Posts Tagged ‘ gluten-free diet ’

FDA to Regulate Gluten Free Labeling

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

For the first time, and after six years of debate, the US Food and Drug Administration has agreed to regulate what a label of “gluten free” means on foods. Before the new guidelines, food manufacturers could include traces of gluten at their discretion. The news will come as a relief to parents whose children are diagnosed with celiac disease, or who have other gluten intolerances.  More from The Associated Press:

Under an FDA rule announced Friday, products labeled “gluten free” still won’t have to be technically free of wheat, rye and barley and their derivatives. But they almost will: “Gluten-free” products will have to contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

That amount is generally recognized by the medical community to be low enough that most people who have celiac disease won’t get sick if they eat it.

People who suffer from celiac disease don’t absorb nutrients well and can get sick from the gluten found in wheat and other cereal grains. Other countries already have similar standards.

Celiac disease affects up to 3 million Americans. It causes abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea, and people who have it can suffer weight loss, fatigue, rashes and other long-term medical problems. Celiac is a diagnosed illness that is more severe than gluten sensitivity, which some people self-diagnose.

Only a very small number of people wouldn’t be able to ingest the amount of gluten that will be allowed under the new rule, FDA officials said.

“Adherence to a gluten-free diet is the key to treating celiac disease, which can be very disruptive to everyday life,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said. “The FDA’s new ‘gluten-free’ definition will help people with this condition make food choices with confidence and allow them to better manage their health.”

The rule would also ensure that foods with the labels “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” meet the definition. Manufacturers will have a year to comply, but the FDA urged companies to meet the definition sooner.

Image: Gluten free sign, via Shutterstock

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Jacqueline Laurita of ‘Real Housewives:’ My Son is Autistic

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

Reality star Jacqueline Laurita of the Bravo show “Real Housewives of New Jersey” has announced that her son, Nicholas, 3, has autism.

Laurita, 42, revealed in the print edition of People magazine that when Nicholas was around 18 months old, she and her husband Chris, 46, began to notice regression in his speech and motor skills. “He wasn’t answering to his name or noticing people come into the room. He couldn’t follow a simple command,” she said. “We had no idea what was going on.”

A family friend suggested that the devastating symptoms might point to autism, and the couple began to research the condition. They found that Nicholas had many of the warning signs, and doctors confirmed their suspicions with an official diagnosis.

Laurita said she is pursuing multiple treatments for Nicholas, including a gluten- and dairy-free diet. “As a parent, you want to try every avenue you can find,” she said. She reported that the diet has improved his focus and concentration.

Laurita and her husband worked hard to keep their son’s struggles private and off-camera during the fourth season of “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” If they do appear in the fifth season, Laurita said she would be open about his condition. “If I could help one person by showing this, it would be worth it,” she said.

For more on the signs of autism, click here.

Image: Jacqueline Laurita via Shutterstock.

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