploaded the previous post, and still I can’t make up my mind confidently on the issue. David – a coeliac and GF blogger from Ireland – posted in response last time, pointing out that there are no ‘treat’ prescription products in Ireland, but they do offer breakfast cereals. As he rightly points out, it’s the most important meal of the day – and that goes for coeliacs as well as non-coeliacs.

I’m beginning, I think, to lean towards the view that perhaps it would be better for so-called treat foods to be severely restricted, if not removed altogether – and perhaps replaced by cereals. As I suggested last time, it may undermine the ongoing efforts to have coeliac disease taken seriously. Is the risk worth it for a few digestives?

I suspect now that the ball appears to be rolling – there may be no stopping it. The nation’s purse strings are tightening, after all.

I think we need to be careful, however, to justify this possible move by highlighting examples of excessive weight gain supposedly because of prescription foods. The report in the Bolton News highlights a case of a patient receiving high levels of products, who subsequently gaining a lot of weight, becoming clinically obese.

It’s important to bear in mind that newly-diagnosed coeliacs can tend to put weight on, and this is because their healing guts are absorbing more nutrition and energy.

This, I feel, should not be used as an excuse to ‘punish’ either these individuals or coeliacs in general. Let's face it, they need support and advice. We need, I suspect, research into additional factors which contribute to weight gain in coeliacs – and if prescription treat foods are among them, then it’s certainly time to take action.

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