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The Practical Celiac
Information you should know
Quick tips you may not have heard
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Information you should know
  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is estimated to affect one in one hundred people
  • Celiac disease is hereditary and it damages the lining of the small intestine so that the body can't properly absorb vitamins and minerals causing malnutrition
  • Gluten is typically thought of as wheat but also includes rye, barley,bulgur, couscous, spelt, kamut, semolina, triticale, einkorn and oats
  • The only method of controlling Celiac disease is to eliminate gluten from your diet
  • It takes one to two years for the villi to repopulate in the small intestine but the good news is it can repopulate!
  • Many medicines contain gluten as a binder (see links section for gluten free medicine list)
  • Rice and corn are safe foods as well as millet, teff, sorghum, wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth
  • Labels that claim "gluten free" are still legally allowed trace amounts of gluten
  • Products that list no gluten ingredients are generally gluten free but often processed in a facility that also processes wheat, prohibiting the gluten free label.  It is a judgment call for the consumer.
  • A label does not have to list itself as gluten free to be gluten free.  Products made with all natural, non gluten ingredients (example canned pumpkin) would have no reason to claim gluten free but still contain no gluten - know how to read labels.  See my labels page in the commercial foods section
  • Different countries allow different levels of gluten in their "gluten free" foods
  • Carmel color is considered safe in the US since it usually uses corn syrup instead of malt syrup. Use your judgment, it is allowed by the FDA to contain malt syrup
  • Maltodextrin despite the word "malt" is generally safe unless it is listed as wheat maltodextrin on the label
  • vinegar is safe unless it is malt vinegar
  • Starch is always corn starch
  • Modified food starch may contain wheat though often is cornstarch in the US - use common sense when deciding if a product is safe by researching the manufacturing headquarters. 
  • Gluten free foods are allowed to contain trace amounts of gluten per FDA standards. Current label laws say they must have less than 20 ppm (parts per million) to be considered gluten free. 20 ppm of gluten is 20 milligrams of gluten ( 0.0007 ounces) per kilogram (2.2 pounds)