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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   04/07/2018

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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    AMERICA'S BEST GLUTEN-FREE MEXICAN FAST FOOD CHAINS


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 03/20/2015 - Mexican food and tacos are one of my most consistent gluten-free food options. If I'm on the road, or pressed for time, sometimes fast food chains are the only option.


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    Photo: CC--Shane AdamsBut not all Mexican fast food chains are created equal when it comes to gluten-free options. Some do a good job, others do not.

    So here is a list of Mexican fast food chains that do a good job with gluten-free food options. As always, your individual experience at any of these restaurants may vary, so observe, ask questions about any item you're not sure about, and gauge your comfort level accordingly.

    If you have feedback, or know of any other Mexican fast food chains that offer good gluten-free food options, be sure to tell us in the comments below.

    Best Mexican Fast Food Chains:

    #1: Chipotle
    Chipotle gets high marks for gluten-free options. Pretty much everything that is not served with a flour tortilla is gluten-free.

    So, at Chiptole, that means all soft and hard corn taco shells, all meats, beans, vegetables and sides are gluten-free.

    #2: El Pollo Loco
    El Pollo Loco is another chain where you can get a good, healthy meal without thinking too hard about gluten.

    El Pollo Loco gluten-free menu includes their flame grilled Mexican chicken, corn tortillas, pinto beans, refried beans, avocado salsa, Cotija Cheese, mixed vegetables, and flan.

    Basically, avoid any flour tortillas, and you can easily eat gluten-free at El Pollo Loco.

    #3: Jimboy's Tacos
    Jimboy's has long been a favorite of mine, because they prepare all their food fresh from scratch and offer a pretty robust gluten-free menu that includes Jimboy's original tacos, including bean, ground beef, chicken, steak, and carnitas, Tacoburgers, Taquitos in both ground beef, and chicken, Tostadas, including bean, ground beef, chicken, and steak, Ground Beef Kid's Taco, Ground Beef Pepper Poppers, and Jimboy's Guacamole & Sour Cream.

    #4: Baja Fresh
    Baja Fresh offers a pretty good range of options for gluten-free eaters. Gluten-free options include Baja Tacos made with corn tortillas, any “Bare style” burrito, and any Baja Ensalada with choice of steak, chicken, or grilled shrimp, as well as grilled vegetables, carnitas, rice, and both varieties of beans.

    All Baja Fresh dressings and salsas are gluten-free.

    #5: Qdoba
    Qdoba is another fast Mexican food chain that offers a solid eating experience for gluten-free diners. Qdoba's gluten-free menu options include all Chicken, Chorizo, Flat Iron Steak, Ground Sirloin, Pork, and Seasoned Shredded Beef.

    Also gluten-free are their Soft White Corn Tortilla, Cilantro Lime Rice, Black Beans, Tortilla Soup, all Salsas and Dressings, 3 Cheese Queso and Guacamole.

    #6 Taco Cabana
    I had the good fortune of trying Taco Cabana on a trip to Albuquerque a while back. I was not disappointed.

    Taco Cabana does gluten-free eaters right with a wide variety of gluten-free options, including their Black, Borracho, and Refried beans, their Barbacoa, Chicken Fajita Meat, Rotisserie Chicken, Shredded Chicken Taco Meat in their Crispy Tacos, Chorizo, Chalupas or Nachos Steak Fajita Meat, Ground Beef Taco Meat (Crispy Tacos, Chalupas or Nachos), and Street Tacos in both Chicken & Steak.

    As with most places on this list, diners can substitute corn tortillas for flour tortillas in all tacos, fajitas, & plates.

    Other gluten-free options include Guacamole, Hash Brown Potatoes, Pico de Gallo, Rice, and Salsas – Fuego, Roja, Verde, Ranch, and Sour Cream.

    #7: Mighty Taco
    Mighty Taco makes it easy on gluten-free eaters by offering any taco with a corns shell, and most anything else on their menu except flour tortillas.

