Celiac Disease and Gluten Myths Debunked
You’ve probably heard of the gluten-free diet, but many people don’t even know what gluten is or that this diet is a treatment for a condition called celiac disease. In this blog post, I will bust some common misconceptions about celiac disease.
Myth: Celiac disease is a food allergy
Celiac disease is not an allergy. It is an autoimmune disease where the body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the cell lining, of the small intestines. Celiac is a chronic and incurable disease, and the only treatment for patients is to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
Myth: Celiac disease is common.
This is false. The reality is, only 1 in 141 people in the United States have celiac disease, according to the NIH. However, many people with celiac disease are undiagnosed.
Myth: Celiac only affects the GI tract
Some of the typical symptoms of celiac disease are GI-related — bloating, constipation, gas — but doctors are now realizing there is an array of other symptoms. The non-GI symptoms are becoming just as prevalent. They include anemia, recurring headaches, arthritis, osteoporosis and in my case, before going gluten free I was losing my hair.
Myth: Gluten is in rice
Gluten is not in all grains. People with celiac can eat rice, potatoes, quinoa, and buckwheat. But they must avoid wheat. Always read ingredient labels.
Myth: Not eating gluten helps you lose weight
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but chances are it’s not gluten packing on the pounds. It’s true people lose weight when they stop eating pizza, pasta, and bread. But those foods are also high in calories and carbs. If you’re looking to lose weight, talk with a nutritionist for the right diet to follow.
Myth: Gluten is only found in food
Gluten can be found in a lot of unexpected places other than food. Medicine, toothpaste and cosmetics can contain gluten (Blog Post 4).
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