Category Archives: gluten-free diet

Celiac

The challenges of living with celiac disease

Living with celiac disease couldn’t possibly be a walk in the park. Despite having a month dedicated to its awareness, and the collective efforts of the medical community, advocates and celiacs themselves, many people are still in the dark as to what it really is. Or, quite simply, people just couldn’t comprehend the day-to-day struggles of those afflicted with the disease. FoodFacts.com shares a few of the the challenges that celiacs often face.

Cut-and-try testing

As previously mentioned, it takes six to eight years for celiac disease to be diagnosed correctly. Many people who manifest symptoms of the illness are, more often than not, diagnosed with other conditions, which may not at all be connected to celiac disease. For instance, a celiac could have vomiting symptoms whenever he or she ingests gluten, and then gets diagnosed with and treated for some form of eating disorder. In many cases, a person undergoes a number of other tests and gets misdiagnosed and treated incorrectly. The truth is, there are many people who do not have the resources to be passed on from specialist to specialist, let alone go through various expensive tests. Needless to say, this is an exhausting cycle for anyone to endure.

Being misunderstood

For unknowing celiacs, the scorn is on the “lapses” in their behavior. People who suffer with celiac disease may appear tired after having eaten a small piece of food that contains gluten. Others usually perceive the fatigue as laziness and lack of interest or commitment. And, in the example mentioned above, a celiac who throws up after his or her meal are frequently mistaken for being calorie-obsessed and figure-conscious.

Healing process

The suffering doesn’t end when celiacs are finally correctly diagnosed. It is never easy for anyone to give up their favorite foods, no matter how sick they get after eating them. Also, change doesn’t happen overnight. A newly diagnosed celiac may go gluten-free immediately, but it may take months or years for his or her body to fully heal.

Persistent challenges

There is a widely believed misconception that gluten-free diet actually means eating healthier. Unfortunately, the popularity of this food trend has inadvertently made celiac disease some sort of a joke. From late night shows to grocery stores and restaurants, many celiacs find themselves regarded as – and ridiculed for – being hypochondriacs riding on the gluten-free fad.

As with any health condition, celiac disease is not something one would hope to live with. However, it is a delight to see how many people who have this illness power through their everyday lives. As Celiac Disease Awareness Month comes to a close, bear in mind that gluten-free is not just a multi-million dollar trend with a 44-million-strong market. There’s actually a large number of that market who consume it as a health necessity.

Tip: It’s convenient to head over the grocery aisle that holds processed, ready-made gluten-free foods. However, these products may not necessarily be the healthy way to nourish your body, especially when it has suffered years of damage. It’s always best to seek out natural, gluten-free ingredients and prepare your meals yourself. Use the all my food facts app to find products that are safe for you to eat. 

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Recipe: Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal Muffins

Celiac disorder, like any other diseases that require dietary restrictions, can be challenging. However, this does not mean that people stricken with celiac disease are compelled to eat bland foods because of their sensitivity to gluten. FoodFacts.com is happy to dispel that perception and share this easy-to-make, healthy AND delicious gluten-free banana bread baked oatmeal muffins!

Time: 15 minutes

Serving: 12

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 2 over-ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In one bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  3. In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients.
  4. Add dry to wet and mix only until combined.
  5. Fold in the raisins.
  6. Spoon batter into lined or greased standard-sized muffin pans and silicone liners.
  7. Bake for about 11-14 minutes.
  8. Let muffins cool before drizzling Hershey’s Simply 5 Syrup, if using.

Note: Be sure to store muffin in an airtight container.

Tip: Turn this recipe vegan by replacing the eggs with flaxseed eggs and forgoing the Hershey’s syrup.

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Facts about celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. It affects about one percent of the population of the United States, occurring more often in women than in men. People with celiac disease have sensitivity to gluten, a type of protein found in grains such as rye and barley. Ingestion of gluten triggers an abnormal immune system response, which damages the small intestines and prevents absorption of necessary nutrients such as iron, folic acid, vitamin D and calcium.

The media does extensive coverage on celiac disease, especially in May as it is Celiac Disease Awareness Month. So much so that it has propelled the gluten-free foods trend, which somewhat deviated the focus from the disease itself. In fact, over a quarter of adults in the United States find gluten-free living appealing. The truth is, a large majority of that number do not require a gluten-free diet and should not be in it.

