Myths and Facts of Celiac Disease #A2ZChallenge

Always reading the ingredient list on every box or package. As though this was not enough for celiacs, they also have to worry about the gluten hiding in little places like toothpaste, shampoo and lotion.

I still remember the day when my friend called up. She was crying continuously and I could hardly hear her voice through her constant sobs. Later when she calmed down she told me that her son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Okay! I had heard that he often complained about stomach aches, bloating and lately decreased appetite. I was still soaking in all the information when my friend burst out crying again.

She: What will he eat, he can’t eat rotis anymore

Me: Why!

She: He is not allowed to eat anything which contains gluten like wheat

That day she literally cried out her guts but that was also the last day she cried. After that, she started looking at everything in a positive manner and introduced a healthy gluten-free diet for her son. And since then he has been doing good.

What is Celiac Disease:

Most of us eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. We have no trouble but for those who have celiac disease, the gluten can create a reaction in their bodies.

Once we eat the food it goes to the stomach followed by the small intestines. The small intestines are an important part of the digestive system. These small intestines are lined, yes literally lined with many microscopic finger-like projects called ‘villi’. Why are we talking about villi … well because they play an important role in absorbing the nutrients in the body.

When a child with celiac eats gluten, like a piece of cake, then it leads to a reaction of the immune system. The work of the immune system is to help the body from getting ill again and again. However, in celiac disease, the body starts hurting itself and in turn destroy the villi. When the villi are damaged they are not efficient enough to absorb the nutrients from the food. When a child does not get the nutrients from the food, he cannot grow in a healthy way. Despite eating everything the child may lose weight and may develop anaemia.

Did you know: The prevalence rate of Celiac disease of 1% in India is the same as in the other parts of the world. Click To Tweet

Myths And Facts About Celiac Disease:

Myth: Celiac disease is termed as a childhood disease

Fact: earlier the disease was being diagnosed only in children. But now all over the world, even adults are being diagnosed by it.

Myth: It is a rare disease

Fact: 1% of the population of the world is affected by celiac disease. HIV affects 0.8% of the population of the world. So celiac is more than the common disease like HIV.

Myth: Celiac disease is an allergy

Fact: Celiac disease is not an allergy, but an autoimmune intolerance which cannot be cured. The only way to go beyond celiac disease is to religiously follow a gluten-free diet.

Myth: If the symptoms go away then celiac disease can be cured

Fact: Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. This cannot be cured but definitely kept under control by a gluten-free diet. Even if the symptoms fade they may regenerate if gluten is introduced and cause damage later.

Myth: India does not have gluten-free food

Fact: India has many grains which are gluten-free. Bajra, jowar, kuttu, ragi, makki, are all grown locally thus these are available in abundance. Everyday food like dal, rice and vegetables are a great option as well. Since India offers so many options for a gluten-free diet, the cuisine is recognised as the most accepted by the gluten-free diet followers.

Myth: A small amount of food with gluten is harmless

Fact: Even a tiny crumb of cake or bread with gluten can be harmful. Similarly, cross-contamination can also be harmful. Children may often be tempted to take a bite of the cake. But since the only treatment for celiac is gluten compliance it is very necessary to understand the safe amount.

Here is some Gluten Math:

  • The acceptable limit of gluten in food to be marked as gluten-free is 20 ppm (20 mg of gluten in 1 kg of food item)
  • A slice of bread weighs 25 grams
  • Gluten present in the slice of bread is approximately 5grams

Now we can calculate how much more gluten is there in the slice of bread

  • For every 1000 gram of bread, the acceptable gluten limit is 20 mg
  • Thus for every 25 gram (a slice) of bread, the acceptable gluten limit will be 0.5mg
  • Amount of gluten present in the slice of bread is 5000mg (5 grams)
  • The number of time the amount of gluten in the slice of bread is higher than the acceptable gluten limit of 20ppm = 5000mg/0.5mg

 =10,000 times!!

The amount is way too much than the acceptable gluten limit. So yes even a tiny crumb of cake can cause havoc.

Also Read:

Theme Reveal, A – Autism, B – Bronchiolitis, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis, K – Kawasaki Disease, L – Leukaemia, M – Meningitis, N – Neuroblastoma, O – Omphalitis, P – Pica, Q – Q Fever, R – Retinoblastoma, S – SIDS, T – Tetanus, U – Urinary Tract Infection, V – Vomiting, W – Wilms’ Tumour, X – Xeroderma Pigmentosum, Y – Year-Round Allergies, Z – Zika Virus

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Shubhra Rastogi Written by:

Well, about me I can say that I am a certified dentist, healthcare analyst, medical writer and above all a mother of a 6-year-old. Most of my day to day activities revolve around her and she is my inspiration to start this blog. As a mother, I experimented with a lot of new things for my little one in a quest to find the best for her. I just want to share my experiences of being a happy and content mum.

