The internet is an amazing invention, but it is also an information highway that can take a wrong turn. Anybody can say anything about any topic, and if you aren’t careful, you can end up on in one of the wrong lanes too. There are a lot of myths about gluten intolerance floating around cyberspace. I wanted to warn you about being careful concerning information you accept as fact.
First I wanted to remind you that even what is accepted as a ‘fact’ among physicians can change as science continues to expand studies and techniques. For example, oats have always been on the ‘do not eat list’ for gluten intolerant people. But now research is questioning whether the oats contain the protein that damages the intestines of a Celiac. The debate rages as doctors continue studying the ‘facts’. Some sites say Celiacs can eat oats, and some sites say they should never eat oats. There are many Gluten Free Club members that do eat oats regularly, but there are others who don’t.
Personally, I always go with the more restrictive opinion until the answer becomes definitive. But I am a Celiac who wants to live a long and healthy life! I am unwilling to take risks with my health – especially where it concerns my long-term quality of life.
Here are some other myths that people have asked me about:
· One myth I run into is that Celiac disease is only a digestive problem causing diarrhea, and so diarrhea is the primary indication there is gluten intolerance. The truth is there can be a wide range of symptoms indicating a person has gluten intolerance including an iron deficiency that doesn’t respond to taking iron pills, or even infertility.
· A misleading myth claims that Celiac disease is not common. The truth is that it is common, and as science gets better at diagnosing the disease, the true numbers continue to grow. The University of Chicago projects that the number is as high as 1 in 133 persons in the United States in a study completed 2/11/06.
· Someone recently told me that Celiac disease is a childhood disease. It’s not! I was not diagnosed until early adulthood, because that’s when the cumulative effects of eating gluten began revealing themselves consistently.
· One of the silliest myths I read on the internet about Celiac disease is that it can be outgrown. That myth is sounds more like wishful thinking than anything else. Celiac disease is for life. If you religiously follow your gluten free diet, you will not have intestinal problems, but that doesn’t mean you no longer have the disease.
· Another myth claims that a blood test can be used to find out if you have gluten intolerance. That is not true. It requires a simple and safe biopsy that is not the least frightening.
· Now, here’s a more touchy one. Some people claim that gluten can cause autism in some people. But research hasn’t proven that to be true at all (yet). The doctors are trying to figure out if there is a correlation between autism and gluten, but there is no proof there is (yet). While I don’t have experience with this there are many club members that do… and claim that going gluten free has made a huge difference with autistic symptoms. But remember – a gluten free diet may help autism even if gluten doesn’t cause autism. There is a difference.
· The same is true for gluten and schizophrenia. It is a myth to claim that gluten causes schizophrenia. A gluten free diet may ease some of the symptoms though – there are definitely people in the club who claim that it does.
There are more myths on the internet about gluten intolerance, but those are some of the more common ones I come in contact with. I sincerely hope this helps your understanding grow.