You may have noticed more and more products with a gluten free label. But until recently, the F.D.A. hasn't regulated what that means.
"It's in food like pizza and pasta, cereal, grains, burritos, tortillas. But it's also used as an additive in processed in the form of msg, modified food starch, caramel coloring - so it's in a lot of the products we eat every day." That, according to Freeman Renal Dietitian Kris Woodruff. Some patients have gluten sensitivity, where their immune system overreacts to gluten protein. It can cause constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas and abdominal pain. "Now if those symptoms cause damage to internal organs like the GI tract, brain, heart, the joints or if a person has the gluten antibody present in their blood, then they're characterized as having Celiac disease."
To this point, food manufacturers could decide on their own whether to use the gluten free label. But now the FDA is stepping in. "It says you cannot categorize as gluten free unless is has less than 20 ppm of gluten or gluten derivatives. And this is a huge thing for people suffering from Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity because really the only treatment is to avoid gluten."