Top Celiac Myths – Busted!!

Myths about Celiac disease abound – some are true but most are bunk. Here’s what I see most often!!

Every time I eat bread I get a tummy ache, I must have Celiac – Maybe, but more than likely not. Celiac is a serious autoimmune disease that is triggered by gluten. It is the only autoimmune disease we know the trigger for. However, many things can cause a stomach ache or diarrhea beyond Celiac including giardia, colon cancer, food poisoning, depression, or nothing and you just have a stomach ache today. So, please if you are concerned, continue eating gluten (so tests are accurate), talk to your doctor, and get tested to put your mind at ease.

The gluten free diet will help me lose weight – Maybe. Maybe if you replace the gluten filled deliciousness with healthy whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy dairy. But it is an exceptionally difficult diet to follow and those that have to do it for medical reasons consistently make mistakes. It also is notoriously deficient in fiber and B vitamins. So, it is probably not the best diet for weight loss.

Celiac sufferers must use gluten free personal products (makeup, shampoo, etc) – Maybe. If you have dermatitis herpitiformis, yes, you will need to use gluten free skin and personal products. If you do not, the gluten molecule is too big and cannot be absorbed by the skin. Obviously, don’t put your hand in your mouth immediately following application of a potentially gluten containing skincare product. The one exception to this rule is lipstick or lip gloss – those must be gluten free because you will inevitably ingest the lipstick.

Gluten can be burned off – Yes, gluten can be burned off surfaces, like grills, at a scorching 900 degrees Fahrenheit for a time of no less than 10 minutes. Most grills cannot get that hot and to have a grill that hot is probably unsafe anyway. If grilling on an unfamiliar grill, use aluminum foil or a grill pad between your food and the surface to ensure your safety.

Shared fryers are safe – Many restaurants have a single fryer they use to fry all of their fried items. (I said fried a lot there!) When the restaurant cooks gluten items in the fryer, like chicken fingers, little crumbs of the batter is left in the fryer. Those gluten items can attach to the non-gluten items, like french fries, and make them no longer safe for a Celiac sufferer.

Restaurants aren’t safe – Many aren’t. But most towns, especially the larger ones, have restaurants that are safe. They are either completely gluten free or darn close to it. If you are looking for a safer option and at a loss, start your search for gluten free at BBQ places and higher end steak places. If you have an Outback, they are great! I’ve always had good luck at those places.

Celiac sufferers are all thin – As the name of my blog demonstrates, that’s busted. But new studies indicate that 18% or more of people diagnosed with Celiac are overweight or obese. Theories abound as to why – the small intestine adapts and “super” absorbs food in the undamaged portions of the small intestine, or unchecked inflammation causes weight gain, or other issues. Whatever the reason, the waif like image of a Celiac sufferer is outdated.

Celiac Disease goes away – Don’t I wish. After diagnosis and adopting a gluten free diet, the blood tests that indicate Celiac disease will normalize and the small intestine will heal for most. It can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for complete healing. This is a good thing. It means successfully adhering to the gluten free diet and your body has healed. However, reintroducing gluten will cause the Celiac damage to reappear. So, Celiac isn’t gone, it is in remission.

Celiacs can safely eat wheat in Europe – Nope. Celiac is Celiac and the damage caused by gluten cannot be alleviated by a change in geography. Some with gluten sensitivity or intolerance have found they can safely eat gluten in Europe without the same symptom pattern they experience in the US.

Corona Beer is safe – Nope. No beer brewed with standard gluten containing ingredients is safe. Nor can beer or alcoholic beverages be accurately tested for the presence of gluten in the final product. The only way an alcoholic beverage can make the claim it is gluten free is that all of the ingredients are gluten free.

Activated Charcoal will help with accidental gluten exposure – It might help with some symptoms, like diarrhea. However, activated charcoal is used for poisoning. It absorbs everything it touches, including medications, vitamins, and water. Activated charcoal doesn’t stop the damage being done to your small intestines. So, if you accidentally or on purpose gluten yourself, drink lots of water, take Imodium to stop the diarrhea, rest if needed, and do better next time.

Every tummy ache is due to gluten – Not true. It takes 12 to 48 hours for food to pass through your system. People describe what they ate and it seems harmless enough and wonder where the gluten came from. Sometimes the glutening was before the most recent meal or the glutening could have even happened up to 2 days before. And not all Celiac symptoms are due to gluten – there is food poisoning, colds, flu, etc. that can cause very similar symptoms and be unrelated to gluten.

My left eye twitches every Tuesday, is it gluten related – No. Some of your weird symptoms might be gluten or Celiac related, but most likely not.

Facebook is the best place to get advice – Not really. There is a ton of bad advice, some questionable, and the good advice is often drown out by the bad advice. Research everything for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Even on my stuff – check me, but most of the time I’m right. 😉

Let me know if there are more Celiac myths that need busting!!!

2 thoughts on “Top Celiac Myths – Busted!!

    1. Gluten washes off just fine in the dishwasher from non-porous surfaces. The 900 degree myth is something else. It is more for porous surfaces — like wood. Yes, the wood would disintegrate before you could get the gluten out of the wood.

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