Showing posts with label Gluten. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gluten. 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.

Oct 25, 2014

Vodka Pie Crust Hack

Use vodka instead of water when baking your next Holiday pie. Vodka is only 60% water, so it forms less gluten, which makes for a more tender crust.

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.

May 16, 2014

Gluten Fad and Facts

As with most fads, gluten has way too many headlines and gluten free diets are popular, without much knowledge of what it is or why we should or should not eat gluten. In fact, the majority of Americans do not know which foods contain gluten.

Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture. Worldwide, gluten is a source of protein, both in foods prepared directly from sources containing it, and as an additive to foods otherwise low in protein.

Gluten, especially wheat gluten, is often the basis for imitation meats resembling beef, chicken, duck, fish, and pork. When cooked in broth, gluten absorbs some of the surrounding liquid and becomes firm to the bite. Gluten is often present in beer, soy sauce, some chocolates, and deli meats. It can be used as a stabilizing agent in more unexpected food products, such as ice cream and ketchup.

Experts estimate that about .75% to 1% of Americans have celiac disease. The condition, caused by an abnormal immune response to gluten, can damage the lining of the small intestine. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is essential, but for others, "unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber," according to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Many whole grains that contain gluten are rich in an array of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron, as well as fiber. Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all carbohydrates in the diet come from whole grain products.

Gluten sensitivity is classified as intolerance, not an allergy.

Gluten does not make you fat and cutting gluten will not help you lose weight. Gluten-free does not mean fat-free or calorie-free. “Gluten does not make you fat,” according to the Cleveland Clinic. “Calories make you fat regardless of where those calories are coming from, whether they are coming from brown rice, which is gluten-free or a wheat bagel.” If you eat more calories in a day than you use, the extra calories will be stored as fat.

Some gluten-free foods contain extra sugar and/or calories to make them more palatable and make up for the loss of the gluten.

You can eat a clean diet that includes gluten or a clean diet that does not.

French fries are gluten-free and vegetarian.

There is nothing unhealthy about gluten. Gluten alone doesn't have many health benefits, but foods that contain gluten, like whole grains, tend to be higher in fiber and contain vitamin B, zinc, and iron. As a result, cutting gluten could actually result in nutritional deficiencies.

Gluten does not cause cancer. There is no connection between gluten and risk of most cancers. The exception is an increased risk of intestinal cancer for only those who have celiac disease, or true gluten intolerance. The Mayo Clinic lists cancer as a complication of celiac disease (not gluten). People with celiac disease who do not maintain a gluten-free diet have a greater risk of developing several forms of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer.

Numerous observational studies show that the more whole grains a person eats, including the gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye, barley), the lower risk of most cancers. This is true for some of the most common types of cancer, such as breast, prostate, and colon cancers, as well as for less common cancers, such as cancer of the pancreas. Whole grains contain fiber, which can stabilize blood sugar and hormone level.

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.