The worst things you can say to someone who’s gluten free

People who don’t know a lot (or anything) about Celiac disease can often say some hurtful, ignorant, or just plain annoying things when the topic comes up. So here are my top four things you should never say to someone who needs to eat gluten free, and four that you should say (or that I appreciate when they’re said to me).

Never say:

4. “How much weight have you lost?” or “Well no wonder you’re so skinny!”

3. “Come on, just one bite won’t hurt! This is so good!”

2. “Well have you gotten tested? How do you know you have it?”

1. “I could never do that. I love bread too much! (giggle)”

Okay to say:

4. “Wow, that sucks. But I’m glad you’re feeling better now!”

3. “You know, I just saw a new restaurant with a gluten free menu!”

2. “That’s good to know, thanks for telling me about it. I’ll make sure to have some gluten free snacks on hand next time you come over!”

1. “I don’t know much about Celiac disease. Can you tell me more?”

Any other things that people have said to you that were either helpful or hurtful (or made you just want to punch them in the nose)?


9 responses to “The worst things you can say to someone who’s gluten free

  1. I’m not overly fond of “that sucks”… I’d prefer it if people stopped saying that to me, even if it’s followed with a positive statement. In my experience, it usually means “your disease sucks for me” more than being any sort of statement of sympathy.

  2. Kathryn Rubidoux

    “Can’t the doctor give you something for that?” and “Just have a little bit with each meal and you’ll build up a tolerance to it. I saw some guy on the tv talking about it.”, are a couple of wingdingers I’ve had thrown my way. Another one is “This gluten-free sh*t is so inconvenient! Why can’t you be normal?” That one was from my mother.
    I generally appreciate it when people acknowledge that it is a disorder and not a dietary preference.

  3. Mostly it’s the irritated looks when I say I need to go somewhere that does not only serve pizza. I mean, really. There’s more to life than pizza pie, people.

  4. Lately I have been getting terribly inaccurate advice about what I can and cannot eat from people who are “cutting back on gluten”. Cutting back? Really? **sigh** This drives me crazy because some of them just don’t listen or understand about intolerance or allergy.

  5. Like Nicole, I’ve been getting a lot of “Oh yeah, I’m cutting back on gluten, too. I mean, I drink beer and eat bread, but other than that … ” The worst is when the person saying this is my waiter for the evening, which has happened twice recently.

  6. I couldn’t agree more!!! I hate when people ask as if they would have the panacea and you are not smart enough on your own because you decide to start a gluten free diet!!!

  7. You hit the nail on the head with the “things you should never say”. The “no wonder your’e so skinny” drives me up a wall. Yes I eat gluten free, but I also go to the gym 5 days a week. Love your site!

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