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How To Tell If Something Is Gluten Free

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Can You Tell If Something Is Gluten Free

Can You Tell If Something Is Gluten Free?

Published by Bex – Posts may contain affiliate links – Oven Temperature Conversion Guide

Quite liked this little video from BuzzFeed questioning whether You Can Tell If Something Is Gluten Free. When you first started eating Gluten Free alternatives, how much could you tell the difference?!

Personally, when I first made the change & had to start eating Gluten Free I could tell the difference between Gluten & Gluten Free in literally everything. Gluten Free Bread just wasnt up to scratch a few years ago, neither was gluten free pasta. It is very refreshing that today, telling the difference between gluten & gluten free is much harder. Obviously those diagnosed with Coeliac Disease or any sort of Gluten Intolerance should never try to tell the difference leave that to a gluten eating friend!

Everyone should be able to enjoy great tasting food, regardless of their dietary needs. As a nation, we need to open our minds, brush up on our culinary skills and embrace this change. Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Gluten Free

Videos like this are a good way of bringing awareness to the Gluten Intolerant & Coeliac Disease lifestyle. Awareness is for life not just for the Awareness Weeks & Months that we celebrate. So, thanks to BuzzFeed for creating this.

Thanks for reading & watching,

Tips For Avoiding Surprising Sources Of Gluten

Know wheat in all its forms. Wheat berries, semonila, spelt, farina, graham, durum, emmer, faro, Khorasan, udon and einkorn all contain gluten.

Look out for tricky ingredients. If a product is NOT labeled gluten-free, but contains one of these in the ingredients list, do not buy it: starch, modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, textured vegetable protein, dextrin, maltodextrin, glucose syrup, caramel, malt flavoring, malt extract, malt vinegar , brown rice syrup.

When in doubt, leave it out. If you cant confirm products are gluten-free, substitute fresh, nutrient-rich whole foods like meat, fish, poultry, fruits, and vegetables. Choose naturally gluten-free starches like rice, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, potatoes, sorghum and wild rice.

Prevent kitchen cross-contamination. Crumbs linger in shared toasters, cutting boards, and community peanut butter, jam and cream cheese. Wipe counters regularly, and clean gluten-free dishes with a separate sponge. Line shared flour sifters and backing pans with parchment paper or foil, and wrap gluten-free bakery in foil.

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Gluten And Celiac Disease

That being said, a quick word of caution: The only reason to pursue a gluten-free diet is if you suffer from and have been diagnosed with celiac disease. Celiac disease affects around 3 million people in the US, which is about 1% of the population.

When someone is diagnosed with celiac disease, their body becomes confused and âgoes to war with itselfâ. After eating something that contains gluten, even in small amounts, people with celiac disease will experience a variety of painful digestive side effects.

If someone diagnosed with celiac disease does not switch to a gluten-free diet, it could result in a variety of health issues, including:

  • Damage to the small intestines
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis

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Will I Go Through Gluten Withdrawal If I Start Eating Gluten

Theres no scientific evidence to suggest that people actually go through withdrawal when they stop eating gluten. Some people report feeling dizziness, nausea, extreme hunger and even anxiety and depression when they suddenly go from eating a lot of gluten to being gluten-free. These symptoms usually go away after a few weeks on a gluten-free diet, but talk to your health care provider if they persist.

Can I Use Condiments From The Same Containers That Have Been Used To Prepare Gluten

Reading Labels to Determine if a Food Contains Gluten

The short answer: No!

An explanation: Utensils that are used to spread butter, peanut butter, jelly, mayonnaise, cream cheese and other condiments will expose the product to gluten which can then be spread onto your gluten-free breads, bagels, etc. As a solution, you may find condiments in squirt bottles useful as long as those using the condiments are well aware that they cannot wipe the tip of the squirt bottle on their gluten-containing foods. It is safest to have separate condiments, and to clearly label the condiments that are dedicated gluten-free.

Families may find it helpful to discuss gluten-free kitchen dos and donts and should express the importance of confessing mistakes. If someone accidentally dips his or her knife in the gluten-free jar, it is his or her responsibility to make sure family members or roommates are well aware. A similar situation can happen with dips. If someone dunks a gluten-containing pretzel into the vegetable dip, it is no longer safe for someone with celiac disease to consume.

Read Also: Dave’s Killer Bread Gluten Free

Bonus: Save Some Time Reading Labels

Reading packaged food labels is a critical step for ensuring food safety. You can save some of the time you might spend reading labels by seeking out GFCO-certified products in advance of shopping at stores or online.

Search the GFCO Product Directory to identify the products and brands that have gone through GFCOs detailed testing, auditing, and review process and are allowed to put the official GFCO certification mark on their packaging.

Look for the new GFCO mark on product labels to rest assured that the food item is safe. You may still see the old GFCO mark as it is being phased out. You can also check if the mark is still valid and up-to-date with a quick search of the GFCO Product Directory.

Figuring out if the food youre buying off the shelf is gluten-free and safe to eat does not have to be confusing. We are here to help you live safely gluten-free.