Since it is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, FoodFacts.com aids the medical community and other proponents in educating people with these quick facts about the disease.

Genetic disorder

Celiac disease is not simply a food allergy and/or intolerance that can be countered by an antihistamine. It is a serious, lifelong, genetically-determined disease. If a blood relative is diagnosed with celiac disease, get yourself screened immediately.

Invisible illness

Celiac disease is considered an invisible illness because it is hard to diagnose. The average time for celiac to be diagnosed correctly is between 6 and 10 years. In many cases, celiac does not even manifest itself through the most common symptoms, leaving the sufferer unaware that the illness is already destroying the small intestine.

Common symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of celiac disease are, but not limited to:

Other health problems

Because celiac disease is difficult to diagnose, it is often untreated. When left untreated, the disease may lead to a variety of other medical maladies such as infertility, miscarriage, osteoporosis, anemia and lymphoma.

Higher risk of pneumonia

As reported in a recent article, researchers found that people with celiac disease are more susceptible to pneumonia if they have never received the pneumococcal vaccine. Doctors, therefore, urge diagnosed celiac patients to get the vaccine.

If you think you have celiac disease, call your doctor immediately and discuss a health management plan before switching to a gluten-free diet.

The all my foodfacts app can help you manage celiac disease. By selecting the types of food that you want to avoid, all my foodfacts will show you which products contain them. In this case, when you add “gluten” to your avoid list and run a search on grains, the app includes the products that contain grains which celiac patients are sensitive to in the results and indicates that you should avoid them.

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Find out if the products you are using are really gluten-free with the all my foodfacts app. Get it on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

A protein found in the gut may be the reason why some of us actually can’t stomach gluten

gluten freeThere’s been a lot of backlash out there in the media lately concerning those who choose to adhere to a gluten free diet for reasons other than celiac disease. “It’s a fad,” you’ll hear often. People with celiac disease are the only ones who need a gluten-free diet, anyone else is just being trendy and likes attention. Those are the general sentiments. Turns out that more and more information is being uncovered which serves as proof that others can, in fact, be sensitive to gluten without having celiac disease. It’s not a figment of anyone’s imagination. It’s not a cry for attention. It’s real. And, in fact, a protein found in the gut may be the reason why some of us actually can’t stomach gluten.

If you’ve found that you are sensitive to gluten — the stretchy protein that makes wheat bread fluffy and pie crusts crisp — perhaps you’ve had to bear the brunt of the gluten-free backlash.

Some 47 percent of American consumers say the gluten-free diet is a fad, according toMintel research. And that’s partly because there’s been scant proof of what causes non-celiac gluten sensitivity. As far as diagnosing it goes, there’s nothing akin to thegold standard tests that help diagnose the 1 percent of the population that has celiac disease.
But those who shun gluten (and don’t have celiac disease) may not be food faddists after all. Researchers are finally homing in on markers for gluten sensitivity in the body. A study from Giovanni Barbara and his team at the University of Bologna, Italy, suggests that gluten-sensitive individuals may harbor high levels of a molecule called zonulin that is linked to inflammation.

Levels of zonulin in the blood have been shown to be high in celiacs already. In Barbara’s study, levels in gluten-sensitive individuals almost matched those of celiacs. Though the results are preliminary, they point in a hopeful direction for future tests to help diagnose this controversial condition.

About 6 percent of the global population may be sensitive to gluten, according togastroenterologist Alessio Fasano of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Symptoms can be similar to irritable bowel syndrome, with abdominal pain, bloating, alternating diarrhea or constipation. And there can be other symptoms, including “brain fog,” headache, fatigue and joint and muscle pain.

Enter zonulin, stage left. Zonulin is an inflammatory protein first discovered by Fasano and his team in 2000. It helps regulate leakiness in the gut by opening and closing the spaces or “junctions” between cells in the lining of the digestive tract. Zonulin is triggered by harmful bacteria, and offers important protection to the body: If you accidentally eat a food contaminated with salmonella, you rely on zonulin to help trigger diarrhea and flush out the bugs.

