Health Column: Misconceptions of a gluten-free lifestyle unveiled |

Health Column: Misconceptions of a gluten-free lifestyle unveiled

Angela Wetzel
Free Press Health Columnist

There are many misconceptions when it comes to eating gluten free, and I hear these misconceptions quite often.

Here are six often-said inaccuracies about living gluten free:

1. “A little bit won’t hurt you.”

A little bit can hurt no matter if you have celiac disease, have an intolerance, or an allergy. A little bit can do significant damage.

2. “Gluten free is just a fad.”

Yes, to some people it is, and there is a lot of information out there that would make it seem that way.

But for many of us, this is a way of life. It’s not a choice.

3. “I couldn’t give up bread and pasta. I don’t know how you do it.”

When you have to do something for your health, you do it, even if you don’t want to.

4. “I can’t believe that they haven’t come up with a pill so you can eat wheat.”

Research is being done, but I’m still not sure I’d take it. I would be concerned that it wouldn’t work.

Until it is a for-sure thing, I will avoid anything with gluten.

5. “I think this is gluten free.”

Either an item is or it isn’t gluten free. And removing croutons from a salad, or taking a bun out from under and on top of a hamburger, doesn’t make an item gluten free; it just makes it bread free.

6. “If gluten is so bad, why do people still eat it?”

For most people, gluten doesn’t affect them, just like peanuts aren’t dangerous for people without a peanut allergy. My body won’t process the gluten (the protein found in wheat, barley and rye), and it actually causes my body to reject food and to not absorb minerals.

If your body can still process gluten, there is no need to cut it out, although I would recommend limiting intake to anyone (by checking into a Paleo-eating style, for example).

Have a question about gluten free? Feel free to email me at

GJ Free Press health columnist Angela Wetzel has celiac disease and is president of Gluten Free Grand Valley, a support group for those with celiac disease and wheat allergies. Contact her at or visit Gluten Free Grand Valley on Facebook.

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