Foods That Can Be Labeled Gluten

Whether a food is manufactured to be free of gluten or is free of gluten by nature, it may bear a gluten-free labeling claim if it meets all FDA requirements for a gluten-free food. Foods and beverages like bottled spring water, fruits, vegetables, and eggs are naturally gluten-free. However, even though a food may be gluten-free, the claim might not appear on the label because the regulation allows, but does not require, a gluten-free claim to be on the package.

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How Can I Tell If A Food Is Glutenfree

A product labeled gluten-free, no gluten or without gluten is the fastest and easiest way to spot a gluten-free product. Manufactures can use these terms if they comply with the FDA rule of gluten-free. However, the FDA is unable to check every single label and sometimes mistakes are made so check the ingredient list as well if there is a gluten-free claim on the label.

Another way to tell if a product contains gluten is to read the allergen statement on packaged foods. The FDA food allergen labeling law requires food companies to label all foods that have wheat or contain wheat products. The allergen statement is found at the end of the ingredient list on packaged foods if it says contains wheat, this means it has gluten and its unsafe.

The food labeling law does NOT apply to barley, rye, or oats. This means if the allergen statement does not include wheat, you need to continue reading through the ingredient list for the other sources of gluten described above. If you dont see any of those words in the ingredient list, then the food is most likely a safe food.

In the sample ingredient label below, the ingredients are circled in red and the allergen statement is circled in blue. This food, which contains whole grain wheat, is not safe.

There is also a symbol that may appear on packaging of gluten free

People With Gluten Sensitivity

What Happens When You Tell People You Can’t Eat Gluten

Another condition that may prompt someone to cut gluten from their diets is a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, sometimes called gluten intolerance. We dont have a clear definition for gluten intolerance or a clear way to explain it, says Rajagopal. We know that some people eat something that contains gluten and then they dont feel well.

Its important not to assume that gastrointestinal irritation is the result of gluten. If you think you may have a gluten intolerance, Rajagopal recommends working with a physician and a registered dietitian to get to the bottom of your symptoms.

There isnt a test for gluten intolerance, so we might try a process of elimination such as the low FODMAP diet, says Rajagopal. This is a temporary eating plan that eliminates lots of foods that can irritate the gut, including wheat-based products. If gluten is the source of the irritation, you may notice an improvement in symptoms such as:

  • Stomach pain

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Gluten And Health Disorders

Gluten sensitivity will appear in very different ways. Most of the cases involve several symptoms like indigestion, headaches, lack of concentration and even overweight. Gluten intolerance is not a pathology that physicians take into account when it comes to making regular diagnoses.

Many people experience gluten sensitivity on a daily basis without being aware.

How To Determine If A Product Is Gluten

The best way to determine if a product is gluten-free is to contact the manufacturer. Reading labels only tells part of the story you can determine if a food contains gluten by looking at the label, but you cannot determine if it is gluten-free this is true even with the labeling law that went into effect in January 2006: only wheat is specified on the label, not barley, oats, or rye. Very small amounts of ingredients may not be listed on the label products may also be processed with ingredients that are not listed on the label or processed in a facility that also processes gluten-containing products, and this is not always listed on the label.

First thing, check the label to see if it says âgluten-freeâ anywhere. This can be on the front, back, by the ingredients, buried in a paragraph of information about how great the product is, in big letters, in small letters there is no standard. Even if it says gluten-free, you still have to check the label. Some manufacturers consider their products gluten-free, even if they contain wheat, as long as they test at below 20 parts per million of gluten. For some people who only avoid most gluten, this may be acceptable, but for most celiacs it is not.

Read Also: Does Peanut Butter Have Gluten

Can I Make Gluten

The short answer: It is not safe to use a waffle iron to prepare both gluten-containing and gluten-free waffles.

An explanation: Waffle irons are incredibly difficult to clean thoroughly, and residual gluten may be left on the iron even after cleaning. You should buy separate waffle irons to prepare gluten-containing and gluten-free waffles to avoid any chances for cross-contact.

Regulatory Requirements For Gluten

How Can You Tell If Something Has Gluten In It

Division 24 of the Food and Drug Regulations sets out specific regulations that apply to “Foods for Special Dietary Use”.

A “food for special dietary use” is defined in B.24.001 of the FDR as a food that has been specially processed or formulated to meet the particular requirements of a person:

  • in whom a physical or physiological condition exists as a result of a disease, disorder or injury or
  • for whom a particular effect, including but not limited to weight loss, is to be obtained by a controlled intake of foods.
  • As per section B.24.003, a gluten-free food that meets the requirements described in section B.24.018, is one of the types of foods for special dietary use that are covered by the requirements of Division 24.

    As of August 4, 2012, section B.24.018 of the Food and Drug Regulations will state that:

    It is prohibited to label, package, sell or advertise a food in a manner likely to create an impression that it is a gluten-free food if the food contains any gluten protein or modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, referred to in the definition “gluten” in subsection B.01.010.1.

