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


    Scott Adams

    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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    Guest Jennifer

    Posted

    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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    Guest Sheryl

    Posted

    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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    Guest Suzann Lark

    Posted

    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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    Guest Christy

    Posted

    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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    Guest Courtney

    Posted

    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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    Guest Stepahanie L.

    Posted

    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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    Guest Kathleen

    Posted

    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

    In 1994 I was diagnosed with celiac disease, which led me to create Celiac.com in 1995. I created this site for a single purpose: To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives. Celiac.com was the first site on the Internet dedicated solely to celiac disease. In 1998 I founded The Gluten-Free Mall, Your Special Diet Superstore!, and I am the co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

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    1) Cellulose is a carbohydrate polymer of D-glucose. It is the structural material of plants, such as wood in trees. It contains no gluten protein. 2) Methyl cellulose is a chemically modified form of cellulose that makes a good substitute for gluten in rice-based breads, etc.  

    Scott Adams
    Rice and soy beverages because their production process may utilize barley enzymes. Bad advice from health food store employees (i.e., that spelt and/or kamut is/are safe for celiacs). Cross-contamination between food store bins selling raw flours and grains (usually via the scoops). Wheat-bread crumbs in butter, jams, toaster, counter, etc. Lotions, creams and cosmetics (primarily for those with dermatitis herpetaformis). Stamps, envelopes or other gummed labels. Toothpaste and mouthwash. Medicines: many contain gluten. Cereals: most contain malt flavoring, or some other non-gluten-free ingredient. Some brands of rice paper. Sauce mixes and sauces (soy sauce, fish sauce, catsup, mustard, mayonnaise, etc.). Ice cream. Packet & canned soups. Dried meals and gravy mixes. Laxatives. Grilled restaurant food - gluten contaminated grill. Fried restaurant foods - gluten contaminated grease. Ground spices - wheat flour is sometimes used to prevent clumping.

