NFCA President and CEO Alice Bast explains why celiac disease awareness is essential for everyone, not just those who are already diagnosed.
The following editorial by National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) President and CEO Alice Bast appears in its entirety on the Huffington Post. NFCA encourages you to share this editorial to help us reach the 83% of people living with celiac disease who remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
What if the biggest barrier to celiac disease diagnosis is its very treatment — the gluten-free diet?
Many factors play into the low diagnosis rate of celiac disease, but this could very well be one of them. The gluten-free diet has taken on a life of its own. It’s often portrayed as a weight loss diet, and endless athletes and celebrities tout the perceived health benefits of “going gluten-free.” You’ve probably heard all the buzz. You can lose weight fast on a gluten-free diet. Your skin will look so much better if you cut out gluten. Your overall health will improve without gluten.
But those statements are nothing more than just myths.
We are constantly inundated with messages from the media about the “magic” of a gluten-free diet. While some share accurate information with the masses, many irresponsibly perpetuate a cycle of misinformation, leading to the amplification of the gluten-free diet and the silencing of celiac disease.
May is Celiac Awareness Month. It’s a prime time for those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (“gluten sensitivity”) to pull together and rise above the noise of the gluten-free fad diet. And while Celiac Awareness Month is an exciting time for our community, it’s not just about us. It’s about the 83 percent of you out there living with celiac disease and not even knowing it.