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What Does It Mean To Be Gluten Free

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What Does It Mean To Be Gluten Free

What Gluten-Free Really Means

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Also, what exactly does gluten free mean?

In August 2013, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued a new definition for glutenfree for the purpose of food labeling. For a food to be labeled as glutenfree, the FDA states that it must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten. Without gluten. No gluten.

Similarly, what does a gluten free diet look like? Many naturally gluten-free foods can be a part of a healthy diet:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Beans, seeds, legumes and nuts in their natural, unprocessed forms.
  • Eggs.
  • Lean, nonprocessed meats, fish and poultry.
  • Most low-fat dairy products.

Then, why gluten is bad for you?

In people with celiac disease, gluten triggers an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine. This can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from food, cause a host of symptoms, and lead to other problems like osteoporosis, infertility, nerve damage, and seizures.

What happens when you give up gluten?

Gluten intolerance can cause so much damage to your small intestine that the organ stops producing lactase, the enzyme that helps with milk digestion.

Now Were Going To Go Over The Nine Steps To Be Gluten

This is actually the nine steps for like anything youre going to do in life as far as diet changes or anything

  • Number one is accepting the fact that you have to be gluten-free.

I struggled with this still. I struggled with it a lot for five years but when I couldnt work out anymore because my wrists were in so much pain When patients would always ask me whats wrong with my hands. It was embarrassing. There is that tipping point when you say enough is enough and Im going to take control of this and I have. I dont have eczema any more. You used to be able to see it. Thats from lifting. Ignore the calluses. I used to have eczema run up and down my fingers. Its no longer there. Accept the fact that its time for you to transform your life and get healthy.

  • Number two is you need to focus on what you can eat. Many foods that you love will still be a part of your diet and trying to focus on the positive is always a good way to start any new habit especially with your diet. Start exploring new foods that you have never tried before that might be free of gluten. Lots of fruits and vegetables. Thats always great. There are gluten-free grains that you may have never heard of before or may have never used of course rice but quinoa is a great one and there are gluten-free products out there which well get into a little bit later. There are plenty of options.
  • Number four find out where gluten hides. We talked about condiments earlier. That is a big one.

It Isnt Automatically Healthy

If you want to eat a healthy diet, ditching gluten doesnt give you carte blanche to eat everything with a GF label. A cookie is still a cookie.

Refined products are typically high in ingredients like added sugars which should be limited in any healthy diet no matter if theyre gluten-free or not.

But turning to whole foods and incorporating more fruit, veggies, healthy fat, and protein sources in your diet? Well, thats a good idea for just about everyone.

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Food Labelling And Gluten

All packaged foods have ingredient labels printed on the box, package or bottle. There are three methods of finding suitable foods by reading the labelling. These include looking for:

  • foods carrying the Coeliac Australia Endorsement logo
  • foods labelled gluten free’
  • foods made for the general market that do not contain ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains.

Under mandatory labelling standards, all ingredients and food additives derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats must be declared in the ingredient list of foods sold in Australia. The use of an allergen summary statement is also now mandatory gluten must be declared as Contains gluten, if present.

There is an Australian Food Standard for processed foods labelled gluten free. When foods labelled gluten free are tested there must be no detectable gluten.

How Does Fda Define Gluten

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In addition to limiting the unavoidable presence of gluten to less than 20 ppm, FDA allows manufacturers to label a food gluten-free if the food does not contain any of the following:

  • an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains,
  • an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten, or
  • an ingredient derived from these grains that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million gluten

Foods that are inherently gluten-free, for example bottled spring water, fruits and vegetables, and eggs can also be labeled gluten-free provided any gluten that came in contact with the food is less than 20 ppm.

A food label that bears the claim gluten-free, as well as the claims free of gluten, without gluten, and no gluten, but fails to meet the FDA requirements for use of these terms is considered misbranded and subject to regulatory action by FDA.

There are no valid tests to detect gluten in foods that are hydrolyzed and fermented, like cheese and yogurt. So if they display a gluten-free claim, manufacturers must keep certain records to show that the foods meet “gluten-free” standards.

If you have any doubts about a products ingredients and whether or not the product is gluten-free, the FDA recommends that you should contact the manufacturer or check its website for more information.

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How Is Gluten Intolerance Diagnosed

Your healthcare provider carefully reviews your symptoms and medical history. If they suspect you have a gluten intolerance, these are the next steps to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Step 1: You eat a diet containing gluten for about six weeks. During this time, your healthcare provider performs blood tests and skin tests to rule out a wheat allergy or celiac disease. There isnt a gluten intolerance test.
  • Step 2: If you dont have a wheat allergy or celiac disease, your healthcare provider will ask you to exclude gluten from your diet for at least six weeks. Keep a thorough record of your symptoms during this time, noting which symptoms improve.
  • Step 3: If your symptoms do improve while youre on a gluten-free diet, you gradually reintroduce gluten back into your diet. If symptoms return, you likely have a gluten intolerance.

Can Make Socializing Difficult

Many social situations revolve around food.

This can make it difficult to socialize if youre following a gluten-free diet. While many restaurants have gluten-free options, there is still a risk of food being contaminated with traces of gluten .

Sadly, studies have found that roughly 21% of people with celiac disease avoid social events so that they can stick to their gluten-free diet .

That said, you can still socialize while following a gluten-free diet. It simply requires a little extra preparation beforehand.