Once the pathogen is gone, zonulin levels drop and the junctions close.
So what does it have to do with gluten? It turns out that gluten is a strong trigger of zonulin in some individuals. “No human being completely digests gluten,” says Fasano. “And in a small percentage of us, that undigested gluten triggers the release of zonulin,” leading to high levels of it.

To test the theory, Giovanni Barbara and a team of researchers at the University of Bologna measured blood levels of zonulin in four groups of individuals: those with celiac disease, those with irritable bowel syndrome marked by diarrhea, those with self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity and healthy volunteers. Both celiacs and gluten-sensitives turned up with remarkably high levels of zonulin in their blood. Those with IBS had elevated levels but less than half the levels of celiacs or gluten-sensitive individuals. Healthy volunteers had negligible blood levels of zonulin.

The results were presented in October as an abstract at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain. “I was very surprised, but not only by the zonulin levels,” says Barbara. “In our study, gluten-sensitive individuals who responded to a gluten-free diet had a genetic predisposition to celiac disease. They had no evidence of celiac, but they did have the vulnerable genes that put a person at risk of celiac.”

Despite having found two potential biomarkers, Barbara cautions that it’s far too soon to recommend any kind of clinical testing. “We need more research to determine the clinical usefulness of these markers. … Other laboratories need to reproduce our data, and we need to repeat our own experiment with gluten-sensitive patients who have been identified by strict criteria in double-blind studies.” Barbara adds that his center only sees the most severe patients who have been unsuccessful finding treatment elsewhere, which may have influenced the results.

Fasano, who was not involved in Barbara’s study, says the discovery of zonulin is part of a larger, evolving picture. “This molecule is extremely important in a lot of illness,from Type 1 diabetes to other autoimmune diseases. Many illnesses link back to loss of barrier function in the gut.” Soon, a trial will begin to test whether it’s possible to shut down zonulin production in the gut for a few hours.

“It would be really great,” says Fasano, “if we had a safe medication that could keep this molecule at bay and offer help for celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and perhaps other conditions.”

FoodFacts.com is happy that this information is out and about and being circulated. We don’t like it when people point their fingers at others and assume that problems aren’t legitimate when they have no proof. People who are gluten sensitive actually are gluten sensitive. Maybe others can learn a little sensitivity too.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/09/459061317/a-protein-in-the-gut-may-explain-why-some-cant-stomach-gluten

The diet that was never meant to be … how gluten-free got out of control

gluten-intoleranceThe gluten-free craze was never supposed to be a craze at all. Just ask Dr. Alessio Fasano, a physician-researcher at Mass. General – the doctor that put gluten awareness on the map in the United States.  He also understands how gluten-free got out of control.

When Fasano came to the United States from his native Italy in the early 1990s, the prevailing view in medicine was that celiac was a problem primarily for European kids and basically didn’t exist here. His decade-long study proved otherwise, and brought relief to a small group of long-overlooked, long-suffering Americans. But when he began giving talks on his findings, celiac patients told him, essentially, “Enough with the science. What we really want from you are recipes for gluten-free bread that doesn’t take like cardboard.” Hardly anyone outside this select group even knew what gluten was.

“Fast forward to 2015,” Fasano told me. “We did such a good job that the monster went all out of control.”

Gluten-free is now a $23 billion a year market in this country. Food manufacturers have rushed to fill supermarket shelves with every imaginable product labeled “gluten-free” – many that never contained gluten to begin with. “The gluten-free diet,” Fasano said, “is the most popular diet that you can imagine.”

How did it happen? A pivotal moment came in 2008 when Oprah Winfrey announced that she was going on a cleanse and would cut gluten from her diet. Traditional bakers around the country probably gulped, or at least they should have. By the time other celebrities hopped on the bandwagon, gluten-free was well on its way to becoming a dietary juggernaut.

In stepped diet book peddlers and even a few outright hucksters. There’s a guy in North Carolina serving a nine- to 11-year prison sentence for fraud, after he was caught buying regular bread from Costco and other stores, repackaging it as gluten-free, and selling it for a huge markup.

