coeliac disease (celiac disease) Intolerance of the proteins of wheat, rye, and barley; specifically, the gliadin fraction of the protein gluten. The villi of the small intestine are severely affected and absorption of food is poor. Stools are bulky and fermenting from unabsorbed carbohydrate, and contain a large amount of unabsorbed fat (steatorrhoea). As a result of malabsorption, affected people are malnourished and children suffer from growth retardation. Treatment is by exclusion of wheat, rye, and barley proteins (the starches are tolerated); rice, oats, and maize are generally tolerated. Manufactured foods that are free from gluten, and hence suitable for consumption by people with coeliac disease are usually labelled as ‘gluten‐free’. Also known as gluten‐induced enteropathy, and sometimes as non‐tropical sprue.

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