Showing posts with label Celiac Disease. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Celiac Disease. Show all posts

Mar 13, 2015

FDA Terms Defined

Although the FDA has definitions for terms like reduced sugar, no added sugar, and sugar free, companies sometimes come up with marketing lingo that is just made up. One of those terms is lightly sweetened, which is not defined by the FDA. “Whether Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size is “lightly sweetened” should be determined by federal rules, not the marketing executives of a manufacturer,” according to a CSPI report from 2010.

Cholesterol free does not mean no cholesterol. Cholesterol-free products must contain less than 2 mg per serving while low-cholesterol products contain 20 mg or less per serving. Foods that say reduced or less cholesterol need to have at least 25% less than comparable products. Cholesterol is made by the liver, so only animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, and butter can contain it. If a plant-based product, such as corn oil touts its cholesterol-free status, there is no benefit compared to other vegetable oils, which also do not contain it.

Sugar free does not mean a product has fewer calories than the regular version; in fact it may have more calories. (Food makers are supposed to tell us if a product is not low-cal). Sugar-free products have less than 0.5 grams of sugars per serving, but they still contain calories and carbohydrates from other sources. These products often contain sugar alcohols, which are lower in calories (roughly 2 calories per gram, compared to 4 per gram for sugar). We need to compare labels to see if the sugar-free version is any better than the regular version. (Common sugar alcohols are mannitol, xylitol, or sorbitol).

Products that say trans fat free or no trans fat can contain less than 0.5 grams per serving. If a product says 0 trans fat on it, it may not be zero. If you have two servings, then you may get a good amount added to your diet. Check for words on the ingredient list such as hydrogenated oils and shortening, which mean trans fat is still present.

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat or rye and can cause problems for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Gluten-free products are becoming easier to find, which is great for those with Celiac Disease (less than 1% of the population). For the other 99% of us there is no advantage to buying them. In fact, gluten-free whole grains may have less fiber than the regular version. Unless you have metabolic problems, gluten-free products do not help you lose weight and are not necessarily good for you, but because it’s a buzz word, it is put on packages.

Aug 8, 2014

Gluten Free Finally Defined

The FDA finally passed a rule about what it means to be 'gluten free'. "A gluten-free claim means the food contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten, the protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye."

The three million, roughly .008% of Americans diagnosed with celiac disease are at risk of nutritional deficiencies, infertility, and intestinal cancer if they do not follow a strict gluten-free diet.

The rules do not apply to restaurants, although the FDA was urging them to comply. The agency also warned consumers that some products labeled gluten-free that do not meet the new standards may still be on the shelves.

Last year, gluten-free products accounted for more than $10.5 billion in sales in what has become an overblown fad for many people, for which gluten free may be more harmful to them.

Aug 9, 2013

Gluten Myth and Facts

We read about way too many headlines and diets about gluten these days. It appears to be the latest fad ingredient to pick on. It is serious for some, but less than one percent of the population may have Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder. Some people have been found to be allergic to wheat only, but not gluten.

Gluten is a naturally occurring protein composite found primarily in wheat, but may also be found in rye, barley, and some types of oats. The US FDA considers foods containing less than or equal to 20 ppm to be gluten-free, but there is no regulation or law in the US for labeling foods as 'gluten-free'. There still is no general agreement on the analytical method used to measure gluten in ingredients and food products.

Gluten may be added as a stabilizing agent or thickener in products such as ice-cream and ketchup. It is also found in  ingredients of many over-the-counter and prescription medications and vitamins. Items such as lipstick, lip balms, lip gloss, soy sauce, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, gravy, canned soups, ground spices to prevent clumping, instant powdered drinks, and imitation and pasteurized cheeses, as well as glue used on envelopes may also contain gluten.

Many types of alcoholic beverages are considered gluten-free, provided no gluten colorings or other additives have been added. Distillation removes proteins, including gluten in bourbon or corn whiskey. Spirits made without any grain such as gin, vodka, scotch, rye, brandy, wine, mead, cider, sherry, port, rum, tequila, vermouth, and some beers generally do not contain gluten.

Gluten consists of gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin is one of the proteins that forms gluten. Doctors test for anti-gliadin antibodies if celiac disease or gluten hypersensitivity is suspected. Gliadin triggers immune response in celiac disease. Glutenin is the other protein of gluten. It is responsible for the strength and elasticity of dough.

Several grains and starch sources are considered acceptable for a gluten-free diet, such as corn, potatoes, rice, some oats, tapioca, quinoa, sorghum, taro, chia seed, and yam. Flours, such as bean, soybean, almond, gram derived from chickpeas, and buckwheat are used as alternatives to wheat flour.

Most humans naturally digest gluten. The human mouth contains symbiotic bacteria colonies that help break down gluten. Gluten allergies and sensitivities are different. Celiac disease sufferers are allergic. Others may have similar symptoms, such as bloating, flatulence, irritable bowel syndrome, and abdominal pain, but these same symptoms may also be caused by any number of other dietary items.