    Subsection B.01.010.1 reads:


    any gluten protein from the grain of any of the following cereals or the grain of a hybridized strain created from at least one of the following cereals:

    barley, triticale, or wheat, kamut or spelt or

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    What Foods Have Gluten That You Wouldnt Expect

    1. Medications + supplements

    Gluten may be used as a filler or coating in medications and supplements. Always review the ingredients list on any over-the-counter medications, or vitamin/mineral supplements. Any prescribed medications should be reviewed by your doctor to be sure they dont contain gluten and find gluten-free substitutes if you have celiac disease.

    Research also suggests those with celiac disease have a greater need for nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin D and iron.

    2. Meat, fish + poultry

    Watch for hydrolyzed wheat protein in meat, fish and poultry. Processed lunch meats and deli meats like cold cuts, hot dogs, salami and sausage may contain gluten. Other foods like self-basting poultry or seasoned turkey breast may also contain gluten.

    3. Meat substitutes

    Watch for gluten in veggie burgers, sausage, bacon and crumbles, and in imitation seafood and seitan.

    4. Chips + fries

    Potatoes and corn are naturally gluten-free, but potato chip seasoning may contain malt vinegar and wheat starch. Also be aware that tortilla chips and French fries may be fried in the same oil/fryer as foods that contain gluten. This will contaminate the oil and may cause harm to someone with celiac disease.

    5. Oats

    6. Beverages + alcohol

    Gluten may be in flavored coffees and teas. Beer, ale, lager and malt beverages may also contain gluten. Wine is naturally gluten-free. Distilled alcohol are considered safe for people with celiac disease.

    7. Eggs at a restaurant

    10. Soy sauce + miso

    Is All Food Labeled

    The FDA also encourages restaurants to adopt gluten-free labeling, for the benefit of customers, and to work with local and state governments to oversee this.

    The FDA does not prescribe any particular type of labeling, or recommend a location for the label, as long as it doesnt interfere with mandatory labeling information and meets the regulatory requirements.

    They point out that some organizations offer gluten-free certification. While the FDA does not endorse any specific certification program or labeling, they accept it.

    Not all products are labeled, but all foods and beverages must comply with the regulation that if it does carry a gluten-free label, it must contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. This includes packaged foods, dietary supplements, fruits, vegetables, eggs in their shells, and fish.

    Items that are not covered include meat, poultry, some egg products, as these are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture , and most alcoholic beverages, as these are covered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. .

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    What Does Certified Gluten Free Mean

    The FDA is responsible for regulating the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of food products to ensure public health and safety. As such, they play a role in determining the definitions of words used on food labels and regulating their use. This doesnt mean, however, that they are the only organization allowed to do so. In fact, there are a number of other organizations out there that offer certifications for food products.

    Here are a few examples:

    • Certified Naturally Grown
    • Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
    • NSF International
    • USDA Organic
    • Crossed Grain Trademark

    In addition to these organizations, there are also three programs which offer certification for gluten free foods: The Gluten Intolerance Groups Gluten-Free Certification Organization , the Celiac Support Association , and the Allergen Control Group. Each of these groups has its own tests and standards for the levels of trace gluten they will allow. Here is a quick overview:

    • Gluten-Free Certification Organization This group requires tested foods to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten, though many foods contain less or even no detectable traces of gluten.
    • Celiac Support Association This group requires tested foods to contain less than 5ppm of gluten they also require that foods be free from oats, even gluten free oats.
    • Allergen Control Group This group requires tested foods to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten and it is endorsed by Beyond Celiac as the Gluten-Free Certification Program .

    How Do I Know If A Product Is Gluten Free

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    Read every label every time. New regulations by Health Canada requires manufacturers to label products with commonly used words such as milk or wheat, thus making it easier for people with Celiac Disease to determine if a product contains gluten or not. to read more on the Canadian Food Inspection Agencys website.

    We also suggest contacting the manufacturer. They are the greatest source of information to know if their product is gluten free. We also suggest you ask the following questions:

    • Are there any gluten ingredients such as wheat, rye or barley in this product?
    • Does your manufacturing facility handle any gluten ingredients such as wheat, rye or barley?
    • Is this product produced on a dedicated production line that does not contain any gluten ingredients such as wheat, rye or barley?
    • Do you test your products for gluten? If so, what does your product test at parts per million ? Health Canada considers anything 20ppm and below to be gluten free.

    Answers to these questions will help you decide if you want to purchase their product and consider them safe or not.

    The Canadian Celiac Association also runs a gluten free certification program and have begun to certify brands. to visit the Canadian Celiac Association website and see a list of gluten free certified brands.

    to subscribe to our email updates.

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    Reporting Adverse Effects And Misuse Of Labeling

    • Health Effects: Anyone who becomes ill or experiences adverse health effects that they think resulted from having eaten a particular food, including individuals with food allergies and those with celiac disease, should first seek appropriate medical care.
    • Afterward, FDA encourages individuals to report the incident to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutritions Adverse Event Reporting System by calling 240-402-2405.
    • Labeling Issues: Consumers and manufacturers can report any complaint they may have, such as potential misuse of gluten-free claims on food labels, to an FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in the state where the food was purchased. The list of FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators is posted on FDAs website.

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