    Mighty Taco's gluten-free menu includes: Mighty Taco with Seasoned Ground Beef or Chicken, Mighty Pack with Seasoned Ground Chicken, Refried Bean and Cheese, Meatless Mighty, Veggies and Cheese, Seasoned Ground Chicken, Seasoned Ground Beef, Fajita Chicken, Buffito Chicken, and the Taco Beef Salad, Mighty Chicken Salad, Chicken Fajita Salad, and the Chicken Buffito Salad.


    Image Caption: Photo: CC--Shane Adams
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    Sorry but I disagree. I went to a local Chipotle and within 2 minutes I knew I could not eat there. They were using the same spoon for everything. I when they put the food onto each plate they would touch the Wheat Flour items that were already on the plate. That created a problem with contamination.

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    Guest Jared M

    Posted

    I love Taco Cabana! Nothing beats a salsa bar. Chipotle is also nice, but a bit pricier.

     

    I hope we get El Pollo Loco in the Dallas area soon. We have similar Mexican chicken places like Pollo Regio.

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    Guest Bruce Adolphe

    Posted

    I am very disappointed in this article and I do not think it can be trusted. I say this because I called Chipotle myself and asked if they were serious about the gluten-free items listed on their menu, specifically asking if they could guarantee their gluten-free options were safe for celiacs. They said absolutely NO, their wheat-flour tortillas and gluten-free corn tortillas and all other such foods were all handled by the same people in the kitchen and no one changes their gloves or even wipes up the counters. They said it was more for people with a mild gluten intolerance, whatever that is supposed to mean. They recommended to me that a person with celiac NOT eat at their restaurants and offered an apology for the misleading menus. Did you do any research or just read menus? Restaurants are not to be trusted.

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    Guest Cynthia Swift

    Posted

    Observations of assembling a gluten-free bowel is Chipotle uses the same ingredients that touch flour tortillas and may cross contaminate them. I love their food but it isn't enough for celiacs with high sensitivity to gluten. Sad but true.

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    Great info! Will share this with my family soon. This will help when we go out to eat in the next few weeks.

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    El Pollo Loco home page states their kitchen area along with prep areas, utensils are not dedicated for gluten free safety therefore cross contamination is highly probable.

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    Guest Linda

    Posted

    An interesting list. My personal experiences with Mexican chains or restaurants has been marginal however. The food may be gluten-free but cross contamination has always been a big concern (and a problem in my area). Even when I have been assured of good practices that has not been the case so I just don't take the chance any more.....

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    Guest admin

    Posted

    El Pollo Loco home page states their kitchen area along with prep areas, utensils are not dedicated for gluten free safety therefore cross contamination is highly probable.

    We think the work "possible" rather than "highly probably" is more accurate.

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    Guest admin

    Posted

    I am very disappointed in this article and I do not think it can be trusted. I say this because I called Chipotle myself and asked if they were serious about the gluten-free items listed on their menu, specifically asking if they could guarantee their gluten-free options were safe for celiacs. They said absolutely NO, their wheat-flour tortillas and gluten-free corn tortillas and all other such foods were all handled by the same people in the kitchen and no one changes their gloves or even wipes up the counters. They said it was more for people with a mild gluten intolerance, whatever that is supposed to mean. They recommended to me that a person with celiac NOT eat at their restaurants and offered an apology for the misleading menus. Did you do any research or just read menus? Restaurants are not to be trusted.

    No restaurant that serves regular gluten options, and certainly not a chain restaurant, would ever "guarantee" that their food will always be 100% gluten-free. Many celiacs still eat at them without issues by taking very basic steps and speaking to those preparing the food about their condition. Obviously this article is not for those celiac who never eat out.

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    As has been reiterated in sever responses, cross contamination is the real issue at any establishment that offers gluten-free options. for those of us with serious celiac sensitivities it is always important to know what cross contamination are "highly probable", "slightly probably" or "possible"!

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    Actually, the staff at Chipotle changed his gloves when I said I had celiac. Then he did all the prep himself instead of handing my bowl down the line!

