13 Gluten-Free Diet Myths

I found this really interesting presentation posted by Coeliac UK showing 13 myths surrounding a gluten-free diet which is briefly summarised in this post.

Here's a little bit of Gillian Anderson from X-files :)

Myth 1. Manufacturers can hide gluten in foods as flavourings, emulsifiers and bulking agents.

All manufacturers must list ALL INGREDIENTS on an ingredient list - so the grain must be listed as a sub-ingredient.

  • For example: Potato starch, flavourings (contains celery, soy, wheat), flavour enhancers.

However, this may not be the case in products from other countries - doublecheck with the manufacturer or Coeliac UK in this case.


Myth 2. A breadcrumb won't hurt me!

Coeliac disease is not an intolerance so eating small amounts can cause gut damage to people with coeliac disease.

That's why it's important to take steps to prevent cross-contamination e.g. use toaster bags or a separate toaster when sharing with someone who has gluten-containing bread, have your own chopping boards and cutlery.


Myth 3. People with coeliac disease can't eat glucose syrup, maltodextrin and dextrose.

Although these ingredients are made from cereals containing gluten, they are processed to remove the gluten.

They are gluten-free and are exempt from labelling legislation.


Myth 4. I can't eat mustard!

Mustard seeds and mustard flour are gluten-free. English mustard may have wheat flour but this will be declared on the ingredient list - so check labels!


Myth 5. Barley malt extract has barley so I can't have it!

The quantity of barley malt extract used may vary in each product. Small amounts can be tolerated by most people in cereals and vinegar.

However, barley flour, barley waters and malted drinks must be avoided.


Myth 6. Oats should be avoided.

Oats that are labelled as gluten-free can be eaten by a majority of people with coeliac disease. Remember to avoid if it is made in a factory that handles wheat, barley and rye and this will be labelled on the package.

However, small percentage of people may not be able to tolerate oats as it contains a protein called avenin which has a similar structure to gluten.


Myth 7. Starch and modified starch should be avoided.

They are gluten-free but wheat starch and modified wheat starch are not suitable. It will be listed in the ingredients list if used.


Myth 8. Grated cheese coating contains gluten.

Cheese is naturally gluten-free. The 2003 Codex standard for cheese stated that only starch that is gluten free by nature should be used in cheese production.


Myth 9. Malt whisky should be avoided.


All spirits and liqueurs are gluten-free as they are distilled which removes any traces of gluten. Remember to stick within the guidelines of 14 units per week spread over a period of 3 days or more though!


Myth 10. Vinegar should be avoided.

Gluten found in barley malt vinegar is mostly removed to well within safe levels after fermentation. Balsamic, cider, white wine and red wine vinegars are suitable as well.


Myth 11. Strawberries should be avoided as they are grown on straws.

They are naturally gluten-free and they will be suitable even if they are grown on straw. Give them a rinse to remove any traces.


Myth 12. There's gluten in my toothpaste.

The British Dental Association is unaware of any toothpaste that contains gluten. Thus, gluten is only a problem when ingested.


Myth 13. Avoiding gluten-containing cosmetics?

You may notice some gluten in cosmetics but unless you're ramming your cosmetic products into your mouth and swallowing them, it will not be a problem.