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    Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?


    Megan Tichy

    What is Gluten?


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    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:

    1. 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?
    2. 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? 
    3. 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:
    1. Yes, unless you have reason to believe otherwise, in which case you should simply avoid them.
    2. Yes.
    3. 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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    Guest Diane Hurd

    Posted

    Very good, understandable language and correlates with other articles already read on the same subject. Definitely would read everything this author writes on the subject. Thank you!

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    I didn't know it, but a dressing I ate on a daily basis had switched from cider vinegar to distilled vinegar. I was getting more sick everyday. I had to go back to a very bland diet and then slowly add everything I had been eating, one product at a time. Then I read the label, stopped using the dressing and started to get better. I am a very sensitive celiac, but I raise this question. If as you say, a sensitive celiac could see have problems with distilled products, isn't it very possible that other celiacs are also damaging themselves without any symptoms? I know others who can't have distilled vinegar and they aren't as sensitive as myself.

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    Clearly, more than just ethanol makes it through the distillation process, otherwise all distilled alcohols would just be Everclear--and indistinguishable from one another in taste or appearance. I think the fear was/is that, because more than Ethanol makes it through, could gluten be one of the "other" things that gets carried along?

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    I appreciate the teaching that has occurred in this article. I understand the science behind alcohol being gluten free BUT I still have a reaction to any that is distilled through grains. At first I thought my reactions may have been psychosomatic. Maybe it's just because I am questioning the validity of truly being gluten free. But not too long ago I had a very serious reaction and did research on the drink I had, Indeed it was a wheat/Barley vodka. I believe that for most people it may be fine. BUT I have always been super sensitive and am continually reminded that I must be careful.

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    Excellent article. This could not have been any more clear and to the point with regard to distillation and gluten-sensitivity. Great read!

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    Clearly, more than just ethanol makes it through the distillation process, otherwise all distilled alcohols would just be Everclear--and indistinguishable from one another in taste or appearance. I think the fear was/is that, because more than Ethanol makes it through, could gluten be one of the "other" things that gets carried along?

    Justin, the author never claimed that no other substances weren't volatile. She merely discussed ethanol and gluten for simplification. Obviously, water is volatile and would make it through distillation along with the ethanol. This is why all distillation wouldn't result in Everclear. If gluten is present in a distilled alcohol, I would suspect contamination (whether intentional or unintentional) after the distillation process.

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    Susie and Sarah- agreed.

     

    I completely understand the process of distillation. I've done it myself many times in a lab. What I don't understand is how I have reacted time after time after time to products that I find out later contained distilled vinegar or alcohol that is wheat-derived.

     

    I appreciate this article's clear explanations. I just can't seem to make the connection between the logical science and my reality.

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    I am also a very sensitive celiac. I rarely drink, because I no longer desire the taste (spilled out many drinks in the past). But even when I want to have one to be "social" or celebrate a special occasion, I double check & make sure to "go over" the distillation process & ingredients- just not worth getting sick over, from carelessness. This may sound weird but, I have noticed that top shelf alcohol seems to make a difference w me. I even enjoy the taste when all is well! I mix with cranberry or fruit juices & still keep it "very" limited though, better safe than sorry. I just happened to look at a list of gluten free beers today, from the "Gluten Free Beer Festival of 2006". Get a craving once in a great while, may try one of them in the future.

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    Guest margaret

    Posted

    Good article.I always buy only triple distilled myself, just to be on the safe side.

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    I appreciate the teaching that has occurred in this article. I understand the science behind alcohol being gluten free BUT I still have a reaction to any that is distilled through grains. At first I thought my reactions may have been psychosomatic. Maybe it's just because I am questioning the validity of truly being gluten free. But not too long ago I had a very serious reaction and did research on the drink I had, Indeed it was a wheat/Barley vodka. I believe that for most people it may be fine. BUT I have always been super sensitive and am continually reminded that I must be careful.

    Sarah, I have had the same experience and I don't believe that distillation means gluten free. I, as you started looking at distilled alcohol AFTER I had a reaction. Before that I hadn't even thought alcohol could be a culprit. Those who are very sensitive should just stick to things like rum, sake and wine. All the ingredients are gluten free and I have never had a problem with any of these.

