Myths about coeliac disease

May 12, 2016 9:13 am Published by 1 Comment

As it’s Coeliac Awareness Week, it seemed a good opportunity to dispel some of the myths surrounding this autoimmune disease. There is some very useful material about myths on the Coeliac UK website here. Below, we’ve concentrated on those that most affect our customers.

Busting the myths!

Coeliac disease doesn’t exist: you’re just being picky

An awful lot of coeliac sufferers will have heard this at some point! Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition fully recognised by the medical profession. It’s not the same as ‘avoiding wheat’, which many people choose to do for a variety of reasons. It’s a full-on immune response to the protein gluten, in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged. This leads to a range of symptoms, which can be cured by avoiding gluten.

Coeliac disease is just a trendy thing to have right now

Busting the myths: you don't have to be trendy to be gluten-free

Amaranth: trendy, yes, but also gluten-free

Avoiding gluten-containing foods is certainly very trendy at the moment. But there’s a huge difference between expanding your diet beyond the traditional Western emphasis on wheat, barley and rye and having a recognised medical condition. We’ve no objection to anyone eating amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat as part of a healthy diet. But being trendy (or not) actually has no bearing on whether you’re coeliac.

So long as you avoid wheat, you’re fine

It’s not quite that simple. Gluten is also found in barley and rye – and is frequently present in oats too, as the equipment used to harvest and process oats is often the same as that for other crops. In addition, many foods contain gluten rather unexpectedly: sausages, for example.

You can only eat things labelled gluten-free

The labelling system is getting simpler.

Tinned tomatoes: are these gluten-free?

The labelling system is also not entirely simple – though efforts are being made to make it more so. To be labelled gluten-free, a product must register gluten at no more than 20 parts per million. To know whether this is the case, the product has to be tested. However, for some foodstuffs, that’s unnecessary. A lettuce does not contain gluten and no-one is going to go to the trouble of having it tested. However, if you’d usually expect a foodstuff to contain gluten – or if you’re in any doubt about any processed food – then you’ll need to make sure the label clearly says that it is ‘gluten-free’.

Gluten-free diets are really boring and complicated

One upon a time, this may have been true. But no longer – there are now wonderful gluten-free alternatives for every part of your diet. We stock an amazing range of gluten-free foods: see it all here.

Gluten-free diets are difficult to cater for

If you‘re worried about feeding gluten-free family members or guests, then once again, you need to check out our comprehensive range. And of course, this can be eaten by all the family. There’s no reason why only coeliacs should get to enjoy it!

Not just for coeliacs...

Gluten-free self-saucing chocolate pudding: for all the family!

You’ll never be able to eat out safely again

From greasy spoons to top-notch restaurants, almost everywhere in the UK now caters for gluten-free customers, with many restaurants serving entirely gluten-free menus. Fish and chip shops often have ‘gluten-free nights’, using special equipment and cooking fat, while well-known pub chains have long menus of gluten-free options.


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This post was written by Yzanne

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