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As if having coeliac disease wasn’t bad enough, you have to put up with people saying some pretty stupid things. I get it – the population isn’t as clued up on coeliac disease and a gluten free diet as it should be, which is probably why diagnosis rates are still far too low. 

But it can get tiring being asked the same old questions and hearing the same blanket statements. Sometimes you wonder, is it just me? Don’t worry folks, you’re not alone!


I asked members of The Gluten Free Blogger Facebook group to tell me the most annoying things anyone has said to them about being gluten free. I’ve mixed these up with some of my own personal favourites. Get the popcorn out kids, there’s some gooduns in here! How many can you tick off the list?

First there are the stupid questions…

‘What’s a co-liac/celeriac/co-e-liac?’

‘Risk it?’

Pointing at every single bit of food you go to eat and saying ‘has that got gluten in it?’

Being asked what exactly happens when you eat gluten. (See earlier blog post here)

‘Are you sure it’s not all in your mind?’

‘Oh you can’t eat potatoes can you?’

Me: ‘I’m gluten free.’ Friend: ‘Oh, so you can’t eat yeast?’

Then the stupid things said to us by servers

Me: ‘Does the (whatever) contain gluten?’ Waiter: ‘Yes I think so, it’s got butter in.’

Being told there is a vegetarian menu in response to asking a restaurant if they have any gluten free food.

Being served chicken skewers on top of a pitta bread and being told ‘it’s ok, you can leave the bread’.

Ordering gluten free starters in a restaurant – and then being asked if you want a gluten free main too.

Me: ‘Is that gluten free?’ Server: ‘It should be?’

Me: ‘Is this dish gluten free?’ Server: “There is no gluten in this. It is gluten free. But if you’re really allergic I wouldn’t eat it.”

‘The chips are safe because the high temperature in the fryer will kill the gluten particles.’

The condescending remarks

‘I went on a gluten free diet once… I lost so much weight.’

‘Oh so you’ve just got a bit of IBS.’

‘I don’t know how you do it’ – errr, I don’t have much choice mate!

And of course, the downright ‘WTF’ moments

‘I spent hours looking for some glucose free biscuits for you, but I couldn’t find any.’

‘I wish I was coeliac too because it would stop me eating so much cake’

Once I tried to use a language card in a restaurant in Paris to explain I had coeliac disease and they asked if I needed a hospital.

‘We bought some of your gluten free sausages by mistake. We thought they were going to be vile as full of your gluten free stuff but they were amazing.’

‘What is this gluten free rubbish? Can’t you just take the gluten out?’

And my personal favourite…

‘A little bit won’t hurt you’

Have I missed any out?

I know there are probably a lot more things people have said to you about being gluten free which have made you want to #facepalm to the max! I’d love to know anything I’ve missed in the comments below – vent your fury!

If you want a giggle, give these other posts a read!

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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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  1. Being told by my sisters – ‘Well, you never USED to be!’. I was only diagnosed 2yrs ago, at the age of 66 and they still think I’m ‘attention seeking’ :-(.

    1. Asking if your partner needs gluten free bread as well for a shared pot of cheese fondue. ‘No cross contamination possibilities there – me thinks!’

  2. I was at our local hospital over the lunch hour so decided to try the cafe for a GF sandwich (I’d had one there before). On enquiring the waitress said “No we haven’t any, but we do have Halal”?!?! 😳

  3. I was called for jury duty and was sitting at a table with a bunch of gum-flapping people. The subject of gluten came up and one of them loudly and proudly proclaimed, “I’m Gluten Fee!”. I said, “Hello Gluten, it’s nice to meet you”. She had no clue. Her justification for a gluten free diet was that she no longer needed contact lenses. Uh, um, erh, OK.

  4. You order the gluten free soups. You are offered the gf roll, you ask again when delivered if this is the gf one. You eat it to discover something not right you ask and ask and ask and finally they tell you it have Pearl barley in, but that not wheat so it’s okay!!!!! It’s NOTok. Three weeks of glued to the loo. Not fun.

  5. So my kids having a Christmas party at his school and the mother is making macaroni and cheese. They asked me is there any allergies or something that you can’t eat and I simply said gluten we can’t eat gluten, so Weil asking the mother if she made gluten-free macaroni and cheese or not, she says “gluten-free gives me the blues I can’t cook, gluten-free pasta“! Pretty ignorant statements to make I can handle it, but when it comes to my kids who is 12 I think it’s pretty mean spirited of that mother not to mention ignorant!