Helping to propel this explosion has been the wide spectrum of gluten-avoiding people. About 0.3 percent of the US population has a wheat allergy – for them, eating even trace amounts of wheat can cause anaphylactic shock. About 1 percent of the population has celiac disease. Another 5 percent to 6 percent, according to Fasano’s estimates, have genuine gluten sensitivity. For this group, avoiding gluten is essential because the protein composite will often cause painful gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating and diarrhea, although those symptoms tend to be milder than what people with celiac disease suffer. More important, these symptoms produce no long-term damage. For celiacs, eating gluten slowly destroys the villi lining their small intestines and over time can hasten death – so for them, avoiding gluten is very serious business.

But Fasano says the vast majority of the contemporary gluten-free universe involves people who, in the Oprah tradition, avoid the stuff purely for lifestyle reasons, and not out of medical necessity.

Most celiacs say they have no problem with other people avoiding gluten because of dietary preference. After all, the vast expansion of the gluten-free ranks is the reason people with celiac disease have so many more choices these days at the supermarket and on restaurant menus. But what has so many of them furious is the explosion of people pretending to have a medical condition around gluten when, in fact, they just want special attention.

For celiacs, accommodations in restaurants and elsewhere have made it possible for them to venture out into the world like everyone else, without being paralyzed by fear that they will risk doing serious harm to themselves. Yet as the face of gluten-free increasingly morphs into a self-involved poser, celiacs worry that people will stop taking their disease seriously, and their hard-won accommodations will become casualties. While faddists can move on to another fad diet, celiacs must avoid gluten for life.

As Dr. Sheila Crowe, a physician-researcher at the University of California San Diego, told me, “For people with celiac disease, gluten is basically poison to their body.”

One of her patients told her recently about an experience dining out. When the patient told the server she needed to eat gluten-free, the server roll his eyes and said, “Oh, you’re one of those.”

The tension in restaurants may only increase in the short term, as portable meters come on to the market that will allow diners to test their meals, tableside, for the presence of gluten.

Crowe says that although the only current treatment for celiac disease is avoiding gluten, eventually effective medications will come. But when those meds come, she says, they are likely to be expensive. And insurers are going to balk at paying for them for patients who don’t actually need them. “We are going to need documentation,” she said.

Celiac is diagnosed through a combination of blood test and intestinal biopsies. Currently, there is no test for gluten sensitivity/intolerance, but that too will come.

For Mass. General’s Fasano, the biggest frustration with the market-fueled distortion of his research is that so many people are now diagnosing themselves with gluten intolerance without ever going to their doctor to be sure.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease. When people who suffer it eat gluten, the body goes to war, but mistakenly turns on itself, starting with the small intestine. The first step doctors use to diagnose it is to look for biomarkers in the blood, evidence that the body has girded for battle. But Fasano stresses that people who stop eating gluten without going for a medical consult will deprive the doctor of the key diagnostic tool if they ever do want a real diagnosis. Since those people stopped eating gluten, there will be no biomarkers.

In my original piece, Fasano tried to point out the folly of these self-diagnosers with a comparison to another disease. “You don’t say, ‘I’m drinking a lot and peeing a lot, so I must have diabetes,’ and then start injecting yourself with insulin.”

For celiacs, gluten-free is a therapeutic intervention. Fasano has a simple message for anyone who tells a waiter they’ve got a medical condition involving gluten, when in reality they’re just trying to cut carbs: “Shame on you.”

FoodFacts.com has certainly witnessed the proliferation of gluten-free everything in our grocery stores. The availability of products catering to the gluten-free diet has skyrocketed. For those with celiac’s or gluten sensitivity the mass appeal of the gluten-free diet has opened the doors to quality food products that fit their dietary restrictions. While we know there are those who have jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon as part of a health fad, we’re still happy that the strength of that consumer force has created healthy and plentiful choices for those with actual health conditions.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2015/10/27/how-made-gluten-into-monster/GYIZbgqfWtBmLOE88yr5EO/story.html

Thinking about a gluten-free diet? Some information to consider first …

gluten-free-banner1We hear about diet trends all the time. Low carb. No carb. Mediterranean. Low fat. No fat. It’s rare that a diet trend has any real staying power. A few decades back everyone was trying to avoid fat — all fat, in everything. People were avoiding egg yolks. Fat-free cheese, fat-free potato chips, fat-free cookies … the grocery store shelves were lined with fat-free products. Most of those products aren’t available today.

