People who eat gluten, and even some who don’t, can have certain assumptions about gluten-free living that are just not true. These gluten free myths come from lack of information, or incorrect information that circulates through communities and the web. These myths can be dangerous and confusing to people who are new to a gluten free lifestyle.
Let’s debunk some of the more prominent myths that I hear about gluten free living. It’s helpful to do this regularly so that the correct information gets out and more and more people are properly informed.
Myth #1: The Gluten Free Diet is Healthier than the Traditional American Diet.
It is true that for Celiacs and people with gluten sensitivities, a gluten-free diet is healthier for them than a diet including gluten. But for those who think that people who eat gluten free do it to lose weight, it just doesn’t work that way.
As with any diet, the quality and quantity of food eaten determines how healthy it is. For those who change from a gluten inclusive diet that involves lots of breads, pastas, and carbs to a lower carb diet with increased vegetables, fruits, and protein, they may see improved health and weight loss. However if that same person switched to gluten free breads, processed foods, and snacks and did not increase their intake of protein and vegetables, they may see reduced health and weight gain.
Myth #2: If a Restaurant Serves a Gluten Free Menu, It’s Safe for those with Celiac Disease to Eat There.
This one is tricky! Many restaurants now offer and publish gluten free items on their menus. For those of us with Celiac disease, this can be very helpful when trying to choose where to eat. However, not all restaurants do a good job with limiting or eliminating cross contamination in their kitchens.
They key to having a gluten free experience in a restaurant is asking lots of questions before you order. Don’t assume that anyone there understands your food restrictions until you tell them about them. Utilize apps like Yelp and FindMeGlutenFree to find restaurants that others have had good gluten free experiences with. Read the reviews so you know what you can expect.
Myth #3: Gluten is Only Found in Grains.
Some people might think that just removing all grains from your diet is enough to satisfy your gluten free dietary requirements. What they may not understand is that many other food items contain gluten as an added ingredient or as a byproduct of cross contamination in processing. Things like soy sauce, beer, salad dressings and more can all be dangerous to someone with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Also, there are many grains that are gluten free. Quinoa, brown and wild rice, buckwheat, corn, teff, amaranth, millet, and sorghum are grains that are safe to eat.
Myth #4: Food Labeled “Gluten-Free” has Zero Gluten in it.
Research has shown that most people with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can tolerate very small amounts of gluten – up to 20 parts per million (ppm). All foods labeled “gluten free” must have less than 20 ppm to carry that label, and many food manufacturers test for below 5 or even 3 ppm to ensure safety for more sensitive individuals.
Myth #5: Gluten Free Food is Expensive.
While you may find that substitutes for bread and other processed foods are more expensive, eating a gluten free diet does not have to cost more. Start with naturally gluten free foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans,and meats that are as close to their natural state as possible.
Learning to cook rather than use convenience foods will save you lots of money, and the beauty of cooking you own food is that you will know exactly what’s in it and won’t have to worry about added gluten.
Did you already know the truths to these myths? If not, I hope you enjoyed learning about some of the common gluten free myths that I come across. Share this post to help educate more people about the gluten free diet.
Cindy Gordon is a foodie who loves to blog about gluten free vegetarian/vegan recipes on her website Vegetarian Mamma. Cindy's family is dedicated to finding/creating recipes and products that fit their families dietary needs. Cindy resides in Ohio with her husband and two boys (born '07 & '10). She enjoys spending time with her family, the outdoors, gardening, wine and cooking!