30 Comments

  1. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Yet another informative post, I was not much aware above this, thanks for sharing.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you Priyanka

  2. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Never heard about this disease. I will remember this and pass the info to needed. Thank you!

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Earlier this was not heard of but now it is becoming prevalent.

  3. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    I think if one avoids gluten, Celiac disease becomes manageable. Lifestyle may become expensive and a bit difficult. Because one has to either carry his / her food or look for places / menus that are gluten free. Unlike other diseases, in the absence of gluten, symptoms does not tie a person down, I think.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Yes, avoiding gluten is the best way to manage celiac disease. Most of our Indian grains are gluten-free except wheat and rye. But Makka, jowar, bajra are healthy as well as gluten-free. Also here the consumption of bread is less.

  4. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    this is the first time i heard about it, will read more about all the post to come.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting my site Pinakin

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Vidya

  5. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Had no idea about this disease till I read your post now. Going gluten free seems to be the only way out here.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Yes going gluten-free is the only way out!

  6. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    With all the Gluten Free foods out there- It is getting harder to get gluten into our diets these days….so her son is almost luckier than those without celiac disease- Hey I said almost! Some people take out too much gluten or omit it althogether when they truly do not need to…..as a vegan I don’t end up with a high amount of gluten. Just keep in mind unless your diagnosed like this little boy you are not required to omit it from your diet. Also pet foods today are gluten free- also not necessary unless your vet tests for it and says omit their gluten intake! And by the way that actually came from a celiac sufferer!

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Gluten can be included in the diet. But the gluten math should be kept in mind.

  7. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Very informative post-Shubhra. I have been reading and learning a lot about health lately, and I know that the millets (ragi, jowar, bajra, sama, singhara atta) all are gluten-free. And these are the grains that our ancestors used to eat a lot. SO it’s back to roots diet that works the best. Even with Non-celiac disease people, millets should be added to their diets. Overall a great post

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Thank you so much Kushal

  8. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Great article – I appreciate that you highlighted the myths!

    My adult daughter needs to follow a gluten-free diet, so this topic is very close to home for me. (She wasn’t diagnosed until she was an adult.) When we have family gatherings, we share the ingredients with each other, so she can make safe choices of which dishes to eat and which ones to avoid. When we go out to eat she always asks the server – or requests a menu with the gluten-free options listed. Staying gluten-free is a bit complicated but necessary.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting by Lori. Yes, Gluten-free diet can be a bit complicated.

  9. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    My daughter was diagnosed as an adult with celiac. She is doing much better now that she follows the strict diet. She loves to cook and has found wonderful options allowing her to enjoy foods she previously had to give up. King Arthur Flour company makes the best flour substitute called Measure to Measure. It’s not cheap, but for the occasional treat it is worth its price in gold. Two of her four children may have it too. Praying it’s just a sensitivity and not celiac. Great and informative post to explain this disease to a doubtful family member or friend. It is serious!

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Debi. I am glad that your daughter has finally found a way to enjoy her food. Yes, celiac can be a serious disease.

  10. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Great article, however, I’ve done a lot of research on this and you really don’t have to worry about gluten in lotions because the gluten molecule does not penetrate the skin, and it is not being eaten and going through the digestive system. You son’t need to worry about shampoo either, unless you feel a child might mistakenly digest it, and the same for toothpaste, as that is more likely to be digested.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Haha, Mary thanks for this information. Actually, that is a quote I read somewhere. I liked it so I used it here.

  11. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Excellent and detailed post. I have heard of Celiac disease but did not have any idea about what it was and how it affected a person.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      I am glad it was helpful for you

  12. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Thanks for all that great information! I had heard of it, of course, but didn’t know a lot about celiac disease. It is disturbing to hear that a food can be considered gluten-free even when it has gluten in it. I hope that will change, eventually.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 3, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Jeanine. I do hope that people suffering from gluten allergy do find some respite through the gluten-free diet.

  13. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Great post. Thanks for sharing the important information.

  14. April 3, 2019
    Reply

    Oh, I had no idea about celiac disease but have heard of gluten intolerance. Very well researched post.

  15. April 4, 2019
    Reply

    Thank you for clearing up the myths which surround Celiacs Disiease

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 4, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks Carol

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