Saturday, January 9, 2010

Weird Ideas About a Gluten-Free Diet

I've heard my friend Amy Duncan get frustrated on numerous occassions about the weird ideas that some people have about low-carb diets. People who get their information third or fourth hand, have never tried the diet and certainly don't understand the basic tenants aggravate the heck out of her.

Silly me, I thought I wouldn't have to deal with that. Gluten-free, though complex because of all of the places where gluten derivatives are added to processed food, is basically pretty simple. Avoid products made with wheat, barley and rye or processed with them.

So imagine my surprise this morning when a friend mentioned she had heard that a glutne-free diet needs to avoid potatoes.

What? Potatoes? 

The conversation went something like this.

"I was talking to Goog when he was visiting last week and he has a friend on a gluten-free diet and she can't potatoes, so they must have gluten in them..."

Err, I can't even begin to point out all the flaws in that logic, but I'll start with: potatoes do NOT contain gluten. In fact, for many people with gluten allergies or sensitivities, potatoes provide an easy starch to replace wheat. Potato flour can make a tasty bread substitute for white bread (though buyign potato bread at most bakeries is still out--It will almost always contain wheat flour too.).

Potatoes are full of vitamins and healthy fiber (if you eat the skins) and not one lick of gluten. I know my low-carb friends avoid them because they are very high in carbohydrates, but for the gluten-free diet, potatoes are not a problem.

So then I wondered what other misconceptions about gluten-free diets might exist. This is the first one I've run into, but what about you? Can you share weird ideas about gluten-free diets that you have heard?

On a totally unrelated note, my husband has been nominated for a Preditors & Editors award for best horror short story of 2009. If you don't already have a favorite and wouldn't mind giving him your vote, please vote at Last Caress, by Steven Thor Gunnin. They do require that you give them your email address, but theywon't share it, sell it or spam you. And, you could win a prize just for voting.

Thanks for reading  and please share your favorite misconceptions about living gluten-free!

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