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    Guest Janet

    Posted

    This cavalier attitude about recommending restaurants that have "gluten free" options is disappointing. I went in to Chipotle when it opened in my town after hearing they had a gluten free menu and took one look and turned straight back out. People with celiac disease are truly broken hearted by articles that get their hopes up only to smash them once again. Thankfully there are a few restaurants in my area that do understand. Shame on you Mr. Adams for not getting it right!

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    Guest Carolyn

    Posted

    Sorry but I disagree. I went to a local Chipotle and within 2 minutes I knew I could not eat there. They were using the same spoon for everything. I when they put the food onto each plate they would touch the Wheat Flour items that were already on the plate. That created a problem with contamination.

    This was my experience as well. The person serving me changed his gloves and was going to follow my order all the way through while the person next to him was putting a spoon in containers of food that had touched a flour tortilla.

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    Guest No Quit Mom

    Posted

    The street tacos at Taco Cabana are NOT gluten-free. They have a pepper sauce mixed in with the meat that contains wheat.

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    WHAT IS CELIAC DISEASE?
    Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects around 1% of the population. People with celiac disease suffer an autoimmune reaction when they consume wheat, rye or barley. The immune reaction is triggered by certain proteins in the wheat, rye, or barley, and, left untreated, causes damage to the small, finger-like structures, called villi, that line the gut. The damage occurs as shortening and villous flattening in the lamina propria and crypt regions of the intestines. The damage to these villi then leads to numerous other issues that commonly plague people with untreated celiac disease, including poor nutritional uptake, fatigue, and myriad other problems.
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    NO SYMPTOMS
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    CELIAC DISEASE VS. GLUTEN INTOLERANCE
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    No Hereditary Link in NCGS
    Researchers know for certain that genetic heredity plays a major role in celiac disease. If a first-degree relative has celiac disease, then you have a statistically higher risk of carrying genetic markers DQ2 and/or DQ8, and of developing celiac disease yourself. NCGS is not known to be hereditary. Some research has shown certain genetic associations, such as some NCGS patients, but there is no proof that NCGS is hereditary. No Connection with Celiac-related Disorders
    Unlike celiac disease, NCGS is so far not associated with malabsorption, nutritional deficiencies, or a higher risk of autoimmune disorders or intestinal malignancies. No Immunological or Serological Markers
    People with celiac disease nearly always test positive for antibodies to gluten proteins. Researchers have, as yet, identified no such antobodies or serologic markers for NCGS. That means that, unlike with celiac disease, there are no telltale screening tests that can point to NCGS. Absence of Celiac Disease or Wheat Allergy
    Doctors diagnose NCGS only by excluding both celiac disease, an IgE-mediated allergy to wheat, and by the noting ongoing adverse symptoms associated with gluten consumption. WHAT ABOUT IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS) AND IRRITABLE BOWEL DISEASE (IBD)?
    IBS and IBD are usually diagnosed in part by ruling out celiac disease. Many patients with irritable bowel syndrome are sensitive to gluten. Many experience celiac disease-like symptoms in reaction to wheat. However, patients with IBS generally show no gut damage, and do not test positive for antibodies to gliadin and other proteins as do people with celiac disease. Some IBS patients also suffer from NCGS.

    To add more confusion, many cases of IBS are, in fact, celiac disease in disguise.

    That said, people with IBS generally react to more than just wheat. People with NCGS generally react to wheat and not to other things, but that’s not always the case. Doctors generally try to rule out celiac disease before making a diagnosis of IBS or NCGS. 
    Crohn’s Disease and celiac disease share many common symptoms, though causes are different.  In Crohn’s disease, the immune system can cause disruption anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, and a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease typically requires more diagnostic testing than does a celiac diagnosis.  
    Crohn’s treatment consists of changes to diet and possible surgery.  Up to 10% of Crohn's patients can have both of conditions, which suggests a genetic connection, and researchers continue to examine that connection.
    Is There a Connection Between Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Large Number of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients Sensitive To Gluten Some IBD Patients also Suffer from Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Many Cases of IBS and Fibromyalgia Actually Celiac Disease in Disguise CELIAC DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
    Diagnosis of celiac disease can be difficult. 

