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Home » Over One-Fourth (28%) of Americans Assume that People Who Eat Gluten-Free Are Just Trying to Get Attention

Over One-Fourth (28%) of Americans Assume that People Who Eat Gluten-Free Are Just Trying to Get Attention

July 12, 2023

Yet for the 1 in 133 Americans with Celiac Disease, Eating Gluten-Free is the Only Treatment

Americans’ attitudes toward and understanding of celiac disease fall short, according to a nationwide survey conducted online among 2,081 U.S. adults April 11-13, 2023, by The Harris Poll on behalf of Beyond Celiac, the leading catalyst for a celiac disease cure. The survey found that 28% of Americans assume that people who eat gluten-free are just trying to get attention. However, gluten is dangerous for people with this serious autoimmune disease and following a strict gluten-free diet is the only way the 3.2 million Americans (1 in 133)1 with celiac disease can control it today.

Other key findings from the survey revealing misunderstandings of the disease include:

  • Only one-fourth (27%) realize that getting diagnosed with celiac disease is difficult because many people who have no stomach or digestion-related symptoms don’t get tested for celiac disease and are misdiagnosed with something else.
  • Only 40% of Americans know that left undiagnosed or unmanaged, celiac disease could lead over time to lymphoma or other cancers, additional autoimmune problems and/or a range of life-threatening medical conditions.
  • Only 43% of Americans think that going to parties and other kinds of socializing are difficult when you are limited to gluten-free food.
  • One-third (33%) of Americans incorrectly believe that research to learn more about the causes of and a cure for celiac disease receives as much attention and funding as other serious diseases.

“Celiac disease awareness has come a long way since I founded Beyond Celiac 20 years ago. We still have work to do to achieve our vision of a world in which people with celiac disease can life healthy lives, free from social stigma and fear of gluten exposure,” said Beyond Celiac CEO Alice Bast. “If more Americans understood how dangerous gluten can be for a person with celiac disease, it would be a big step forward for those with celiac disease to be able to live life to the fullest and eat without fear,” Bast added.

Causing damage to the small intestine, celiac disease results in debilitating symptoms, and if left untreated can lead to serious, long-term health problems including infertility and some types of cancer. Though numerous possible treatments are under investigation, currently there are no medications to treat celiac disease and there is no cure. Following a 100% gluten-free diet (no wheat, barley or rye), which may not fully offset the health risks of the disease, is the only way people with celiac disease can get by on a daily basis. 

The full report on the survey results, “The Persisting Myths About Celiac Diseasecan be found at The report also presents the facts about the disease, and outlines how Beyond Celiac is taking steps to accelerate the quest for a cure.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Beyond Celiac from April 11-13, 2023 among 2,081 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval.  For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact

[email protected]

About Beyond Celiac

Founded in 2003, Beyond Celiac is the leading catalyst for a celiac disease cure in the United States, serving as a patient advocacy and research-driven organization working to drive diagnosis and accelerate the discovery of new treatments. By engaging with the top scientists in the field, making the right investments in research and supporting the broad community of those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, Beyond Celiac envisions a world in which people can live healthy lives and eat without fear – a world Beyond Celiac.


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