Myths and facts

Celiac disease and gluten free diet are both relatively new terms in India. There are many false notions around these which baffle new patients and their families. We have tried to dispel some of these myths here.



Celiac disease is a childhood disease

FACT: Celiac disease can develop anytime between infancy and 90 years of age. Initially only children were being diagnosed with this condition but now more and more adults are being diagnosed all over the world including in India. Learn more

Celiac disease is a ‘Western’ disease

FACT: The prevalence rate of 1% in India is the same as in other parts of the world. However, the diagnosis rate and awareness of the condition are extremely low here, hence the perception that it is a western disease.  Learn more

Celiac disease is a rare disease

FACT: 1% of the population in the world is suspected to be affected with celiac disease. This is more common than some other diseases like HIV where the worldwide estimate is 0.8% of the population affected.

Celiac disease is to be suspected only in case of gastro-intestinal symptoms

FACT: Till few years back, almost all patients presented with gastrointestinal symptoms but today, about one third of children and most adults present with extra – intestinal symptoms. Celiac disease is now established as a multi-system disorder and hence should be suspected even if symptoms are not gastro-intestinal. Learn more

Celiac disease can be diagnosed by blood test alone

FACT: Biopsy is a must for diagnosing celiac disease. tTG value can be falsely positive or negative hence studying the extent and type of intestinal damage becomes imperative through the biopsy. Learn more

Celiac disease can be outgrown

FACT: Celiac disease is not an allergy; it is an autoimmune intolerance which cannot be outgrown. Gluten free diet is the only treatment and needs to be adhered to for life.

Celiac disease is cured once the symptoms fade away

FACT: Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition which cannot be cured but only kept under control with a strict gluten free diet. Even when symptoms fade away completely, reintroduction to gluten damages the intestine, which may not be visible immediately but in the form of serious complications after a few years. Learn more

Biopsy needs to be repeated every 2-3 years

FACT: Apart from some rare cases where improvement is not occurring as expected, biopsy need not be repeated. Learn more

Consumption of small amount of gluten will not harm a celiac

FACT: Studies have shown that gluten level beyond 20ppm in a food item can be harmful to individuals with celiac disease. Read Gluten Math to learn more

Celiac disease is to be suspected only in individuals who are underweight and does not occur in obese people

FACT: Recent studies have shown that 5-20% of all celiac disease patients are obese.


Only wheat needs to be avoided on a gluten free diet

FACT: Apart from wheat, barley, rye, oats and products made out of them in any form need to be avoided too. Learn more

Gluten free food is not available in India

FACT: India has many gluten free grains which are grown locally which are hence available in abundance and at reasonable prices – jowar, bajra, makki, ragi, kuttu, cholai etc. Daals, rice and vegetables form part of our everyday food. Hence, gluten free offers many flavors in India.In fact, world over, Indian cuisine is perceived as one of the most popular cuisines by the gluten intolerant community! Information about gluten in packaged products is however not available and hence the perception that gluten free food is difficult to obtain in India.

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Gluten Free & Beyond