    Perhaps because celiac disease presents clinically in such a variety of ways, proper diagnosis often takes years. A positive serological test for antibodies against tissue transglutaminase is considered a very strong diagnostic indicator, and a duodenal biopsy revealing villous atrophy is still considered by many to be the diagnostic gold standard. 
    But this idea is being questioned; some think the biopsy is unnecessary in the face of clear serological tests and obvious symptoms. Also, researchers are developing accurate and reliable ways to test for celiac disease even when patients are already avoiding wheat. In the past, patients needed to be consuming wheat to get an accurate test result. 
    Celiac disease can have numerous vague, or confusing symptoms that can make diagnosis difficult.  Celiac disease is commonly misdiagnosed by doctors. Read a Personal Story About Celiac Disease Diagnosis from the Founder of Celiac.com Currently, testing and biopsy still form the cornerstone of celiac diagnosis.
    TESTING
    There are several serologic (blood) tests available that screen for celiac disease antibodies, but the most commonly used is called a tTG-IgA test. If blood test results suggest celiac disease, your physician will recommend a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
    Testing is fairly simple and involves screening the patients blood for antigliadin (AGA) and endomysium antibodies (EmA), and/or doing a biopsy on the areas of the intestines mentioned above, which is still the standard for a formal diagnosis. Also, it is now possible to test people for celiac disease without making them concume wheat products.

    BIOPSY
    Until recently, biopsy confirmation of a positive gluten antibody test was the gold standard for celiac diagnosis. It still is, but things are changing fairly quickly. Children can now be accurately diagnosed for celiac disease without biopsy. Diagnosis based on level of TGA-IgA 10-fold or more the ULN, a positive result from the EMA tests in a second blood sample, and the presence of at least 1 symptom could avoid risks and costs of endoscopy for more than half the children with celiac disease worldwide.

    WHY A GLUTEN-FREE DIET?
    Currently the only effective, medically approved treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Following a gluten-free diet relieves symptoms, promotes gut healing, and prevents nearly all celiac-related complications. 
    A gluten-free diet means avoiding all products that contain wheat, rye and barley, or any of their derivatives. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods. Still, with effort, most people with celiac disease manage to make the transition. The vast majority of celiac disease patients who follow a gluten-free diet see symptom relief and experience gut healing within two years.
    For these reasons, a gluten-free diet remains the only effective, medically proven treatment for celiac disease.
    WHAT ABOUT ENZYMES, VACCINES, ETC.?
    There is currently no enzyme or vaccine that can replace a gluten-free diet for people with celiac disease.
    There are enzyme supplements currently available, such as AN-PEP, Latiglutetenase, GluteGuard, and KumaMax, which may help to mitigate accidental gluten ingestion by celiacs. KumaMax, has been shown to survive the stomach, and to break down gluten in the small intestine. Latiglutenase, formerly known as ALV003, is an enzyme therapy designed to be taken with meals. GluteGuard has been shown to significantly protect celiac patients from the serious symptoms they would normally experience after gluten ingestion. There are other enzymes, including those based on papaya enzymes.

    Additionally, there are many celiac disease drugs, enzymes, and therapies in various stages of development by pharmaceutical companies, including at least one vaccine that has received financial backing. At some point in the not too distant future there will likely be new treatments available for those who seek an alternative to a lifelong gluten-free diet. 

    For now though, there are no products on the market that can take the place of a gluten-free diet. Any enzyme or other treatment for celiac disease is intended to be used in conjunction with a gluten-free diet, not as a replacement.