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    Susie: If the company switched to distilled v from cider v, then maybe they changed the factory around a bit too. Many times when an ingredient changes, it's not just because the ingredient itself was cheaper, but because the product is manufactured somewhere else, or, in these economic times, manufactured on shared equipment with other products in order to lay off a few workers. So most likely, your reaction was triggered by poor manufacturing practices with no segregation of malicious gluten bits.

    I have had this problem with Walmart's new packages of snack foods. It used to say gluten free on the Great Value brand, but now the packaging changed from blue to white, and it no longer states that it's gluten-free.

    Others: Is it possible that your reaction was that of cheap alcohol? I get really sick off many bottom shelf brands, simply because of the impurities (like poisonous alcohols and the like). Oh, and Justin, other alcohols taste different because of the way they are aged and the like (eg in wooden barrels) and the additives (eg juniper berries in gin), NOT because of the distillation process.

    Like the author said, watch out for "malt" and we are fine.

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    I think the author makes perfectly scientific points, and I agree with them. I am not a celiac, however my fiance is. I have noticed two things:

    1. If he drinks soon after a minor contamination he gets ill. I mean really ill. In my estimation, it is not that the booze contains gluten, but the damaging of an already sensitive system that causes the horrible following reaction.

    2. Sometimes when people drink they lose the total control that they would ordinarily retain. I have heard my fiance, after a couple of drinks relax the standards he usually carries on food because he is drunk. Maybe this is a culprit.

    I also have one more comment to add about the alcohol. As was already noted, very few liquors that are sold contain pure ethanol. It would kill you. Most of them are diluted and flavored after the fact. I would guess from the color of many alcohols that they use caramel coloring (barley) and maltodextrin (malt=bad) and any number of "natural flavorings" that they are not necessarily required to itemize. My fiance stays away from anything colored (whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gold tequila) or flavored (gin, flavored vodkas etc.). Stick to things that are fermented directly from gluten free foods, (i.e. sake, wine, silver tequila). Good luck!

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    Guest Diane Lester

    Posted

    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 and have a highly controlled diet). 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 does not make water absolutely pure.

    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 they cannot, on their own, be used to declare a food safe (I have written a peer-reviewed journal article 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.

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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 and have a highly controlled diet). 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 does not make water absolutely pure.

    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 they cannot, on their own, be used to declare a food safe (I have written a peer-reviewed journal article 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.

    I, like many of the people who have responded to this article, react to distilled alcohols. So, while I find this article helpful to some extent, I actually found Diane's answer more relevant to what my gut tells me. Thanks Diane!

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    Guest Joe_Crawford

    Posted

    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 and have a highly controlled diet). 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 does not make water absolutely pure.

    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 they cannot, on their own, be used to declare a food safe (I have written a peer-reviewed journal article 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.

    From my own experience, Russian (pure) potato vodka, if you can still find it, and just about any of the rums are the only alcohols that I can tolerate (I use to buy scotch by the case). Since I developed Celiac, and I've tested it several times, I get a reaction from scotch, beer and whiskey. During the distillation process there are contaminants the bootleggers back home (the Blue Ridges) called fusel oils. These distill off at various temperatures both below and above that alcohol. They are what give various liquors and whiskeys their distinct (i.e., both good and bad) taste. Usually the ones that distill off at lower temperatures are beneficial, those a higher temperatures give the whiskey a solvent like taste. At least in my case, something in the low temp oils gives me the same reaction that I get from gluten.

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    I think the problem with white distilled vinegar is that it turns to a poison in the body. For that reason, we avoid all white distilled vinegar except to clean with. Apple cider vinegar is NOT the same so that is probably why there isn't a problem with that one.

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    Guest diana pechnick

    Posted

    These comments were very informative.

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    Guest Sarah L.

    Posted

    Susie and Sarah- agreed.

     

    I completely understand the process of distillation. I've done it myself many times in a lab. What I don't understand is how I have reacted time after time after time to products that I find out later contained distilled vinegar or alcohol that is wheat-derived.

     

    I appreciate this article's clear explanations. I just can't seem to make the connection between the logical science and my reality.

