Common Gluten Misconceptions Slideshow

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Erin Swing clears up some common gluten misconceptions.
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Maybe we have grown so accustomed to taking pills to cure our illnesses, but I think it is beautiful thing not having to take a pill to suppress this sickness/disease. Managing one’s health by simply eliminating what ails you is empowering, drug-free, and without any nasty side effects.  

“Can’t you just take a pill for that?” – More people than you’d think.

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Maybe we have grown so accustomed to taking pills to cure our illnesses, but I think it is beautiful thing not having to take a pill to suppress this sickness/disease. Managing one’s health by simply eliminating what ails you is empowering, drug-free, and without any nasty side effects.  

“There’s no wheat in there. It’s just regular flour.” – Restaurant worker.

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 I personally find this to be the most common gluten misconception. Unfortunately, as Americans, we can easily overlook the sourcing of our food. Yes, “regular (white) flour” is milled winter white wheat and filled with gluten (that has been bleached to look like ubiquitous white powder.) 

“Wow that must suck not being able to eat gluten. I wouldn’t be able to live without ice cream.” – Fellow culinary student.

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When I asked my follow culinarian to explain this statement further, it came to light that he thought gluten was sugar. No, glucose and gluten are very different. 

“So what do you put on your cereal?” – A favorite quote of my culinary instructor about being gluten-free.

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 Obviously, the person who said it thought milk had gluten in it. Again, just another gluten misconception. The irony here is that the vast majority of cereals contain gluten.

“It doesn’t say gluten on the ingredient list.” – Servers and many others including my sister.

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Only when the FDA enforces gluten-free labeling on packaged foods will it be disclosed in the ingredient list. In Europe, the EFSA (European Food Safety Administration) has gluten-free labeling requirements that the product must state clearly all sources of gluten and that to be “gluten-free” the product must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. The FDA requires bold labeling for the top eight food allergens and must disclose wheat in the ingredient list. Food manufacturers, however, are very happy to help us. There have been times that I will pick up a product at the store, cannot tell if it is free of gluten, and will call the manufacturer for an immediate answer. I am a chemist with experience in formulating food products and sometimes these labels even perplex me. If you’re still uncertain though, do not risk it. 

“We don't use GLUE in any of our dishes.” – Server (via a fellow gluten-free blogger). This

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This proved to be the most shocking and funniest thing that I have heard about gluten misconceptions. I hope that no restaurant uses glue. Meat glue, transglutaminase, used by a number of restaurants that use modern gastronomy techniques is gluten-free. But do avoid licking the adhesive on envelopes. That adhesive usually contains gluten.