There is one diet trend, though, that certainly has had a longer life than others. There are countless people that swear by a gluten-free diet — not just for weight loss, but for overall health as well.

A recent study has suggested that although only 7% American need a gluten-free diet, more than 63% of Americans are conscious of gluten intake and try to avoid it. The most supported claim for this action is the belief that gluten would make them healthy and improve their mental capabilities. Among the most popular beliefs were how a gluten free diet would improve digestion, the immune and digestive systems, and memory as well as increase energy and reduce cholesterol levels.

AlessioFasano, M.D., director of the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston notes that there is very little research regarding the beneficial and harmful effects of gluten.

“Gluten free” is advertised by many brands now. Gluten is a protein that is present naturally in grains like wheat and barley and rye. This protein is beneficial for health. Through evidenced-based knowledge, gluten has positive effects on levels of carbohydrates and blood pressure and helps maintain a healthy intestinal flora and reduce inflammation.
However for those 6-7% who do require a gluten free diet, it is essentially a toxic substance that damages the intestines. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by gluten-mediated-damage to the intestinal wall. Thus for these people, the avoidance of gluten is necessary.

For those who are not sensitive to gluten, though, researchers have found gluten free diets to actually be harmful.

Gluten free products tend to have more calories, be less nutritious, and have low levels of vitamins and other elements that are required by the body and may also be high in sodium content and carbohydrates.

Gluten free foods are generally rice products, since rice is well tolerated in patients with celiac disease. According to previous research, the highest levels of arsenic (a heavy metal poison) are found in rice. Since most products contain rice even when the label says they don’t, there is invariably some exposure to arsenic.

Weight gain is an issue when it comes to a gluten free diet. Celiac disease patients can gain weight because they are able to absorb more nutrients than when they were consuming gluten.

People who may have some other underlying condition may mistake it for gluten sensitivity and may end up exacerbating their disease.

Researchers suggest that the best way to stay healthy is by reducing carbohydrate intake and eating more fiber, since fiber promotes satiety and fruits and vegetables provide a boost to the immune system.

FoodFacts.com knows that there are many people in our own community who have experienced enormous benefits by avoiding gluten – people who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. We ourselves have been impressed with the quality of many of the gluten-free food products becoming more and more popular in our grocery stores. There is value in other views, however, and every individual can have a different experience. Some food for thought …

http://www.esbtrib.com/2014/11/23/2502/secret-behind-gluten-free-diet-facts-need-know/

An unwelcome ingredient in some gluten-free foods — arsenic

Arsenic in Gluten-Free FoodsFoodFacts.com has often been quite impressed by the distinct differences between the majority of gluten-free food products and their gluten-containing counterparts. Nutritional values appear to be much better and ingredient lists can be far superior. While gluten-free foods have been developed specifically for consumers with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease, we know that many have embraced these food products for other perceived health reasons. They may simply be reading the ingredient lists and realizing that there are gluten-free foods that are simply better products. We read something today, though, that might be of concern to all gluten-free food consumers.

Some gluten free foods have been found to boast worrying concentrations of arsenic, as revealed by the analyses of flour, cakes, bread, pasta and other foods made with rice.

With demand up, so is supply, and more gluten-free rice-based products are hitting the shelves. This is no doubt a boon for celiac disease sufferers, who now have a large variety of meal options. However, a new study published in the journal Food Additives & Contaminants says it’s also dangerous, as more of these products have been found to contain worrying levels of arsenic, a toxic and carcinogenic substance.

Arsenic is found naturally in the Earth’s crust, and it is often absorbed with water by rice plants.

These levels are low enough where they are not a threat to standard consumers, but study co-author Ángel Carbonell says that people who exclusively eat gluten-free products – namely celiac sufferers – might be slowly poisoning themselves.

“These figures show that we cannot exclude a risk to the health of people who consume these kinds of products,” Carbonell said in a statement.
He and his colleagues argue that current arsenic limits set by the US and European Union do not accommodate for celiac disease sufferers, as current limits assume the average citizen is eating less rice-product than these niche consumers.

