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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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    Distilled vinegar source must be identified. Apple Cider, rice or wine vinegar is fine, but distilled is usually made from grain. Most condiments are usually made with distilled vinegar, so be careful.

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    For celiac vodka lovers: Tito's Vodka in the US is made from corn, and Luksosowa in Poland is made from Potatoes. This made a big difference in my life.

    Chopin, Smirnoff and Ciroc are also non-gluten vodkas

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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.

    Jennifer,

    I was tested for food allergies and the test came back with several foods I can no longer have, but I also have Candida. It's a bacteria in the intestines. It says to stay away from all vinegars except apple cider vinegar. Maybe this is what you have. It's not a lifetime food I have to stay away from. I just have to give it up for 3 straight months and the infection should go away.

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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!

    I agree with bob. I've been gluten-free for about 16 months. I must check everything!

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    Jennifer,

    I was tested for food allergies and the test came back with several foods I can no longer have, but I also have Candida. It's a bacteria in the intestines. It says to stay away from all vinegars except apple cider vinegar. Maybe this is what you have. It's not a lifetime food I have to stay away from. I just have to give it up for 3 straight months and the infection should go away.

    Candida is what causes yeast infections and thrush in kids also. Sugar also feeds it too. Also, yeast type breads are not good, soy sauce and other things that I can't remember at this moment.

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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.

    I totally agree, whiskey is made from rye.....hello????

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    As a scientist I would have also assumed that distillation removes gluten from vinegar and alcohol. However my gut feeling is that it does not (I am highly sensitive to gluten). I have puzzled over this and conclude that it is possible for a distilled product derived from wheat to contain trace gluten for the following reasons

    1. The distillation process is not 100% efficient. Boiling a liquid causes it to vaporize, however it also causes the formation of aerosols (tiny droplets of liquid). These aerosols have the potential to carry gluten into the distilled product. Anyone who has worked in a laboratory will known it is standard practice to distill water twice because one round of distillation is only partially effective.

    2. Gluten has unusual solubility, being insoluble in water and highly soluble in alcohol. I believe it is also highly soluble in acid. Alcohol and vinegar are prepared from the starch fraction of wheat, which is known to contain residual gluten. This gluten probably concentrates in alcohol and vinegar because they render it highly soluble.

    The only way to demonstrate that vinegar and alcohol derived from wheat are safe for celiac disease patients is to perform a clinical trial which includes patients of all degrees of sensitivity. This has never been done and is logistically daunting.

    Gluten detection methods have shortcomings which mean that they cannot on their own be used to declare a food safe (I have written a peer-reviewed journal article available in PubMed on this subject Lester DR (2008) Gluten measurement and its relationship to food toxicity for celiac disease patients. Plant Methods. 2008 Oct 28;4:26).

    My impression is that there is sufficient anecdotal evidence from forums within celiac disease support groups to raise doubt about alcohol and vinegar, at least for sensitive patients. I am surprised that dietitians can declare a foodstuff ‘safe' on an evidence base that does not include clinical trials!

    Thank you! I can't believe this is listed as safe, especially since new research has shown that gluten bi-products (products derived from gluten that do not contain gluten when tested for it) can cause the same reaction as gluten even though they don't know why. Also, alcohols and vinegars regularly contain malt coloring which is known to give celiacs reactions. I always have reactions to any brown alcohols and vinegars and only drink alcohol labelled gluten free. Perhaps the people who feel they are not reacting are passing these things quickly due to the fact vinegar can cut down on fats and aid in digestion, however that does not mean it isn't causing damage. I realize this is an old post and your comment is old, however I believe people who post information on topics such as this have an ethical obligation to keep on top of research and adjust their content accordingly.

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    I have been struggling for years now and realize that I have celiac or something very close. I cannot eat any animal source proteins nor the traditional foods associated with celiac. I am feeling better after about a week but I haven't weeded out all the offending foods yet. This site will be wonderful in the future.

    For Sandra. I read about a tick borne illness that causes people to feel sick from eating red meat for about 5 years. I think the article was in BEEF magazine.

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    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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