Think you’re gluten savvy? Then take our little Gluten True or False? quiz! No peeking at the answers until you’ve got to the end!
- True or False: foods containing gluten are unequivocally bad for you
- True or False: excluding gluten from your diet is as simple as giving up bread and pasta
- True or False: restricting gluten in your diet is a sure-fire way to improve your health
- True or False: eating gluten adds protein to your diet
- True or False: celiac disease is a very common condition
- True or False: to check if you really have celiac disease, you need to actually keep eating gluten
- True or False: being sensitive to gluten is a pre-cursor to having celiac disease
- True or False: people who are gluten sensitive tend to be overweight
- True or False: dropping gluten from your diet is a good way to lose weight, whether you are sensitive to it or not
- True or False: gluten intolerance can cause skin and nails problems
1. True or False: foods containing gluten are unequivocally bad for you
False. Grains that contain gluten, such as barley and rye, are whole grains which inject beneficial fibre, vitamins and minerals into your diet, protecting the body not only against disease, but also from the ageing process caused by oxidation.
2. True or False: excluding gluten from your diet is as simple as giving up bread and pasta
False. Following a strict gluten-free diet requires constant vigilance. While traditional breads, pasta, cereals and pizza are the most obvious culprits, gluten can also be found in many other products: beer, soy sauce, frozen foods that come in other sauces, vitamin and mineral supplements, some medications, and even lip balm and toothpaste!
3. True or False: restricting gluten in your diet is a sure-fire way to improve your health
False. Unless you actually have celiac disease, there’s currently no conclusive evidence that going gluten free will improve your health. In fact, unnecessarily cutting it out could reduce the overall quality of your diet and even have some negative effects, such as weight gain, diabetes and decreased bone density. That feeling of wellness you may get when you remove gluten from your diet is more likely due with the fact that in doing so, you’ve ditched refined carb- and sugar-laden snacks and desserts.
4. True or False: eating gluten adds protein to your diet
True: Gluten is actually a protein.
5. True or False: celiac disease is a very common condition
False. Let’s be clear about what celiac disease actually is – it’s an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the small intestine, causing inflammation and stopping it from absorbing nutrients properly. There’s a global trend for people to follow a gluten-free diet – up to 21% of Americans are doing it! But actually, this bears no correlation to the 1% of people who actually have celiac disease, or even the 6% thought to have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).
6. True or False: to check if you really have celiac disease, you need to actually keep eating gluten
True. To get a true, accurate diagnosis of celiac disease, you need to be eating gluten on a regular basis for at least six weeks before getting tested. This is because the blood test is looking for higher-than-normal levels of certain antibodies, which happens when someone with celiac eats gluten.
7. True or False: being sensitive to gluten is a pre-cursor to having celiac disease
False. Although people who are gluten sensitive and those with celiac disease may experience similar symptoms after eating gluten – bloating, diarrhoea, tummy cramps etc., the truth is, no one’s quite sure why, because these are actually two different conditions. But, if you do feel unwell after eating gluten, it seems sensible to avoid it – you just don’t need to take the same kind of precautions as someone with celiac disease.
8. True or False: people who are gluten sensitive tend to be overweight
False. Actually, there’s a risk of weight loss and malnutrition with celiac disease, because the damage it causes to the small intestine makes it harder for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs.
9. True or False: dropping gluten from your diet is a good way to lose weight, whether you are sensitive to it or not
False: Again, there’s no clear-cut proof that a gluten-free diet helps with weight loss, although if the gluten you’re cutting out is in the form of a daily doughnut, it may seem that way! Be aware that processed gluten-free foods may be high in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt, as manufacturers try to recreate the texture and taste of the foods they’re replacing. If your goal is to lose weight, don’t focus on gluten. It’s better to teach yourself new eating habits, such as using a smaller plate, making sure that half of it is full of fruits and vegetables, and switching calorie-laden sodas, sports drinks and juices for good old water.
10. True or False: gluten intolerance can cause skin and nails problems
True. One effect of the auto-immune response common in celiac sufferers is a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis. Symptoms include chronic itchiness and a bumpy, painful, rash that appears symmetrically after eating gluten on your hands, body, face, elbows and hairline; and weak, brittle nails.
How did you do?
0-4 With so much information out there, it can be hard to sift the wheat from the chaff! Hopefully, by reading the correct answers presented here, you’ve now got a better understanding of what gluten’s really all about.
5-7 It seems you’re not the kind of person to get caught up in the media hype surrounding gluten. But it’s always worth reviewing the basics, and maybe you even learned something new.
8-10 – You’re simply a gluten guru!