“What is needed is for health agencies to legislate to limit the levels of arsenic that cannot be exceeded in rice-based foods intended for consumers who suffer from celiac disease,” Carbonell said.

The authors also call for clearer labeling, as the quality and even location of rice can affect its arsenic content.

While this information is especially important for those who are exclusively consuming gluten-free products due to sensitivities or celiac disease, it’s important for any consumer who has decided to embrace a gluten-free lifestyle. While these products can be substantially better in terms of nutrition facts and ingredients, we do think that the presence of a dangerous ingredient that will not appear on any list worth noting.

http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/9704/20141018/gluten-free-foods-contain-arsenic.htm#ixzz3GjsWepQv

Here’s a new reason to consider a gluten-free diet

Gluten Free Diet May Help Prevent DiabetesEvery now and again a dietary trend captures the attention of the population. The gluten-free diet has certainly been such a trend. In fact, that trend continues to grow daily, as more and more consumers learn of the benefits so many have already experienced. Keeping in mind that the gluten-free diet’s main and original purpose is to accommodate the dietary needs of those with Celiacs disease or gluten sensitivity, the diet has now been embraced by those not suffering from these conditions.

Gluten-free eating has been credited with weight loss, improved general health and increased energy. While it may appear difficult to incorporate into an existing lifestyle, thousands have attested to the idea that it’s actually a lot easier than it initially appears, especially with the introduction of so many gluten-free food products on our grocery shelves. Now there’s a new reason to consider gluten-free.

New experiments on mice show, that mouse mothers can protect their pups from developing type 1 diabetes by eating a gluten-free diet. According to preliminary studies by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, the findings may apply to humans.

More than 1% of the Danish population has type 1 diabetes, one of the highest incidence rates in the world. New experiments on mice now show a correlation between the health of the pups and their mothers eating a gluten-free diet. Our hope is that the disease may be prevented through simple dietary changes, the researchers say.

“Preliminary tests show that a gluten-free diet in humans has a positive effect on children with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes. We therefore hope that a gluten-free diet during pregnancy and lactation may be enough to protect high-risk children from developing diabetes later in life,” says assistant professor Camilla Hartmann Friis Hansen from the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Findings from experiments on mice are not necessarily applicable to humans, but in this case we have grounds for optimism, says co-writer on the study professor Axel Kornerup from the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

“Early intervention makes a lot of sense because type 1 diabetes develops early in life. We also know from existing experiments that a gluten-free diet has a beneficial effect on type 1 diabetes,” he says.

Experiments of this type have been going on since 1999, originally initiated by Professor Karsten Buschard from the Bartholin Institute at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, another co-writer on the study.

“This new study beautifully substantiates our research into a gluten-free diet as an effective weapon against type 1 diabetes,” Karsten Buschard explains.

The experiment showed that the diet changed the intestinal bacteria in both the mother and the pups. The intestinal flora plays an important role for the development of the immune system as well as the development of type 1 diabetes, and the study suggests that the protective effect of a gluten-free diet can be ascribed to certain intestinal bacteria. The advantage of the gluten-free diet is that the only side-effect seems to be the inconvenience of having to avoid gluten, but there is no certain evidence of the effect or side-effects.

“We have not been able to start a large-scale clinical test to either prove or disprove our hypothesis about the gluten-free diet,” says Karsten Buschard.

Assistant Professor Camilla Hartmann Friis Hansen is hoping that it will be possible to continue the work.

“If we find out how gluten or certain intestinal bacteria modify the immune system and the beta-cell physiology, this knowledge can be used to develop new treatments,” she says.

FoodFacts.com looks forward to more research on the health benefits of the gluten-free diet. We do think that as research continues, more will be discovered. After all, so many gluten-free consumers who state that they’re enjoying better health, more energy and healthy weight loss can’t simply be imagining their results. We think there’s more than meets the eye for a gluten-free lifestyle and we’re excited to learn more about its positive health effects.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140508095836.htm

Move over Samoas, there’s a new Girl Scout cookie in town and it’s gluten-free!