    Susie, Sarah, Elle -

     

    Same boat here guys, same boat. What is odd is, I can tolerate trace amounts of gluten in other products, but not alcohol. There is a very definitive outcome that results from drinking wheat based boozes, and it is unmistakably celiac (though I wish I could chalk it up to something else I ate, as I do enjoy a cocktail).

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    Guest Stacey Zappacosta

    Posted

    Many of you celiac's that react to vinegar are probably sensitive to yeast and fermented products. Celiac, gluten intolerance and yeast allergies are usually connected because of "leaky gut".

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    Guest T.H.

    Posted

    I appreciate Diane explaining the distillation process, because from the various blogs and forums I read, it seems that there is a lot of confusion about the process, and how scientifically it makes it impossible for gluten molecules to somehow make it through distillation.

     

    However, I was very disappointed in one aspect. Saying that we have nothing to fear from distilled products is, I feel, doing celiac's a disfavor, because it presumes two things that I don't believe are true: people never make mistakes, and all factories are perfect.

     

    If a factory is using products with gluten, then the possibility of contamination after distillation exists. It may not be a high probability of contamination if proper safety standards are used, but...can we guarantee that every facility that is distilling alcohol is concerned about contamination afterward? I don't believe we can - in fact, based on the the history of food production, I'd say the odds are in favor of some facilities having poorer standards and higher chances of contaminating their products post-distillation.

     

    So for those who are sensitive like me, that may mean that 1 out of 4 times I'll be fine with an alcohol distilled from wheat, and one time I'll react because I get a contaminated batch.

     

    It's disheartening to have people's reports of reactions dismissed out of hand, just as so many of us had our celiac symptoms dismissed in the first place. And I feel that we fail to truly examine the problem if we look at it only in terms of a process in theory rather than looking at how the processing works in the real world.

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    Guest Laura F.

    Posted

    Clearly distinguished between distillation and filtration!

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    Guest Marion

    Posted

    Recently diagnosed with celiac condition, I find the articles very informative. Thanks to these folks.

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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 and have a highly controlled diet). 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 does not make water absolutely pure.

    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 they cannot, on their own, be used to declare a food safe (I have written a peer-reviewed journal article 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.

    Diane, you just described what I suspect is the primary reason why distilled spirits have gotten this inaccurate rap for gluten content: Gluten solubility.

     

    The majority of these anecdotal stories involve people who were *not* drinking at home, of drinks they'd prepared themselves. It's folks who are out, either at a party, a bar, a restaurant, etc.

     

    You then point out that gluten is highly soluble in alcohol, which means that if you've been exposed to contamination, the alcohol is going to ensure that you absorb that contamination and disseminate it throughout your system. Further, as we're all well aware, *any* time you eat or drink away from your own home, you are at risk for exposure, because non-celiacs simply don't understand how we're affected. Every single one of us has been poisoned by cross-contamination, most of us multiple times. Blaming the alcohol for facilitating the exposure is like blaming the full moon for an uptick in emergency room visits simply because any uptick which occurs during a full moon gets noted, while any uptick on any other night is simply ignored for what it is: Random chance . It's caused by selective observation, not an underlying truth. I'm sure plenty of celiacs have had reactions after drinking tequila or other non-grain-sourced liquors and either correctly assumed they were poisoned by some other contamination, or incorrectly assumed that the liquor must've had some grain portion. (Mexican distillers find sugar a much cheaper starting point than imported wheat, and even cheap tequila is highly unlikely to have been borne of any gluten-containing source). Adulterated spirits, like gin, are certainly suspect. I'm completely puzzled by mention of caramel colorings or flavorings as a source of gluten -- both are made from carbohydrates, not proteins. Why would you make them from a starchy source that would require enzymatic action to convert it into a sugar prior to the caramelization process? To me, the moral of all these anecdotal stories is simple: Don't drink when you're away from home unless you're eating food which is virtually impossible to cross-contaminate. I don't know much about how industrial tests for gluten work, but I would be very surprised if well-made whiskies or vodkas were found to contain gluten, assuming those tests ever become accurate or sensitive enough to give a reliable result. Anecdotal evidence is always a dangerous thing to rely on. It's why we can't turn on our ipods on an airplane unless it's at cruising altitude, why many gas stations have warning signs telling you that using a cell phone while pumping gas could cause an explosion, and why many parents insist on refusing to vaccinate their children. If we're to rely on anecdotal evidence, can we at least rely on *good* anecdotal evidence? Let's have some of our brave celiac brethren enlist the aid of their spouses, and engage in blind booze exposures at home, where contamination can be controlled. Some nights mix the drinks with a "suspect" alcohol, like scotch. Other nights, use a "safe" alcohol, like potato vodka. If you get several reactions to the suspect, but none to the safe, you'll have an anecdote we can sink our teeth into. Otherwise, I suspect these reports prove what we already know: The outside world is littered heavily with gluten, and we eat in public (sadly) often at our own risk.