For example, if youre eating out, call the restaurant beforehand to see if they have gluten-free options. If youre going to a social gathering, you may need to bring your own food.


People who follow a gluten-free diet may be at risk of nutritional deficiencies and prone to constipation. Following a gluten-free diet can also be quite expensive and make social situations difficult.

Here is a sample menu with delicious, gluten-free meals.

Feel free to swap meal suggestions according to your liking.

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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. .

So What Exactly Is Gluten And Why Gluten Free

What Does Gluten-Free Mean?

This is a variation of a million questions Ive gotten over the last few years. Oh you should see the faces, and scoffs, and eye rolls I get when I mention being Gluten Free. Like just simply ordering at a restaurant and Im double checking that my meal will be okay for me to eat, or Im a guest at someones house and I dont grab the bread, or cant eat the breaded meat, or dont have dessert.Are you on a diet? Having one piece of cake wont hurt you.

except for me, one seemingly harmless piece of cake would hurt me.

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What If I Still Cant Digest Something Thats Certified Gluten

It happens! You may have surpassed your personal tolerance threshold, as explained above in the unexpected algebra section. For your own comfort, you may want to shift the balance of your diet toward naturally gluten-free produce, legumes, meat, and grains.

Some people on a gluten-free diet find inspiration in the Paleo lifestyle, which entails cutting out cereal grains. Just about everything on the Paleo menu is guaranteed to be gluten-free.

When Gluten Is A Problem

Whats not great about gluten is that it can cause serious side effects in certain individuals. Some people react differently to gluten, where the body senses it as a toxin, causing ones immune cells to overreact and attack it. If an unknowingly sensitive person continues to eat gluten, this creates a kind of battle ground resulting in inflammation. The side effects can range from mild to severe as seen in the autoimmune disorder celiac disease. Estimates suggest that 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease, or about 1% of the population, but about 83% of them are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. Research shows that people with celiac disease also have a slightly higher risk of osteoporosis and anemia infertility nerve disorders and in rare cases cancer. The good news is that removing gluten from the diet may reverse the damage. A gluten-free diet is the primary medical treatment for celiac disease. However, understanding and following a strict gluten-free diet can be challenging, possibly requiring the guidance of a registered dietitian to learn which foods contain gluten and to ensure that adequate nutrients are obtained from gluten-free alternatives. Other conditions that may require the reduction or elimination of gluten in the diet include:

Does gluten cause brain fog?

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Gluten Free Diet And Travel

Travelling and following a gluten-free diet can present some extra challenges, but nothing a little planning ahead cant fix.

If you are booking flights, be aware that most airlines will offer gluten free meal options. Call the airline, or check if the online booking page permits you to enter dietary requirements. It may be worth following this up a few days before you travel, just to make sure the information got through. Cruise lines are also likely to be able to accommodate gluten-free meal requests.

Always pack some gluten-free snacks in your hand luggage, just in case. Rice crackers, nuts, dried fruit and crisps are some transportable, non-perishable options.

When booking accommodation, consider short stay apartments with a kitchen, or at least a hotel room with a microwave and refrigerator. Then, if you cant find gluten-free eating-out options at your destination, you can at least purchase foods that are naturally gluten free and self-cater.

If you are staying somewhere such as a B& B, you could also consider taking toaster bags with you and buying a loaf of gluten free bread at your destination, if possible. Gluten free cereal is available at supermarkets and speciality stores in some places. Or, you could opt to eat naturally gluten free breakfast options such as yoghurt, fresh fruit and eggs. Talk to your host about the possibilities they may have catered for people with coeliac disease before.

What Are The Standards Of Different Certifying Organizations

What Does it Mean to be Gluten

There are a handful of well-recognized organizations that offer gluten-free certification, and theyre all a little different. GIG, mentioned above, runs the Gluten-Free Certification Organization . Theres also BRC Global Standards , the Gluten-Free Food Program , and NSF International.

GFCO, the largest certifier of gluten-free products, makes sure that all the products with its seal stay below 10 ppm of gluten. Because its run by GIG, the certifier also helps with outreach to support groups, summer camps, and researchers.

BRCGS, which is endorsed byBeyond Celiac, focuses on minimizing the risk of contamination by inspecting a products manufacturing site and ingredients, and conducting an annual audit. They double-confirm that all gluten-free products in the U.S. have less than 20 ppm of gluten.

The GFFP, which is endorsed by the National Celiac Association, ensures that all products with its seal have less than 5 ppm of gluten. It also requires an annual evaluation to maintain certification.

Long story short, these organizations are more rigorous than the FDA alone, so if youre super-sensitive to gluten or just a cautious type, you might look for a third-party certification.

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How Much Gluten Can A Person With Celiac Tolerate*

The annoying but true answer is, it depends. Some research suggests that people with celiac can safely eat 10 to 50 mg of gluten per day. Already, thats a range, and if you factor in the people who are gluten-intolerant without celiac disease, then the range gets even wider.

Now its time for a little quick math: Lets assume a person can tolerate 50 mg of gluten a day, and theyre eating food with 20 parts per million of gluten . That person can eat about 5.5 pounds of foodmore than the average American eats in a daybefore they cross the 50 mg threshold.

Now, lets say the person can only tolerate 10 mg of gluten a day. Using the same math, that person would only have to eat about 1.1 pounds of food before reaching their thresholdsignificantly less than what the average American eats. A person with this level of sensitivity might want to do more home cooking, and shop with brands that specialize in gluten-free diets, like Schär and Jovial.

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