It’s that time of year again. Whether you have a Girl Scout in your family, or in a co-worker’s family, or you’re being visited by a Girl Scout at your front door, you may very well be ordering a box (or two or five) of your favorite Girl Scout cookies.

About this time last year, FoodFacts.com took a look at the ingredient lists for a few different Girl Scout cookie varieties. We weren’t very excited by what we discovered and shared the facts with our community. We felt as though products branded by the Girl Scouts should be more conscious than your average cookie brand of the ingredients they choose to include in their confections. You can read the ingredient lists for Samoas and Tagalongs on our site.

Back in 2011, a New York mom whose daughter was a Girl Scout, started a petition to convince the organization to offer a gluten-free cookie option. She collected more than 12,000 signatures after the companies that make the cookies told her there was not enough of a market for a gluten-free version.

Fast forward to 2014 and all that has changed as the Girl Scouts introduce the Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie.

According to the website of ABC Bakers, a maker of Girl Scout Cookies, the Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie will be making its debut in 20 test markets this year. The gluten-free snacks will be available in some parts of Maryland, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York and Wisconsin, among a handful of other states.

“ABC will conduct research during and after the sale to determine whether to go national with this cookie in the future since ABC Bakers is all about staying on the cutting edge, and bringing people what they want in today’s world,” the company’s website reads.

FoodFacts.com did a little digging and discovered that the new gluten-free Girl Scout cookie also carries a better ingredient list than its relatives, Samoas and Tagalongs. The Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie contains no partially hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or artificial and natural flavorings.

This is undoubtedly great news for gluten-free Girl Scout cookie fans. But it’s also great news for all Girl Scout cookie aficionados who’d rather not consume the ingredients in some of the other, more popular options. When manufacturers (and organizations) listen to the voices of their consumer base, it usually results in better, healthier options for everyone. It makes their regular purchasers happy and it helps them acquire new customers as well. We all know the old saying, “the customer is always right.” Thanks for listening, Girl Scouts! Now you might want to get to work on some of the ingredient lists in the other cookie varieties everyone wants to love.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/girl-scouts-gluten-free-cookie_n_4690222.html

https://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/meet_the_cookies.asp

 

 

 

New FDA rules standardize and define “gluten-free” food labeling

FoodFacts.com knows that many in our community suffer with celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten. Those members actively seek to avoid food products containing gluten and rely on both dietary restrictions and gluten-free food products to help them manage their difficulties. Whether living with Celiac Disease or sensitivity to gluten, maintaining a gluten-free diet is essential to the health and well-being of millions worldwide. And that’s why it’s so important that gluten-free food manufacturers take the utmost care in labeling their products for this consumer population.

Today we learned that the FDA has published a new regulation defining the term “gluten-free” for voluntary food labeling. The new rule provides a standard definition that will help to protect the health of Americans with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivities.

New rule provides standard definition to protect the health of Americans with celiac disease

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today published a new regulation defining the term “gluten-free” for voluntary food labeling. This will provide a uniform standard definition to help the up to 3 million Americans who have Celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive condition that can be effectively managed only by eating a gluten free diet. The FDA commented that the new “gluten-free” definition will help people affected by consuming gluten make food choices with confidence and allow them to better manage their health.

This new federal definition standardizes the meaning of “gluten-free” claims across the food industry. It requires that, in order to use the term “gluten-free” on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” to meet the definition for “gluten-free.”
The FDA recognizes that many foods currently labeled as “gluten-free” may be able to meet the new federal definition already. Food manufacturers will have a year after the rule is published to bring their labels into compliance with the new requirements.

The term “gluten” refers to proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains. In people with Celiac disease, foods that contain gluten trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. Such damage limits the ability of Celiac disease patients to absorb nutrients and puts them at risk of other very serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature, and intestinal cancers.

FoodFacts.com is happy to see the FDA taking action to formalize the definition of “gluten-free”. We know this will help so many consumers make more educated food choices that comply with their dietary restrictions. We also believe that it will help manufacturers offer food products that are geared towards this important consumer group. Food labeling helps all consumers become more nutritionally aware. It’s an important tool that broadens our knowledge of food products and ultimately helps us all successfully manage our own nutritional requirements.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm363474.htm