The gluten free movement has proven to be a double-edged sword for those with celiac disease. You see, with more people aware of gluten, and more people eating gluten free, it means there is a larger market for gluten free products. Things with gluten are labelled – although, not everything that is gluten free is labeled as such. There is still a lot of learning that needs to happen in order to successfully eat a gluten free diet.
The double-edged sword is definitely seen when trying to find places to eat out. You will find lots of restaurants that have dishes that are labelled as gluten free. However, in many, if you read the fine print, you see words like “not appropriate for a celiac diet”.
Why is this? Because those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) are not allergic to gluten in the same way that someone with celiac is. People who are eating gluten free by choice can often tolerate small amounts of gluten in their diets. They do not need to be worried about cross contamination.
When a diet becomes a fad diet (and GF is definitely a fad diet) then some people do not take it seriously. This means that those who really are allergic can have their concerns dismissed. This is part of that double-edged sword.
The good news is that so many more people are aware of not just GF diets, but what celiac disease is. With more awareness comes more options. There are more products available and more restaurants that pay attention. The challenge is figuring out which ones are paying lip service to GF in order to gain access to the fad dieters, versus those that really do understand gluten allergies and appreciate the need to avoid cross contamination.