    Megan Tichy Ph.D.
    What is Gluten?
    Gluten is a huge molecule held together by smaller molecules linked together called amino acids. A very tiny part of the gluten molecule can initiate a response. If each amino acid that makes up gluten is represented as a single letter that very tiny part would be: SGQGSFQPSQQ. There are other sequences of amino acids that cause a reaction in gluten sensitive individuals, but the point is, as tiny as this fragment is with respect to the entire gluten protein, it is still HUGE with respect to the size of ethanol (the stuff you are drinking).
    What is Alcohol?
    The alcohol you drink is ethanol. Ethanol is smaller than the size of the smallest amino acid in the smallest fragment of gluten that has been shown to initiate an autoimmune reaction. More specifically, ethanol is about 10 atomic mass units smaller than just the G in the sequence shown above.
    What are Amino Acids?
    The G is glycine, and by the way, each of these amino acids (represented by letters) by themselves is safe, and sold at most health food stores. For example Q = glutamine (yes, “L-glutamine,” the same amino acid mentioned in a recent post and used to heal intestinal damage). If the protein is viewed as beads on a string, then one of those beads might be good for you, but certain sequences strung together can initiate an allergic reaction of many types from acute peanut allergy to less-than-obvious gluten sensitivity.
    What is Distillation?
    When a distillation is performed, pure ethanol is separated away from all of the other “stuff” that forms as a result of fermentation. This is because ethanol is volatile (meaning it becomes a gas in the distillation process). Imagine a vat of fermentation products, you heat it, and only the volatile molecules like ethanol enter a tube attached to the vat. This tube is not just any tube - it is a curved condensation tube! Here is what it does: While the heated gas form of ethanol floats into it (because that is what gases do), the molecules are cooled and condense back into a liquid, and fall into a new sparkling clean vessel containing the stuff that intoxicates you and any other volatiles. So the fancier distillation columns that are actually used industrially also purify the ethanol away from other volatiles. Gluten does not stand a chance of “crossing over” because it is not volatile.
    Here is a simplified analogy. Let's say you put some sand in the bottom of your tea kettle. If you take the spout off your tea kettle, and attach a condensing tube to the opening (a curved tube would be the simplest type of condensing tube but there are many elaborate types), you could distill your water away from the sand. The condensing tube would be curved so as to open into a new clean pot. Let us pretend that the sand is gluten and the water is ethanol. When you heat to the boiling point, the liquid becomes gas so it travels into the condenser, cools and becomes liquid, then falls into the clean pot.
    Now having read that, is there any way that the new clean pot would contain any sand? No, and distilled alcohol (ethanol) does not contain any gluten. Remember, gluten is not volatile. Another non-volatile compound is table salt. So you could perform a distillation at home, with salt water. Has anyone ever inadvertently done this? Boiled a pot of salt water, perhaps to make some Tinkyada pasta, and walked away to do something else. You came back to find your pot almost empty with white crusty stuff (salt) all inside the pot.
    So the gluten is left behind in a distillation process. If malt is added to the distilled product it will be disclosed on the ingredients label.
    What is Vinegar?
    Vinegar is formed by fermentation in a similar way that ethanol is formed by fermentation. The process is to take ethanol and ferment it with bacteria. Later, there is a filtration to remove the bacteria. Rarely, vinegar is fermented from wheat-based alcohol. “Distilled vinegar,” gets its name from the fact that it was fermented from distilled alcohol.
    Why is Vinegar Still Questioned?
    The answer could be, perhaps, because so many people report a reaction to it and vinegar-based products. The never-ending fear is that cross-contamination during the fermentation process is leading to barely detectable amounts of gluten in the finished product (by barely detectable, I mean in terms of commercially available tests). Since the vinegar is rarely distilled post fermentation from the ethanol, the “messy” nature of the second fermentation step could pose a problem, especially for highly sensitive individuals. If the alcohol gets all used up by the bacteria, the bacteria go on to form carbon dioxide and water from the vinegar. So alcohol is periodically added in the fermentation process. Conceivably, one “shortcut” would be to just add beer at this juncture. Adding beer or some other form of cheap malted alcohol would keep the culture alive, and increase the “quality” and yield of the vinegar. Another fear is that the bacterial “mother” as it is called, contains trace gluten through cross-contamination. Claims that these practices actually take place are unsubstantiated by evidence.
    Why are Distilled Spirits Still Questioned?
    That is a good question, I do not know.Take a Short Quiz on this Topic:
    You bought mustard and pickles at the grocery store. These products contain “distilled vinegar” according to the ingredients labels, and the label does NOT say “contains: wheat.” Are the mustard and pickles gluten-free? Rum, gin, whiskey, and vodka are distilled beverages. If they are not flavored with something that contains wheat (would be declared on the label), rye, or barley (usually in the form of “malt”), are they gluten-free?  What is wrong with the following statements (they have all been cut and pasted from various blogs and forums on the topic of celiac disease)?a. “Most alcohols are distilled in such a way that any wheat gluten is no longer present.”b. “Even trace amounts of gluten that make it past the filter system can be harmful.”c. “It seems improbable to me, too, that gliadin could survive the distillation process.”

    Answers:
    Yes, unless you have reason to believe otherwise, in which case you should simply avoid them.
    Yes.
    3a. All alcohols, if distilled, have been removed from any type of gluten.
    3b. Distillation is nothing like a filtration. We are not separating small from large, there is no filter. Filtration would be like how your coffee pot separates water from the coffee grains. A tear in the filter would result in a big problem, right? Filtration is a separation based on size, distillation is a separation based on volatility.
    3c. Do we care whether gliadin (a name given to part of wheat gluten) “survives” the process or not? No, because it has been left behind to stew in its own juices in the distillation pot. Your stuff (the ethanol) has floated away, and entered a new, clean pot. Some people have this idea that we heat the fermented mixture to smithereens and it somehow decomposes the molecules of gluten. Clearly, such a process would be ineffective or else we could simply “cook,” “roast,” “fry,” or “burn” the gluten out of our foods, and we know that we cannot do that.

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