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    Guest Anna B2

    Posted

    I am new to this from a personal standpoint. I have just in the last few months started exhibiting symptoms that made me think there is a real problem, but my dad was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a positive DQ. He doesn't remember which one. My daughter, however, had positive allergy tests for multiple food allergies at the age of 2, including wheat, for which she has recently at the age of 6 tested negative. Fortunately??? I think she still has an intolerance after the poor child has been gorging on all the food she wasn't allowed before.

     

    I like the article. Very informative. Diane Lester's post is excellent for filling in any scientific gaps, and Amen to T.H. The real world is where we are, not in the laboratory.

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    I think the author makes perfectly scientific points, and I agree with them. I am not a celiac, however my fiance is. I have noticed two things:

    1. If he drinks soon after a minor contamination he gets ill. I mean really ill. In my estimation, it is not that the booze contains gluten, but the damaging of an already sensitive system that causes the horrible following reaction.

    2. Sometimes when people drink they lose the total control that they would ordinarily retain. I have heard my fiance, after a couple of drinks relax the standards he usually carries on food because he is drunk. Maybe this is a culprit.

    I also have one more comment to add about the alcohol. As was already noted, very few liquors that are sold contain pure ethanol. It would kill you. Most of them are diluted and flavored after the fact. I would guess from the color of many alcohols that they use caramel coloring (barley) and maltodextrin (malt=bad) and any number of "natural flavorings" that they are not necessarily required to itemize. My fiance stays away from anything colored (whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gold tequila) or flavored (gin, flavored vodkas etc.). Stick to things that are fermented directly from gluten free foods, (i.e. sake, wine, silver tequila). Good luck!

    maltodextrin is corn

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  • About Me

    Megan Tichy, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in Chemistry from Texas A&M University. She, her husband (Shane), and son (Nathan) moved to the Bay area from Texas in 2009. Megan was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003. As a support group leader in Bryan, TX she began many fruitful efforts in the realm of educating non-scientists about the science behind celiac disease. In 2008 she gave a talk at the annual GlG conference entitled, Making Sense of Science." She is currently seeking a Masters in Teaching.

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    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.

    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.

  • Recent Articles

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/21/2018 - These easy-to-make tortilla wraps make a great addition to your lunchtime menu. Simply grab your favorite gluten-free tortillas, a bit of cream cheese, some charred fresh sweet corn, creamy avocado and ripe summer tomato. Add a bit of sliced roast beef and some mayonnaise and hot sauce, and you’re in business. And it's all ready in about half an hour. If you cook the corn the night before, they can be ready in just a few minutes.
    Ingredients:
    12 ounces thinly sliced cooked beef, sliced 6 burrito-sized gluten-free tortillas 1 ripe medium avocado, diced 1 large tomato, diced ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced ¼ cup mayonnaise 2 ears sweet corn, husks and silk removed 1 teaspoon olive oil ¾ cup soft cream cheese spread 1-2 teaspoons gluten-free hot sauce of choice Sprouted pea greens, as desired fresh salsa, as desired Directions:
    Heat grill to medium-hot. 
    Brush corn with olive oil. 
    In a small dish, blend mayonnaise and hot sauce. Adjust mixture, and add fresh salsa, as desired.
    Grill corn for 8 to 12 minutes, turning as it browns and lowering heat as needed until corn is tender and charred in some places. 
    Cool slightly; cut kernels from cobs.
    Spread 2 tablespoons cream cheese on one side of each tortilla to within ½-inch of edge; arrange beef slices to cover.
    Spread beef with mayonnaise hot sauce mixture as desired.
    Place a bit of grilled corn kernels, avocado, tomato and red onion in a 3-inch strip along one edge of each tortilla. 
    Fold ends and roll into a burrito shape, and serve. I like to add sweet, crunchy pea greens for some extra crunch and nutrition.