    ASSOCIATED DISEASES
    The most common disorders associated with celiac disease are thyroid disease and Type 1 Diabetes, however, celiac disease is associated with many other conditions, including but not limited to the following autoimmune conditions:
    Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: 2.4-16.4% Multiple Sclerosis (MS): 11% Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: 4-6% Autoimmune hepatitis: 6-15% Addison disease: 6% Arthritis: 1.5-7.5% Sjögren’s syndrome: 2-15% Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy: 5.7% IgA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease): 3.6% Other celiac co-morditities include:
    Crohn’s Disease; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Chronic Pancreatitis Down Syndrome Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Lupus Multiple Sclerosis Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Psoriasis Rheumatoid Arthritis Scleroderma Turner Syndrome Ulcerative Colitis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease Williams Syndrome Cancers:
    Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (intestinal and extra-intestinal, T- and B-cell types) Small intestinal adenocarcinoma Esophageal carcinoma Papillary thyroid cancer Melanoma CELIAC DISEASE REFERENCES:
    Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University
    Gluten Intolerance Group
    National Institutes of Health
    U.S. National Library of Medicine
    Mayo Clinic
    University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/17/2018 - Could the holy grail of gluten-free food lie in special strains of wheat that lack “bad glutens” that trigger the celiac disease, but include the “good glutens” that make bread and other products chewy, spongey and delicious? Such products would include all of the good things about wheat, but none of the bad things that might trigger celiac disease.
    A team of researchers in Spain is creating strains of wheat that lack the “bad glutens” that trigger the autoimmune disorder celiac disease. The team, based at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture in Cordoba, Spain, is making use of the new and highly effective CRISPR gene editing to eliminate the majority of the gliadins in wheat.
    Gliadins are the gluten proteins that trigger the majority of symptoms for people with celiac disease.
    As part of their efforts, the team has conducted a small study on 20 people with “gluten sensitivity.” That study showed that test subjects can tolerate bread made with this special wheat, says team member Francisco Barro. However, the team has yet to publish the results.
    Clearly, more comprehensive testing would be needed to determine if such a product is safely tolerated by people with celiac disease. Still, with these efforts, along with efforts to develop vaccines, enzymes, and other treatments making steady progress, we are living in exciting times for people with celiac disease.
    It is entirely conceivable that in the not-so-distant future we will see safe, viable treatments for celiac disease that do not require a strict gluten-free diet.
    Read more at Digitaltrends.com , and at Newscientist.com

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 04/16/2018 - A team of researchers recently set out to investigate whether alterations in the developing intestinal microbiota and immune markers precede celiac disease onset in infants with family risk for the disease.
    The research team included Marta Olivares, Alan W. Walker, Amalia Capilla, Alfonso Benítez-Páez, Francesc Palau, Julian Parkhill, Gemma Castillejo, and Yolanda Sanz. They are variously affiliated with the Microbial Ecology, Nutrition and Health Research Unit, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), C/Catedrático Agustín Escardin, Paterna, Valencia, Spain; the Gut Health Group, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK; the Genetics and Molecular Medicine Unit, Institute of Biomedicine of Valencia, National Research Council (IBV-CSIC), Valencia, Spain; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire UK; the Hospital Universitari de Sant Joan de Reus, IISPV, URV, Tarragona, Spain; the Center for regenerative medicine, Boston university school of medicine, Boston, USA; and the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu and CIBERER, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Barcelona, Spain
    The team conducted a nested case-control study out as part of a larger prospective cohort study, which included healthy full-term newborns (> 200) with at least one first relative with biopsy-verified celiac disease. The present study includes 10 cases of celiac disease, along with 10 best-matched controls who did not develop the disease after 5-year follow-up.
    The team profiled fecal microbiota, as assessed by high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, along with immune parameters, at 4 and 6 months of age and related to celiac disease onset. The microbiota of infants who remained healthy showed an increase in bacterial diversity over time, especially by increases in microbiota from the Firmicutes families, those who with no increase in bacterial diversity developed celiac disease.
    Infants who subsequently developed celiac disease showed a significant reduction in sIgA levels over time, while those who remained healthy showed increases in TNF-α correlated to Bifidobacterium spp.
    Healthy children in the control group showed a greater relative abundance of Bifidobacterium longum, while children who developed celiac disease showed increased levels of Bifidobacterium breve and Enterococcus spp.
    The data from this study suggest that early changes in gut microbiota in infants with celiac disease risk could influence immune development, and thus increase risk levels for celiac disease. The team is calling for larger studies to confirm their hypothesis.
    Source:
    Microbiome. 2018; 6: 36. Published online 2018 Feb 20. doi: 10.1186/s40168-018-0415-6