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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Not-Really Gluten-Free Dinner

Facebook, Twitter, and the message boards of gluten-free sites are abuzz about Damien Cardone, a chef in Colorado who earlier this month posted some inflammatory comments about people who order gluten-free meals in his restaurant.

“Flour and bread have been a staple of life for thousands, THOUSANDS of years. People who claim to be gluten intolorent dont realize that its all in there disturbed liitle heads. People ask me for gluten free pasta in my restaurant all the time, I tell em sure, Then I serve serve em our pasta, Which I make from scratch with high gluten flour. And you know what? nothing, NOTHING! ever happens! People leave talking about how good they feel gluten free and guess what, They just had a full dose! Idiots!”

Gluten-free product labels are appearing on mainstream products, and gluten-free sections are appearing on more restaurant menus. Gluten-free has also been misrepresented as a weight-loss diet, and is frequently mistaken as a fad diet.

However, for the one in every 100 people who are diagnosed with celiac disease, the only treatment for their autoimmune disorder is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. This chef does not seem to be aware of the rising prevalence of celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

For some people, wheat is a true food allergen. This means that these people have a histamine response to the food, that eating wheat could cause anaphylaxis or could trigger an asthma attack. In short, there is an immediate and dramatic response to ingesting gluten.

For many others, including those with celiac sprue or celiac disease, the response to gluten is not so immediate. For celiac sufferers, the reaction to gluten occurs in the small intestine. This means that the people who ate the high-gluten pasta noted in the chef’s post would not know that they were going to be very ill for the next few days. In all likelihood, the chef would not see an immediate negative reaction among his guests.

Unfortunately, those diners at that restaurant did everything they should do when eating out with a food allergy. They asked specifically for a gluten-free dish, they clearly communicated with their wait staff that they required gluten-free food, and they still ended up eating gluten – and a lot of it.

– Alicia King, WebMD

Have your gluten-free needs been ignored in restaurants? Does your family think you’re just being picky and won’t let you order accordingly? We want to hear about your celiac restaurant nightmares.

Posted by: WebMD Blogs at 8:20 pm

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