Is Gluten Free For Real?

Posted on August 8, 2013

Gluten Free You may have noticed the term "gluten free" being mentioned a lot lately?  So much so that many food manufacturers are jumping on the band wagon, even lableling obviously gluten-free foods like water as such, just to sell products. And other food manufacturers are labeling indiscriminately.  If you are celiac or gluten sensitive, proper labeling may be life and near death for you and TRUE gluten free food manufacturers do not take these labels lightly.

This week, the FDA announced the implemenation of gluten free guidelines mandatory by 2014.  Under the rule, food and substances may be labeled as "gluten free," "without gluen" or "no gluten" if it contains less than 20 parts per million. What does that mean?

Twenty parts per million is 0.002% gluten, meaning it still contains traces of gluten, but not that much. If you're gluten sensitive, rather than celiac, you may be ok eating that one thing.  But the average person aiming for gluten free who consumes many foods (gluten free: pizza, cereal & bread) with that level of gluten, will have build up in the body and may experience a problem.  

Foods that are certified gluten free (meaning they have been 3rd party independently verified to) contain less than 10 or 5 parts per million which is better, but can still add up if you're not careful. 

This is similar to the FDA ruling on trans fats.  Did you know that food products labeled "0g trans fat per serving" can actually contain up to 500 mg of trans fats? That's .5 grams of trans fat in "0 trans fat" labeled foods!

Now, I don't want to poo-poo the FDA's definition of "gluten free" entirely. As a health coach, I strongly believe consumers have the right to know what they put on and in their bodies. Labels will only help us to make informed decisions and I applaud the FDA for providing regulation.  

However, if you are gluten sensitive, I recommend avoiding processed foods, even with the new labeling, instead eating whole foods most of the time. I like the 90/10 rule.  Ninety percent of the time consume: whole fruits, vegetables, (non-gluten) grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and meats/fish (if you're so inclined). Ten percent of the time you can eat gluten free pizza, cereal, pancakes, etc.  

If you suspect gluten may be an issue for you, I strongly recommend a cleanse or an elimination diet of 7-10 days.  By avoiding wheat, kamut, spelt, rye, barley and their by-products (including beer, pizza, soy sauce, most condiments, most processed foods including frozen meals and cereals, and malt vinegar) you may notice relief from digestive issues like bloating, constipation and "messy stool," as well as the lifting of brain fog, skin rashes and joint or muscular aches and pains that are often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.

To find the cleanse that's best for you or guidance through an elimination diet, please contact me directly.  I see this issue quite often and can help you safely and sustainably navigate through--you may be extremely pleasantly surprised with the result!


Sources: Los Angeles Times


             Healthy Healing, Linda Page, PhD