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  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    American Dietetic Association Revises Its Gluten-Free Guidelines - Distilled Vinegar is Safe for a Gluten-Free Diet

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 12/10/2000 - As reported in Ann Whelans September/October issue of Gluten-Free Living, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has released the 6th edition of its Manual of Clinical Dietetics, which offers revised guidelines for the treatment of celiac disease. This manual is currently used by hospitals and doctors all over North America, and represents the most up-to-date source of information with regard to the dietary treatment of various illnesses. The new standards set in this publication conform more closely with current international standards. Included on their safe list are items that have been on Celiac.coms safe list for over five years, including: amaranth, buckwheat, distilled vinegar (no matter what its source), distilled alcoholic beverages (including rum, gin, whiskey and vodka), millet, quinoa and teff.

    A team of American and Canadian dietitians wrote the new gluten-free guidelines, including: Shelley Case, RD, Mavis Molloy, RD, Marion Zarkadas, M.Sc.RD (all from Canada and all members of the Professional Advisory Board of the Canadian Celiac Association), and Cynthia Kupper, CRD, CDE (Executive Director of the Gluten Intolerance Group and celiac). Additional findings of this team regarding buckwheat and quinoa contradict what has been accepted as common knowledge for years by some US support groups, mainly that these two grains are more likely to be contaminated by wheat than other grains. In fact, according to the team, buckwheat and quinoa are far less likely to be contaminated than most other grains.

    At the most basic level the new guidelines mean that celiacs do not need to avoid foods containing unidentified vinegar or distilled alcohol, this alone will allow much more freedom when shopping or eating out. Further, celiacs who drink alcohol will have much more freedom and a far greater choice when they want to have a drink. Additionally, celiacs will be able to more easily maintain a well-rounded and nutritious diet because they will have access to a far greater number of highly nutritious and safe grains.

    The ADAs 6th edition of the Manual of Clinical Dietetics represents the first time that Canadian and United States dietary guidelines have come together to create a united North American gluten-free standard, and will hopefully lead to the adoption of a single standard by all US support groups so that hundreds of thousands of celiacs will not have to unnecessarily exclude more foods than necessary. These new guidelines go a long way towards an international standard, which should be the ultimate goal for all celiacs and celiac organizations in the world.


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    I was diagnosed in '06 and have found that vinegar of any variety (except apple cider vinegar) bothers me. I've used it in my own cooking and even though I didn't get terribly sick, I still didn't feel 100% well. I also have to watch salsas and other jarred items and condiments because I've not felt well after eating those that contain vinegar.

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    I've been on a completely gluten-free diet for about 6 years and still find that any amount of distilled vinegar (from wheat) will trigger the characteristic celiac diarrhea. This is not the case with wine vinegar, cider vinegar or rice vinegar so I assume I am intolerant to all wheat -- any part, in addition to gluten. My daughter, who was diagnosed a year ago, also has this reaction to distilled vinegar and liquors. We can drink rum, which is typically not fortified with wheat distillations, but not vodka or bourbon unless we buy a brand made exclusively from potatoes or corn respectively, even the smallest amount, in a sauce for instance, will make us sick.

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    I have been Gluten free for 10 years. Any distilled vinegar, except for balsamic (made from wine), wine or apple cider triggers an immediate response in my body. I am able to drink rum, wine or 100% agave tequila. Anything else I am not able to leave the bathroom for days. Do the scientists that make these discoveries have access to people with celiac? I was a chef for over 20 years but now am not even able to be in the same kitchen with baking in progress.

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    Well this is wonderful news; however, when I eat anything with distilled vinegar I react with sprue. Most alcohols that are distilled from the grains we can not eat are also a sprue effect.

    Hope this research was not funded by the groups that will profit from all the thousands that will start buying the products.

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    I must admit I was excited when I read the title, but as the other users stated 'distilled vinegar offsets the system' in more or less terms. I do not suffer, but my father does. We have tried and tried since he lives in a small town, meat and potatoes are the staples of his diet since the grocery store does not have a great selection and he cannot order online due to his work situation. Point being please don't try distilled vinegar or whiskeys if you have celiac!

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    I think it is not good common sense, as many articles point out, to go off what one celiac says about how a certain food makes them feel. I recently was diagnosed and my biopsy revealed that I had 3C damage (according to the Marsh classification system), which is serious damage. I've now been gluten free for about 5 months and I have no problems whatsoever with any vinegars. I try not to by the cheapest, mass-produced kind because of ingredients added after distillation, but still I've not had a single problem with balsamic, red wine, or apple cider vinegars. (I don't use white vinegar myself when cooking but have eaten some prepared/processed foods with that listed as an ingredient).

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    I've been Gluten Free for 3 years. I've used white, red wine and apple cider vinegar (some labeled distilled and some not), without problems. I've also eaten various pickled items without any issue. I am sensitive and react strongly to even mild contamination. If vinegar bothers you, I suggest bottled lemon or other fruit juice like unsweetened cranberry juice as a substitute for cooking and salads. I have the type of celiac disease that involves Dermatitis Herpetiformis, so my biopsies and blood tests were normal but my nutritional deficiencies were significant. The only alcoholic drinks I've had since diagnosis are wine and Red Bridge Beer, which were enjoyable and trouble free.

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    I have had no problem with Irish whiskey like Blackbush that is triple distilled. Also, I have been told that white vinegar here in Ontario, Canada is not made from a grain source, and I have had no problem with it either. How I do miss malt vinegar on my chips!

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    I disagree with the above statement 'alll distilled alcohols and vinegars are gluten free' I have been Celiac for years over 20 years and I get ill when fed any of the above, even when I am not told one of the ingredients was one of the above.

    I think the people doing the research should have Celiac and have to 'eat their words' so to speak.

    thanks Bob.

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  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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