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Misleading myths about celiac disease and gluten-free eating

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There are all sorts of misinformation going around suddenly about gluten-free diets and celiac disease. Not helping in the least is the fact that celebrities and plain old common folk are using gluten-free as a “fad” diet, giving it a bad name. And if you follow the money, “scientists” are starting to try and debunk the whole craze and essentially saying it’s all in our heads.

That’s really frustrating for those of us who know we have celiac or gluten-sensitivity and are doing our best to create healthy diets that help us maintain health without certain offending grains. Let’s go through some common myths out there about celiac disease and gluten-free eating.

#1-Eating a little bit of gluten won’t hurt people with celiac disease.

Answer: False-mostly.

Technically products can contain up to 20 parts per million, but anything above that can cause immune issues and chronic damage in the small intestine. Anything labeled “gluten-free” must adhere to those restrictions for labeling per the FDA.

#2-That food made with gluten-free ingredients is safe for those with celiac disease.

Answer: False

Reason being that gluten-free food is not necessarily safe for people who are dining out. If a restaurant such as Domino’s Pizza offers gluten-free crust but does not have a “safe” zone or area to effectively eliminate cross-contamination then it’s all for naught and it’s entirely possible that you will get ill.

#3-Celiac disease is just another food allergy.

Answer: False

Celiac and gluten-intolerance is not a food allergy it is an autoimmune disease causing damage to the small intestine when someone eats wheat, barley or rye. They are also at a higher risk for other autoimmune diseases.

#4-Celiac disease is only a children’s condition

Answer: False

Anyone at any time can develop celiac disease, with the most common diagnosed age group between 40 and 60. Stress is also thought to be a factor in triggering the disease.

#5-Celiac disease is just an allergy and isn’t thought to be life-threatening.

While true that celiac disease causes uncomfortable and painful symptoms such as stomach pain, headaches, skin rash, bone pain, fatigue, and digestive issues, it won’t kill you outright. However, untreated or undiagnosed celiac disease can not only trigger other autoimmune diseases but also put you at a much greater risk for some deadly cancers.

#6-Celiac disease only affects people of European descent.

Answer: False

Although it is more common in people of northern European ancestry mostly because of diet, it also affects all people and ethnic groups found in the Middle East, southern Asia, South America and North Africa.

#7-That rice contains gluten and people with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease shouldn’t eat it.

Answer: False

Again, if a food doesn’t contain wheat, barley or rye you should be good to go. In fact, rice DOES contain gluten but just not the kind that causes the same reactions or inflammation of the small intestine. As long as it’s not from a package containing other ingredients, plain rice is fine for people who are celiac.

Bottom line: Listen to your own body, not what some paid off scientist that now is suddenly saying the whole thing is a lie. There are some powerful lobbies out there who would just wish this whole thing would go away and will fund anyone willing to come up “science” that debunks it. Think for yourself; take care of yourself and your body, after all no one knows how you feel but you.

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