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Caramel Coloring Confusion!

4 posts in this topic

When I was first diagnosed, my Gastrologist gave me a bunch of information on hidden sources of gluten and one of them was caramel coloring. And when I went to my dietiton a few weeks ago, she gave me stuff that said the same thing. So I've been competely avoiding any type of colas like Pepsi and Coke. My favorite soda is Dr Pepper so I've reluctantly been avoiding that too. I haven't been a big cola drinker for the last 4 years because I've had a few kidney stones in my lifetime and my urolgist told me that the caramel coloring in colas can contribute to harming your kidneys and forming stones (it still doesn't help that cheese is my favorite food since calcium is the main source but I digress). So I would ocassionaly treat myself to a Dr Pepper or Pepsi or Coke every once in a blue moon. It's not really a huge deal but I'm just confused about caramel coloring because I've read things where Coca Cola has said that their products are gluten free. Also Wishbone italian salad dressing says gluten free but has caramel color in it. Also, I have a family friend who has Celiac pretty bad and is very sensitive and her favorite drink of all time is Pepsi. It's the only thing she drinks all day long and she says it doesn't effect her at all. I've done some research and I found that some sites I've looked at said that in the US caramel color is made from corn. So I'm just a little confused as to whether it's really safe or not. Just wondering if any of you have some insight on this. Thanks!!


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Caramel color is one of those celiac urban myths that just won't go away.

Here is Shelley Case's take on it, from Gluten-Free Diet A Comprehensive Resource Guide:

Although gluten-containing ingredients (barley malt syrup and starch hydrolysates) can be used in the production of caramel color, North American companies use corn as it has a longer shelf life and makes a superior product. European companies use glucose derived from wheat starch, however caramel color is highly processed and contains no gluten.
[Emphasis in original]

I don't worry about caramel color. Pepsi and Coca-Cola are gluten-free in all variations.


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Another thing is that in the US, gluten cannot be hidden in food products. So it'll be on the label if its there. Note, however, this does not include possible CC due to shared factories.


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Another thing is that in the US, gluten cannot be hidden in food products. So it'll be on the label if its there. Note, however, this does not include possible CC due to shared factories.

Actually, this is not quite true.

They do not have to disclose "hidden gluten". They only have to disclose WHEAT.

The eight foods identified by the law are:

  1. Milk

  2. Eggs

  3. Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod)

  4. Crustacean shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)

  5. Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)

  6. Peanuts

  7. Wheat

  8. Soybeans

These eight foods, and any ingredient that contains protein derived from one or more of them, are designated as “major food allergens” by FALCPA.

If a product contains oats, for example, it will not say "may contain wheat"--but we all know it could

if those oats are not certified G F.

If a product contains barley, they do not have to label it as anything at all.

There are people lobbying to get "gluten labeling laws", but it has not passed yet.

Sadly, I had to learn all this the hard way, early on.


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