Posts Tagged ‘ gluten ’

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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Researchers Ask Whether Celiac Is Related to Season of Birth

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

A number of new studies are examining the question of whether the season in which a baby is born is a determinant for his or her risk of developing celiac disease, a digestive disorder in which the body cannot tolerate gluten, the protein found in wheat and other grains. The New York Times reports on the growing—but not yet complete—body of research:

Some researchers suspect that babies born in spring and summer are more susceptible to the disease, which is triggered by the gluten in wheat, barley and rye.

Babies usually begin eating foods containing gluten around 6 months of age, so those born in the warmer months would initially be exposed to gluten in the winter, when infections like cold and flu are common. Could early exposure to viral infections play a role in the autoimmune response to gluten?

For now that remains speculation. But at least three studies have backed the seasonal hypothesis. The most recent, published this month in The Journal of Pediatrics, looked at nearly 2,000 people with confirmed celiac disease. The researchers, at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, concluded that more patients were born in the spring than in any other season.

Image: Baby eating cereal, via Shutterstock

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