    Christina Kantzavelos
    Celiac.com 07/20/2018 - During my Vipassana retreat, I wasn’t left with much to eat during breakfast, at least in terms of gluten free options. Even with gluten free bread, the toasters weren’t separated to prevent cross contamination. All of my other options were full of sugar (cereals, fruits), which I try to avoid, especially for breakfast. I had to come up with something that did not have sugar, was tasty, salty, and gave me some form of protein. After about four days of mixing and matching, I was finally able to come up with the strangest concoction, that may not look the prettiest, but sure tastes delicious. Actually, if you squint your eyes just enough, it tastes like buttery popcorn. I now can’t stop eating it as a snack at home, and would like to share it with others who are looking for a yummy nutritious snack. 
    Ingredients:
    4 Rice cakes ⅓ cup of Olive oil  Mineral salt ½ cup Nutritional Yeast ⅓ cup of Sunflower Seeds  Intriguing list, right?...
    Directions (1.5 Servings):
    Crunch up the rice into small bite size pieces.  Throw a liberal amount of nutritional yeast onto the pieces, until you see more yellow than white.  Add salt to taste. For my POTS brothers and sisters, throw it on (we need an excess amount of salt to maintain a healthy BP).  Add olive oil  Liberally sprinkle sunflower seeds. This is what adds the protein and crunch, so the more, the tastier.  Buen Provecho, y Buen Camino! 

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/19/2018 - Maintaining a gluten-free diet can be an on-going challenge, especially when you factor in all the hidden or obscure gluten that can trip you up. In many cases, foods that are naturally gluten-free end up contain added gluten. Sometimes this can slip by us, and that when the suffering begins. To avoid suffering needlessly, be sure to keep a sharp eye on labels, and beware of added or hidden gluten, even in food labeled gluten-free.  Use Celiac.com's SAFE Gluten-Free Food List and UNSAFE Gluten-free Food List as a guide.
    Also, beware of these common mistakes that can ruin your gluten-free diet. Watch out for:
    Watch out for naturally gluten-free foods like rice and soy, that use gluten-based ingredients in processing. For example, many rice and soy beverages are made using barley enzymes, which can cause immune reactions in people with celiac disease. Be careful of bad advice from food store employees, who may be misinformed themselves. For example, many folks mistakenly believe that wheat-based grains like spelt or kamut are safe for celiacs. Be careful when taking advice. Beware of cross-contamination between food store bins selling raw flours and grains, often via the food scoops. Be careful to avoid wheat-bread crumbs in butter, jams, toaster, counter surface, etc. Watch out for hidden gluten in prescription drugs. Ask your pharmacist for help about anything you’re not sure about, or suspect might contain unwanted gluten. Watch out for hidden gluten in lotions, conditioners, shampoos, deodorants, creams and cosmetics, (primarily for those with dermatitis herpetaformis). Be mindful of stamps, envelopes or other gummed labels, as these can often contain wheat paste. Use a sponge to moisten such surfaces. Be careful about hidden gluten in toothpaste and mouthwash. Be careful about common cereal ingredients, such as malt flavoring, or other non-gluten-free ingredient. Be extra careful when considering packaged mixes and sauces, including soy sauce, fish sauce, catsup, mustard, mayonnaise, etc., as many of these can contain wheat or wheat by-product in their manufacture. Be especially careful about gravy mixes, packets & canned soups. Even some brands of rice paper can contain gluten, so be careful. Lastly, watch out for foods like ice cream and yogurt, which are often gluten-free, but can also often contain added ingredients that can make them unsuitable for anyone on a gluten-free diet. Eating Out? If you eat out, consider that many restaurants use a shared grill or shared cooking oil for regular and gluten-free foods, so be careful. Also, watch for flour in otherwise gluten-free spices, as per above. Ask questions, and stay vigilant.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/18/2018 - Despite many studies on immune development in children, there still isn’t much good data on how a mother’s diet during pregnancy and infancy influences a child’s immune development.  A team of researchers recently set out to assess whether changes in maternal or infant diet might influence the risk of allergies or autoimmune disease.
    The team included Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, Despo Ierodiakonou, Katharine Jarrold, Sergio Cunha,  Jennifer Chivinge, Zoe Robinson, Natalie Geoghegan, Alisha Ruparelia, Pooja Devani, Marialena Trivella, Jo Leonardi-Bee, and Robert J. Boyle.
    They are variously associated with the Department of Undiagnosed Celiac Disease More Common in Women and Girls International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America; the Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; the Section of Paediatrics, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; and Stanford University in the USA.
    Team members searched MEDLINE, Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), Web of Science, Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and Literatura Latino Americana em Ciências da Saúde (LILACS) for observational studies conducted between January 1946 and July 2013, and interventional studies conducted through December 2017, that evaluated the relationship between diet during pregnancy, lactation, or the first year of life, and future risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. 
    They then selected studies, extracted data, and assessed bias risk. They evaluated data using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). They found 260 original studies, covering 964,143 participants, of milk feeding, including 1 intervention trial of breastfeeding promotion, and 173 original studies, covering 542,672 participants, of other maternal or infant dietary exposures, including 80 trials of 26 maternal, 32 infant, or 22 combined interventions. 
    They found a high bias risk in nearly half of the more than 250 milk feeding studies and in about one-quarter of studies of other dietary exposures. Evidence from 19 intervention trials suggests that oral supplementation with probiotics during late pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of eczema. 44 cases per 1,000; 95% CI 20–64), and 6 trials, suggest that fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of allergic sensitization to egg. GRADE certainty of these findings was moderate. 
    The team found less evidence, and low GRADE certainty, for claims that breastfeeding reduces eczema risk during infancy, that longer exclusive breastfeeding is associated with reduced type 1 diabetes mellitus, and that probiotics reduce risk of infants developing allergies to cow’s milk. 
    They found no evidence that dietary exposure to other factors, including prebiotic supplements, maternal allergenic food avoidance, and vitamin, mineral, fruit, and vegetable intake, influence risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. 
    Overall, the team’s findings support a connection between the mother’s diet and risk of immune-mediated diseases in the child. Maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation may reduce risk of eczema and allergic sensitization to food, respectively.
    Stay tuned for more on diet during pregnancy and its role in celiac disease.
    Source:
    PLoS Med. 2018 Feb; 15(2): e1002507. doi:  10.1371/journal.pmed.1002507

