Too often, patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity remain ill despite all intentions to remain on a gluten-free diet. Why is this? There are several reasons, but a new one was recently revealed that you do need to know about.
It turns out that inherently gluten-free foods can be contaminated with gluten. Specifically a study looked at single item flours, seeds and grains of gluten-free foods. If you bought a sealed bag of millet, for example, you shouldn't need to be concerned that it contained gluten, right? It turns out that that premise is quite wrong – to the tune of 32% of the time!
Specifically researchers who published in the Journal of the America Dietetics Association, were interested in discovering if a proposed law under the Food Allergen and Consume Protection Act which stated the Food and Drug Administration must issue a ruling for the voluntary labeling of foods as being gluten-free. The ruling states that inherently gluten-free grains be actually be considered ‘misbranded’ if they carry a gluten-free label and do not also state that all foods of the same type are gluten-free.
In other words, since buckwheat is inherently gluten-free, if a bag of buckwheat stated on the label that it was gluten-free, it would also need to include on that label that ALL buckwheat is gluten-free.
That’s true in a perfect world, but is it true in reality. Not so much, as it turns out. The researchers discovered, after sending twenty-two unopened products to a highly respected company specializing in gluten analysis, that a fully 32% of them were in fact contaminated. And not just a little, their contamination put them above the 20 parts per million threshold, squarely identifying them as a gluten-containing food. The fact that they were all foods that naturally were gluten-free was, unfortunately, beside the point. Through some form of contamination, 32% of them were tainted and would create devastating health effects to a person with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
It is worth noting that none of these products labeled themselves as ‘gluten-free’. According to the proposed law, they shouldn't have to due to their inherent gluten-free nature. That might ‘make sense’ on the face of it, but practically it obviously has huge flaws. Contamination is obviously quite rampant. While any number of contaminated products would be too many, over 30% is downright frightening.
What can you do?
1. Avoid any grains, seeds or flours that don’t specifically state they are gluten-free. If they state that they are, you know the company is testing their product.
2. If possible, try to deal with companies who are a dedicated gluten-free facility. The likelihood of cross-contamination is minimized in such a company.
3. If you continue to have symptoms or feel ‘glutened’ after eating foods that ‘should’ be safe, and are following 1 and 2 above, consider getting evaluated for cross-reactive foods. There is a blood test to determine if your body is reacting to non-gluten foods in a fashion similar to gluten. In other words, your immune system can mistake a non-gluten food for gluten. This is usually not permanent, but the foods need to be identified so that you can avoid them for a period of time.
4. According to the researchers, rice was safe across the board, so feel free to enjoy it.
5. If you are having issues with your health and don’t seem to be getting better, please consider calling us for a free health analysis (call 408-733-0400). We know what to do -it is, in fact, our specialty.
Our destination clinic treats patients from across the country and internationally, so you don’t need to live locally to receive help.
I posted a blog on my website recently entitled, “A Serious Form of Celiac Disease is ‘Cured’ by Diet Alone”. If you haven’t yet read it, I urge you to take a look at it here (http://www.healthnowmedical.com/blog/2013/04/30/a-serious-form-of-celiac-disease-is-%E2%80%98cured%E2%80%99-by-diet-alone/). It reviews a diet free from contamination that can make a difference in those continuing to suffer symptoms, as well as those diagnosed with refractory celiac disease (RCD) or non-responsive celiac disease (NRCD), both serious manifestations of celiac disease.
Lastly, if you have a ‘political bent’, I urge you to bring this discrepancy to the awareness of legislators and congressman. This loophole in our law opens the door to dangerous gluten contamination that can affect health in a serious manner.
Consider sharing this with those whom you believe would benefit.
To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of The Gluten Effect