Gluten Intolerance Myths & Facts

Posted on December 26, 2010


With the holidays came at least a few conversations around most dinner tables about exercise, nutrition, and health for the New Year. Here are the top misunderstandings I heard over the holiday about gluten intolerance, and the truth about each of them. Being misinformed is a dangerous thing (think Atkins diet and the ‘all carbs, including veggies, are bad’ thing) when it comes to health, so let’s all get a little better informed about gluten, K?

*Gluten intolerance does not come from eating too many preservatives in food. Preservatives are bad for you, but they have nothing to do with gluten intolerance. Gluten intolerance, at all levels, is related to the protein in gluten called gliadin, which is very difficult to digest.

*Gluten intolerance is not something you grow out of. If you have an intolerance, or Celiacs’, you will always have it. The ONLY way to “treat” gluten intolerance is to avoid ALL forms of gluten for the rest of your life.

*If you’re Celiac or Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerant (NCGI) eating it “once in a blue moon” is just as bad as eating it with reckless abandon: when you eat gluten, even a tiny crumb of it, your body sends the majority of your immune response to your intestines to fight the gluten – which means simple viruses, and not so simple cancer cells, and every range of immune compromise in between gets a fighting chance when your body is off fighting gluten.

*You’re not missing anything nutritionally by not eating gluten, when done properly. Since you won’t be eating breads & cereals fortified with B vitamins (that are synthetic & not as readily available to your body as other methods of ingesting B vitamins), you need to eat more & a greater variety of vegetables to get your vitamins & minerals.

*If you have gluten intolerance, there is a good chance some or all of the members of your family have it too, since it is a genetic permutation. Family members should be tested once one family member finds out they are Celiac or NCGI. If testing is to take place, DO NOT stop eating gluten until you have done your test. Going gluten free before taking a gluten intolerance test of any kind WILL skew the results.