I get many comments on both of my blogs from readers expressing thoughts and concerns about gluten free options and my gluten free lifestyle. I felt compelled to address some of the myth’s and inaccuracies that I’ve read overtime in many of these comments. Gluten free and celiac disease have become popular media buzzwords recently and there are many misrepresentations and myths being perpetuated by media outlets and in some cases professionals making false claims about gluten, gluten free diets and celiac disease.
Feel free to join this discussion with your thoughts in the comments on this post and share more myths you would like debunked. I would like this to become a regular discussion on the blog. Remember to be kind, polite, and respectful when responding to and leaving comments. Everyone has a voice and a right to an opinion. Spirited debate and passionate discussion is encouraged however impolite comments or personal attacks will be moderated.
So without further adieu,
Common Gluten Free Myths & Inaccuracies Part I
1. Myth: I want to lose weight so I should try this new gluten free diet
Truth: A gluten free diet is not a weight-loss diet or a diet in the sense of restricting foods or food groups in an effort to reduce calories or lose weight. A gluten free diet is a lifestyle or way of eating that excludes foods and ingredients made with wheat, barley and other grains containing gluten.
2. What is gluten?
Truth: Simply put gluten is the protein found in grains such as wheat, barely, rye, and spelt. It is what gives bread its elasticity, chew, and pull. Grains such as rice, corn, oats, and buckwheat are naturally gluten free.
Most processed foods contain some trace of wheat, which makes it so difficult to find gluten free products on the market. There can be hidden traces of wheat in everything from salad dressing to ice cream.
3. Myth: Celiac disease is a food allergy.
Truth: Celiac disease is not a food allergy. Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder. In an individual with celiac disease when foods containing gluten are ingested an immune mediated toxic reaction is created that causes damage to the small intestine. This damage does not allow food to be properly absorbed by the body.
Overtime this damage can effect the small bowel and lead to a host of problems in the body including fatigue, IBS, skin rashes, constipation, extreme weightless and many other thigs. Ingesting even trace amounts of gluten can be a matter of life and death for a celiac.
4. Myth: I don’t have celiac disease but I still want to go gluten free.
Truth: Just like any diet or long term way of eating one should consult with a medical professional including a certified nutritionist before beginning. A nutritionist will help you understand proper replacements and alternatives to ensure that you are getting full nutrition and essential vitamins that may be lost when consuming foods devoid of gluten.
5. Myth: A gluten free diet will cure Fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.
Truth: As of now there is no known cure for fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. Additionally there is not substantive research on the effects of a gluten free diet on fibromyalgia. The varied nature of fibromyaglia make any treatment individual specific meaning that some things work more or less between one person to the next. Again it is best to consult with your physician to create the best fibromyalgia treatment plan for you.
6. Myth: Gluten free food is healthier.
Truth: One should look at the ingredients and nutritional content of any and all foods consumed. Foods labeled gluten free are not neccessarily “healthier” nor better for you than any other foods. Most nutritionists recommend diets high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. As a rule consuming whole real foods free from preservatives, sugar, and empty calories is your best bet. Visit the Department of Agriculture’s Choose My Plate for recommendations on a healthy daily diet. Remember these are recommendations and each family/person has to decide what foods are best for you and your family to consume.
Jump in in the comment section and let me know your thoughts. For more information on fibromyalgia and celiac disease visit the links below.