Common Gluten Free Myths


I’ve been diagnosed for a while now and I’m still getting confused! You walk around the shop for hours getting more and more frustrated! There are loads of gluten free myths floating around and I’ve decided to tackle them head on!

Firstly, Oats….
Oats are naturally gluten free, but you can’t go eating oats willy nilly! It’s recommended that you avoid all oats for 6 months, to allow your stomach to heal. Then try some pure, uncontaminated oats. Oats are often milled in the same factory as wheat flour meaning major contamination issues! So no Quaker Oats, no Oat so simple….only pure, uncontaminated labeled gluten free oats, look for the crossed grain symbol! You can find a list of these in the wonderful Coeliac Uk food and drink directory! However, BEWARE…. Not all Coeliacs can eat these ‘pure’ oats, for some people it will still make you ill! Try with care! If you’ve not eaten oats yet, I’d recommend having a small spoon full in the morning and record how your feeling for any ‘gluteny’ changes! But always talk to your dietician!

Next…. Starch
Starch which is added to food usually comes from wheat, potato, maize and corn. Do not fret! Starch made from wheat it must be clearly labelled on the ingredients list.. ‘Modified wheat starch’ ‘starch (from wheat)’ ect. Any other kind of starch, is gluten free… Even if it just says ‘modified starch’. Confusion over.

Moving on to…the dreaded barley malt extract!
You can not have barley malt, so no Horlicks before bedtime! However, barley malt extract is used in such tiny quantities that it can be suitable for Coeliacs, but make sure you check the food directory for the definitive list. It’s usually the cheaper cereal brands that tend to use less barley malt extract, but check check check!

Now, barley malt vinegar! Oh what confusion this caused to me and my sister. Lauren loves mint sauce and lived for almost a year and a half with less than satisfactory lamb. However all vinegar is gluten free! So pour that tangy liquid on your chips now! If you still don’t believe me, it’s because of the distilling and fermentation process, it removes the gluten from it… that means you can also drink malt whiskey too.

Now MSG Monosodium glutamate (or MSG) is gluten-free. It is a flavour enhancer used in many manufactured foods and can be made from wheat; however, during processing the wheat protein is completely hydrolysed (broken down) and can be eaten by people with coeliac disease.

Mustard, mustard is gluten free, mustard flour is gluten free….however English Mustard usually has wheat flour added to it, I know Colemans does for sure, but check your directory!

Finally, cosmetics, shower gels, shampoos and toothpaste! This is the biggest myth of all and I see it plastered all over the Internet! When was the last time you ate a bottle of shampoo? Gluten ingredients are only a problem if ingested. I could rub a sandwich all over my face and it will be fine. There is no need to buy gluten free cosmetics, toothpaste, or any other toiletries because. There is no way you can eat enough to cause you to be sick! I promise! Talk to your dietician if your still worried, and you can find out in more detail from the Coeliac UK website. There has been a lot of discussion over this, so I have contacted Coeliac UK, you can see what they say in this follow up blog…here. I must add an addition to this, it is possible that people can have a skin reaction to a product that contains gluten, it is possible to have gluten sensitivities as well as coeliac disease, but it not caused by coeliac disease. In the same way as people can have skin reactions to cosmetics containing gluten without having coeliac disease. If you are concerned about this, contact the manufacturers directly about a specific product, or talk to Coeliac UK, who I’m sure will be happy to help.

I hope these myths have made your life a little easier, it certainly did mine! Now I live for drinking vinegar and rubbing muffins on my forehead.

*all information was correct at the time of writing and is only correct for the UK. I can not guarantee this is true worldwide*

8 thoughts on “Common Gluten Free Myths

  1. My partner is celiac and has been buying burgers that does not have wheat gluten ect in but is high lightened mustard in them, are they safe to eat?

    • Well mustard itself is gluten free, so if it did contain gluten..they would have to write it on the label. If your worried you should email the customer service team! I’m sure they’ll be able to answer any concerns you have 🙂

  2. I think it’s useful to recognise that celiac disease is a SUBSET of the spectrum of responses that a susceptible individual can have in response to gluten exposure. If you are gluten sensitive then you MAY present with GIT symptoms and on investigation have findings that match the celiac disease criteria, but you may also present with immune responses elsewhere in your body, wherever the immune system engages with gluten molecules. And this can happen whether the individual is meeting a celiac disease criteria or not.

    If we accept that an immune response is provoked by exposure to gluten and that body lotions and gels etc are intended to be absorbed through the skin, it’s not credible to suggest that any gluten in these products is not being absorbed with the rest of product, and therefore without testing for and falling to find the correct antibodies in the skin, if someone thinks they are gluten sensitive, and that they react to gluten in skin creams, gels etc then it’s not sensible to reject that they may indeed be reacting to the gluten in these products.

    • I think if I understand you correctly then we are talking about the same thing: Gluten intolerance/allergy can be found as well as CD, so if you’re experiencing issues then don’t use Gluten containing products, however it’s not caused by CD, so not all Coeliacs have to worry about it. The aim of the article is that I don’t want newly diagnosed Coeliacs thinking they all must change all their shampoos and conditioners, continue issuing what they always use, and if they experience problems then look into using GF products. I don’t see the need of making our lives unnecessarily difficult-if it’s not needed. If it’s is needed, then do it! Don’t live in pain and suffering…listen to your body.

  3. I’ve heard the same as you, my doctor told me that Gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, which is why handling gluten in GF and non GF families is okay-AS LONG as you wash your hands! Don’t want to accidentally put them in your mouth!

  4. Pingback: Gluten Free Cosmetics…follow up blog | Gorgeously Gluten Free

  5. About the cosmetics, shampoo and body wash, what you said is NOT true!!! I have celiacs and I have to have gf cosmetics shampoo body wash and so on, because I can’t even touch anything with wheat, rye, barley or oats in it!! I will break out in hives!!! I would suggest that you do more research before you think what you are saying is fact!! Thank you!!

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