Over the eight years I’ve been writing about thriving gluten-free, I’ve found some pieces of celiac lore that just won’t die, even once completely disproven.
The reason so many of these urban legends continue to have life is because folks are searching for answers. They understand that they have to avoid wheat, rye, and barley but don’t know the other names that can be on the label instead.
Dr. Google is a lousy diagnostician and historian. Everything on the web lives forever, so if you choose just the right search terms, you will pull information from long before the research was updated.
Now that many people go to communities and groups in social media, the spread of inaccuracies happens in real time as people share what they have heard "somewhere" once again.
Some of the groups have fabulous administrators who vigilantly ferret out those inaccuracies and correct them. Others don't, and occasionally some will assist in the spread of them.
Be really careful about who's information you are following.
I’ve gathered my list of proven, accurate sources for celiac and gluten-free living to share with you.
When you have a question about an ingredient, search these sites first, then ASK these sites your question if you can’t find the answers. The folks who write these sites go back to the medical literature to find your answer, they don’t have financial ties to labs or drugs, they just want to help.
Gluten Free Drugs
The Mayo Clinic
University of Maryland Medical Center
The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center
Gluten Intolerance Group
Top Ten Gluten-Free Misconceptions
1. Maltodextrin doesn’t have malt; it is a sugar. Products made in other countries than the USA can have wheat-based maltodextrin and must be labeled as such. It is never made from barley or rye.
2. Modified Food Starch – If made from wheat has to be labeled as such; It is never made from barley or rye.
3. Caramel Color is made from Corn or Sucrose in USA and highly refined to remove gluten in Europe.
4. Shredded Cheese uses cellulose (wood starch), potato, or cornstarch, but not wheat starch. Yup, you are eating ground-up, highly processed trees when you use pre-shredded cheese. Grate your own to avoid this.
5. Blue Cheese – Since 1993 testing has shown no gluten in blue cheese, not even Roquefort
6. Envelope Glue – There’s no gluten in envelope glue, according to the International Envelope Manufacturers Association. Just in case you have old fashioned stamps, they don't have gluten either.
7. Grain Alcohol – The distillation process removes all gluten, just watch for gluten being added back with flavorings. I wrote this post to explain further.
8. Vinegar – Distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar are both fine. Only vinegars that have gluten added back with the flavorings are a problem. In the USA, malt vinegar which includes barley malt as the sweetener.
9. Coffee is naturally gluten-free-there is no such thing as cross reactivity to gluten, but watch for flavorings.
10. Corn – All Corn is naturally gluten-free; watch for flavorings, seasonings and other additions.