University of Worcester to Feature in BBC Health Programme

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The University of Worcester is to feature in a BBC television programme looking at the impact of a gluten-free diet.

A study carried out by experts at the University for BBC2’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor series will be screened in this week’s episode on Thursday September 8.

The Trust Me I’m a Doctor series covers a variety of health and medicine related issues from exercise and diet to future medicine.

The 52 participants who completed the task cut out gluten from their diet for six weeks.

Gluten, a protein component, is found in wheat, rye and barley, which meant not eating products like bread, cake, breakfast cereals, pastry and biscuits, and some processed foods.

At different times volunteers introduced 80g to 100g of pasta into their daily intake – one pasta contained gluten and one was gluten-free.

The pastas were eaten for two weeks each, but participants were not told which was which.

They reported on their symptoms at the beginning and then every two weeks and had blood tests after eating each type of pasta.

The results will be revealed during the show.

Justine Bold, Senior Lecturer in the University’s Institute of Health and Society, who leads on three postgraduate nutrition modules and has a research interest in food sensitivities, has been at the forefront of the project.

She said: “It’s a big ask for people to do a gluten free diet for six weeks in the summer when there was the Euros and the Olympics, but it was a good opportunity for people to be part of contributing to future understanding of gluten sensitivity in human health.

“Of the 52 completers, we’ve asked who would carry on eating gluten and only seven have said they will carry on normally. That was surprising.

“This project, which involves the Institute of Health and Society, with help from Sport and Exercise Science and Science and Environment staff, was very positive.

“I hope this showcases the nutrition expertise we have here at the University and highlights work that the University does that people might not know about.”

A 25-year-old man, from Evesham, who took part said: “You had to be very careful. It has given me a new appreciation for people with coeliac disease, who have to look at absolutely everything, and the amount of things they can’t eat.”

A female participant, 52, from Worcester, said: “It has been interesting. I think I’m going to try lactose free as well as gluten free.”

The programme airs at 8pm.


Image: The University of Worcester’s Senior Lecturer Justine Bold with presenter Dr Chris van Tulleken during filming of the series.