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/17/2018 - What can fat soluble vitamin levels in newly diagnosed children tell us about celiac disease? A team of researchers recently assessed fat soluble vitamin levels in children diagnosed with newly celiac disease to determine whether vitamin levels needed to be assessed routinely in these patients during diagnosis.
    The researchers evaluated the symptoms of celiac patients in a newly diagnosed pediatric group and evaluated their fat soluble vitamin levels and intestinal biopsies, and then compared their vitamin levels with those of a healthy control group.
    The research team included Yavuz Tokgöz, Semiha Terlemez and Aslıhan Karul. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, the Department of Pediatrics, and the Department of Biochemistry at Adnan Menderes University Medical Faculty in Aydın, Turkey.
    The team evaluated 27 female, 25 male celiac patients, and an evenly divided group of 50 healthy control subjects. Patients averaged 9 years, and weighed 16.2 kg. The most common symptom in celiac patients was growth retardation, which was seen in 61.5%, with  abdominal pain next at 51.9%, and diarrhea, seen in 11.5%. Histological examination showed nearly half of the patients at grade Marsh 3B. 
    Vitamin A and vitamin D levels for celiac patients were significantly lower than the control group. Vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies were significantly more common compared to healthy subjects. Nearly all of the celiac patients showed vitamin D insufficiency, while nearly 62% showed vitamin D deficiency. Nearly 33% of celiac patients showed vitamin A deficiency. 
    The team saw no deficiencies in vitamin E or vitamin K1 among celiac patients. In the healthy control group, vitamin D deficiency was seen in 2 (4%) patients, vitamin D insufficiency was determined in 9 (18%) patients. The team found normal levels of all other vitamins in the healthy group.
    Children with newly diagnosed celiac disease showed significantly reduced levels of vitamin D and A. The team recommends screening of vitamin A and D levels during diagnosis of these patients.
    Source:
    BMC Pediatrics